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The Birth of Adam: Analysis of Fresco

The Birth of Adam is a fresco located in Sistine Chapel, Vatican City. It is work completed in the style of Renaissance, with dimensions being 280 x 570 cm. This fresco takes part in the set of nine paintings by Michelangelo Buonarroti that were intended to adorn the cupola of the Sistine Chapel. It took Michelangelo approximately four years to finish all the Genesis stories, with all paintings occupying approximately 500 square meters.

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The episode that Michelangelo takes to create the Birth of Adam comes from the Old Testament. This fresco represents the moment when God has already created the light and the solar system and prepared Himself for giving life to an actual being. In the painting, Adam is on the left side, presented with one arm stretched out, one arm on the ground, and a reclined back. On the other side, there is God, who is surrounded by several figures, with His hand extended toward Adam. God’s and Adam’s fingers almost touch. For this particular fresco, Michelangelo decided to include incredible detail and vibrant colors. Therefore, one of the primary objectives of the famous artist was to idealize the human body.

Even though the figures of both God and Adam are painted with plenty of detail, the central point where their fingers almost touch represents the essential elements of the fresco. This is an essentially captivating element that is utilized by Michelangelo to generate suspense and appeal to the audience. The mystery of human creation is perfectly placed within the context of Michelangelo’s fresco, as humans seek divine revelation at all times in an attempt to resolve it. With all the details concerning human bodies, Michelangelo is accurately showing his love for God’s finest creation.

The artist focuses on the primary figures and ensures that beauty and physical strength can be communicated with the aid of shadows and modeling. The use of yellowish-brown tones allowed Michelangelo to create a painting that stood out because of its clandestine looks. Even though there are brighter, purer colors, Michelangelo’s intention, most likely, was to create a bright fresco with evident scenery on it. Obviously, one could suggest after looking at the Creation of Adam that the primary idea for the artist was to paint the beginning of the human race.

Nevertheless, the fresco seems to have a deeper meaning, as God intends to develop a closer relationship with Adam by establishing a tangible connection. With His arm stretched toward Adam, God shows his eternal knowledge and decides to share all the vital abilities with His best creation. God anticipates human temptation to follow the devil, so He resorts to Christ to turn the latter into the savior of humanity.

The large grey area makes it hard to say whether the two figures in the fresco are reaching out to each other or merely letting go. Even though God and Adam coexist in the painting, the gap between their fingers represents their separation and the human need to live an independent life. In the fresco, Adam is depicted as rather relaxed while God is extremely focused. Most probably, He aims to finalize the ideal creation and bring Adam to life. It is most likely that God and Adam are actually trying to reach out to each other in the fresco since there has to be a lot of work done to develop a perfect human.

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