Written by Samantha Baines

In The News

Your penis is a triangle and my uterus is a ram’s head

Sorry, what? Samantha Baines looks at the news that Michelangelo hid a few lady parts among the Sistine Chapel roof.

Sistine Chapel detailNo, this isn’t an idea for a new roleplay idea with my husband – this is art. Check out the image here of artwork from the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo. Sexy right?

A research team in Brazil, led by Dr Deivis de Campos, claim Michelangelo hid many secret references to the female anatomy in his most famous work.

But why was Michelangelo so obsessed with our lady bits and why did he think a chapel was the right place for them?

Indeed, why do many of the ‘great masters’ want women to reside in churches? Shakespeare seemed to have a similar idea in Hamlet, when his hero says to Ophelia, “Get thee to a nunnery” and then comments on her nether regions or “country matters”. Chill out with the churches and vaginas, fellas!

Thank goodness for Hozier – another great master clearly, he just wants us to take him to church and he wishes he worshipped us sooner. Bless.

But maybe Hozier got some tips from Michelangelo. According to the academics, “Michelangelo idolised all the teachings associated with the sacred feminine. This is because the power of women and their ability to produce life was held very sacred in ancient pagan and Jewish teachings.”

So old Michelangelo wants to worship us, too. Alright, Michelangelo, you’ve got our attention, you can be our favourite and Shakespeare you can stay on the naughty step.

The academics did more thinking: “However, this [worshipping of the female] threatened the rise of the predominantly male Catholic Church. Thus, we postulate that Michelangelo concealed the symbols associated with female anatomy because he knew that the Pope would never favour such representations.”

(Note to the academics: excellent use of the word postulate here; sounds a bit like masturbate which is nicely on topic.)

“Michelangelo was suggesting women are like the jam in a Jammie Dodger – central and incredibly important. Without us, life is just like a regular biscuit.”

Apparently, while Michelangelo was spending most days up ladders, the Catholic Church banned dissection of the human body. In the present day (not as in Christmas, as in just now) we know Michelangelo would have studied dissected cadavers to help with his work, so he may have hidden his anatomical knowledge of the female body so he didn’t get into trouble. Basically Michelangelo idolised women, thought we were sacred and was harbouring dead bodies. He sounds like a top chap, but where are all these sexual organ references?

Take a look at the image again. If that triangle pointing at that ram’s head doesn’t say penetration then what does? Apparently, the triangle is a penis: it’s an ancient pagan symbol for the phallus (which makes Pythagoras a bit obsessed!). The ram’s head is a uterus, which is more convincing aesthetically – although how that huge triangle is going to fit in, I have no idea; she’s obviously an optimistic ram’s head (I am aware penises don’t generally enter wombs but still, proportions people).

To be fair to Michelangelo, the ram’s horns do look like ovaries and the shape of the skull fits the uterus shape nicely. I am an Aries, which takes the symbol and qualities of a ram. We do like butting our heads up against things, having many head-on collisions, not just with penises, which I guess makes sense because my ram’s head bleeds once a month.

Dr de Campos and his art-gazing chums also said Michelangelo painted Eve’s (from Adam and Eve fame) arms in the shape of a V to represent the pagan symbol of fertility, the female body and reproductive organs.

Image: Deivis de Campos et al/Clinical Anatomy.

Image: Deivis de Campos et al/Clinical Anatomy.

The academics also report that Eve’s arms are positioned at the very middle of the ceiling; thus Michelangelo was suggesting women are like the jam in a Jammie Dodger – central and incredibly important. Without us, life is just like a regular biscuit. I’m sure you would have liked Jammie Dodgers, Michelangelo, they are pretty symmetrical.

So there you go: academics say Michelangelo loved the ladies and our uteruses so much he secretly painted them on the Sistine Chapel. Cheers Michel. Can I call you Michel? Angelo? No, OK, sorry. Jammie Dodger?


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Written by Samantha Baines

Comedian and actor who can't tolerate dairy. Has won some things (mostly raffles) and strings words together for Time Out, The Guardian and BBC Radio London. Photo: Steve Ullathorne.