Separation of Light from Darkness

size(cm): 33x30
Sale price£101 GBP


The separation of light from dark is according to the Genesis chronology, the first of nine central panels that run along the center of the Sistine Chapel ceiling.

The beginning of Creation is marked by the figure of God, seen from below, launching himself into infinite space with arms raised, allowing spirals of light to sweep away the darkness.

The poses of the four ignudi are very different from each other, without trying to obtain an effect of symmetry. Thus, the one above of Jeremías on the left, with a classical profile and a meditative attitude, contrasts sharply with the ungainly movement of the one on the right, who, laden with foliage and acorns, lunges forward, his face in shadow. On the opposite side, the two figures lean towards the center, but with their torsos heads turning in opposite directions with clearly differentiated movements, splendidly rendered thanks to the artist's skillful use of perspective.

Above the cornices, the four ignudi bear medallions depicting Elijah ascending to Heaven in the Chariot of Fire (on the left) and the Sacrifice of Isaac (on the right).

Michelangelo probably completed this panel in the summer of 1512, the last year of the Sistine Chapel ceiling project. It is one of five smaller scenes that alternate with four larger scenes that run along the center of the Sistine ceiling. The separation of light from darkness is based on verses 3-5 of the first chapter of the book of Genesis:

“And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.
⁴God saw that the light was good and separated the light from the darkness.
⁵God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And it was evening and morning the first day.

Although in terms of the Genesis chronology it is the first of the nine central panels along the Sistine ceiling, the Separation of Light from Darkness was the last of the nine panels painted by Michelangelo.

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