Mona Lisa and Ceiling from the Sistine Chapel analysis


The artworks Mona Lisa and Sistine Chapel were painted during the renaissance era, a period when Europe had a high admiration for arts (Panofsky, 2018). The painting of Mona Lisa was created between 1503-1506 by Leonardo Da Vinci, and it is one of the most famous paintings in the world. In this painting, there is a woman with a faint smile and a simple appearance. On the other hand, the painting of “creation of Adam” is among the most famous in the Sistine Chapel. It has both the figure of God and that of Adam in its autonomy. It is a two-dimensional portrait showing different things. The paper analysis how Mona Lisa and Creation of Adam worships the human form.

The history of Renaissance art

The Renaissance was a time between the 14th-16th century in Europe, where new styles in painting and design created after the Gothic. Though the religious perception continued to play a critical part in people, increasing awareness of the actual world, individuality, and humanity at large attributed the Renaissance era (Panofsky, 2018). It was a period marked with its depth of artistic talent, and the works of the great masters of the era remain treasured in cultural artifacts. During this era, there was a growing interest in the culture of classical antiquity, which followed closely by the period marked by the Renaissance. 

Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo were among the most popular renaissance artists who created the paintings “Mona Lisa” and “Creation of Adam,” respectively. The renaissance era was a complete contrast of the medieval era when artists were inspired more from the Bible. Artists during the Renaissance maintained their humanism spirit by showing life-like human nature with realistic attires, expression, and correct proportion (Panofsky, 2018). New techniques, such as three-dimension designs were introduced. The start of realistic art embraced the use of natural landscape as the background.

What humanism is in these paintings?

Mona Lisa painting

Description: Mona Lisa, c.1503 - c.1519 - Leonardo da Vinci

Mona Lisa is among the most iconic and known art in the whole world. The outstanding display of the art is in its nature, where Mona Lisa’s smile represented contentment. The smile was attained using sfumato, which was Leonardo’s painting model that softened a shift between different colors (Freud, 2013). In addition, the woman in the painting is in her realistic attire free from jewelry and extreme decorations. The woman has a smooth hair and puts on a veil to represent chastity. Furthermore, crossed hands, as shown in the figure, makes the woman appear relaxed. 

Mona Lisa was a painting that represented the woman during the period. The viewers are attracted to the face of the woman in the art. Leonardo brings in another technique in the art to create an imagination allowing the viewers to see the area differently (Carbon & Hesslinger, 2015). To make the woman appear real, oil paints were used in the hands and the face. From the image above, Mona Lisa does not have eyebrows. In regards to this, Leonardo wanted to make the painting look more human and real since women used to shave off their eyebrows, as it was a measure of beauty during the period. That said, the landscape with hills and streams adds to the overall beauty of the woman in the portrait.

Creation of Adam


The creation of Adam by Michelangelo was among the most famous paintings during the renaissance period. The painting shows great humanism from Michelangelo’s point of view. The painting shows the viewers how Michelangelo saw the creation of Adam, as recorded in the book of Genesis (Afshar & Afshar, 2015). In the creation story as a recorded in Genesis, man was created in the likeness of God. As shown in the painting above, Adam appears to have a perfect and proportionate body structure. With the phrase, “God intended to make man in His likeness,” Adam appears as the smaller copy of God. 

Moreover, other than the physiological aspect of both God and Adam, Michelangelo displays humanism through Adam’s expressions in the painting. The rendition manifests Adam’s chastity because, at that time, he was still right with God and sinless (Afshar & Afshar, 2015). In addition, the artist shows humanism in the connection between God and Adam. The portrait shows the actual relationship between God and Adam before sin. For instance, Michelangelo uses visual contact between God, and Adam represents acknowledgment. It shows an agreement between them and a strong relationship.

In the painting, God is portrayed as older with a grey beard, though in his body, he is younger. The old look gives an impression of a father, whereas youthfulness shows power. Besides, God wears simple cloths, as shown in the art, which makes him appear more human and involved with the mortals (Afshar & Afshar, 2015). The artists portray Adam as a bit reluctant to get the touch from God. Adam is not stretching to reach God’s finger. It shows how reluctant humans can be when they appear to have everything in their possession. In addition, the divine touch from God shows the initial power of life given to humans.

The artists’ approach to the representation of the human body

Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo represents the human body differently. To begin with, Leonardo invested in good painting to represent the human body (Carbon & Hesslinger, 2015). Instead of exaggerating proportions for dramatic influence, he chose exactness and preciseness. For example, in the painting “Mona Lisa,” he brings out the real body of a human being without jewelry and other forms of decorations as used in other paintings. Leonardo demonstrates the proportionality of each body part, as shown in the portrait. Contrary to Leonardo, Michelangelo uses exaggerations and size to give its art a larger meaning (Afshar & Afshar, 2015). There is a lack of preciseness and exactness in the portrait because he alters the size to meet the anticipated theme. For example, in the portrait “Creation of Adam,” he enlarged the size of God to show that he is much greater than Adam is and that he is the father.


The portraits display the philosophy of humanism during the renaissance era. Leonardo used various painting techniques to major more on humanism. He presents Mona Lisa as a natural and simple woman without decorations. In all the presentations, Mona Lisa appears as a real woman. On the other hand, Michelangelo presented a pierce based on what he believed in regarding the creation of man. In the portrait “Creation of Adam,” he brought in humanistic attributes to the viewers. He was able to display many themes such as power, relationship, morality, and reluctance, among others in the portrait. These portraits are a representation of the renaissance period in Europe a time when the design of art changed to portray humanity.


Afshar, A., & Afshar, N. (2015). Hands-on stamps: hands from Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam. Journal of Hand Surgery, 40(3), 576-577.

Carbon, C. C., & Hesslinger, V. M. (2015). On the nature of the background behind Mona Lisa. Leonardo, 48(2), 183-184.

Freud, S. (2013). Leonardo da Vinci. Routledge.

Panofsky, E. (2018). Studies in iconology: humanistic themes in the art of the Renaissance. Routledge.

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