By Jean-Christophe BENOIST – Wikimedia

Top 10 Facts about the Creation of Adam by Michelangelo

The Creation of Adam is a massive mural painting by Italian artist Michelangelo. This painting can be found in the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling.

It was painted from 1508 to 1512 and illustrates the creation story from the Book of Genesis. The main figures of the painting are God and Adam.

This wall painting is part of a complex religious iconography. It is also the fourth in the series of paintings depicting episodes from the books of Genesis.

The painting has been replicated in countless imitations and caricatures; making it one of the most replicated religious paintings of all time.

A look at this painting shows how Michelangelo broke the boundaries of art. It shows his bold views and how he stood out from other artists in the 16th
century.

Here are the top 10 facts about The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo.

1. It depicts God’s creation of man in his image

By Michelangelo – Wikimedia

The Creation of Adam is a painting that portrays one of the most important moments in the creation story.

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It demonstrates how God gave life to the first man, Adam, as elucidated in the Book of Genesis. Michelangelo achieves this through the near-touching hands of God and Adam.

Adam is on the left while God is on the right. God directly gives life to a relaxed Adam who responds by reaching for God’s hand.

The painting also mirrors the likeness of man to God during creation. Life is yet to be given fully to Adam because the fingers have not touched.

This painting also shows that man and God are on different levels.

2. Michelangelo was commissioned to paint the twelve apostles

Michelangelo was originally hired to paint something completely different. He was to paint the 12 apostles on the pendentives supporting the ceiling and leave the centre of the ceiling simply adorned.

Michelangelo had something else in mind, his idea was much more grandeur than what he was commissioned to do.

He persuaded Pope Julius II to let him execute his vision which was about the creation of man, the fall of man and the genealogy of Christ.

The Creation of Adam became part of a larger scheme of iconographic work at the Sistine Chapel.

Michelangelo worked at the Pope’s tomb for 40 years, he would constantly be interrupted to partake in other projects.

3. The Creation of Adam has more than 300 figures

By Jean-Christophe BENOIST – Wikimedia

The Creation of Adam stretches for over 500 square metres on the ceiling. It has more than 300 figures.

This fresco is sectioned in themes according to the Book of Genesis.

There is God’s Creation of the Earth; God’s Creation of Humankind and their fall from God’s grace and the state of Humanity as represented by Noah and his family.

Other famous paintings alongside the Creation of Adam on the ceiling are Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the Deluge, the Prophet Jeremiah and the Cumaean Sibyl.

4. The fresco is found in a church ceiling

One of the most interesting facts about the Creation of Adam is that it was painted onto the ceiling of a chapel. So, to get a good view of this mural you have to look up.

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This painting is found on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. It also doubles as part of the Vatican Museums.

The walls of the Chapel have several other similar depictions done by Michelangelo. These stories embody everything about the doctrines of the Catholic Church.

5. Michelangelo painted the creation of Adam for four years

Michelangelo started painting in 1508, and it took him approximately 4 years to complete the entire ceiling in 1512.

Not everyone was fond of Michelangelo and his work. A man known as Bramante resented him even asked the Pope to assign Michelangelo a difficult task.

Bramante hoped that Michelangelo would fail in this new task but he was in for a surprise.

Michelangelo not only completed the painting, but he also took a short time compared to other artists.

6. The painting is part of the creation story in the bible

By Michelangelo – Wikimedia

The Sistine Chapel ceiling is the summary of the book of Genesis. Part of the bible stories on the ceiling is the story of Noah, Adam and Eve, and the general Story of Creation.

One story that stands out is the Creation of Adam. It is because of its style which is unique from all the others.

The figures in this fresco are more dominating. It shows the source of Michelangelo’s inspiration.

7. Michelangelo was reluctant on taking the job

When Michelangelo was commissioned to build the Pope’s tomb, he did not grab the opportunity.

He considered himself a sculptor and not a painter. Before working on the Sistine Chapel ceiling, he was commissioned to carve 40 statues for the Pope’s tomb.

He worked at this tomb for 40 years but never finished his work to his liking, this was because he would be interrupted while working.

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Michelangelo struggled with the painting and even penned a poem about his feelings. He preferred working alone and fired his apprentices.

8. The creation of Adam is one of the most replicated religious paintings in the world

Other than The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci which has been replicated several times, the Creation of Adam comes in at a close second.

The painting became famous and soon after its unveiling, several replicas were released too.

9. Art critics believe the Creation of Adam depicts the birth process

By Michelangelo – Wikimedia

Art portrays several messages depending on how one views it. According to art critics, the Creation of Adam is not just about the first man.

They believe that the hidden meaning of the painting is the birth process. This is concerning the red cloth around God that takes the shape of a human uterus.

There is also a green scarf hanging out that resembles a newly cut umbilical cord. This, according to art scholars, explain the navel that appears on Adam.

10. The first woman, Eve, is also featured in the painting

By Michelangelo – Wikimedia

The creation of Adam has several figures in it. The Main figures being God and Adam.

Art historians speculate that Eve has also been featured in this painting. The figure by God’s left hand is believed to be Eve.

That is the only feminine figure in the fresco. Adam is also portrayed to have an extra rib. This is believed to represent Eve too.