You Didn’t Say No to Papa Terrible

“You just can’t find good help these days.” — Pope Julius II



The putti [small angelic figures] on the ceiling are directional signals for Michelangelo’s hidden messages and vendettas. Here they are “making the fig” — sticking the thumb between the index and middle fingers — the most obscene gesture of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, mentioned even by Dante in his Inferno. So Michelangelo is “giving the finger” not once but twice to Julius II: above the entrance where he was commissioned to paint Jesus but instead painted the pope and in the panel with the Cumaean Sibyl at the northern edge of the ceiling. Of course, in order to protect his career (and probably his life), the artist made the gestures small, and a bit dark and blurry as well. If you look at any close-ups of these panels, these insults — which were pointed out by previous historians without a single reaction from anyone — are unmistakable.”

6 Replies to “You Didn’t Say No to Papa Terrible”

  1. In his own words in today’s WaPo

    Time and again, whether at the state level, in Congress or at the Securities and Exchange Commission under Bill Donaldson, those who tried to enforce the basic principles that would allow the market to survive were told that the “invisible hand” of the market and self-regulation could handle the task alone.

    The reality is that unregulated competition drives corporate behavior and risk-taking to unacceptable levels. This is simply one of the ways in which some market participants try to gain a competitive advantage. As one lawyer for a company charged with malfeasance stated in a meeting in my office (amazingly, this was intended as a winning defense): “You’re right about our behavior, but we’re not as bad as our competitors.”

  2. Yeah, EE, that author was mostly full of shit. Even so, I was entertained by the idea of Michelangelo having a laugh at some asshole pope’s expense and getting away with it. Sticking it to da man, 16th Century style!

    “The least horrible among your many disreputable options.”™

  3. Wow, thanka Bunn, I gotta whole “new” insult gesture now! Gonna go out anda road test “da nub” on some unfortunates, maybe my financial advisor.

    Now, is ita thumbs up or a thumbs down? OK, I geeva you two thumbs up!

  4. No, I’m not running this through the ZK Legal Department. F*** those perfumed lawyers and their hateful minions. Advancing the arts and sciences indeed. Hahhh!!!!!!

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