Michelangelo Easter Egg - Michelangelo's Self Portrait in Last Judgment

From 1534-41 Michelangelo painted "The Last Judgment" on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. Just to the lower right of Christ, near His left foot, is Bartholomew holding a streched out human skin to symbolize his martyrdom. Michelangelo painted his own face into this skin--It is well hidden to the casual observer.
Go to this site for the image:
http://www.christusrex.org/www1/sistine/40j-E.jpg

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Contributed By: ken on 02-18-2000
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Comments

wesISgod writes:
ok, here's the reason Moses usually has horns in portraits of him: in the torah his face was described as beaming with light. In hebrew all words have a 3 letter root, the only difference is the vowels. But in the torah there are no vowels and since horns and beaming with light share the same root it is easily confused
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Jedi chick writes:
Actually, Moses is depicted with horns due to an error in translating the words in the Bible. The words "rays of light" or however it was specifically written translated into "horns" when Michelangelo sculpted Moses. Nothing more than an error in translation, folks.
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prodgod writes:
The reason Moses is often portrayed with horns is that the word was mistranslated when the Bible came into English. The original word was "rays", as in "rays of light", but it was very close to the word for "horns". This only proves the point that those who take the Bible to be totally infallible would rather believe in a man growing horns out of his head than the fact that a simple word was mistranslated.
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Bill writes:
Now that everyone is aware of the mistranslation in the Latin Vulgate - the Bible Michelangelo was using - how long before someone realizes that the English equivilant for “rays of light” is “the skin of his face shone.” And that, this expression only appears at the end of the 34’th chapter (verses 29, 30, 35) of Exodus? Considering that Moses was never in possession of the original tables before they were inscribed - “on both their sides” - the un-inscribed tables under the right arm of the statue must be the duplicate set mentioned in Exodus 34.1 & 4. Of course, this means that the event associated with the figure is the one described in Exodus 34.5-7. Michelangelo has captured Moses looking at the “back parts” of God just after He “passed by before him.” Or, from a Christian perspective, the statue represent a Christophany!
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Kyle writes:
I've heard it said that the man the ashamed by either his sins or his body or both (the sort of paunchy one with his head in his hands and his eyes closed) is also a self-portrait.
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SciFi_fan writes:
Actually, according to my art history class instructor, The person holding the skin is based on the pope who had just died at the time. (Sorry, I can't think of the pope's name) The pope earlier had hired Michaelangelo to do a statue for his tomb. I guess the pope died without "old Mike" getting paid, which made him bitter. Therefore, Michaelangelo decided to make the former pope look bad, so in the rest of the paintings, you can find the pope scowling, etc. The statue of Moses with horns is actually (appearance wise) based on the pope, and could be another reason why the statue has horns. (there are biblical translations about Moses having "horns," but nothing conclusive yet)
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diabloman77 writes:
if you look to the right of the skins wrist you can see a head laying on a rock, i wonder what thats for?
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A tigger writes:
The person holding Michelangelo's flayed skin is St.Bartholmew. (A martyr who was skinned alive) He is meant to be painted after a critic of Michelangelo's depiction of nuditiy in a place of God, namely the Sistene Chapel.
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Is it just me, or does the face on the skin looks a lot like Abe Lincoln
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Johngo Kongo writes:
Moses was often portrayed with horns.
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If you look at that paunchy guy that looks "ashamed", about midway down his thigh it looks like a hand, and it looks like it belongs to that green shadowy figure that looks like it's comforting him.
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SciFi_fan writes:
Actually the statue of Moses was supposed to also be a statue of the pope, as no one had an actual reference of what Moses looked like. Plus, they church wanted to have their popes, cardinals, etc to be associated with saints and other biblical figures, so Moses is actually a statue of the pope. And yes, there was a translation error with the rays of light, but I was told that the horns were ALSO as an extra "joke" of the pope being evil. So if people saw the statue with horns, they would think nothing of it, since they have seen statues of Moses with horns. But anyone who knew Michaelangelo personally would also recognize the "hidden meaning." Also, in the creation of the world section of the Sistine Chapel, God is scowling...guess who that is supposed to be a picture of? yes, it is the pope.
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StaticKnot writes:
if you look closely the person to the bottom right of the painting looks like the skin.
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What is the other thing in Bartholomew's hand...does anybody know?
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WhiteRhino writes:
Can anyone tell me what any of the other figures in the painting are supposed to represent? Especially the old man's partially hidden face on the far left side, about halfway down? And the man sprawled out on the ground with people over him on the opposite side? This stuff is fascinating... eh?
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