270,000 Images Used To Create This $22,000 Photobook of the Sistine Chapel

A new photobook documenting the Sistine Chapel has just been released. Taking advantage of gigapixel photography the book shows the chapel in detail never seen before in print.

If you've ever visited the Vatican City to marvel at the Sistine Chapel, you'll know that taking pictures inside is strictly off-limits. Production and publishing company Callaway Arts and Entertainment, however, were granted permission to capture the iconic works of art in all their glory. Over the course of 67 consecutive nights, a team worked to capture every inch of the Renaissance frescoes using the latest in gigapixel photography. In total, 270,000 images of the chapel were stitched together and used in the 1:1 scale three-volume book. Once the images were finalized, digital proofs were printed and then held back up against the original works for color matching. As a result, they claim the resulting images are 99.4 percent accurate in terms of color. Which if you've ever battled with monitor and printer calibrations is rather impressive.

Unsurprisingly, such a prestigious project comes with a hefty price tag. This limited edition book which is bound in silk and white calf will set you back a whopping $22,000. While many of us will be unlikely to add this expensive edition to their collection, the creators of this book intend that a significant portion of them will end up in institutions where it will be available to everyone. As someone who has made several photobooks in the past, I will be very interested to see the quality of such an ambitious undertaking.

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Robert Bell's picture

Perfect stocking filler for Christmas!

Paul Parker's picture

haha, the book is 2.5ft tall so you might need a large stocking!

and deep pockets too...

Robert Bell's picture


Marcus Casey's picture

What is the price on the Kindle edition?

Paul Parker's picture

Kindle Edition is $21,999 which seems a little unfair...

Lee Morris's picture

This is pretty cool but when I read the price I thought it said $2,200 and I was bummed it was so expensive... Then I realized it cost $22,000.

Paul Parker's picture

The Fstoppers secret santa is just around the corner, you never know...


According to the Smithsonian magazine this book was released in 2017. Here's the reference I found while trying to find out what camera they used, which I haven't found out yet.


Paul Parker's picture

Thanks for the link. The book was only just released a few days back to huge fanfare in the art world. Even the video made by the makers of the book was only released a few days back. I’m confused why your article claims this happened back in 2017. Will investigate more...

sam dasso's picture

The three-volume set contains 870-pages including 220, 24-inch by 51-inch fold-out pages for $22,000 is a bargain compare to what pro photographers charge for enlargements of this size for so called art photography.

Paul Parker's picture

You make a great point! While 22k is a lot of money, this book contains a lot...