Newly-lit Sistine Chapel unveiled in Rome

High-tech system sheds new light on masterpiece

The Vatican has unveiled a new hi-tech lighting system for the Sistine Chapel, illuminating Michelangelo's masterpiece like never before.

The 7,000 light-emitting diodes (LED) lights are part of a special colour spectrum designed specifically to reflect the true hues of the Renaissance frescoes, with each light tuned to a different colour depending on which section it shines.

Installed by Germany firm Osram, the lights are energy-friendly and use up to 90 per cent less electricity than the old system. In addition to lighting, a new cutting-edge ventilation system has been installed to regulate the chapel's temperature and humidity.

The system, installed by US company Carrier, relies on closed-circuit cameras to monitor the number of visitors, regulating the air flow for up to 2,000 visitors at a time compared to the old system which could only handle a maximum of 700 people. The innovations, costing up to €3 million, were paid for by Vatican sponors.