A neurosurgeon and a medical illustrator think they've found a hidden drawing of the human brain, located inside the neck of God in one panel on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Hold on. What?
Two medical-type guys have crashed the art history party with a weird idea: Maybe Michelangelo was hiding secret drawings of brains inside the Sistine Chapel's ceiling frescoes. Makes total sense, right? Because... well, wait, it doesn't make any sense at all.
The latest find, described in a study in the May issue of the journal Neurosurgery, appears directly above the altar in "The Separation of Light From Darkness," another panel from the series of nine depicting scenes from the Book of Genesis.
God, clothed in flowing red robes, is viewed from below and foreshortened, and seems to be rising into the sky. His arms are raised above his head, and he faces up and to his right, exposing his neck and the underside of a short beard. It is here that the study's authors, the medical illustrator Ian Suk and Dr. Rafael J. Tamargo, a neurosurgeon, believe that Michelangelo concealed a drawing of the underside of the brain and the brain stem, with parts of the temporal lobe, the medulla, the pons and other structures clearly drawn.
As you might imagine, most of the haughty art history kids are laughing so hard they can barely take drags on their cloves: "This is complete nonsense, to put it politely" says UCLA prof Joanna Woods-Marsden, clutching her beret. "Sometimes a neck is just a neck," says Penn State's Brian Curran.
But Suk and Tamargo are not the first two science nerds to get stoned and see hidden drawings in the Sistine Chapel frescoes. One physician claims to have found a brain inside the famous panel depicting the creation of Adam, while a kidney specialist says he totally saw a kidney, right over... uh, somewhere.
The real question, of course, is: How did they even find the brain (or the kidney, or the other brain)? As far as I can tell, they used the medical technique of "just drawing lines wherever." Probably, there are a lot more things to find in the same panel! What can you see?