Sistine Steal

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In the Sistine Chapel in Rome, Michelangelo Buonarroti painted a number of frescos upon its ceiling. One of those frescos was Creation of Adam. With his right hand outstretched, God floats above Adam to touch the man's fingertip. This famous and iconic image is known not only to art lovers but also to the average television viewer. This makes it fair game for allusions, parody, and all sorts of tropey tomfoolery.

The "creation" pose is often used in Comic Books, Web Comics, political comics and animated cartoons. Like Michelangelo's Pietà sculpture, this trope is all in the recognizable arrangement of two figures, although Pietà tends to be poignant while Creation of Adam is used more often in humorous contexts.


Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • There was a sacrilegious ad for President's Choice Cola that airbrushed a can of the product in question into God's hand, as if He were bestowing it upon Adam.
  • There was a Samsung billboard advertisement that replaced Adam and God's skin with cell phones.
  • C. Montgomery Burns loses his copy (albeit only the fingers are shown) when all his property is seized in this Coca Cola commercial. Whether it's the original or not is left up to the viewer's imagination.
  • One of the images used in a rapid-fire montage TV commercial for Quizno's Subs consisted of God handing Adam the signature Classic Italian sandwich.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Seen in the opening credits of Death Note, with the symbolic double-whammy of an apple being passed between the Knight Templar Villain Protagonist and the god-figure. This, though, is half symbolism (since the protagonist's moral decline after receiving the titular Artifact of Doom is related to original sin) and half show in-joke (since the god in question is addicted to apples).
  • The unknown hand the title character of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya reaches out to with a flash of light in the opening sequence is sometimes considered to be a reference to this.
  • In Nichijou, Mai pulls this off on episode 4, in the MIDDLE OF AN EXAM, by touching a drawn hand on a chalkboard.
  • There's a picture of the original photo itself in episode 11 of Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Apt, since Madoka essentially becomes God and bestows her holiness on Homura.
  • In the finale of Revolutionary Girl Utena, Utena reaches her hand to Anthy who lies inside the symbolic coffin of her fear and self-loathing where she's been most of her life. Their hands reach for each other, touch in perfect example of this trope... and suddenly slip.
  • Subverted in the Trigun manga when, Knives and the plant integration are being broken apart physically and mentally, the subversion lying in the sense of loss and failure used in this scene as opposed to the sense of creation and connection in the original.

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 
  • An early Frazz Sunday comic had Frazz painting the cafeteria in kid-oriented versions of various famous paintings, including the Creation of Adam — with a cafeteria lunch lady spooning food onto a student's plate.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • The witch from Brave makes a wood carving depicting bears in both roles. While the story is set in medieval Scotland, she clearly has some sort of power over time, as she's also carved out a pizza delivery truck.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Creation of Adam appears in the opening credits of Ben Hur. The film popularized the use of the painting.
  • In The Agony and the Ecstasy Michelangelo (Charlton Heston) gets his inspiration for the painting from the shape of a cloud (undoubtedly because God shaped the cloud for his benefit).
  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial: E.T.'s glowing finger on the promotional poster for the movie, as it touches the finger of the young boy.
  • Some promotional material for Bruce Almighty include this, with Jim Carrey's nether regions covered by a cloud and the only part of God showing being the arm.
  • In Rocket Man, after inadvertently waking up early from suspended animation, one of the activities the protagonist does to kill time during the 8 month voyage is make a painting of Creation of Adam (illustrating himself and his monkey copilot) using tubed food.
  • Creation has Charles Darwin reaching out to Jenny the orangutan in this way.
  • In Death Becomes Her, The stained-glass skylight that Ernest destroys when he falls after refusing immortality shows this image. Ernest breaks the skyliht precisely where God and Adam's fingertips are about to touch.
  • In The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Frank-n-furter's pool has the portrait done as a mosaic.
  • Lucy: After protagonist Lucy becomes strongly Transhuman, she goes back in time and touches fingertips with the pre-human known as Lucy. Earlier in the film we get a brief look at the original painting, to make sure that no one misses the reference.
  • Happens in the short film Room 8, where the prisoner touches himself in a Recursive Reality.

    Literature 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrested Development has a couple of characters take part in a tableau vivant of the painting in one episode. There are two problems with the recreation: 1) George Michael, playing Adam, appears wearing cutoff jean shorts instead of being completely naked, and 2) George Sr, playing God, makes a run for it.
  • Used for no good reason in the first episode of Cleopatra 2525.
  • In Doctor Who, "The Fires of Pompeii", the Doctor steps out of his TARDIS to save a doomed family from the title eruption. The TARDIS is unaccountably shining behind him, and then there's a shot of his hand, reaching out for the father's as if he's God and the human is Adam in the painting.
  • In the TV series version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy the subsection of the Babel fish entry on the non-existence of God represents God and Man using the famous Sistine depictions.
  • At least one hypothetical-future-disaster program (probably Life After People) shows the actual painting cracking down the middle, so that God's hand and Adam's are separated by the split, before the whole chapel collapses.
  • A promotional image created for Pushing Daisies.
  • Used in every version of the opening credits of the long-running British arts programme The South Bank Show, with an animated spark between God's finger and Adam's (according to the original animator, he mistakenly thought there was one in the original painting).
  • In an episode of MythBusters, while testing an "cosmic energy absorber"; there's a short spoof of the painting with Adam (Savage) and Jamie's faces replacing Adam and God's.

    Music 

    Pinballs 

    Print Media 
  • Sports Illustrated made a sports-related version of the entire Sistine Chapel ceiling for their fiftieth-anniversary celebration. The Creation of Adam fresco had the image of God unchanged and the image of Adam replaced with that of Babe Ruth.

    Video Games 
  • Seen in the Pleasantly Understated Credit Sequence of the LucasArts game Sam and Max Hit the Road.
  • In the Lovecraftian Interactive Fiction game Anchorhead, the art gallery hall of the Verlac mansion contains a painting of an ailing old man and a woman giving birth, explicitly described as a disturbing pastiche of the Creation of Adam.
  • A nude reclining Adam appears as a recurring boss in the (infamous) Cho Aniki series of horizontal shooters. He would later become a playable character in the fighting-game spinoff.

    Visual Novels 
  • There exists a wallpaper of the famous shot where Adam is replaced with Phoenix Wright giving God the pointer.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The E.T. example above is made even more explicit in an episode of Animaniacs, where Michelangelo faces a deadline, gets help from the Warners, and is horrified to see that they've painted God as E.T. and Adam as Elliot, and it's too late to change anything because the Pope has arrived. But as the Pope turns out to be Steven Spielberg, he loves it.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Of course, a Simpsons reference.
    • Mr. Burns invokes this trope in his own short film, in which his own face replaces that of Adam.
  • Wakfu:
    • In season 1 episode 6, the ceiling of the throne room in the Katrepat Castle features such a parody, with Count Vampyro in Adam's spot.
    • Another one with The Mmmmmmmmmporpg and Maude in episode 12 of season 2, during Bullet Time. Plus Lampshade Hanging by Ruel.
  • Home Movies: The kids sing about being artists in one of their movies. A banner rises behind them of the Creation of Adam, with God and Adam both modeled after Coach McGuirk. God is handing Adam a beer.
  • An alternate universe in Family Guy has no Christianity. The Sistine Chapel ceiling was designed by John Hinkley and is just photos of Jodie Foster.
  • The first disc of the Beavis and Butt-Head Mike Judge Collection DVD box sets features one with Beavis as God and Butt-head as Adam.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "Princess Spike", Spike makes a painter portray him as a hunky dragon in the style of Michelangelo's Creation of Adam, only with floating gems in place of God.


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