Concisely summarize the arguments of Steinberg’s and Butler’s analyses of how Michelangelo’s representation of bodies conveys theological ideas in the Sistine Chapel Vault. The essay should briefly summarize the aims and arguments of each study, though don’t get bogged down in Steinberg’s historiography and long quotations of earlier interpretations. For the Butler, focus on her pictorial analyses (especially pp. 258-68) and how they embody specific religious ideas, rather than the extensive theological background she presents. Consider the following issues (not necessarily in this order, construct the essay in a way that makes sense to you).
What main theological idea does Butler argue underlies the representation of bodies and their gendering on the Sistine Ceiling?
Who do the principal figures represent and how do they evoke, relate to, later Christian personages?
In particular, how does each scholar interpret the female figure under God’s arm in the Creation of Adam? What are the alternatives? How does this figure relate to the other figures depicted within the veil of God the Father?
As in his analysis of Leonardo’s Last Supper we discussed in class, Steinberg discerns allusions to events in sacred history that supplement the main subject in the Creation of Adam, and even the variants of that subject. What are they, and how do Michelangelo’s figures choregraph — bodily enact — them?
All in all, how do both scholars relate Michelangelo’s bodily staging of Genesis scenes to a message of Christian Salvation?
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