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Art as I see it: Michelangelo’s creation mystery

The picture above is Michelangelo’s Creation of Man. He painted it on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. There are many things in this fresco that are incorrect. God is not an old man in a nightgown, and the cherubim are not pudgy little babies, just ask Isaiah (Isaiah 6). But the mystery is: who is the woman next to God? It is not Eve, as when she appears elsewhere in the Sistine Chapel she looks different from this woman. Some might say that se is the feminine aspect of God, but I don’t think so. Where in the Bible can they find something to support that? My best guess as to her identity is that she may be representative of the innocence of man. My reasons for this are that Adam seems to be looking at her longingly, she appears to be hiding from him, and God is reaching His hand to Adam, which I can see as a prophecy of the time when He would take man to the heavens, without the necessity of a sinless life.

As always, feel free to comment and tell me your opinions, ask questions, and disagree, however vehemently you want. Good-bye for now! 🙂


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7 thoughts on “Art as I see it: Michelangelo’s creation mystery

  1. I love your commentary on this classic piece of art, Malcolm. And I’m excited to keep up with what you are learning through your writings on this blog.

    I love you and am very proud of you!
    Aunt Teri Lynne

    • Thanks! I’m planning on doing more of these analyses of art. Did I spell that right? Anywho, I think this is going to become my favorite way of doing essays.

  2. grannysuebuster on said:

    Very interesting. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one.

  3. There are some who argue that the figures of God,etc., are pouring out of a human brain… as if God, etc., are figments of the human imagination. The argument is (1)that Michelangelo was having a rough time with the Pope at the time and this was his way of retaliation and, (2) though general knowledge of human anatomy was not widely known at the time, Michelangelo was an anatomy master, having dissected human cadavers in search of artistic perfection.

    • I love that comment on God pouring out of the human brain….I think this perfectly answers the question of why God is portrayed how he is (an old man). Though God may not indeed look like that, he must be portrayed in some human form, and a perfectly natural way of doing this is to show him as a wise old man, with a very strong, sculptural physique. This is not ‘incorrect’ but rather, a rendition that perhaps best suited the minds of the Italians during this era, and today as well. In this piece, personification is everything. Hence, the very human appearance, albeit perfectly shaped, figures of prophets, angels, ignudi, etc.

      • I do understand that the best way of showing God’s attributes is the way Michelangelo did. I was just making it clear that, while that is an image we can understand, our understanding is not perfect.

  4. Pingback: First Journal Entry | gelfrancisco

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