The creation of Adam: art versus icon

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Simona1988

Active member
Mar 15, 2021
100
70
28
#1
On the left: The creation of Adam, fresco painting by Michelangelo, 16th century, the painting is on the Sistine Chapel's ceiling, in Vatican city
On the right: The creation of Adam, mosaic, unknown artist(s), 12-13th c, in Monreale, Sicily (Italy)

I invite you to analyze the two and to answer to the following questions:

1. When you think of the creation of Adam, which one of the two images is more likely to come to your mind?
2. Which image you consider to be closer to the biblical narration of the creation?
3. Do you think it's right to portray God the Father as an old man?
4. Do you think it's correct to portray God the Son incarnated at the creation of Adam? What message/teaching wanted the author(s) to convey by showing Jesus Christ at the beginning of the world?
5. How is the presence of the Holy Trinity suggested in the icon?


I hope this will shed more light to your understanding of who Jesus Christ is.

God bless you all!
1615794242744.png
 

Godsgirl83

Well-known member
Apr 1, 2019
8,497
5,832
113
#2
1. When you think of the creation of Adam, which one of the two images is more likely to come to your mind?
Well, to be honest neither image is ANYWHERE near what comes to my mind.

Genesis 2:7
Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Sorry I don't have a picture to show this :)

I often think of the creation of Adam being more like throwing clay on a pottery wheel;
forming something with playdoh;
heck, even just mixing some dry and wet ingrediants together to make a dough, and forming into a loaf of bread
creates MORE of an image in my mind of what the creation of Adam was like than EITHER of the images above.


2. Which image you consider to be closer to the biblical narration of the creation?
I don't consider either to be.

Just my 2 cents........
I'll leave it at that.
 

Dino246

Senior Member
Jun 30, 2015
19,315
10,611
113
#4
On the left: The creation of Adam, fresco painting by Michelangelo, 16th century, the painting is on the Sistine Chapel's ceiling, in Vatican city
On the right: The creation of Adam, mosaic, unknown artist(s), 12-13th c, in Monreale, Sicily (Italy)

I invite you to analyze the two and to answer to the following questions:

1. When you think of the creation of Adam, which one of the two images is more likely to come to your mind?
2. Which image you consider to be closer to the biblical narration of the creation?
3. Do you think it's right to portray God the Father as an old man?
4. Do you think it's correct to portray God the Son incarnated at the creation of Adam? What message/teaching wanted the author(s) to convey by showing Jesus Christ at the beginning of the world?
5. How is the presence of the Holy Trinity suggested in the icon?


I hope this will shed more light to your understanding of who Jesus Christ is.

God bless you all!
View attachment 226275
Hello and welcome to CC!

I would echo the comments the others have made; neither image comes to mind when I think of the creation of Adam. I am familiar with Michelangelo's painting, but not with the mosaic.

The mosaic is a little difficult to interpret, but it looks like God is blowing into Adam's mouth, which is at least consistent with the biblical account. I have no issue with portraying God as an old(er) man, as it is suggestive of wisdom. Christian art was usually intended to steer the thoughts of the viewer, but not necessarily to convey crisply accurate theology.

I have no particular thoughts on the last two questions but I look forward to further discussion.
 

Runningman

Well-known member
Mar 4, 2020
3,205
2,092
113
#5
Hello and welcome to CC!

I would echo the comments the others have made; neither image comes to mind when I think of the creation of Adam. I am familiar with Michelangelo's painting, but not with the mosaic.

The mosaic is a little difficult to interpret, but it looks like God is blowing into Adam's mouth, which is at least consistent with the biblical account. I have no issue with portraying God as an old(er) man, as it is suggestive of wisdom. Christian art was usually intended to steer the thoughts of the viewer, but not necessarily to convey crisply accurate theology.

I have no particular thoughts on the last two questions but I look forward to further discussion.
I had the same exact thoughts about the mosaic trying to depict God breathing life into Adam. Then I noticed it was a straight line, but air does not have a shape. I figured the artist was smart enough to know that so he must have meant something else, then I realized maybe he didn't? It confused me! Haha.:ROFL:
 

throughfaith

Well-known member
Aug 4, 2020
10,468
1,591
113
#6
On the left: The creation of Adam, fresco painting by Michelangelo, 16th century, the painting is on the Sistine Chapel's ceiling, in Vatican city
On the right: The creation of Adam, mosaic, unknown artist(s), 12-13th c, in Monreale, Sicily (Italy)

I invite you to analyze the two and to answer to the following questions:

1. When you think of the creation of Adam, which one of the two images is more likely to come to your mind?
2. Which image you consider to be closer to the biblical narration of the creation?
3. Do you think it's right to portray God the Father as an old man?
4. Do you think it's correct to portray God the Son incarnated at the creation of Adam? What message/teaching wanted the author(s) to convey by showing Jesus Christ at the beginning of the world?
5. How is the presence of the Holy Trinity suggested in the icon?


I hope this will shed more light to your understanding of who Jesus Christ is.

God bless you all!
View attachment 226275
Welcome to CC .
 

Simona1988

Active member
Mar 15, 2021
100
70
28
#7
Hello and welcome to CC!
Hi and thank you! I am not new here, I just couldn't remember my password because I haven't been active for almost three years; my older user is 'Guesswho'.

The mosaic is a little difficult to interpret, but it looks like God is blowing into Adam's mouth, which is at least consistent with the biblical account.
God blowing into Adam's mouth is consistent with Genesis and with the entire recording/memory that humanity has about God: from the beginning of the world, along the history and up until the end of it; I am talking about 'the breath of the Almighty', 'the whisper', 'the gentle breeze/wind'. God is the giver of life and He gives life through His breath. After Jesus Christ's resurrection, He went to His disciples, breathed on them and said to them "Receive the Holy Spirit"

The icon is not left to interpretation. It teaches Christians that Jesus Christ is YHWH, that He is the Alpha and the Omega, not just an extraordinary man with high morals, but God Himself. The same God in the Old Testament and in the New testament. We tend to take this teaching for granted and forget how much suffering and persecution Christians endured for believing so.

I have no issue with portraying God as an old(er) man, as it is suggestive of wisdom.
Annas and Caiaphas were old men. Donald Trump is an old man.
The wisdom of this world is foolishness to those who know the real God. And knowing the real God has nothing to do with age.
Older age also means decay (loss of teeth, hair, power), disease, last stage of life, the precursor of death - these are not attributes of the living God.
Also, the Bible says that no one has ever seen God and stayed alive. Christianity teaches that Jesus Christ is the icon (icon means image) of God: "Whoever saw me, saw the Father".

Christian art was usually intended to steer the thoughts of the viewer, but not necessarily to convey crisply accurate theology.
Christianity started in the middle of sensual paganism. Christians opposed the icon - which is the most anti-idolatry device invented - to the roman and greek statues of gods and other religious imagery.

The fisrt purpose of the icon was to teach theology to people who couldn't read. Icons of biblical events were (and still are) displayed on the walls of the churches. The mosaic I posted is found in the cathedral from Monreale.

It's purpose was not to be placed in a museum and be admired.

What is now being admired in big museums of the world are the "religious paintings" of Caravaggio, Raphael, Fra Angelico etc (Rennaissance painters and those that come after them), paintings which are illiterate from the theological point of view but are genius from the technical point of view (style, combination of colors, shades, clarobscur etc.)

I want people to rediscover the icon because with it comes a lot of understanding of Christian theology.
 
B

Blackpowderduelist

Guest
#8
The purpose of Christian art is to teach the scripture narrative, or at least to bring to mind the scriptures narrative. With art there is always a bit of interpretation required.
All either of them do for me is to remind me of the narrative story in Genesis. Which say God formed Adam from the dust of the ground and then breathed the breath of life into him. So neither one of these really do a smashing job in the accuracy department. Infact if I were completely unaware of the connection, and seeing them for the first time, neither would bring to mind the biblical narrative. It's a strange exercise attempting to understand the human mind.
 

Moses_Young

Well-known member
Sep 15, 2019
2,256
1,433
113
#9
On the left: The creation of Adam, fresco painting by Michelangelo, 16th century, the painting is on the Sistine Chapel's ceiling, in Vatican city
On the right: The creation of Adam, mosaic, unknown artist(s), 12-13th c, in Monreale, Sicily (Italy)

I invite you to analyze the two and to answer to the following questions:

1. When you think of the creation of Adam, which one of the two images is more likely to come to your mind?
2. Which image you consider to be closer to the biblical narration of the creation?
3. Do you think it's right to portray God the Father as an old man?
4. Do you think it's correct to portray God the Son incarnated at the creation of Adam? What message/teaching wanted the author(s) to convey by showing Jesus Christ at the beginning of the world?
5. How is the presence of the Holy Trinity suggested in the icon?


I hope this will shed more light to your understanding of who Jesus Christ is.

God bless you all!
View attachment 226275
1) If I'm thinking of a painting expressing the creation of Adam, certainly Michelangelo's painting over the other one. However, like the others say, I envisage the real Adam being a lot more manly. The figure in my opinion is (almost) feminine, the same as Michelangelo's David statue looks like a gentile and not an Israelite king.
2) Probably the painting on the right is closer to the biblical narration of creation, as it appears to portray the breathing of life into Adam.
3) I don't think it's correct to portray God the Father as an old man. God is the Ancient of Days. So He is Ancient, and Wise, but not old - He does not age, and is not weakened with age.
4) I don't think it is correct to portray God the Son, but believe the intention of the artists is to show that Jesus is God - from the foundation of the Earth, with neither beginning nor end.
5) I'm not sure how or where the Holy Spirit is suggested.
 

crossnote

Senior Member
Nov 24, 2012
29,938
3,352
113
#10
On the left: The creation of Adam, fresco painting by Michelangelo, 16th century, the painting is on the Sistine Chapel's ceiling, in Vatican city
On the right: The creation of Adam, mosaic, unknown artist(s), 12-13th c, in Monreale, Sicily (Italy)

I invite you to analyze the two and to answer to the following questions:

1. When you think of the creation of Adam, which one of the two images is more likely to come to your mind?
2. Which image you consider to be closer to the biblical narration of the creation?
3. Do you think it's right to portray God the Father as an old man?
4. Do you think it's correct to portray God the Son incarnated at the creation of Adam? What message/teaching wanted the author(s) to convey by showing Jesus Christ at the beginning of the world?
5. How is the presence of the Holy Trinity suggested in the icon?


I hope this will shed more light to your understanding of who Jesus Christ is.

God bless you all!
View attachment 226275
I grew up under atheism and had no Church exposure. So every weekend we'd go to the same local theatre where the two side walls had a mural of the painting on the left. At the time, even though I looked and wondered, no Bible story came to mind.
I believe if we have no background in God's Word, there is no reference point for images to attach themselves to and are rendered meaningless.
Traffic signs without words or a preassigned meaning (through words) is a good example.
 

ewq1938

Well-known member
Oct 18, 2018
2,688
747
113
#11
On the left: The creation of Adam, fresco painting by Michelangelo, 16th century, the painting is on the Sistine Chapel's ceiling, in Vatican city
On the right: The creation of Adam, mosaic, unknown artist(s), 12-13th c, in Monreale, Sicily (Italy)

I invite you to analyze the two and to answer to the following questions:

1. When you think of the creation of Adam, which one of the two images is more likely to come to your mind?
The one on the right. I like how God used eye lasers to create Adam.

2. Which image you consider to be closer to the biblical narration of the creation?
The one on the right.


3. Do you think it's right to portray God the Father as an old man?
Yes, he's pretty old.

Rev 1:14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;


4. Do you think it's correct to portray God the Son incarnated at the creation of Adam? What message/teaching wanted the author(s) to convey by showing Jesus Christ at the beginning of the world?
I don't see Jesus in the pictures.

5. How is the presence of the Holy Trinity suggested in the icon?
Maybe the laser like part of that right side picture.[/QUOTE]
 

Nehemiah6

Senior Member
Jul 18, 2017
16,101
7,934
113
#12
1. When you think of the creation of Adam, which one of the two images is more likely to come to your mind?
Both images are simply what is called "artistic license". Which means that they are not literally presenting the creation of Adam.

When we read that God took the dust of the earth and created Man, it was really the pre-incarnate Christ who molded Adam from clay and breathed into him the breath of life. But Adam was created as a complete and perfect man, which means that everything found in human anatomy (which is extremely intricate and complex) was created at that time.

Also. at the same time God created Man in His own image and likeness, which takes that creation one step further. God could communicate with Adam, and Adam with God. Adam could think brilliantly, feel, and make rational decision (such as when he named the animals). One has to wonder whether Adam was given the Hebrew language at that time also, since God gave us the revelation of creation in Hebrew..
 

oyster67

Senior Member
May 24, 2014
6,418
5,353
113
#13
Just wanted to note that the Father and Son where together at the time of Creation.

Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

John
1:2 The same was in the beginning with God.
1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
1:4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
 

tribesman

Senior Member
Oct 13, 2011
4,617
271
83
#14
I think soon these artworks will be attacked by the BLM crowd. Since there are them whiteys portrayed.
 

posthuman

Senior Member
Jul 31, 2013
31,697
10,641
113
#15
1. When you think of the creation of Adam, which one of the two images is more likely to come to your mind?
2. Which image you consider to be closer to the biblical narration hof the creation?
3. Do you think it's right to portray God the Father as an old man?
4. Do you think it's correct to portray God the Son incarnated at tthe creation of Adam? What message/teaching wanted the author(s) to convey by showing Jesus Christ at the beginning of the world?
5. How is the presence of the Holy Trinity suggested in the icon?
  1. neither of these images come to mind when i think of Adam's creation -- i have never really thought Michelangelo's famous work there seems like creation; it's much more a humanist image, and seems to me to represent a kind of synergistic soteriology. look how Adam is already animate to casually raise a finger to meet God's hand; he's not being brought to life but 'touching heaven' like the tower of Babel ((IMO)). to my thinking while this is great art, it's also heresy.
  2. the one on the right is a lot closer to the Biblical account; more on that later...
  3. no, it's not the ideal icon, i think, but it makes sense as a representation if we remember His title, 'The Ancient of Days'
  4. it is absolutely correct theologically to put Christ the Son there. all things were created by Him, through Him, and for Him ((Colossians 1:16, Romans 11:36, etc))
  5. in the Sistine chapel image the Spirit is not represented. God is surrounded by putti, a kind of Renaissance representation being a cross between cupid/eros-figures and later interpreted as angels, which in itself is problematic, and also has His arms around a wife, which is either Israel or blasphemy. she doesn't look very Jewish, and she seems pretty upset about what God's doing, pulling back and glaring. is this Lilith??
    on the right, in the older mosaic, the Spirit is represented by the beam of light between the man and His Creator. the Son is the image of the invisible God, robed in crimson and blue, so He represents both Christ and the Father. He sits on an orb, representing heaven, which is His throne ((Isaiah 66:1)) and His foot rests on earth, His footstool. in His left hand He holds a scroll, the scripture or the gospel, and with His right He blesses. Adam is created outside the garden pictured on top of a hill behind him, and the creation of all the animals is also represented.
here's a larger image of the Mosaic so we can see better what's going on:

the-creation-of-adam-monreale-e1268427684130.jpg


the Spirit is very often in iconography represented as a beam of light. here it's proceeding out of Christ-God's mouth, as it's written, He breathed into Adam the breath of life, and he became a living soul, and in all of Genesis 1, Christ-God creates by speaking ((singing?)) 'let there be . . ' and there is.
in this image it's not as clear that the Spirit is emanating from the mouth of Christ-God and entering Adam as breath, as it is in a similar image below, also a 12th century mosaic from Sicily ((is this in the same place? i don't know)):

Creation_icon_AB__65624.1400778649.1000.1200_c23d2f46-49c5-4b8f-87ce-fa32abfbc9b4_400x.jpeg

the Spirit of Life proceeding from the mouth of God into the nostrils of man




in short the older images are full of iconography with meaning closely tied to the literal narrative of the scripture, but Michelangelo's painting is full of humanism, mixed pagan and heretical motifs, and bears little relation to scripture at all.
 

posthuman

Senior Member
Jul 31, 2013
31,697
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#17
knee8.PNG


who can guess why the number "8" is on Adam's knees?

:unsure:

:geek:
 

posthuman

Senior Member
Jul 31, 2013
31,697
10,641
113
#18
Also. at the same time God created Man in His own image and likeness, which takes that creation one step further.

that's represented in the 2nd mosaic i put:

Creation_icon_AB__65624.1400778649.1000.1200_c23d2f46-49c5-4b8f-87ce-fa32abfbc9b4_400x.jpg

see how they have roughly the same face? "after His image"

;)
 

posthuman

Senior Member
Jul 31, 2013
31,697
10,641
113
#20
One has to wonder whether Adam was given the Hebrew language at that time also, since God gave us the revelation of creation in Hebrew..
one has to reconcile that idea with Genesis 11:1-9 and Zephaniah 3:9 . . .
which is a topic of itself, for another thread. how about start one?