Friday, May 28, 2010
The Michelangelo Code
Ian Suk and Rafael Tamargo see a pons and medulla / brainstem in God's throat in Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel fresco The Separation of Light from Darkness. I see it now too. [Hat tip to Dr. Douglas Field's article in Huffington Post for highlighting Suk's and Tamargo's Neurosurgery paper on the subject.]
In 1990 Dr. Frank Meshberger also observed in a paper published in JAMA that the stuff around God in Michelangelos' God Creating Adam looks like a brain in cross-section.
I guess all those hours secretly dissecting cadavers - an activity strictly forbidden by the Catholic Church at the time - really did have an impact on Michelangelo's art. I wonder if hours spent reveling in great art has an impact on our practice of medicine? I think it does, at least in subtle ways.
Addendum: This was my son's comment as he looked over my shoulder at the above fresco. "Is that supposed to be God?"
"That's how Michelangelo painted God on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel," I replied.
He paused for a moment, thinking, then said, "I think God should be painted as a circle. No beginning, no end."
That's probably the best idea I've heard yet to express any concept I might have of God / a divine presence or energy in the universe. That, and the name given by God to Moses in the Hebrew Bible: I AM. No Patriarch-in-the-Sky for me.