LED there be light: Sistine Chapel illuminated as never before

| October 29, 2014 | 0 Comments

1000000000000217000001818EE69039Michelangelo’s wonderful paintings in the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel are getting a second life thanks to a revolutionary new Light Emitting Diode (LED) system, funded by an EU research project called LED4ART. The 7,000 diodes of the installation mean Michelangelo’s frescoes can be seen as never before: some can now be seen in three dimensions from the floor level for the first time, and all can be viewed more precisely. The new system saves 60% on energy costs and emissions, and the gentler technology reduces the ageing of the painting compared to the old system.

European Commission Vice President @NeelieKroesEU, responsible for the Digital Agenda, said: “Art exists to inspire us and illuminate our minds. Now that we have illuminated the Sistine Chapel with LED, Michelangelo’s art can fulfil this role even more than it has up until now throughout history.” (read her SPEECH/14/728 at the Sistine Chapel – to be published on 30 October)

Mourad Boulouednine, LED4ART project coordinator from OSRAM (@OsramCOM), said: “This has been a massive challenge for the entire consortium! We achieved a perfect match of the lighting spectrum with the coloured pigments of the art works to create the best possible visual experience. In addition, the solution will be significantly more energy efficient than the previous lighting system and will not harm these masterworks. All in all, these are fantastic results and all of us are very proud.

More information

Other European places in the LED light

Another EU-funded project, ILLUMINATE, has given a second life to:

Belfast City Hall, the UK: annual savings: 67% energy; €29,910 per year. Watch the video


Porto Antico, Italy: annual savings: 62% energy; €35,220 per year Watch the video


Acquario di Genova, Italy: annual savings: 54% energy; €13,200 per year Watch the video

Experimentarium, Denmark: annual savings: 55% energy; €21,890 per year Watch the video

CretAquarium, Greece: annual savings: 60% energy, €30,240 per year


Lithuanian Sea Museum, Lithuania: annual savings: 59% energy, €3,270 per year Watch the video

See also this video of the Rotterdam Zoo, the Netherlands: annual savings: 64% energy; €31,310 per year


LED4ART and ILLUMINATE are two EU-funded pilots with a common objective: to raise awareness about LED solutions and thereby to encourage their use.

Why? Because we need to cut our energy consumption to protect our environment and to boost our economy. Did you know that lighting accounts for 20% of electricity consumption worldwide?

Wasteful incandescent light bulbs are being phased out and the EU is switching to greener lighting, with new energy efficient and eco-friendly technologies, as LEDs. By 2020, this will save enough energy to power 11 million households a year, while cutting average household electricity bills by €25 to €50 a year.

In brief, LEDs are more sustainable, robust, bright and flexible: it is no surprise that the invention of blue LEDs won 2014 physics Nobel.

Read more about the advantages of LEDs

LED4ART. The EU has invested €870,000 in this project. Partners: Osram (Germany and Italy), the University of Pannonia (Pannon Egyetem, Hungary), Fabertechnica (Italy), the Institut de Recerca en Energia de Catalunya (IREC, Spain) and the Vatican City State.

Press contact: Christian Boelling – [email protected] – 0049 89 6213 2597

ILLUMINATE. The EU has invested €1.3 million in this project. Partners: the city of Genoa and the old port of Genoa (Italy), the European Federation of Agencies and Regions for Energy and the Environment (Belgium), the Center For Formidling af Naturvidenskab og Moderne Teknologi (Denmark), Cenergia (Denmark), the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (Greece), Softeco (Italy), Philips (Italy), Enel Sole (Italy), Costa Edutainment (Italy), the Lithuanian Sea Museum (Lithuania), the Foundation Royal Zoo of Rotterdam (the Netherlands), Arup (the UK) and the Belfast City Council (the UK).

Press contact: Giovanni Mosca – [email protected] – 0039 10 60 261

Technologies that improve life in every city, for every citizen

Photonics and micro-/nanoelectronics are everywhere: from lasers to cars, from smart textiles to pacemakers. They are key enabling technologies. Read the SPEECH/14/728 of Vice President Neelie Kroes (to be published on 30 October).


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Category: A Frontpage, Arts, Culture, EU, European Commission, Lifestyle

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