Sunday, December 21, 2008

Why is God's Ass Hanging Out?

The Sistine Chapel. One of the most famous, awe-inspiring works of visual art in the Western Canon. Everyone and his uncle is familiar with the famous portrayal of God creating Adam, seen here:

The far less famous image of God, seen directly below the act of creation, details God's departure. I couldn't for the life of me find it individually via Google, this is as close as I could get:

The image in question is on the far left. For some reason, God's robe is quite immodest and covers none of his gigantic baboon-like ass. Talk about your inversions of the sacred! Seeing as how Michelangelo was forced to paint this thing against his will, I like to think of His Butt-Cheeks as a kind of middle finger to the Pope, sort of a "Hey look! I'm painting the Father of Creation with a big, fat, pasty ass and there's nothing you can do about it!"

Another thing I wonder about Michelangelo is, did this man ever see a naked woman in his life? I do not ask this in jest, check out this heavily color-corrected-in-Photoshop Last Judgement:

Now, we know from Michelangelo's biography that he was gayer than Mardi Gras. But for an artist who strove to bring into being the ideal human form, he seems to have forgotten that half of all human forms are a good deal curvier than the other half. Check out the women in that painting. In this low-res version, can you even tell which ones are female? Did Michelangelo have any idea of what a woman looked like? Did he care?


  1. Is it possible that this is intentional, and they are sexless angels?

    Keep in mind that God is the God of all things--even chubby asses. I mean, Adam is naked since he is still in a state of sinlessness, so why shouldn't God be too? I am slightly more disturbed that God's favorite color, based on those robes, is pink. How emasculating.

  2. Some of them are angels, but most of them are humans being judged, thus "The Last Judgement". Even in this low-res version you can see the beefy topless woman on the left.

    God's not naked, he's got a Godly flowing robe that covers everything. Everything except his ass. Funny story behind the robe color though: it took until the 20th century for someone to realize that God's cloak in the Creation of Man fresco is the exact shape and color of a brain hemisphere. How's that for symbolism? And here the Vatican had spent the last few centuries paying all their attention to the nudity, adding and subsequently removing fig-leaves (not joke, a few hundred years ago they hired a guy to paint fig leaves on arguably the single most important artwork of the renaissance).

  3. Shows I didn't do my research. Didn't even know the ceiling had a title, actually. Interesting about the fresco, though.

    Oh unnecessary modesty. Victorians were big on that sort of thing too.

    I just read Diamond Age recently, which posits among other things a strong backlash in near future generations against the lascivious mores of today, much as the original Victorians were a backlash against their loose predecessors. The idea does not seem terribly outlandish; these sorts of things go in waves.