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Sunday, September 6, 2020

Hidden Codes In Michelangelo’s The Creation Of Adam

The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo is one of the most paintings ever drawn. The painting depicting Adam reaching God during the creation has many interpretations. The painting holds symbolism that can reveal existential questions about free will, God's existence, and the nature of consciousness.

Image: GoCorps
Creation of Adam, Michelangelo Painting, Fresco
Image: Insider
Like his contemporary Leonardo da Vinci and his magnum opus, The Last Supper, Michaelangelo created a painting that held many symbols that people will continue to scrutinize and decipher. The Creation of Adam was painted by Michelangelo Buonarroti from  1508 to 1512. He painted other pieces that retold the Genesis but the fresco that stands out is the Creation of Adam. While Michaelangelo is painting in the Sistine Chapel he is in close supervision with the cardinals and other members of the clergy in the Sistine Chapel.

Michelangelo Buonarroti painted other scenes of Genesis such as; The First Day of Creation, The Creation of Sun and the Moon, The Creation of Eve, The Downfall of Adam and Eve, or the Expulsion from the Garden of Eden, The Great Flood. Michaelangelo also painted some scenes from the Old Testaments retelling the chapters of the prophets Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Daniel, Isaiah, and many others.

Creation of Adam, Michelangelo Painting, Fresco
Image Reddit, Danny Wilten
Apart from the Fresco painting on the Sistine Chapel Ceilings, he also painted the altar of the Sistine Chapel with another huge piece titled The Last Judgement. He painted the Last Judgment 23 years after finishing the frescoes at the Sistine Chapel. It is a huge fresco retelling of the Revelation and the Last Judgment.

Creation of Adam, Michelangelo, Painting, Sistine Chapel
Image: Wiki Commons
To start with the centerpiece of the Sistine Chapel, the Creation of Man, we must first consider the time period when it was painted. It should be noted that the radical ideas of humanism brought by the Enlightenment period did not reach the academic and intellectual circles yet. The painting was revealed to the world during the Renaissance Period or the rebirth of Western Civilization. If this work of art really tried to question the nature of God and free will, then Michaelangelo is very well ahead of his time.

The most common observation by art historians, intellectuals, and philosophers is the way God and the angels are shaped like the human brain. Even doctors such as Frank Lynn Meshberger is marveled by the accuracy of how Michaelangelo seemed to recreate the cross-section of the brain in the form of the creator God. Parts of the human brain that is linked to emotions seem to coincide with the way the sad angel was situated. Dr. Meshberger also noted that the way God is aligned on the part where the limbic system is situated, the seat of human emotions, or the part commonly associated with the soul.

Creation of Adam, Michelangelo, Westworld, HBO, Anthony Hopkins
Image: HBO
The most common pop-culture interpretation of The Creation of Adam, in the recent years, would be Dr. Ford's(played by Silence of the Lambs lead actor, Anthony Hopkins) quote on The Creation of Adam: The divine gift does not come from a higher power but from our own minds. (Westworld S01E10).

Creation of Adam, Michelangelo, Free Will
Image: Roneicosta Arquitetura Sacra
Some art critics also noted the way Adam's fingers are drawn approaching God. As observed, God is outstretching his fingers towards Adam. Adam has an inanimate gesture of trying to approach God's index fingers. Art critics commonly represent the meaning of this gesture is that Man, represented by Adam can approach God out there; he is omnipresent; after all, it is Man's decision to seek him out and approach him.

We can interpret Michaelangelo's masterwork in several ways but as a whole Michaelangelo's work is an attempt to connect with the divine just like the ideals of his Renaissance-era contemporaries. The work was drawn on the ceilings of the Sistine Chapel, one of the holiest places on Earth after all. Like many other works of art, we must value the contribution of the Creation of Adam in human art and history.

Copyright of IFY Books

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