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http://donaldheller.org/myweb/cgi-bin/pinit.js

This is a review of the painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Temptation, where Eve is reaching for the forbidden fruit. 



Adam and Eve are both naked, and are not ashamed, for they have not yet eaten of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. 

Eve is pure innocence, and, therefore, what she was doing was pure innocence as well. 

Just what, exactly, was she doing?

What she was doing is easier to describe in person, by pantomime.  But I will try to paint a word movie.  Later, you may want to try the pantomime yourself.

Imagine you are seated at the dining table, eating a bowl of delicious clam chowder, a spoon in your right hand.  The waitress comes up to you at the left rear and offers you a packet of oyster crackers, which you love.  You keep the spoon steady over the bowl to keep it from spilling, and reach up and back with your left hand to take the packet.  At this point, an admirer snaps a picture of the scene, and posts it on the internet.

Eve looks so beautiful and lovable.  Her cheeks are quite flushed.  It can't be from embarrassment, for she is still innocent.  It isn't until after she eats of the tree that she is ashamed.  Her lovely cheeks and throat are flushed with excitement, what else?  Her left foot is not relaxed, as it would be if she were just reclining.  Her toes are curled up and the ball of her foot is pressing against the ground, as if she is straining towards something.  Adam is standing in a half squat, he could only have just been seated on the bench-like rock before the Serpent butted in.  He is considerately supporting himself on the branch, because if he stood up completely he would knock Eve off her perch.  Now, he seems to have his finger in the Serpent's face; he is not reaching for anything, as his other fingers are curled into a fist.  Looks to me as if Adam is telling her to go away.  His manhood seems equally...not relaxed. 

I have pondered this for many years.  The few to whom I have done the pantomime, and then shown this painting, all came to the same conclusion I did.  Pope Julius II and Michelangelo fought bitterly, partly over Michelangelo's eroticism.  He was once described as "inventor delle porcherie" (inventor of obscenities).  He was very often in trouble with the censors.  I believe that Michelangelo did this deliberately to get even with the Pope, who was a professional soldier, apparently oblivious to artistic subtleties, like most people.  It is beautiful, innocent, and humorous.  I like to call this scene Buonaratti's Joke, or BJ for short.  What a great artist!
This interpretation is well known, but not well publicized.  It should be obvious to any observer who does more than casually glance at the painting, register the biblical "taking the forbidden fruit", and moves on.  I wonder at the Vatican's take on this.  If this were in an Islamic context, I could well be under a death sentence for suggesting it. 

 
   
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