The Creation of Adam is a painting that belongs to the renaissance era. This work is Michelangelo’s fresco Sistine chapel ceiling, which is circa done in the year1508-1512. The work was done in the Sistine Chapel of Vatican in Rome (Hartt 56).
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This painting was selected because of the way it expresses the relationship between God and man, through the first man. A lot of interest lies in the gap that exists between the fingers of God and those of Adam, which are reaching one another for a kind of inspirations.
The Creation of Adam painting is the most notable as can be seen in the frescoes of the Sistine chapel (Pietrangeli et al. 286). This painting places God at an iconic position as can be seen in the hands reaching each other. The painting is an illustration of biblical creation as can be found in the book of genesis.
This painting was the fourth among the ones that traced the episodes on creation at the beginning, which were present in the ceiling of Sistine. Monalisa by Leornado da Vinci is the only painting that rivals the Creation of Adam by Michelangelo (Hartt 59).The image portrayed touching hands of Adam and God, and has led to countless parodies and imitations.
The languid Adam of Michelangelo was modeled in the form of the Door of Paradise by Ghiberti where he was trying to portray the creation of Eve. Michelangelo has heavily borrowed from the version of Jacopo della Quercia found in the portal of San Petronio, Bologna. Michelangelo uses the enlarged figure of Adam and God in this painting so as to show the points of focus to the viewers.
In the Creation of Adam, a white bearded man depicts God, who is wrapped in a cloak and Adam is at the lower left. God outstretches his right arm to give life from his finger into the first man. Adam on the other hand stretches his left arm and poses to mirror God.
This is to remind men that they are created in the likeness and image of God (Gen 1:26, NIV). The painting also creates suspense when the fingers of God and man are not in contact although they are close to each other. This implies that God who is the giver of life is reaching out to man and man is receiving in return.
There is a person protected by the left arm of God and according to my own analysis it is a feminine figure in appearance. The feminine person could be a female angel. The painting generally depicts how God created man in his own image and Michelangelo might have been inspired by a medieval hymn by the name veni creator spiritus, which asks the faithful speech to be given by the finger of the right hand of the father.
In the Creation of Adam, 1508-1512, there is a short distance between Adam and God. This short distance makes the work dynamic and impressive. The space between fingers and not fingers is the focal point of the painting according to my analysis. Michelangelo used this gas meticulously in the renowned fresco.
In the Creation of Adam painting, there is a stylistic shift with increment of monumental figures and the reducing of narrative details (Steinberg 558). The scenes unfold in an order that is chronologically reversing. This draws the viewer closer to God and the action of creation that signifies the union between man and God.
In the painting, God’s left arm has stretched to reach a female figure and a child. This child is believed to be Jesus Christ. The prominent position of the child is in large scale and is directly in contact with God which gives the child the stats of Jesus Christ.
Hence, the Creation of Adam is a painting, which encapsulates the relationship existing between God and man (Steinberg 560). The arm stretched wide signifies how God created man and anticipated a savior for him. Man is thus required to spark in unity with his creator. The painting depicts the future sin to be committed by Adam and automatically lead to his fall. Then Jesus Christ will come in to redeem him.
Both the hands of God and those of Adam are muscular although the hands of Adam are weak and flaccid unlike the hands of God that have structural strength.
The colors used by Michelangelo emphasizes this contrast, for instance Adam’s tan hue flesh is heavy and opaque while the arm of God is vigorous and rosy (Steinberg 564). This painting consists of illusionist architectural elements, which derive the figure and narrative scenes discussed in the Old Testament.
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In conclusion, in the Creation of Adam by Michelangelo, God is depicted breathing life into Adam while Adam is in a reclining position from a hill top stretching the left hand passively towards his creator. Consequently, Adam is resting on his right hand foreshortened and his head sunken within his shoulders. The portrayal of God as a bearded man who arrives in a swirling robe accompanied with angels shows his majesty.
The gap between the finger of God and that of Adam portrays his majesty and genius. This makes the viewer develop tension and anticipation and I can analyze this scene as God putting spark of life to Adam. It can be compared to a huge electric charge transmitted through a cable that is very thin. No other image of western creation has endured the Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam despite its portrayal of the western art history.
Hartt, Frederick. Michelangelo. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1984. Print.
Pietrangeli, Carlo, et al, The Sistine Chapel: A Glorious Restoration. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1994. Print.
Steinberg, Leo. “Who’s Who in Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam: A Chronology of the Picture’s Reluctant Self-Revelation.” Art Bulletin 74.4 (1992): 552-566. Print.