Wayne Hinshaw column: The Band-Aid that covered Adam

Published 12:10 am Sunday, July 19, 2015

RANDLEMAN — I’m sure that you have heard of the Sistine Chapel and the artist Michelangelo, who painstakingly painted the Biblical frescos in the chapel. The paintings depict some 300 biblical characters.

The painting titled “The Creation of Adam” is one of nine in the series of scenes inspired by the Book of Genesis. It is the most famous of the Sistine Chapel panels. Michelangelo painted from 1508 until 1512 on the nine panels inspired by the Book of Genesis.

This is impressive information in both the art and religious communities worldwide. But it didn’t impress my late mother, Kathern, who passed away a couple of years ago in Randleman. She attended the First United Methodist Church there. She was always active in the church through its yard sales, potluck dinners, ice cream suppers, the choir and Sunday school, with the list going on and on.

Many years ago, the back entrance of the church was remodeled and modernized. Entering the back entrance from the parking lot, the first thing you would see was a giant print of “The Creation of Adam” framed in an expensive gold frame. It was the pride of the church, after the renovation, it seemed.

My mother didn’t approve of the painting. She said, “There should not be a picture of naked man in the church, let alone at the doorway.” She argued her case over and over through the years.

My brother Gary, who has been to the Sistine Chapel and has seen the fresco paintings in person, told mother how important the painting was to the world, that it was God the father creating Adam, the first man.

My mother said, “I don’t care. It’s a picture of a naked man in the church.”

It is a painting depicting the time when the breath of life passed from God’s fingers into the fingers of Adam.

My mother said, “I don’t care. It’s a picture of a naked man in the church.”

It took Michelangelo two or three weeks to paint this fresco. He spent four days painting Adam.

My mother said, “I don’t care. It’s a picture of a naked man in the church. Maybe he should have taken longer to paint some clothes on Adam instead of leaving him naked.”

Vasari in the 1500s is quoted as saying that Adam, “appears as if newly fashioned by the first and supreme Creator rather than by the brush and ending of mortal man.”

My mother said, “ I don’t care. It’s a picture of a naked man in the church.”

In the 1990s a group of physicians studied the painting and said the “flying-seat and figure of God … makes up an anatomically correct image of the human brain.”

My mother said, “I don’t care. It’s a picture of a naked man in the church.”

Mother passed away at age 84, not winning her crusade to remove the “picture of a naked man in the church.”

Not so long ago, Gary noticed that the painting was missing from the wall of the church. He inquired about the painting and was told that they thought it was sold at a yard sale.

They said that one of the church leaders had to put a Band-Aid over Adam’s male anatomy because a group of Girl Scouts had gathered around the painting, studying and discussing Adam’s exposed parts.

A week or so later, the church gave Gary the painting. They found it in a closet. They church didn’t want it any longer.

After we had a big laugh about the painting’s journey and track record at the church, Gary said that he thought that he would make a memorial donation of the painting back to church in mother’s memory.

Even in death, my mother won her fight to have the painting of the naked man out of the church even if it was Adam and God from Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel frescos.