Skip to content

Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam – do you see a brain?

Did Michelangelo add a human brain in his figure of God?

This idea has always intrigued me. After seeing the actual fresco for myself, I have to conclude, it’s a brain all right!

Here is some interesting information from (click here):

“Pretty much everyone is familiar with the ‘Creation of Adam’, even if they might not know that it is a section of a fresco painted by Michelangelo for the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. Like the Mona Lisa, the picture is so commonly parodied and depicted on T-shirts and postcards as to have become a piece of kitsch. However, what almost everyone has missed is the hidden message that Micheloangelo inserted: a human brain dissimulated in the figure of God…

Michelangelo's Creation of Adam - do you see a brain?
Source: Wikicommons

Although the Creation of Adam was painted around 1511, it is not until 1990 that Frank Lynn Meshberger, a physician in Anderson, Indiana, publicly noted in the Journal of the American Medical Association that the figures and shapes that make up the figure of God also make up an anatomically accurate figure of the human brain. Take a close look at the picture above and you will see the Sylvian fissure that divides the frontal lobe from the parietal and temporal lobes: it is represented by a bunching up of the cape by one of the angels and by a fold in God’s tunic. The bottom-most angel that appears to support the weight of God is the brainstem, and his trailing scarf the vertebral artery. The foot of another angel is the pituitary gland, and his bent knee the optic chiasm where the optic nerves from the eyes partially cross over. The ingenuity and level of detail is simply staggering, and a lasting testament to Michelangelo’s extraordinary—and, for the time, very unusual—knowledge of human anatomy.” [read more…]

Michelangelo's Creation of Adam - do you see a brain?
Roman Holiday - Michelangelo's Sistene Chapel. Photos Suzy Dias