Sistine Chapel visitors to be vacuum cleaned to protect artwork from dust and hair
Visitors to the Sistine Chapel will have to pass through a high tech vacuum cleaner before they cast their eyes on the breathtakingly evocative artwork, it has been revealed.
The aim is to preserve the 500 year old Renaissance masterpiece in all its glory from the dust, fibres, powder, hair and even sweat that the four million tourists who flock to the Chapel every year bring with them, the Daily Mail reported.
Officials at the Vatican Museums have long warned that the ornate frescoes which adorn the ceiling and walls are in danger of damage from external influences and the vacuum cleaner would ensure that all tourists are spotlessly dust free.
Antonio Paolucci, the director of the Vatican Museum, said that the vacuum cleaner will guarantee that all visitors will be clean of dust and other fibres and it will also take away excessive moisture such as sweat.
"It would involve a system along the last 100 meters before entering the Sistine Chapel which would suck up dust and other debris from people's shoes," he said.
"At the same time side vents would also draw in dust from clothes and also excessive humidity and dampness from people, in other words sweat, to keep them cool because all these factors combined can combine to damage the frescoes. They are the biggest enemies of works of art," he added.
The effects of what he described were made evident two years ago when a month long night time clean up of the Sistine Chapel resulted in "several kilos" of dust, human hair and man made fibres being removed.
Paolucci added that he hoped the system would be in place by next year and explained "the money is there."