Look Up! Incredible Ceilings Around the World

"The Art of Looking Up" by Catherine McCormack "The Art of Looking Up" by Catherine McCormack

In her coffee table book The Art of Looking Up, art historian Catherine McCormack takes a gander at 40 of the world's most spectacular ceilings, highlighting top-of-the-line room toppers ranging from the delicate lotus flowers floating over a 7th-century temple in Japan to the explosion of colorful glass suspended above the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. Among the artists represented: Marc Chagall, Dale Chihuly, and Michelangelo (yes, of course the Sistine Chapel is included).

Best of all, the book lets you enjoy the fine details of the art without straining your neck. Feast your eyes on this sampling of the volume's astonishing images.  

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Debre Berhan Selassie Church in Ethiopia "The Art of Looking Up" by Catherine McCormack

Above the central image of the Crucifixion, three bearded men are depicted, symbolizing the Holy Trinity of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

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Sensō-ji Temple in Tokyo "The Art of Looking Up" by Catherine McCormack

Although originating in the fifth century B.C.E., the current invocation dates back to the 1950s.

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Ceiling of the Palazzo del Te in Mantua, Italy "The Art of Looking Up" by Catherine McCormack

In this illusionistically painted scene, Jupiter, king of the gods, throws lightning to defeat the giants, painted lower down in the same room.

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Ceiling of Badal Mahal in Rajasthan, India "The Art of Looking Up" by Catherine McCormack

Beautiful murals line the walls and ceiling of Rajasthan's Badal Mahal, also known as the Cloud Palace.

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Ceiling at Topkapı Palace in Istanbul "The Art of Looking Up" by Catherine McCormack

This ceiling dome tops the private rooms of Sultan Murad III in Istanbul's Topkapı Palace.

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Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, England "The Art of Looking Up" by Catherine McCormack

The all-seeing eyes of Colin Gill’s North Portico ceiling at Blenheim Palace bear down on the visitors below.

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Hall of Muses at the Chinese Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia "The Art of Looking Up" by Catherine McCormack

The Chinese Palace in St. Petersburg was a private residence of Empress Catherine II built by the architect Antonio Rinaldi in the Rococo style. Pictured is the Hall of Muses. 

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Hall of the Chronicles at City Hall in Barcelona "The Art of Looking Up" by Catherine McCormack

Murals by Josep Maria Sert decorate the Hall of the Chronicles in Barcelona's City Hall. 

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Ceiling at the United Nations Office at Geneva, Switzerland "The Art of Looking Up" by Catherine McCormack

The ceiling represents the geography of the planet in 35 tons of paint, comprising pigments gleaned from earth and rocks from around the globe.

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Ceiling of the Museum of the Revolution in Havana "The Art of Looking Up" by Catherine McCormack

A winged figure surveys the interior of the Museum of the Revolution, which functioned as the headquarters of the Cuban presidency and location for lavish events until Fidel Castro seized power in 1959.

For dozens of other glorious ceilings around the world, pick up the 240-page The Art of Looking Up by art historian Catherine McCormack.

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