sistine chapel panel

Michaelangelo’s painting of the Sistine Chapel is well known and this is one of the most famous parts of it. But it has a surprise element that I don’t think many people have noticed – at least I had not. It is a painting of God reaching out to Adam, touching to spark life into him. But in the midst of the male cherub background there appear a woman underneath his outstretched other arm. There are many theories about what the painter was trying to convey but no one is really sure.

I would have not noticed it myself except for being able to see a reproduction of it, as well as many other panels, at an exhibition of the Sistine Chapel paintings held in Bellevue this past week. My wife and I went to see it and listened to the audio clips describing the paintings and giving background notes on each. They were very informative. And there was also a video showing continuously that told the story of what Michaelangelo went through during the 4 year process of completing the work.

Sometimes we become so familiar with things that we fail to appreciate the complexities. Often it takes a novice to enlighten us veterans. If we can take a step back and see the world as a child, with their seemingly never ending “why’s?” maybe we may discover the full meaning of life and appreciate it more.