In 2012 something quite unexpected, and not entirely welcome fell in my lap.
I had long been intrigued by why we feel what we feel when we look at art, and participated in the birth of a new field of study – that of bioaesthetics. Basically it looks at, among many other things, the sensory triggers we are born with, and how when activated, they create emotions and urges… such as fear and the need to take a step back, or the desire to reach out and touch… or simply that make us stop in our tracks, freeze, hold our breaths and stare in astonishment: tension triggers, that is.
Trying to figure out how these work, I was looking for tense curves, taut coils and tight twists in Michelangelo’s sculptures, or trying to, but being a bit inept in my choice of Google words, all I got was images of his ‘Creation of Adam’, painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Try as I might, God reached out to spark Adam into life. And then the penny dropped – that pregnant gap between the two fingers was just what I was looking for – it was the focal point of the entire ceiling, and maybe the most famous and most effective tension trigger in the history of Art.
And then everything went pear-shaped. There was something in the sky that most certainly should not have been there. Having done a fair amount of research into camouflage, I began to suspect that Michelangelo had hidden it there to get his own back on the patron who had forced him to paint it, His Holiness the Pope. So I did the standard digital enhancement one does when trying to crack that sort of disguise, and sure enough, I was faced with what seemed to be the largest penis in the Vatican, floating in the clouds behind Adam’s hand.
Somewhat nonplussed, I did the same in that celebrated space between the two fingers, and to my amazement, there slowly emerged a string of letters. They spelt the word ‘chiave’, Italian for ‘key’ . It was the key to the utterly unimaginable, and shockingly real meaning of the Sistine Chapel ceiling. And that, and the far larger and even more devastating secret that then emerged, is what this blog is all about.
But you wanted to know about me… well, rather past middle age now, something that I believe only when – despite all my efforts – I catch sight of myself in the mirror. Buried beneath the wrinkles, and beneath the wish to leave this world a better place, though, is a twenty year old, determined to live life to the full, travel (and think) broadly, and be part of everything new and exciting. So, until recently I lived on the Tropic of Capricorn; bump into porcupines and opossums when walking the beagle or the husky late at night; listen to cicadas; sigh and then foment sedition when my children are told in school that Cabral discovered Brazil; and eat far too much chocolate. Now I live in Canada, which I adore, but I don’t walk the dogs down by the stream late at night because that is where the skunks hang out
Forget me, though. It’s the story you are here for, not me.