The Original Book Cover

The original book cover was cropped from Michelangelo's larger design, only the left half of what is shown here being visible on the cover.

We all know the traditional story: it is from Genesis, or so we are told. Adam is supposedly awaiting the spark of life from God's finger... Except... the Bible says Adam was formed from dust, and life breathed into his nose by God... the tale we see here was the artist's invention.

The story is an allegory. Adam is not Adam, and God is not God. The cherubs were not cherubs, and the angel was no angel. Adam is in fact identified in the faintest lettering as a lad called 'Iohannes', Michel-angelo's nephew, a . boy who met a gruesome fate at the hands of the Pope (who is the true identity of 'God' here), and his 'Prince of the Church' Orsini.

In the sky close to Adam's head the artist painted a huge face, and issuing from its mouth a promise that vengeance would be obtained. 

Lower you can find portraits of some of the key characters from the story, all of whose lives Aly changed forever...

Ghosted into the sky above the two famous hands we see Aly gazing 

down, an added likeness captured by his uncle when he was a little over twenty years of age.

To the right, and present in the book cover only in our imaginations, is God's famous cloud full of cherubs, each one of whom Michelangelo thoughtfully labelled.

The artist's brothers are all there - Buonarroto, GiovanSimone, Sigismondo - and his only elder brother Lionardo, not marked but just to our right of Sigismondo.

There too are his two unfortunate nephews, the sons of Lionardo (or Adamo, as he was christened)... and a spray of blood drifting from the cloud beneath. The drape flowing away in the breeze  he gave the Renaissance  colour of death - a greyish green. Everything has meaning.

There too are members of the Pope's family: the lady everyone thought was his illegitimate daughter, Felice... and her little son Giulio, on whom 'God's' other forefinger rests.

To complete the picture, Michel-angelo formed the blood red cloud into the shape of a dolphin - the creature that according to legend transported the god of desire, Eros, over the waves in search of his prey...

  1. Title 2
    Title 2

Introduction by Aly



What's the book about?