Tits and Ass and Weenies, Oh Myyyy

This has probably been out there for a while, but I’m pretty sure it’s the first time *I* have seen it.

The Vatican has a virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel.

You can mouse around it. The navigation is weird, but if you work at it, you can see all of it. You can also zoom in and out with your mouse’s scroll wheel or the Shift and Ctrl keys.

A couple of thoughts:

1) I’ll bet there are Christian conservatives out there who will see this and suffer a terrible internal struggle over how gay it all looks. Seriously, you can see endless back shots of lovingly rendered muscular male asses, as well as little-boy penises sprinkled around like pedophile confetti. But because of where and what it is, it MUST be holy.

2) I always thought the anatomically correct cherubs in religious art were some sort of sexless holy figures, but I just realized they were LITTLE BOYS. Depicting them in the midst of bearded old men, as is done here, is not artistic license, but something that really happened in the inner recesses of the Mother Church. A thousand years ago, and probably still today.

3) If you were to go back in time to when Michelangelo painted it, and Church authorities presumably enjoyed private showings — and if you had a UV light like detectives use for finding blood or semen on crime scene floors, walls and furniture — I’d bet this place would light up like a cheap carnival Ferris wheel.

4) Yes, there are a few women, and even some exposed breasts, but my quick impression is that the dangly bits of the men outnumber them by a LOT.

Church art. A lot less holy than we ever imagined.

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  • Randomfactor

    And the original was even worse. After Michelangelo’s death the church hired a second-rate artist–forever after known as “Braghettone” or, loosely “Captain Underpants” to paint clothing fig-leaves on a lot of the Last Judgement scene.

    They were left in place by the recent restoration in the 90′s.

  • F

    Best. Art. Review. Ever!

  • I’m_not

    Hahahaha great review!

    C+P from artnet.com:

    “the papal master of ceremonies, Biagio da Cesena, said (in Vasari’s recount) of The Last Judgment “that it was a very disgraceful thing to have made in so honorable a place all those nude figures showing their nakedness so shamelessly, and that it was a work not for the chapel of a Pope, but for a brothel or tavern” (Michelangelo retaliated by painting Cesena’s face on the devil Minos)”.

  • ‘Tis Himself, OM

    There’s ample reason to believe Michelangelo was gay.

    • boadinum

      There is ample reason to believe that both Michelangelo and his protoge/competitor Raphael were gay. They may not have gayed around together, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it might explain the surplus of dangly things…which may in turn explain the Catholic Church’s misogynistic obsession with sex and with pedophilia in particular…eek, I have made myself depressed. I’ll have to teach my young nephew that the purpose of Easter is to nuke Peeps until they explode.

  • Sophia Dodds

    I really wish there was more christian artwork using biblical descriptions of angels, those ‘winged little boys’ aren’t cherubim at all! They’re ‘putto’, some sort of symbol of innocence or something invented in the renaissance rather than being a traditional christian symbol.
    Anyway, I’d love to see more art of cherubim as described by Ezekiel – (taken from the Skeptic’s annotated bible)

    10:10 And as for their appearances, they four had one likeness, as if a wheel had been in the midst of a wheel.
    10:11 When they went, they went upon their four sides; they turned not as they went, but to the place whither the head looked they followed it; they turned not as they went.
    10:12 And their whole body, and their backs, and their hands, and their wings, and the wheels, were full of eyes round about, even the wheels that they four had.
    10:13 As for the wheels, it was cried unto them in my hearing, O wheel.
    10:14 And every one had four faces: the first face was the face of a cherub, and the second face was the face of a man, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.

    They have WHEELS. I love the description of how they move, like chess castles or rooks. They don’t turn, they just follow the head pointing in the direction they want to go. Must be a pain in the arse going after bishops. *cough*

    • I’m_not

      Man that last cup of mushroom tea was a mistake…

      • Sophia Dodds

        Indeed. I’d say I want to try whatever Ezekiel was on, though considering that god told him to eat poo-baked barley cakes* at one point, I’m not sure I even want to KNOW what it is.

        (Ezekiel 4:12)

        • I’m_not

          I’ve eaten at The Fat Duck, poo cakes hold no fear for me.

          • Sophia Dodds

            Total, total jealousy. Heston is a mad, mad hero of mine!
            Emphasis on the mad.

          • I’m_not

            One of the best nights of my life. Truly mindblowing. He owns the pub next door too so you can eat there the day after too! That is also quite amazing.

          • I’m_not

            I also stayed at the Oakley Court Hotel just up the road which is where they filmed Rocky Horror and loads of Hammer horror films!!!

          • Sophia Dodds

            Argh! Must MUST visit the UK again, and this time not be with an orchestra with set tour destinations. Once I’ve evicted the belly tenant, convinced the husband to get his citizenship paperwork/passport together, gotten a job and some cash together…
            I hate living in the wrong country!

          • ‘Tis Himself, OM

            £180 per person is a mite much, even for snail porridge.

        • Randomfactor

          I always get a giggle when I’m passing by the bakery aisle–there are actually “Ezekiel bread” loaves commercially sold, boasting that they follow the 4:12 recipe.

          And it’s not animal dung ol’ Zeke was supposed to be using…

          • Sophia Dodds

            Yes! Delicious people poop!
            … well, sort of. The KJV version has the rather ambiguous “baked with dung that cometh out of man”, though older translations seem to lean toward “baked in a fire stoked with dung that cometh out of man”.

            Either way, I’m getting the idea that Ezekiel’s happy funtime drug trip was more of a fecal-borne brain parasite than too much bad hashish ;)

  • I’m_not

    Sophia, “evicted the belly tenant” FTW hahahahahahaha.

    Good luck with ALL that stuff. X

    • Sophia Dodds

      oh, he’s got a lot of names right now, most being centred around “GODDAMMIT those are MY ribs/organs/ovaries, stop kicking/punching/inserting your appendages in them, you… uh… probably quite adorable little bundle of bilogical matter.” Only with more, colourful expletives.

      Yes. People need to have more metaphors for impending spawn. I take great pleasure in relating every ridiculous moment of the process to my poor, horrified relatives and friends. Makes the whole thing more bearable :D

      Also, thanks!

  • Querent

    There are myriad reasons to oppose religion and all its inhumane works, but if this type of ‘nudge, nudge, wink, wink’ innuendo about ‘weenies’ and Michaelangelo’s semen stains is the best argument the atheist community can come up with, it’s not surprising that believers find us the least trustworthy of groups. Infantile, IMHO.

    • http://sheilacrosby.com Sheila Crosby

      a) 33 blogs at this site alone, each with many posts, and you expect one picked at random to be “the best argument the atheist community can come up with”?

      b) Does the idea of paedophile priests seem unlikely to you? If so, I’d suggest reading the news a little more.

      • Querent

        I didn’t make any reference to paedophile priests, I think you’ll find. So far as I’m aware, Michaelangelo was neither ordained nor a paedophile, although I’m willing to stand corrected if I’m wrong.
        As far as cherry picking goes, those who would try to discredit the atheist community are more than capable of doing just that, in the same way that they pick their biblical quotations to suit their particular prejudices. Resorting to this kind of puerility to score points against religionists is just playing into their hands, as far as I’m concerned.

        • I’m_not

          I can’t see the logic of atheists acting like puritans to convince christians I really can’t.

    • Hank Fox

      Querent, so does this mean you think I should skip my annual “Mohammad sucks big sweaty donkey balls” post? ;-)

      • Querent

        I’ve stated my opinion, which is what I understood the facility to leave a comment to be for. I don’t expect or intend to convert anyone. As far as your blog goes, you’re obviously free to post whatever you like. And I’m free to disagree with you if I see fit.

        • Hank Fox

          You’re exactly right.

          But in addition, I think some large part of what’s taking place right now amounts to some sort of inevitable social tide. Things are changing not because of what any one person says or does, but because society as a whole is ready for it.

          Might as well have fun while we wait, right? So I poke fun.

    • ‘Tis Himself, OM

      Okay, ‘fess up. Which one of your nasty atheists pissed in Querent’s Cheerios®?

      • Querent

        I’m one of the ‘nasty atheists’ myself, and have been for the best part of forty years. My concern is not giving religionists the gift of cheap shots to fire back at us.

        • Hank Fox

          Querent: “My concern is not giving religionists the gift of cheap shots to fire back at us.”

          Oh, well, shit. You think they’re not going to do that anyway?

          What the hell did we learn from the gay rights movement, from the women’s rights movement, from the civil rights movement?

          BEING POLITE DOESN’T FUCKING WORK. Or not ONLY being polite.

          You have to do all this other stuff.

          Give atheists a thousand years or so of rhetorical free-for-all, like the godders have had, and THEN I might start to worry about the atheist tone.

          Also bear in mind that there’s a spectrum of approaches that must be applied. Politeness is fine. But so is anger, ridicule, humor, blatant profanity, throwing shit at sacred symbols.

          Put all those things together, and you have movement. Restrict yourself to quiet reason, against people who do not respect it, and you fail. And fail, and fail, and fail.

          There have been secular movements in the past, you know. What happened to them? I’m pretty sure I know: They thought it would be best not to hurt anybody’s feelings. And today, we barely remember their names.

          If you think politeness is ONE tool to use, I’m in agreement. If you think it’s the ONLY tool to use, I think you’re just flat-out wrong.

          • Querent

            My issue isn’t about ‘politeness’ either as a sole tactic or as part of a strategy. My wife, who’s a believer, thinks I’m thoroughly rude about religion. No, what concerns me is that the cherry-pickers will look at something like this and say, ‘those atheists, look, all they can do is to snigger like naughty schoolchildren, how can anyone take their opinions seriously?’
            Ultimately, though, all I’ve done is post, immediately after I’d read it, my honest reaction to what you’d written. As I’ve already said, I don’t expect you or anyone else to agree with me. I’m on the same side as you, If there’s any sort of disagreement, it’s about style rather than substance.

  • Cody

    this has got to be the most offensive and blatantly incorrect review of an piece of artwork! And to all the blind who have never read a book on any piece of artwork, I guess the man with one eye is your king but surely he cannot tell the trees from the forest…

    I do not have time to go into the second meaning of Michelangelo’s painting, the hidden anatomy (Adam and God is an underlying painting of a brain and countless other anatomical paintings within the Sistine Chapel) but to believe there are homosexual motifs within the piece is to call modeling indecent exposure!

    Many people have never heard of contrapposto and sadly these individuals are writing reviews about how people they never knew were raping boys based on the homoerotic artwork of the Sistine Chapel because there are putti in the painting (for those unversed in painting putti are the little baby angles famous in renaissance painting, look it up instead of letting someone tell you what is what like here). The reason I bring up controppost rests in the ability of the artist to fully represent the human figure correctly. It wasn’t until deep into greek history that artist were able to fully capture not only the anatomical proportions of the body but the facial expressions as well as well as how the human figure stands, contrapposto (many ancient greek statues depict dying individuals with subtle smiles on their face LOOK IT UP)

    And here rests some of the most intellectually enlightened individuals when it comes to human anatomy. And their achievement in the science of the human body and ability to represent it so perfectly is slenderized and used against themselves and the piece itself is disgusting.

    Perhaps you are not understanding the context of the painting, here many individuals are past the worldly gates that you inhabit and though I am an atheist their ideology of what lies beyond this world was a place most likely in the nude (adam and eve in the garden are naked so are they porn stars?) And the absence of women, the sistine chapel is a depiction of the bible and if this reviewer was ever smart enough to actually read the bible he would find there are limited female characters so why/how could the artist include any.

    In all honest this speak to the essence of our time, where an individual can smoke individuals into thinking there is a fire but luckily time is more difficult and this shit and piss that you write will fall to the wayside and you will be forgotten and the Sistine Chapel will forever remain, thankfully.

    Hope a bird eats your eyes while countless leeches latch onto your genitalia and drain every drop of blood from your body, just as your parasitical blog has latched onto this master piece and is attempting to drain it’s beauty.

    • Captain Mike

      On one hand, you seem to know a fair bit about art, but on the other hand, shut the fuck up.

      • Cody

        Thank you for your insightful and encouraging comments Captain Mike, honestly I did not know that people still sailed perhaps we could sail and you could show me how to drown…

        Though I do find it fairly difficult to understand that you point out my insightfulness of art and follow up instructing me to stay quiet. Rather then admitting the author of the blog is clearly mistaken in at least 4 points he has made you turn your attention on me. Again, thank you, because without you how would we know that abortion is correct. Surely we cannot argue that the world would indeed be a better place had your father used a condom on your intoxicated mother, or simply went to Captain Mike’s abortion on the seaside clinic to scrap the walls of your mother’s fruitful womb clean of your parasitical self.

        For this insightfulness towards the necessity of abortion I gladly thank you and hope you carry on your crusade of telling insightful individuals who comment on the topic of the blog to ‘shut the fuck up’ while you mossy around on the poop deck looking for any sailor boy to pop your cherry. Happy sails

    • Lady Captain

      Do you recommend I generally stop reading atheist blogs for art history information, or just this one? Is PZ still cool?

  • Cody

    exactly the insightfulness I am speaking of! Keep it up, in the land of the blind the man with one eye is king. You each think because you can type a few letters together somebody gives a fuck. Sorry. And I know ‘a fair bit about art’ and here you are saying nothing… Speaks to your intelligence Captain. Captain of what? the ignorance express? Keep on trucking because egoism is like stupidity, you can’t tell people their stupid, they’re too stupid to even realize. So please, unless you have an insightful, educated comment please keep on to the next post about pancakes or whatever this foolish preacher is blinding you people with.

    Too bad the comment that is noted as having the most knowledge about art (let alone the blogger’s insightfulness which I have pointed out as being shallow) is told to shut the fuck up. Is this not a blog about art? excuse me captain of the dumb ass ship, I’m pretty sure that you’re mother should have practiced atheism and told your father to use a condom or simply aborted you. sorry for your existence the waste of material on your being…

    • Captain Mike

      No, dumbass, it’s not a blog about art. Even this particular post is only tangentially about a piece of art. You’ve completely missed the point of the post.


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