|God creating the plants of the Earth |
(Detail from UNRESTORED Sistine Chapel Ceiling)
I’ve studied The Sistine Chapel for some time and found black presences on its walls and in its tapestries but not in its ceiling or in its Last Judgment – until now.
However before I describe the possible new black presence let me share with you some something that has troubled me since I first started studying the Sistine Chapel – the presence of God’s bottom - God disappearing into the distance with his bottom in full view. As he creates the plants and trees: bringing forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind Genesis 1:11.
There is no mention of that bottom in any of the Chapel’s literature I’ve read , the image is variously and tactfully described for example :
The figure of God that is seen from behind as He descends to create the plants of earth is …… disturbing and mysterious. His hand , held out in a gesture of creation is drawn with a foreshortening as extraordinary as it is simple. The only other bottom that I know to be so prominent is any one the many to to be found in the works of the Baroque painter François Boucher - for example his 1745 L'Odalisque.
|Francois Boucher L'Odalisque 1745|
Methinks there are double standards at work here!
|Pope Julius II's Master of Ceremonies Biagio de Casena|
(Detail from The Last Judgement)
|Michelangelo Self Portrait|
(Detail for Sistine Chapel Ceiling)
|Detail from The Family of Darius before Alexander 1565-7, Paolo Veronese|
Similarly, God's bottom appearance might have been a result of the way Michelangelo was trained to paint. During the period one writer on how to paint described creating well proportioned figures in a pictorial space as follows - we first have to draw the naked body beneath [the clothed figure], then cover it with clothes ..
|Michelangelo Study for the drapery of the Erythraen Sybil|
Above is a study by Michelangelo in which he clothes a naked seated figure. So the underlying naked body might be revealed as the over painted clothes faded with time.
Even the restored image has that bottom clearly on display for all to see. Thus God’s bottom is not the result of fading, it is exactly as Michelangelo painted it.
|God Creating the plants of the Earth|
(Detail from RESTORED Sistine Chapel Ceiling)
 Chastel, A, Okamura, T , The Vatican Frescoes of Michelangelo, Abbeville Press