The Creation of Adam

Drawing of god, radiating light, reaching down from clouds, touching male figure.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

Image actions

  • Drawing of god, radiating light, reaching down from clouds, touching male figure.

Date:

c. 1642

Artist:

Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione
Italian, 1609-1664

About this artwork

Considered one of the most original and innovative Italian artists of the Baroque period, Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione literally separated light from darkness, creating form out of chaos in this work, his earliest known monotype. In a perfect match of medium and message, Castiglione, the Genoese artist credited with inventing the technique, used this new method to portray the central act of Genesis: the creation of man. He produced this electrifying image by subtracting the design from the inked surface of a copperplate with a blunt instrument, such as a stick or paintbrush handle, and then printing directly on a sheet of paper. Broad, angular strokes of white depict God emerging from a cloud, while thin, fluid lines extract the languid body of Adam from velvety blackness. Castiglione’s monotypes employ both this dark-ground technique, which naturally lends itself to dramatic and mysterious imagery, and the light-ground manner, in which the design is drawn in ink directly on a clean plate. Both processes yield only one fine impression. It was not until the nineteenth century that such versatile artists as Edgar Degas explored the monotype’s full potential.

Currently Off View

Prints and Drawings

Artist

Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione

Title

The Creation of Adam

Origin

Italy

Date

1637–1647

Medium

Monotype (dark manner) in black on ivory laid paper

Dimensions

303 × 203 mm

Credit Line

Gift of an anonymous donor; restricted gifts of Dr. William D. and Sara R. Shorey, and Mr. and Mrs. George B. Young

Reference Number

1985.1113

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

Share

Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions

Share