While inspired to create them , even Michelangelo (Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni ) was embarrassed by his Sistine Chapel paintings. He designed his work to be a reflection of the sacred, not to BE the sacred.
Whence false and quaint, I know,
Must be the fruit of squinting brain and eye;
For ill can aim the gun that bends awry.
Come then, Giovanni, try
To succor my dead pictures and my fame;
Since foul I fare and painting is my shame.
Michelangelo struggled with how to paint this entity known as “God”. He left the Sistine Chapel project because of it. While in anguish and retreat, he was inspired by the seemingly infinite waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. When he returned to Rome inspired, he painted man a God in an infinite sky. Michelangelo’s depiction of the divine reflected the power elite of the time; but today, we see but a bearded, heavy-set white guy who flies in the sky in white robes.
Painted by a gifted artist, the image became so powerful inside the human epoch that it has been burned into humankind’s collective unconsciousness.
Humans have launched into space, still the painting remains the defining image of God even though, nowhere, in Old or New Testament literature, is the sacred described in this manner.
I have never believed that spirituality and science are mutually exclusive. In 1987, when I was working at Paramount with Carl Sagan on a possible movie adaptation of his book, Contact, Carl railed at me. He shouted that he did not perceive God as a “bearded white guy flying through the clouds.”
“Neither did I,” I said.
He looked confused at me as if how could a Christian say that?
I fear that science contains many of the flinty prejudices which organized religion has against science.
It is my belief, that science will ultimately help lead us to the divine. For all objectives should bring us to truth. This would most likely be a divine not celebrated by the obsessed and anesthetized people found in T. S. Eliot’s The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock:
In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.
There is no question of the unquestionable genius of Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni. That said, the human race now travels through the cosmos. It is time for artists to perfect a new language of images to reflect Aeterna Pax.