Navigation Links
Brainstem, spinal cord images hidden in Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel fresco
Date:7/28/2010

Michelangelo, the 16th century master painter and accomplished anatomist, appears to have hidden an image of the brainstem and spinal cord in a depiction of God in the Sistine Chapel's ceiling, a new study by Johns Hopkins researchers reports. These findings by a neurosurgeon and a medical illustrator, published in the May Neurosurgery, may explain long controversial and unusual features of one of the frescoes' figures.

Michelangelo is known to have dissected numerous cadavers starting in his teenage years, these anatomic studies aiding him in creating extremely accurate depictions of the human figure in his sculptures and paintings, notably the statue of David in Florence and paintings of God and other figures from the Book of Genesis in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel in Rome.

Although the vast majority of subjects in this painting are considered anatomically correct, art historians and scholars have long debated the meaning of some anatomical peculiarities seen on God's neck in the part of the painting known as Separation of Light From Darkness. In this image, the neck appears lumpy, and God's beard awkwardly curls upward around his jaw.

"Michelangelo definitely knew how to depict neckshe knew anatomy so well," says Rafael Tamargo, M.D., a professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "That's why it was such a mystery why this particular neck looked so odd."

To investigate, Tamargo enlisted the help of his Hopkins colleague Ian Suk, B.Sc., B.M.C., a medical illustrator and associate professor in the Department of Neurosurgery. Together, the researchers realized that the unusual features in the neck strongly resemble a brainstem, the portion of tissue at the base of the brain that connects to the spinal cord.

"It's an unusual view of the brainstem, from the bottom up. Most people wouldn't recognize it unless they had extensively studied neuroanatomy," says Suk.

Suk adds that the strategically placed brainstem might also explain another unusual feature of the painting. In this same image, God is depicted in a red robe with an odd tubular structure depicted in the chest. Although God wears the same red robe in other images in the fresco, this tubular structure is absent elsewhere. The structure has the right placement, shape, and size to be a spinal cord, say the researchers, suggesting another piece of hidden anatomy in the artwork.

Tamargo and Suk explain that, if their proposition is correct, it wouldn't be the first time that such concealed anatomical depictions have been proposed to exist in the Sistine Chapel's ceiling. In 1990, Frank Lynn Meshberger, an obstetrician based in Indiana, published a paper suggesting that the shroud surrounding the image known as the Creation of Adam strongly resembles an anatomically correct brain.

"It looks like the central nervous system may have been too good a motif to use only once," Tamargo says.

The two researchers plan to continue searching for other hidden pieces of anatomy elsewhere in the Sistine Chapel painting.


'/>"/>

Contact: Christen Brownlee
cbrownlee@jhmi.edu
410-955-7832
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Source:Eurekalert  

Related medicine news :

1. Chiropractor Springfield, VA - Dr. Todd P. Sullivan Announces The Addition of Spinal Decompression Therapy
2. Abington Surgeon First in Pennsylvania to Implant Investigative Device to Treat Leg Pain Caused by Spinal Stenosis
3. Womens Height Loss May Indicate Spinal Fracture
4. Height loss in postmenopausal women may indicate spinal fracture
5. Rhausler Announces Record Growth of Nearly 700% for its Spinal Implant Devices
6. Next decade offers promise for treatment of spinal cord injuries
7. Complex Spinal Operations Soar Despite Drawbacks
8. CT technique eliminates the need for X-rays in trauma patients with possible spinal fractures
9. Singapore Embraces Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery
10. Spinal Surgery a Risk for Tiger
11. Dive Safely -- Or Risk Spinal Cord Damage
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Brainstem, spinal cord images hidden in Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel fresco
(Date:8/18/2017)... ... ... The Dawn Johnson Insurance Group, a Missouri-based insurance and financial planning firm headquartered ... efforts to educate the local population on cancer realities while attracting donations to be ... Each day in America, roughly 4,600 new cases of cancer are diagnosed and more ...
(Date:8/18/2017)... , ... August 18, 2017 , ... ... services and asset protection assistance to communities in North-Central West Virginia, is embarking ... services to at-risk boys in the area. , The Chestnut Mountain Ranch (CMR) ...
(Date:8/18/2017)... ... 18, 2017 , ... MLM Insurance Group, a Miami area ... Florida, is working to support the Take Stock In Children Foundation during a ... , The Take Stock In Children Foundation (TSC) offers guidance and assistance to ...
(Date:8/18/2017)... ... August 18, 2017 , ... ... firm that serves residential and commercial clients in the greater Houston region, is ... community support for the fight against cancer. , Founded by Tony and Amber ...
(Date:8/18/2017)... ... August 18, 2017 , ... “Emotions are sacred, valid, honored, encouraged. This ... positive education company Generation Mindful. To help change the mindset of parents and educators ... skills, she created the Time-In Toolkit, which launched on Kickstarter 3 weeks ago and ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:7/28/2017)... FLINT, Mich. , July 28, 2017 EnvoyHealth, ... (CMT) to pilot a program for CleverCap LITE, a ... CMT strives to deliver innovative health technology solutions ... adherence. CleverCap LITE ... The compact, high-tech bottle cover: ...
(Date:7/27/2017)... 27, 2017  West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. (NYSE: ... the second-quarter 2017 and updated financial guidance for the ... 2017 Highlights Reported net sales of ... prior-year quarter. Net sales at constant currency (organic) grew ... was $0.51, compared to $0.60 in the prior-year quarter. ...
(Date:7/26/2017)... -- Radium Medical Aesthetics, a leading medical aesthetic clinic in ... addressing several skin conditions from the inside. The natural ... fragile. The skin becomes more transparent due to the thinning of ... rays from the sun contributes to aging skin, causing age spots ... ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: