The creation of Adam

During the reign of Pope Julius II, between 1444 and 1513, he commissioned Michelangelo, one of the famous artists in Rome, to paint a sequence of ceiling frescos for the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo painted nine images that are related to the stories found in the Book of Genesis. The first set of three images are related to the creation of the world, the second set of three images are related to the creation and fall of Adam and Eve, while the last set of three images are related to the story of Noah. These paintings became one of the Michelangelo’s greatest achievements.

From the three sets of images on the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling painting, the Creation of Adam story is the most popular. In this image, God is seen to stretch out his finger to bestow Adam with the spark of life. It is believed that it is this contact between the fingers of God and Adam that breath was transmitted. But the fingers do not touch each other, and this creates a feeling of excited tension in those who observe the painting.

The painting of the Creation of Adam depicts an image of God stretching out his finger to give Adam a spark of life. The two characters are in contrast with Adam depicted as earthbound and a bit lethargic. On the other hand God is seen to have a commanding presence and appears to be barreling through the heavens surrounded by several angels. The image of Adam seems to confirm the words of the Old Testament, which state that man was created in the image and likeness of God.

The scene of the Creation of Adam painting has been termed to be of great importance. Many scholars and religious experts have used this scene to emphasize the fact that man was created in the image of God. Michelangelo painted this scene at a time when scholars were really interested in the true essence of humanity. Because of the careful details and the richness of Michelangelo’s description, the painting became the most popular subject of reference on the creation story of man. Basically, the painting represents the creation scene as an idealized representation of the physical birth of man.

Michelangelo’s painting of Creation of Adam took 2-3 weeks to be completed and it has remained a masterpiece within a masterpiece (The Sistine Chapel) until today. Michelangelo’s painting of the creation of Adam was inspired by Ghiberti’s Adam on his Doors of Paradise of the baptistery in Florence.

Michelangelo is a renowned artist considered to be one of the "Roman Masters" and his "Creation of Adam" painting on the ceiling of Sistine Chapel, displaying his first-hand knowledge of human anatomy, has remained the best-known image at the Vatican.