The Fabbrica di San Pietro has chosen iGuzzini to renew the lighting of one of the most famous artworks in the world, housed in the Chapel of the Crucifix in St. Peter’s Basilica: Michelangelo’s Pietà. The new lighting system, designed by the Milan-based studio, Rossi Bianchi lighting design, will replace the previous in order to improve visitors’ experience of this renaissance masterpiece thanks to innovative smart solutions based on the recent technological developments in LED lighting.
“All the know-how we have gained since the 1990s when we lit the Bernini and Canova sculptures in the Galleria Borghese has been put at the service of the Fabric of Saint Peter in order to use light to enhance Michelangelo’s Pietà, one of the most evocative works in the history of art,” commented Adolfo Guzzini, President of iGuzzini illuminazione. “iGuzzini has always put its light culture at the service of the universal value of beauty, to benefit people in Italy and around the world. Today, at St. Peter’s too, sculptural art lives again thanks to our skill in balancing light in order to emphasise the plasticity of the sculpture and create a ‘perfect light’ on the marble as Giulio Carlo Argan described it in the Canova in Rome exhibition we illuminated.”
In addition to replacing the previous luminaires with new, latest generation LED spotlights, the new lighting project also stands out thanks to four different lighting scenes that can be called on simply and intuitively to accommodate different visual activities and requirements. The individual scenes are created using compact solutions that take up minimal visual space and feature warm white tones (3000K) and high colour rendering levels that enhance the contours of the artwork and the shine of its marble. The overall aim is to create a consistent view of the entire work, so that all visitors can see and appreciate every detail of this unique masterpiece.
“The new lighting system that has also been improved from a scientific point of view, allows Michelangelo’s masterpiece to be better appreciated and its universal value to be better understood” declared the Most Reverend Cardinal Angelo Comastri. “The Pietà, in fact, is Michelangelo’s faith sculpted in marble, as the Virgin Mary’s youthful face is a highly contemporary message from the artist showing how avoiding sin is the only way to be truly beautifully and eternally young.”
Thanks to the DALI control system, the light fittings are divided into groups that can be switched on separately and adjusted in terms of light intensity to allow the system to create different light scenes, which to clarify their exhibition uses have been named: ‘North Scene – Sculpture Focus’, ‘East Scene – Grazing Light‘, ‘South Scene – Full Light’ and ‘West Scene - Daily’.
North Scene - sculpture focus
In this scene the lighting is ideal for a close-up view of the sculpture that underlines its artistic value and enhances the visitor’s experience. Light is focused on the sculpture thanks to Palco
spotlights mounted on tracks that run on either side of the pilasters, whereas the illumination for the floor, ceiling and backdrop is reduced to a minimum. In this scene there is no clear directionality. Instead there is a balance of chiaroscuro effects that enhances the sculpture’s plasticity and allows transiting visitors to appreciate both individual details and the incredible overall harmony of the artwork.