Famous Artwork: The Creation of Adam

The Sistine Chapel with the Creation of Adam. Photo credit: Cezary Wojtkowski / Shutterstock.com

Famous Artwork: The Creation of Adam

The Creation of Adam is one of Michelangelo’s painting masterpieces that illustrates the Bible’s creation account in the book of Genesis. In Genesis, God creates the first man, Adam and the first woman, Eve. Michelangelo uses fresco technic where he put a mural artwork on slightly wet or fresh lime plaster. This procedure enables the artwork pigments to merge with the plaster and form a part of the wall. Michelangelo painted The Creation of Adam between 1508–1512 on the ceiling of Sistine Chapel and has become one of the most iconic and replicated paintings in history.

Background of the Artist and the Art

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was an Italian painter, sculptor, poet and architect who influenced western art in the Renaissance period. Michelangelo is easily the most documented artist of his lifetime. In 1505, Pope Julius II invited Michelangelo to build his tomb in Rome and furnish it with paintings and statues. A project that was to take five years took 40 years and Michelangelo was still not satisfied with the outcome. During this period, Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel containing the Creation of Adam in a space that was to contain painting of the Twelve Apostles. Michelangelo convinced Pope Julius II to let him express his creativity as an artist by painting an artwork that best represented the Creation, Fall of Man, Promise of Salvation and Jesus Christ’s genealogy. He believed that this represented the Church’s doctrine. The whole composition has over 300 images representing some episodes from the Book of Genesis that cover creation of the Earth and Man, Fall of Man, and State of Humanity.

Current Location and Financial Worth

The Sistine Chapel is today a museum in the Vatican. Election of new Popes takes place in this chapel which is today fitted with a special chimney for Cardinals to communicate election results of Popes. This chapel is a famous tourist destination recording thousands of tourists annually. Since the painting is permanently on the ceilings of a religiously significant building, it is impossible to put any outrageous amount of money for it, having in mind the number of tourists who visit the place. This situation simply means that the church may never accept any monetary compensation for the piece or the chapel that is central to the Catholic faith.

Significance of the Creation of Adam Painting

The Creation of Adam painting is very significant and strategic to the entire Catholic faith. This artwork not only represents some verses of the Book of Genesis but also a detailed illustration of man’s relationship with God during and after creation and how God is reaching out to man so that they can restore the relationship they once enjoyed. Michelangelo depicts God and Man as responsible masculine figures and that God created man in His own image and likeness. Vatican’s location of this painting further shows its importance. Experts describe the Creation of Adam as one of the best Christian paintings.


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