Why The Creation of Adam is The Most Perfect Religious Painting
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Why The Creation of Adam is The Most Perfect Religious Painting

The Creation of Adam by Michelagelo is almost as famous as Mona Lisa by Da Vinci. It is one of the frescos in Sistine Chapel and it makes part of a series of paintings depicting episodes from Genesis. On the whole, the painting of Sistine Chapel's ceiling represents the most complicated composition of European painting. Out of nine scenes that illustrate episodes from the Book of Genesis, the Creation of Adam is probably the most perfect and flawless.

In this painting, the humanist concept found its ideal form. The impression produced by this marvelous fresco can hardly be put into words. It feels like some creative energy flows from this pictorial image into the viewer, who becomes a participant in this act of creation. With one arm, God embraces angels, leaning on them. They seem to carry not just one figure but the whole weigh of this world. This is shown by the character of the Lord's movement and His greatness that evoke a deep awe. His right hand is stretched towards Adam, who is painted so handsome, with such a skill, that he seems to be made by the Creator once again rather than painted by the painter's brush. 

Adam is created at the moment when the fingers of God, who is depicted here in His first hypostasis - that of God-Father, and the fingers of the first man touch in the gesture of love. According to the medieval typology, Adam is Christ's prototype because both were the first men, each of their era, or Testament. The touching fingers of God and Adam make the viewer think about how an electrical charge is generated. It is impossible to imagine that Michelangelo thought the same way. But the act of animation was depicted by the old masters either by the touch or by the inhalation of life by the Lord into the nostrils of Adam. 

 "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." - Genesis, 2.7.

It is very meaningful and convincing that here the eternal has the shape of an ellipse, symbolizing "the Cosmic egg."  This form is composed by the cosmic shawl inside which the Creator and the angels reside. In his turn, Adam is inside an incomplete oval. Life is given through the touch of the stretched hands: an atom jumps from one orbit to another. The faces of God and the man radiate love. God's desire is his child's becoming as great as He is. As if to confirm this, one creature from the crowd of angels carrying the Lord shows its face of an amazing beauty. It is this one who is embraced by God's left arm. This figure, definitely worthy of an explanation, has been intriguing commentators from the very start: some would interpret her as Eve uncreated, other would suggest Sofia, which is God's wisdom. Whoever she is, she definitely signifies blissful joy of creation. 

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Comments (5)

Excellent article. Bravo Anna!

Thank you, Francois! Your feedback is precious.

Excellent analysis of the painting, I never realised this interpretation until the latter.

Thank you, Gerard. I appreciate your appreciation:)

I don't agree with author and wrote academic essay with my own opinion about this picture of Adam.