While on a tour through Italy, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the Sistine Chapel. This occurrence was a once in a lifetime experience where I fell in love with the gorgeous architect and beautiful paintings by one of the most admired artists, Michelangelo. Michelangelo was known throughout his years as one of the best. He was ordered to not only paint the Sistine Chapel, but also to make Pope Julius II tomb. For almost three years, Michelangelo painted these most significant artworks on the ceiling and west wall behind the altar.
The ceiling portrays occasions and persons from the Old Testament, such as, Separating Light from Darkness, the Creation of Adam, the Creation of Eve, the Temptation and Fall of Adam and Eve and the Flood. One of the most amazing scenes that’s has always interested me, is the Creation of Adam. In this illustration it shows how God breathes life into Adam, as the first man. God is seen as an elderly man, with a white beard, draped in a robe, while Adam is lying completely naked. The outstretched arm from God to Adam is imparted to the “Spark of Life” from his own finger.
Adam is seen as mirroring God’s pose, and gives the impression that man is created in the resemblance of God. This is depicted from the excerpt from Genesis 1:27 “God created man in his own image; in the image God he created him. ” What I find completely amazing are the few things that get over looked within this illustration. Within the Creation of Adam, it is believed that Eve is being protected by God’s left arm as she looks directly at Adam during this creation and awaiting her birth. Another thing is that Adam is lying on top of the Earth achieving the breath of life.
Looking at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, it is amazing how Michelangelo understood that his talent was in his mind and not in his hands. He assumed that the “heavenly part” we “obtain” from God is the “mental power”. He portrayed an accurate image of the human brain and placed God over this image with angels around him depicting different levels of emotions. Choosing Michelangelo for my midterm project was an easy task for me. He has been an inspiring artist that I have studied in the past and always enjoyed his artworks.
The Creation of Adam has always been something I was interested in. I love every detail of the illustration, from the soulless body of Adam awaiting the breath of life, to the way God is seen. The scary part of learning about the Sistine Chapel, is that it is said the Vatican might be forced to limit the amount of visitors if the new air systems do not reduce the “dangerous” levels of pollution. There is about 20,000 people that visit the Sistine Chapel daily, from the humidity to the dirt brought into this tiny space, the paintings re at risk of vanishing.
There have been statements stating that there would not be any more restorations to the Chapel, only regular maintenance. With the restorations possibly coming to an end, and the Sistine Chapel in jeopardy, I am glad that I was able to make the trip to Italy and experience such a wonderful site. I am happy that I am able to share my knowledge of the Sistine Chapel and complete a glass painting of the Creation of Adam. My midterm project has a lot of meaning to me.