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