“I live and love in God’s peculiar light.” — Michelangelo
Some days are deserts I struggle to find some one to profile on this blog…and some days are overwhelming. Today, besides Dame Kiri (who got the official Thought of the Day birthday nod) Michelangelo, Cyrano De Bergerac, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Willie Mays, and astronaut Gordo Cooper were on the A List for a possible birthday nod. I think it came down to the fact that I wanted to listen to some opera today, so Kiri won.
But I just can’t ignore Michelangelo.
Especially given what is happening RIGHT NOW in what is arguably his most famous “installation” the Sistine Chapel.
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was born on this day in Caprese, Italy in 1475. Today is the 538th anniversary of his birth.
The family soon moved to Florence, when Michelangelo was still a baby. His mother was ill, so little Michelangelo was sent to a wet-nurse who was part of a family of stone cutters.
Michelangelo’s father realized early on that his son had no interest in the family financial business, so agreed to apprentice him, at the age of 13, to the fashionable Florentine painter’s workshop. There, Michelangelo was exposed to the technique of fresco. Michelangelo had spent only a year at the workshop when an extraordinary opportunity opened to him: At the recommendation of Ghirlandaio, he moved into the palace of Florentine ruler Lorenzo the Magnificent, of the powerful Medici family, to study classical sculpture in the Medici gardens. [Biography.com]
“Faith in oneself is the best and safest course.” — Michelangelo
He went back to Florence in 1495 and worked as a sculptor. Three years later he moved to Rome where he met Cardinal Jean Bilhères de Lagraulas.
Michelangelo sculpted his Pieta, a sculpture of Mary holding the dead Jesus across her lap, for the Cardinal’s tomb.
Carved from a single piece of Carrara marble, the fluidity of the fabric, positions of the subjects, and “movement” of the skin of the Pieta—meaning “pity” or “compassion”—created awe for its early spectators. [Ibid]
His next major work was David.
He “turned the 17-foot piece of marble into a dominating figure.” [Ibid]
“A man paints with his brains and not with his hands.”— Michelangelo
The project fueled Michelangelo’s imagination, and the original plan for 12 apostles morphed into more than 300 figures on the ceiling of the sacred space. … Michelangelo fired all of his assistants, whom he deemed inept, and completed the 65-foot ceiling alone, spending endless hours on his back and guarding the project jealously until revealing the finished work, on October 31, 1512…. The resulting masterpiece is a transcendent example of High Renaissance art incorporating the Christian symbology, prophecy and humanist principles that Michelangelo had absorbed during his youth. The vivid vignettes of Michelangelo’s Sistine ceiling produce a kaleidoscope effect, with the most iconic image being the Creation of Adam… [Ibid]
Click here for a virtual 3-d tour of the Sistine Chapel.
“I am still learning.”— Michelangelo
After the Sistine Chapel his work moved more toward architecture. He designed the tomb for Pope Julius II, the Laurentian Library in Florence, and the Medici Chapel. In 1546 he was appointed as the new architect for St. Peters Basilica in Rome. He designed the famous dome that crowns the church and work was well underway on it when Michelangelo died on Feb 18, 1564.
- The Sistine Chapel (adventuresinyonderland.wordpress.com)