The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo
|Courtesy of www.renaissanceart.org|
Michelangelo portrays a nude Adam as God breathes life into his newly created body. God's hand is outstretched to Adam but the fingers have not yet touched. Adam is still on a mortal plain and the likeness between the pose of his arm is a reference to Genesis 1:26 that states man was created in God's image. God is surrounded by cherubs and a female he appears to be protecting. Scholars speculate that female figure may be Eve, the Virgin Mary, or the feminine angel Sophia.
The composition of this panel has been the subject of much interpretation. God floats in front of an unusual vessel. Michelangelo's extensive knowledge of human anatomy has been considered as the origin for this vessel. It has been debated that it may be a depiction of a human brain or alternatively a human uterus. Both theories can be argued effectively. The background and enveloped figures surrounding God could easily portray an anatomically true human brain. If Michelangelo intended the shape to resemble a uterus it stands within reason that the flowing green scarf that extends from the vessel would symbolize an umbilical cord.
The Creation of Adam is an iconic representation of humanity set within the majestic landscape of the Sistine Chapel ceiling.