Artibus et Historiae no. 29 (XV)

1994, ISSN 0391-9064

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MARIA RZEPIƃSKA - The Divine Wisdom of Michelangelo in The Creation of Adam

The recent cleaning of the frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel revealed, among other long obscured details, a lovely female figure within the embrace of God the Father in The Creation of Adam. She has been variously interpreted as the "idea" of Eve and as the Shekhina, the female component of the divine nature. In view of the fact that Michelangelo was deeply religious and enjoyed the pope's confidence, his source of inspiration is more likely to have been the Holy Scriptures that he knew so well, rather than either Neoplatonism or the Cabala. Therefore, the female figure is identified here, on the basis of a passage in the Book of Proverbs (8:22-31), as Sophia, or Divine Wisdom, who accompanied the Lord from the beginning of Creation.

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