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Michelangelo’s Masterpiece In Needlework

By Staff

Here comes an artwork to match the elite artwork of Michelangelo. Michelangelo's 'Sistine Chapel ceiling' is getting a new realm in simple cross-stitch. A Canadian lady has managed to create an awe-inspiring vision of this work.

Joanna Lopianowski-Roberts, 44, who lives in San Francisco, California, used a British concept by cross-stitch 'guru' Dave Peters, called Xstitch Professional. She spent at least one hour a day for eight years creating it.

Joanna had stitched a couple of small projects before embarking on the Sistine Chapel. She never really felt any satisfaction when she finished them. She had a discussion with her husband on the possibilities of many things.

The idea of this creation came from Joanna's brother in law's pastime. He had the habit of taping pictures from magazines on the walls. Rather unglamorously, he had taped a pre-restoration picture of the chapel in the bathroom.

The image was the most interesting thing to look at while brushing one's teeth twice a day. Finally it came upon Joanna that the poster is the answer for her. Over the following decade and by committing a total of 3,572 hours her vision became a reality.

As is the method with cross-stitching Lopianowski-Roberts had to pre-design an outline for each 'fresco' on her main canvas and then fill in all of the 45 sections with colour and detail by stitching. She started her work in October 1995, and she had to face several challenges that almost brought her close to giving up on the work. The IT management consultant and her househusband Aaron Roberts, 45, clinically timed the schedule on a stopwatch. In order to get the detail right for each individual 'fresco', she had to get an individual close up of each piece, which came from several different sources.

Joanna even bought books from Rome to ensure she had an accurate depiction of every part of Michelangelo's work. Her Sistine Chapel, which measures 40in by 80in, is now kept safely at her home. Her accomplishment has now been documented in a book, In the Footsteps of Michelangelo: The Sistine Chapel Ceiling in Cross Stitch, which acts as a guide for other would-be stitches to try themselves.

Story first published: Monday, June 29, 2009, 15:09 [IST]
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