It's a pleasure to be here in the Vatican.
Around us and near us, in the Sistine Chapel we have masterpieces of Western art; perhaps the point from which all modern western art has taken off.
So it's delight to see these cultural treasures. And it's a delight to see them more clearly: thanks to new LED lighting technology.
In English they say; the devil is in the detail. Well, now, thanks to this EU-funded project, you can see the detail in every devil, the style in every scene. The tones and the textures and the colours and the creativity just as Michaelangelo intended.
For over 500 years, these artworks have enchanted popes and princes, giving solace to saints and terror to sinners. Half a century on, they continue to do so for five and a half million viewers every year; that's over 1500 visitors for every hour the Galleries are open. Already few of them leave without a tremble of emotion. Now - thanks to this EU project – maybe they will see more to tremble about.
This is just one of the advantages of these new technologies.
Solid state lighting – or LEDs — offers convenience, clarity, and flexibility. Less damage to artworks. Not to mention up to an energy saving around 60 to 70 percent.
And they are taking off. A relative newcomer, today they account for just over one euro in 7 spent on lighting; within 5 or 6 years that could be over one euro in two.
This project, LED4ART, is just one way we are supporting and showcasing this new technology. We also just launched new urban lighting in Genoa. And public and exhibition spaces from Rotterdam to Heraklion are also benefiting.
The works in the Sistine Chapel are a launchpad of our culture, a monument to our shared heritage. I am delighted they can now benefit from EU investment.