End of a Shadowy Existence

LEDs are compact, energy-efficient, and flexible when it comes to adjusting color temperature and brightness. They deliver exceptional services both inside and out and are ideal for seamlessly illuminating large surfaces in particular. A prime example of an innovative application is the Sistine Chapel in Rome.

For the 450th anniversary of Michelangelo’s death, OSRAM developed a lighting concept that significantly increases luminance inside the chapel, revealing the colors as they truly are and illuminating all of the frescoes evenly. In this way, portions of the wall paintings that used to receive less attention have a whole new shine for visitors.

With Michelangelo’s Eyes

The effects of the restoration at the end of the last century can now be seen in all their glory. The variety of colors and 3-D effects are now entirely visible for the first time. The annual 4.5 million visitors to the Sistine Chapel will finally be able to see the frescoes with Michelangelo’s eyes.

Colorimetry experts examined the paintings at 280 points in order to identify the pigmentation and the reflected light spectrum with precision. Lights developed specifically for the purpose ideally incorporate their findings and enable ambitious fine-tuning.

Artificial Light Much Like Daylight

140 red, green, blue, and white high-performance diodes inside the 40 LED lights make it possible. Each of the customized lights is approximately 80 centimeters in width and, including heat sink, just around 10 centimeters in depth.

Mounted on a cornice in such a way that visitors cannot see them, they give the impression that daylight is simply coming through the windows. Their position and the arrangement of the reflectors prevent even the slightest glare.

Click the light bulb in the bottom-left corner to switch between scenarios “with” / “without” OSRAM-LED

Additional LED spotlights increase the extensive variety of the lighting concept. 30 LED spotlights are mounted in groups of three between the chapel windows. If required, they can be extended from their hiding places.

There are two lighting scenarios to choose from: the first is museum lighting for the frescoes on the walls and ceiling, while the second is gala lighting, which is activated for papal conclaves, services, and other events.

“The chapel is a unit, which should be reflected in the lighting.”

Maintaining a Unique Masterpiece – with Gentle Lighting

The aim was to visually enhance all of the chapel’s works of art, while ensuring maximum protection.

As part of a project supported by the European Union, curators established the standards for color quality and sustainability to be maintained. The lighting concept is correspondingly gentle, due in large part to the fact that LED lighting is much less harmful than any other light source currently available.

The Greenest Lighting Imaginable

The new lighting also requires much less energy than its predecessor, despite offering ten times the luminance.

Energy consumption and CO2 emissions have fallen by up to 90 percent. If you add up the gala and visitor lighting, the required capacity is now less than 6 kilowatts, compared to the more than 66 kilowatts before.

A Versatile Concept

This type of lighting system is suitable for more than just the Sistine Chapel, though the chapel is a prime example of the system’s effectiveness and efficiency. It’s ideal for art museums, museums of natural science, monuments, and sacred buildings, as well as all kinds of architecture and light art.






Sacred Buildings



More about the illumination of the Sistine Chapel:

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