Thursday, May 12, 2016

Michelangelo and his Works

Michelangelo was an Italian polymath, with many different skills including architecture, military engineering, painting, and sculpture during the Italian Renaissance. Many of his works are known as some of the most famous in existence. He was often referred to as Il Divino (“The Divine One”), and was looked up to by many people.

Born in 1475 in Caprese, Italy, Michelangelo Buonarroti and his family quickly moved to Florence, where his father worked for the government. Michelangelo was then apprenticed to painter Domenico Ghirlandaio at age thirteen, and then refined his sculpting technique under Bertoldo di Giovanni. Michelangelo always considered himself a sculptor before anything else, even with the mural he painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. He died of an illness at 88 years old in 1564, unmarried and childless yet surviving far past the life expectancy of the era.

Michelangelo had a pure love for quarried marble and sought to prove his devotion to the stone block many times. He is quoted as saying, I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. Using a chisel and stone, he carved many beautiful pieces, some of which are still unfinished today.

David is one of Michelangelo’s most famous sculptures, depicted from the Old Testament, and more than fourteen feet tall. He was constructed to enhance Florence’s famous Duomo, officially the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, and also “protect” the city of Florence. But although this was true, it was
Michelangelo's intention that the sculpture would serve as more than just a fierce protector of the city. David’s watchful eyes warned the people of Florence that “whoever governed Florence should govern justly and defend it bravely...eyes watchful...” This is reflected in David’s calm eyes.

Michelangelo gave David powerful athlete’s muscles, a massive ribcage and made him also have a powerful stance. David carries a stone loosely in his right hand and a sling lies over his left shoulder, expressing the superiority of inner strength over brute force.

The second famous statue that Michelangelo constructed actually has several versions—the Pieta.

The Pieta is a sculpture of the Virgin Mary holding her dead son, Jesus Christ. Her face appears almost peaceful, but her left upturned hand shows the true emotion that she is harboring inside of herself. Everything is highly polished to perfection in this sculpture.

I admire this sculptor because Michelangelo not only had a passion for sculpting, but he took it one step further and lived it. He took one look at a block of marble and saw what was hidden inside of it—all he needed to do was free the artwork that was already there.

Other people admire Michelangelo’s work because he was one of the most famous Renaissance artists, and for good reason. Although he excelled at many things, he channeled his focus into sculpting, and became immensely good at carving and bringing out impossibly microscopic details in each sculpture. This man was extremely prideful and knew that he was the best, but look where it got him—I believe that it was worth it for him, and all of his admirers.

Works Cited

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