Michelangelo hid anatomical sketches in Sistine Chapel in Church attack
Michelangelo concealed anatomical sketches in the robes and faces of the figures he painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in a coded attack on the Church's disdain for science, researchers believe.
The cleverly disguised drawing of a human brain, which has remained unnoticed for 500 years, may have been a coded reference to the clash between science and religion.
The Renaissance master, who painted the frescoes in the Sistine Chapel between 1508 and 1512, would have been familiar with what a brain looked like – he was an accomplished anatomist who is known to have dissected many corpses.
According to two American neuroscientists, the image of the brain is ingeniously hidden in the depiction of God's neck and chin in "Separation of Light From Darkness", which depicts the first act performed by God in the creation of the universe.
It is one of nine panels on the Sistine Chapel's ceiling based on scenes from the Book of Genesis.
Art historians have long speculated that the strange, lumpy appearance of the figure's neck may represent a goiter.
But Ian Suk and Rafael Tamargo, of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, believe instead that it bears a striking resemblance to the crevices and creases of a human brain.
"Stunningly, following Michelangelo's outline, one can draw into God's neck and beard an anatomically correct ventral depiction of the brain," they write in the scientific journal "Neurosurgery".
"We propose that Michelangelo, a deeply religious man and an accomplished anatomist, intended to enhance the meaning of this ... panel and possibly document his anatomic accomplishments by concealing this sophisticated neuro-anatomic rendering within the image of God."...
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Jeffrey S. Hillard - 6/22/2010
The great artist was incredibly savvy and conscious of the political surroundings. He was not only a visionary artist.
Amazing story. Fascinating information. The more we learn about this period of the Michaelangelo's Sistine Chapel creation, the more we understand hidden agendas and coded references steeped in art history.
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