Separating Light from Darkness

The last Genesis scene Michelangelo painted was the first scene of the creation story. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be [...]

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Daniel and the Persian Sibyl

Among the many ideas Michelangelo had to improve the second half of the ceiling, one of the most striking was his plan for the figures seated on marble thrones. He would paint the last five larger and bolder than the others, and make them ripe with suggestive meaning. The first pair would sit on either [...]

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The Face of God

Michelangelo started work on the second half of the Sistine Chapel by painting a swirl of children floating in the heavens, clinging to God’s side. This was part of The Creation of Adam, the pivotal scene in Michelangelo’s story of Genesis. As he painted each stroke and the faces emerged on the wet plaster, he [...]

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