The creation of Adam: art versus icon

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Adstar

Senior Member
Jul 24, 2016
6,674
3,055
113
#21
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?
None of them..


2. Which image you consider to be closer to the biblical narration of the creation?
Neither of them..

3. Do you think it's right to portray God the Father as an old man?
Nope.. The Bible actually says not to make an image of God.. And depicting Him as a old human man is to put it plainly,, blasphemous..

4. Do you think it's correct to portray God the Son incarnated at the creation of Adam?
Nope..

What message/teaching wanted the author(s) to convey by showing Jesus Christ at the beginning of the world?
Something unbiblical no doubt..

5. How is the presence of the Holy Trinity suggested in the icon?
He is not suggested as far as i can see..


I hope this will shed more light to your understanding of who Jesus Christ is.
Jesus Christ is My LORD.. And Redeemer.. Pictures where not the source of that information to me.. The Holy Bible. Was and Is..

God bless you all!
May God bless you also..
 

posthuman

Senior Member
Jul 31, 2013
31,709
10,647
113
#22
It's on this one, too. Is that possibly the artists signature
i doubt it's a signature, unless the guy's name is 88 lol

Christian iconography has a big, rich language all of its own. i'm afraid that my art history classes made me drowsy ((it's really unfortunate, that the way we study these is sit in a comfortable auditorium, lower the lights, stare at beautiful pictures.. so easy to fall asleep ha!)) -- anyway i don't remember ever learning about an 8 on the knee and what it is supposed to represent.

these things aren't here by accident tho; they have a definite meaning. like the ray of light or a dove representing the Spirit .

my guess is that it has to do with worship -- 8 is a number representing Christ, who rose on the 8th day ((Firstfruits festival, 8 days from the sabbath of the Passover feast)), Who is the beginning of a "new" week and the completion of the old. the 8th day is the day of circumcision, which is a representation of His crucifixion. in Greek gematria His name sums to 888. the early church theologians talked a lot about 'the 8th day' -- not a change of sabbath, which is the 7th day, but a new day after the former things were completed.

so, the number 8 is associated with Christ. and the knees are what you go down on when you pray or worship. so i think 8 on the knee probably has to do with representing that Adam humbles Himself before the Son -- which is just a guess ((kind of an educated one? but not really?)) at this point
 

Runningman

Well-known member
Mar 4, 2020
3,245
2,109
113
#23
i doubt it's a signature, unless the guy's name is 88 lol

Christian iconography has a big, rich language all of its own. i'm afraid that my art history classes made me drowsy ((it's really unfortunate, that the way we study these is sit in a comfortable auditorium, lower the lights, stare at beautiful pictures.. so easy to fall asleep ha!)) -- anyway i don't remember ever learning about an 8 on the knee and what it is supposed to represent.

these things aren't here by accident tho; they have a definite meaning. like the ray of light or a dove representing the Spirit .

my guess is that it has to do with worship -- 8 is a number representing Christ, who rose on the 8th day ((Firstfruits festival, 8 days from the sabbath of the Passover feast)), Who is the beginning of a "new" week and the completion of the old. the 8th day is the day of circumcision, which is a representation of His crucifixion. in Greek gematria His name sums to 888. the early church theologians talked a lot about 'the 8th day' -- not a change of sabbath, which is the 7th day, but a new day after the former things were completed.

so, the number 8 is associated with Christ. and the knees are what you go down on when you pray or worship. so i think 8 on the knee probably has to do with representing that Adam humbles Himself before the Son -- which is just a guess ((kind of an educated one? but not really?)) at this point
Maybe it's like you said, then.

Philippians 2:10
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

Romans 5:12-19 compares Adam to Christ. Maybe they are connected to the symbolism in the picture.
 

posthuman

Senior Member
Jul 31, 2013
31,709
10,647
113
#24
Maybe it's like you said, then.

Philippians 2:10
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

Romans 5:12-19 compares Adam to Christ. Maybe they are connected to the symbolism in the picture.
yes! that part. funny i didn't remember the verse but the thought is pretty much what came to mind.

and probably it being put on Adam's knees in particular, is in a way showing that man was made to worship Him
 

Simona1988

Active member
Mar 15, 2021
100
70
28
#26
4) I don't think it is correct to portray God the Son,
Why?

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.
Yes. Also, the icon painters do not consider themselves artists. In order to paint an icon one needs to be a good theologian, not a good artist.

5) I'm not sure how or where the Holy Spirit is suggested.
I see the Holy Trinity like this (maybe I'm mistaken): God the Father is the circle upon which Jesus Christ sits and the Holy Spirit is the breath of air which flows from Jesus' mouth. Jesus Christ is God the Son.
 

Simona1988

Active member
Mar 15, 2021
100
70
28
#27
The one on the right. I like how God used eye lasers to create Adam.
Lol! No! It's not eye laser. It's breath of life, from Christ's mouth to Adam's mouth.

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;
Do you think Rev. 1:14 describes the Father? I believe it describes the Son. Also, I believe the hair is white due to light, not due to the decrepitude of the old age.

I don't see Jesus in the pictures.
On the right. He wears red and blue. The color red of his clothing signifies His divine nature which is clothed in human nature (signified by the color blue).

Maybe the laser like part of that right side picture.
Yes.
 

Simona1988

Active member
Mar 15, 2021
100
70
28
#28
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.
I agree with you.

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'
Maybe. I tend to believe it's not correct because nobody has seen God the Father. What basis do we have to portray Him? The greatest revelation we have of Him is in the man Jesus Christ. I associate the Ancient of Days with Jesus Christ.

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:

View attachment 226409


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.
Thank you. Yes, very good explanations.

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)):

View attachment 226410

the Spirit of Life proceeding from the mouth of God into the nostrils of man
I don't know either. But all the icons portray Jesus Christ at the Creation.

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.
Nailed it!

thank you @Simona1988 and i'm glad to see you back here aga
Thank you, posthuman! I missed this forum very much. I had to take a break from it because it became almost an idol for me. But here I am again :D and I hope our discussions will benefit our souls.
 

ewq1938

Well-known member
Oct 18, 2018
2,787
772
113
#29
Lol! No! It's not eye laser. It's breath of life, from Christ's mouth to Adam's mouth.
I meant it like a breath of life laser, not like spaceship war lasers.



Do you think Rev. 1:14 describes the Father? I believe it describes the Son. Also, I believe the hair is white due to light, not due to the decrepitude of the old age.
Yes that's the Son but the Son did say this:

Joh_14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?




On the right. He wears red and blue. The color red of his clothing signifies His divine nature which is clothed in human nature (signified by the color blue).
Why would red and blue have those meanings?
 

posthuman

Senior Member
Jul 31, 2013
31,709
10,647
113
#31
On the right. He wears red and blue. The color red of his clothing signifies His divine nature which is clothed in human nature (signified by the color blue).
Why would red and blue have those meanings?
i was taught it was the opposite; red is associated with shed blood and so is representing His humanity, and blue associated with the heavens ((think sky)), representing His divinity ((loosely)) -- either way He is often portrayed in red & blue together, signifying the 'hypostatic union' that He is both fully man and fully God