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Recreating the Sistine Chapel

It took an entire school year to complete, but for 97 students at Providence Academy their piece de resistance was well worth the effort.
“It is 26 feet long and about a quarter-size replica of the Sistine Chapel,” Providence Academy art teacher Billy Bledsoe explained. “The corridor alone is 10 feet wide.”
Using the same technique Michaelangelo utilized in creating the original, students each took a small part of the Sistine Chapel’s design and created their own version of it in black and white.
All the drawings on it are blind contours,” Bledsoe said. “What this does, if you don’t know anything about art, it teaches you. But, also, if you do have art experience or natural talent, it doesn’t hold you back.”
In blind contour drawing, as the art form is known, artists draw the contour of a subject without looking at the paper on which they are drawing. The artists instead keep their eyes on the subject while drawing in a continuous line without ever lifting their pencil or looking at their paper.
Earlier this month, students in seventh through twelfth grades put the final touches on their parts of the project. They assembled the miniature Sistine Chapel at Tipton Gallery in Johnson City. Each student’s piece was attached to the chapel’s vaulted ceiling, made of paper mache.
In addition to the artwork on the ceiling, students recreated portions of Michaelangelo’s work, The Last Judgment, which he painted on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel.
A reception was held May 10, inviting guests to tour Providence Academy’s version of the Sistine Chapel. According to Bledsoe, more than 350 people attended.