Saturday, October 24, 2009

Michelangelo's life was creation.

The Creation of Adam by Michelangeo
1511-12, Fresco, 480 cm × 230 cm (189.0 in × 90.6 in)

I realized I haven't featured anything earlier than the 1800's, so here were are, in the High Renaissance! I didn't conceptualize the depth of this picture, until I recently studied it. First and foremost, Michelangelo was one of the greatest artistic minds ever. He dominated sculpture and considered it to be his true passion. However when he was asked to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, he agreed. Not many know about the struggle it was to paint it. Not only did Michelangelo have to wrestle with the insane size of the ceiling and height, but the ceiling was curved! On top of all that, Michelangelo wasn't even all that familiar with the fresco painting style. Frankly, he wasn't a fan of any painting style, he was a sculptor! Nevertheless, Michelangelo prevailed!

Even more spectacular is the fact that it only took him about four years to complete the entire ceiling. It has over 300 figures, with as much attention to detail as the image above. Can you imagine reaching upwards for a period of 4 years? Imagine the strain on his joints, neck, and back! What a trooper.

Okay the Creation of Adam has a lot of pretty cool features, so sit back and get ready to be amazed! I will number them for your reading pleasure and convenience. My recommendation is to open a new tab and click "The Creation of Adam," I made it a link directing you to a large version, this will help!

1. Motion directs the entire composition. For example, your eye should first focus on God, the figure on the right. God's outstretched arm directs you to Adam followed by Adam's outstretched arm leading you to the child beneath God's arm. Which leads to...
2. Some believe that the woman beneath God's arm is Eve, though others believe it to be Mary. The child next to the woman is considered by some to be Christ. This leads to...
3. If Michelangelo meant to depict Christ, than the whole right-left-right motion explained in #1 has pretty insane applications- God created Adam, Adam is responsible for the fall of mankind, Christ dies and gives all redemption. Right-Left-Right. Cool right!?!? But you know what is also cool....
4. Besides the whole insanely neat right-left-right motion thing, notice the position God and Adam are in. The concave of Adam's body fits perfectly into the convex of God's body. Michelangelo articulated EVERY detail.

Okay, I hope I began to spark interest in the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. These kind of amazing implications can be applied to every stinkin' panel on that HUGE ceiling. Fun? YES! Go ahead, buy yourself a book. You deserve it. Addtionally, I hope I churned the butter in your "Michelangelo is out of this world" pot. Michelangelo truly was one of the great's. He was a master of many mediums, and the type of guy who was not only 100% dedicated to a work, it was his life.

Michelangelo's life was creation.


  1. Fantastic, love it....can we go see it in person?? I'm adding this to my 'things I must see in this lifetime' list. Beyond the artistry of it..Michelangelo's depiction of the spark of magic that flows from the Creator is stunning beyond words for me.

  2. Yes, please.. and I love the spark as well, so inspiring!