The Creation of Adam is probably the most famous fresco in the Sistine Chapel and one of the most famous in modern art.

It was created by Michelangelo around 1511 and is located in the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel inside the Vatican Museums. It was one of the most complex and difficult paintings to make: it took sixteen days to complete. Michelangelo started with the figure of God and the Angels and later frescoed the figure of Adam.

What does the Creation of Adam represent?

Michelangelo was inspired by the Genesis phrase "God created man in his own image" by drawing two similar bodies, both strong and robust.

On the left side is Adam lying on the ground, and seems to be waking up, while God on the right side comes from Heaven surrounded by angels.

The look of the Creator, represented with a long beard and gray hair, is determined while the look of Adam represented with a strong young man, seems to be one of naive amazement.

Just below Adam is one of the Ignudi, while the background of the scene does not contain much details and the light background further highlights the characters and the scene turns into a clear iconic message.

The main detail of the fresco is surely represented bythe fingers of God and Adam touching each other. The Creator’s index finger pointed authoritatively at the man seems to be ready to give an impulse to Adam's hand, which instead seems as weak as if it were ready to receive energy from the Lord.

The Creation of Adam frescoed by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel

What does the Creation of Adam symbolize?

Michelangelo decided to represent the divine breath of life with God’s and Adam’s fingers almost touching each other. This famous gesture represents the creation of the first man with the Creator’s index finger ready to strike a spark upon contact with Adam’s hand.

Book now