National Geographic : 1989 Dec
On Assignment W HEN making close-ups j of chief restorer Gian luigi Colalucci (and his logan-on-a -button), VICTOR R. BOSWELL, JR., was back in a Sistine Chapel far cleaner and brighter than the one he photographed 20 years earlier. Then it took 20,000 watts of illumination to pene trate the gloom for one large mosaic of the entire ceiling. In 1989 Vic needed only one tenth the light to make the view of the restored ceiling on pages 690-92. Long experienced in making paintings, sculptures, and other treasures come alive, he relied on his practiced eye to make adjustments for distortion, to compensate for image overlap, and Sto vary exposure times for differ ent areas of the same frame. To convey the sense of being a visitor looking up some 60 feet from the floor, Vic included curves of the ceiling as it merges with the walls. There Michelan gelo played his own visual games, since in the fresco some of the architecture is "real," though most is painted on. O. LOUISMAZZATENTA(ABOVE); VICTORR. BOSWELL,JR., (BUTTON);ADAMWOOLFITT Directing the lengthy restora tion, Vatican art historian Fabri zio Mancinelli, here outside the chapel (right), has become a practicing diplomat to visiting colleagues and to the press. He and restorer Colalucci, being interviewed by author DAVID JEFFERY (far right), have with saintly patience answered a hundred questions a thousand times about Michelangelo's monumental work. Dave found his Sistine assign ment oddly like his first sight of Antarctica or of the Yellowstone fires (February 1989), an experi ence on "a scale and intensity to rattle your bones." NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC(ISSN 0027-9358) IS PUBLISHEDMONTHLYBYTHE NATIONALGEOGRAPHICSOCIETY,17THANDM STS. N.W.,WASHINGTON,D. C. 20036. $21.00 A YEAR,$2.65A COPY. SECOND-CLASSPOSTAGE PAID AT WASHINGTON,D.C.,AND ELSEWHERE.POSTMASTER:SEND ADDRESS CHANGES TO NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC,P.O. BOX 2174,WASHINGTON,D.C. 20013.