Is There a Hidden Message in the Sistine Chapel Ceiling?

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German President Horst Koehler and Pope Benedict XVI attend a concert at the Sistine Chapel

Calm down, Dan Brown — it isn’t fodder enough for a new book. But a new study alleges Michelangelo painted a subtle message into his famous fresco.

According to a report in the Telegraph, researches believe the famous Italian painter left hints of a anatomical sketch in one of his Sistine Chapel paintings as a way of thumbing his nose at the Catholic Church’s attitude against science. In a panel dubbed “Separation of Light From Darkness,” two neuroscientists from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine think there’s a hidden sketch of the human brain.

“Stunningly, following Michelangelo’s outline, one can draw into God’s neck and beard an anatomically correct ventral depiction of the brain,” the duo write in the latest issue of the journal Neurosurgery.

The brain appears on a portion of God’s neck, lit differently from the rest of the painting. Critics have always wondered about the inconsistency — the hidden sketch, one which would be considered heresy by the church, might provide an explanation.

Read the full report and see the image at the Telegraph.