Photo by Scala/Art Resource, NY

ON THE COVER: Michelangelo’s Separation of Light from Darkness is the first of nine biblical scenes on the Sistine Chapel ceiling, a flattened barrel vault more than 130 feet long. Between 1508 and 1512, Michelangelo made hundreds of preparatory drawings and then painted the frescoes in reverse chronological order, beginning with the Drunkenness of Noah and ending with God’s creation of the world. Appropriately, this first (but last-painted) fresco in the series illustrates verses 3–4 of the opening chapter of Genesis: “Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. And God saw that light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.”