DOMA goes Renaissance
Michelangelo, scenes from the Book of Genesis, The Creation of Adam. The pictorial embodiment of one of the great ideals of Renaissance culture: man made in the image and likeness of God. © Vatican Museum

Experience a Vatican treasure at the David Owsley Museum of Art (DOMA) this Summer with The Sistine Chapel Trilogy, a three-volume publication currently on display.

A gift from the museum’s generous benefactor Ann M. Stack, the Trilogy is one of only 600 copies printed in English and showcases the decoration of the pope’s chapel. Dr. Robert La France, Director of the David Owsley Museum of Art, is pleased with the unique nature of the exhibit.

“Rather than a projection on a distant screen or fast-moving video images, this book’s giant color reproductions offer viewers a chance to pore over details in the frescoes at their own speed,” La France said. “Plus, some of the fold-out illustrations are as large as 62 inches across.”

Michelangelo, The Last Judgement. © Vatican Museum

Measuring 24-by-17 inches and weighing 75 pounds, the three giant portfolios include several 1:1-scale reproductions. The color fidelity of the artwork within the volumes is vibrant. Published in 2020, the illustrations in Sistine Chapel Trilogy’s are based on new digital photography.

“Just before the pandemic, a team of photographers spent 67 nights on scaffolding taking overview and detail images of every square inch of the chapel’s fresco decoration,” La France said. “The photographers have captured the chapel at an important moment in history, when all of its decoration has been conserved and the chapel looks much as it did in the middle of the sixteenth century.”

The first volume of the trilogy is a faithful reproduction of the chapel’s wall decorations, which were painted in the fifteenth century by important Italian artists, including Domenico Ghirlandaio, Botticelli, and Perugino. The second volume is dedicated to Michelangelo’s Sistine Ceiling, of which the famous The Creation of Adam is a part. The third volume recreates Michelangelo’s Last Judgment on the chapel’s east wall. The Trilogy is a masterpiece that combines digital imaging and analog printing.

“Viewing the volumes is like taking a no-cost trip to the Vatican, but allows you to view details that you wouldn’t be able to see clearly in an actual visit to the chapel,” La France said.

Pietro Perugino, The Baptism of Christ, Jesus is baptzed by John the Baptist while the dove of the Holy Spirit descends over him. © Vatican Museum

Available until September 3, special viewings with an art handler can be arranged by calling (765) 285-5242 or emailing

The next exhibit opening at DOMA will be on Sept. 24, featuring the traveling exhibition Memories & Inspiration: The Kerry and C. Betty Davis Collection of African American Art.

Memories & Inspiration presents more than 60 works selected from a body of art amassed over 35 years by a working-class couple who gave up many ordinary comforts in order to live with extraordinary paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures,” La France said.

Follow Us