The most famous section of the Sistine Chapel ceiling is Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam. This scene is located next to the Creation of Eve, which is the panel at the center of the room. Adam is one the left while God is on the right.
Overview: In this painting there aren’t many bright colors. Its all skin tone colors. Adam is laying on a rock with his body concaving with his hand stretched out whereas God’s is convex and his arm is reaching out toward Adam. God is shown inside a floating nebulous form made up of pink drapery and other figures. The form is supported on angels who fly without wings, but whose flight is made clear by the drapery which whips out from underneath them. God is depicted as an elderly, yet muscular man with grey hair and a long beard. Adam is more or less unenthusiastic toward God reaching out to him. His head position and body position support the idea that he doesn’t seem too grateful for what God is giving.
Parts: One of the major parts of this piece is the hands. God’s hand is reaching out and wants to touch Adam or almost give him something and Adam’s hand is almost reluctant. Even without the rest of the image, just the hands give you an idea or what could be happening and how they are portrayed feeling it. Its obvious the two of them aren’t on the same level or mind set of willingness or want for what might happen or what is being offered. Another important part is their positions. Neither is in the middle and they almost seem to be they same size but Adam’s body language is almost like he almost expects this of God. That he expects him to be giving him something and could almost be saying, “Yes yes just give it to me”. While Adam is like this God is persistent looking and extended in a way that says he wants to give something to Adam and is confident about it and almost longs to do so. The general coloring sets the mood of interaction of a Human and a God. It also shows similarities between them by making them the same color.
Title: The title is Creation of Adam. In the art God isn’t really physically producing him which tells us that God could be trying to give Adam something that creates him or creates qualities of what “man” should be like and have. Creation is to make and in this gave give life to or just giving something to help contribute to something new. It says that this visual portrays giving and receiving.
Interpretation: God is surrounded by various angles and a women and together they are encompassed by a drape or cloth of pink. If you look at it in a general sense you can see that this nebula of heavenly creatures looks like a brain. It is actually a pretty good representation of the brain and the neurologic structure. These are just simple lines outlining the structure but looking closer at the painting you could probably find more similarities. So because this is a brain and God is part of it, it seems that God is giving knowledge to Adam. As well as knowledge this could be wisdom or even just intellect. And God is trying to hard to touch Adam with this an give it to me but however all Adam seems to be doing is enthusiastic receiving it. God’s face almost looks in distress because he is straining himself to give intellect to someone who is interested in receiving it.
Context: Michelangelo’s work was created at a time when scholars and statesmen as well as artists were adopting humanist ideals. At the core of Humanism was the study of Greek and Roman arts and sciences. By applying the lessons learned from the ancients within the context of Christianity, it was believed that the great civilizations of the past could be not merely imitated, but also surpassed. For artists like Michelangelo, this meant modeling Christian subjects on the idealized nudes of classical antiquity.
Conclusion: It is important and interesting to see, point out and understand the neurological structure in the painting, and also to see that the larger image encompassing God is compatible with a brain. Michelangelo portrays that what God is giving to Adam is the intellect, and thus man is able to “plan the best and highest” and to “try all things received”. It’s also impressive he did this on a ceiling looking up.