Michelangelo di Lodovico di Leonardo di Buonarroti Simoni can be rightly called one the most prominent artists of the Renaissance. This Italian master is mostly famous as the painter, sculptor, architect as well as the founder of the High Renaissance style. As a person of manifold gifts, he was also a poet. Michelangelo’s contemporaries considered him a genius along with the great Leonardo and Raphael.
In Pope Julius II entrusted him to create the murals on the walls and the ceiling the of the Sistine Chapel.
This grandiose work was made with astonishing perfection and brought him the worldwide fame and glory of the greatest artist of his times.
The Creation of Adam the fourth is nine central composition of the cycle of frescoes on the theme of world creation from the Book of Genesis. It is a large fresco which depicts God and Adam the first human being of the new world. Their figures look very volume. They even resemble sculptures carved out of marble.
There is no wonder: Michelangelo imagine himself a sculptor, not a painter. In this work, Michelangelo proved his ability to “sculpt” the relief of the human body by means of painting.
We can see that the compositional and semantic accents in this picture coincide. The hands of God and Adam are about to touch with their fingertips. It creates a feeling of a tense and exciting expectation. Michelangelo puts this gesture in the very center of the fresco and pauses to intensify the impact of the images. We are waiting for a moment when this divine spark will appear, meaning the God is giving life to the creation the first human. The waiting of this touch gives the viewer a feeling of involvement to the great mystery of the creation of a man.
The greatest miracle is presented to the viewer in its entire splendor. The mystery, which does not cease to excite the imagination of the humankind, is interpreted by the great master very logically and harmoniously.
The figure of Adam deserves special attention. The author creates this image with love and special thoroughness. The spectator sees the very first man on Earth. Therefore, he is ideal. There is not a single flaw in his figure. Adam lies in all the glory of man’s nudity. He is still not alive. Adam’s pose repeats the outlines of the rock: he is still only a part of the landscape. Placing the figure of the first man on a sloping surface, the artist creates the illusion that Adam is on the very edge of the earth, at the abyss. It seems very symbolic. Probably, that is why we are impressed with these two hands stretched out towards each other, symbolizing the connection between the two worlds – terrestrial and divine.
Adam is still weak; he does not yet feel the breath of life, but, in obedience to an unknown impulse, he stretches out his hand. Just look how much hope and expectation there are in his eyes focused on God! Michelangelo was genius indeed. He depicted a moment when, in response to his not fully realized, but explicit search for a divine, Adam receives a soul – the highest reward of the Creator. As if awakened from a long sleep, not understanding the full meaning of what is happening, Adam is getting filled with the energy of life, carefully looking into the eyes of the Creator of the world.
We practically see how the energy passes through the hand of God to Adam’s hand. Choosing from the history of the creation this moment – the moment of the birth of a soul, Michelangelo equates it to the creative inspiration. In his opinion, the ability to create is the most valuable gift from those that were given to the man from above.
The figure God is portrayed in an antique manner. He is real in his bodily and divine incarnation. The figure of the Creator is mirrored in the pose of the lying Adam, who is created in his image and likeness. The image of God the Father is majestic, and his power is not doubtful. His gesture is precise and confident. Nevertheless, it creates a seditious idea that the man and God look more like equal partners. It is an undeniable innovation in the art of the Renaissance.
It is interesting that the master also depicts the image of Eve, still uncreated, but existing in the Great Plan. You can find her among the angels, under the left hand of the Lord. Look at her face! The first woman observes the Divine act of creation with undisguised interest and even curiosity.
Let’s have a look at the way Michelangelo portrayed the angels. They are watching the Great Mystery of Creation with rapture and reverence. Some of them are full of fear and bewilderment. They are wondering: what will this new, unseen creature be like? What will it bring to this newly created world? Will it equal the hopes and the great trust of God? The wingless hosts of heaven seem to be unsure.
You can notice a curious fact: the figure of God, surrounded by the angels, Eve and his cloak form an interesting shape that looks like a human brain! This point of view was supported by some physicians and biologists. It is known that Michelangelo was closely familiar with the science of anatomy and used to spend a lot of time in the morgue where he studied the structure of the human body. The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo analyse is useful for investigation.
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