Communicating messages through art

The Sistine Chapel ceiling, painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512, was commissioned artwork for the church. He was asked to paint most of his well known work by the church in much the same way our clients commission marketing work from us.Illiteracy was very high In the 1500s. The only way for the church to communicate the words in the Bible effectively was using artwork. Much like we use print media such as billboards or e-newsletters, the church used paintings and sculpture to communicate its vision to the masses.I still find it fascinating that the most prolific and talented artist in our history was, in essence, a graphic designer whose work communicated the vision and voice of his client, Pope Julius II. I like to think that the relationship we have with our clients is healthier than the one Michelangelo had with Pope Julius II. They were always arguing over payment and creative vision.

Michelangelo did, however, sneak in his own agenda whenever possible. It’s cleverly portrayed in his most famous painting in the Sistine Chapel depicting God touching the finger of Adam. This painting was to illustrate how God gifted man with a soul. Michelangelo disagreed with that premise. He believed God gifted man with the ability to reason and think. That is why he cleverly painted God’s robes in the shape of a cerebellum. You can clearly see it in the photos. I had the chance to see the painting first hand on a trip to Rome. We are drawn to it and find a need to understand it. It’s a powerful communication tool in the right hands. It has shifted cultures and documented history. And that’s pretty cool in my book.

Alex Raffi is the Creative Director for Imagine Marketing.
Contact Alex at

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