The notion of God creating Man had been represented in art before Michelangelo began working on the Sistine Chapel, but never with the majesty and vitality that he achieved. This treatment is not reserved purely for the figure of God but is equally abundant in Adam, fittingly so for a being made in God's image. Adam has been painted nude, a massive figure reclining against a rocky mountain amid an otherwise barren landscape. He is gracefully poised, a perfection of form-muscular yet beautifully proportioned-a heroically Classical image.
God is shown in movement, as he is in the preceding three panels, which portray images of Creation. The gestures and expressions of the angels and cherubs clinging to His side emphasize His movement; some are watching expectantly as the two hands draw close.
The scale within "The Creation of Adam" is larger than in the preceding panels. The scaffolding had been removed from the completed half of the ceiling by this time and upon viewing it, Michelangelo decided to increase the size of the figures and decrease the detail, making the paintings more impressive and startling to the audience below.