Literacy through Art Appreciation: Descriptive Writing

By Frances

Literacy comes in many forms, thus the highway to learning  can be navigated by  learners of all walks of life. Literacy opens different avenues for people and builds bridges between cultures as it  edifies  communities. Literacy through reading is a universal set, I will present a new panorama of literacy through Art appreciation by discussing and describing :  “The Creation of Man” by Michelangelo’s paintings in the Sistine Chapel.

One of the stories from the Old Testament of the Bible tells how the first man was created. This story says that God molded the body of the first man from the clay of the earth and then gave the body life. Because the body of this man was formed from the earth, he is called Adam, from a Hebrew word meaning ground or earth.

This detail from the Sistine Chapel is called The Creation of Adam and shows the moment when God is about to give life to the body of Adam. Because Adam’s body has just been made from the earth, Michelangelo shows his body lying on the ground. Adam’s torso is propped up on one elbow and one leg is bent, as though he is trying to push himself up from the ground. But even though Adam has a large and strong- looking body, the way most of the body is pressed against the earth indicates  that Adam doesn’t yet have the strength to stand. The hand that he stretches out is bent and limp, and Adam seems to rest the forearm on his knee, as though he does not have the energy to hold his arm out.

On the right, Michelangelo has painted a God whose hair, beard, and clothing swirls though the wind created by God’s movement pushes them away. By painting God this way, Michelangelo helps us fell as though God is rushing though the heavens towards Adam. We get the felling that God has energy and power; the figure of God is muscular and strong that we feel he must be full of life. Michelangelo has painted God’s right hand so that it stretches firmly in a  direct line from the torso to the tip of the finger. This helps show that God’s power is flowing with much energy directly towards Adam. It looks as though all it will take to make Adam rise is for God’s finger to brush Adam’s waiting hand.

Michelangelo has done much to make sure we notice God’s hand reaching out to Adam’s. Michelangelo knew that when we look at a roughly square space, our eyes tend to look towards the center. Look at the meeting of the two hands in The Creation of Adam. Notice that it takes place roughly in the center of the painting, right where our eyes naturally tend to go. Now notice the way Michelangelo has painted light and dark spaces in the painting. The bodies of Adam and God seem to be surrounded by dark areas, but their  hands seem to float in the light,empty space that runs down to the only object to look at in this large, light area of the painting. By placing the hand in the center of the painting and by leaving lots of light and space around them, Michelangelo has made the hand of God and Adam the focus of the painting. This encourages us to think about what will happen when the hands meet.  This is the drama of Adam receiving LIFE!

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