And God formed the human out of the dust of the earth, and blew into its nostrils the breath of life, and the human became an animated animal. (Genesis/Bereishit 2:7)
Sorry, Michelangelo. In the book of Genesis, God breathes life into the first human’s nose. God does not animate Adam with a fingertip, the way Michelangelo painted it on the Sistine Chapel ceiling.
I’d like to say I saw this painting on our first full day in Italy. But we are in Florence, not Rome, and we had to go grocery shopping. So today all we saw the house where Michelangelo lived as an adolescent, along with two of his earliest relief sculptures.
His “Battle of the Centaurs”, completed in 1492 when he was 17, proved that he had already mastered the realistic depiction of the human form (in a period when artists were just beginning to revive the approach of ancient Greek sculptors). But his own spark of genius had not yet emerged.
Next week we plan to see some of Michelangelo’s greatest sculptures, from “David” to “Captives”. How amazing that he could create such things out of giant blocks of marble! How amazing that we are here, and can see them!
What a crazy universe we humans inherited. We have inspiration, we have beauty, we have life. We also have despair, and evil deeds, and death. Can we embrace the good things without hiding from the bad?
Click on this link to read my 2015 post about how humans and God hide from each other: Bereishit: In Hiding.