Michelangelo

The Questions I Would Ask Michelangelo

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

Introduction

If I could visit with one person from the Italian Renaissance, it would most definitely be Michelangelo. He was born in Caprese on March 6, 1475. Even though he was born in Caprese, he grew up in Florence. I would choose him not only because he is the greatest Italian artist in the Italian Renaissance but also because of at the age of 13, he started his career.

Biography

Being so young, he wasn’t expected to have the great talent and natural born talent he is known to have today. Michelangelo was brought in as an art apprentice by Lorenzo dé Medici who also worked under Donatello. After a few years of working as an apprentice, he studied under the sculptor Bertoldo di Giovanni and also studied art and ancient Roman statuary.

Michelangelo Buonarroti contributed his life into the Italian Renaissance and humanities. Being the great and respected artist that he was, his art brought physical realism and a powerful look into the art world. Michelangelo had many important art pieces during this time period. These included his Pietà and David sculptures, which help establish his role as an artist, and also his incredible paintings of the Sistine Chapel.

Some of Michelangelo’s still stands in great and prominent condition. As mentioned before some of his first work included the statues of Pietà and David in 1498. The inspiration of Pietà came from when the French Cardinal Jean Bilères de Lagraulas, the representative of King Charles VIII. Jean Bilères de Lagraulas wanted a statue to portray the Virgin Mary to sit upon his future tomb. Michelangelo delivered and sculpted an almost 6 foot sculpture made from pure marble.

In 1501, Michelangelo got a job to make the sculpture David. The cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore wanted a male figure to be placed out front. David’s inspiration came from the Old Testament to be depicted as valiant and holy. Being made from marble just like Pietà, David stood 17 feet tall and still stands today in a museum in Florence.

My Questions to Him

If I had to chance today to ask Michelangelo any questions, I’d have quite a few. One question would be, as a child, did he know that painting and sculpting was what he wanted to do with his life? I would ask this because at just the age of 13, he mapped his entire life. He knew exactly what his passion was and became a master of everything he loved. He lived and breathed art. I believe Michelangelo would answer yes, he did know that this was what he wanted to do. Based on the era he was born and raised, it was a time for inspiration and new commodities.

I would also ask him what it was like being chosen to do art for two cathedrals. Being the magnificent artist that he was, he had to have been over the moon to be painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and making a sculpture for the cathedral Maria del Fiore. In the age and time of his artful achievements, he brought in new meaning to art and different views into the gifted world he brought himself into. Even though Michelangelo was commissioned for his fine art and awarded tremendously, I don’t think he ever really understood was his art would mean then and even now to not just the art world, but the real world as well.

If Michelangelo Buonarroti never got into the art world, would he be married and have a family? Being brought in to do all of this timeless work, I’m sure he never even thought to settle down and have children of his own. Or if while he was doing his work, would he make time and set aside his art to get married and settle down. Being that good at something, I believe he never had the time or even wanted to push his passion aside and ruin his art. I’m sure he was a very nice, honest, and loveable man but if he were married and had kids, would he have ever got the chance to create the wonderful Pietà and David?

My last and final question for Michelangelo would be, if he knew his artwork would shape and help create such a big name for the art industry, would he have done it any different? I would only ask this because yes, he did create beautiful pieces, large and important to history might I add, but would he have done more? If he would have known how big his name was going to be, would he have more personal pieces to represent his life and how he learned to be the great artist that he once was? Even though he created 178 magnificent painting and sculptures, did he create art for him to love, or was it all just for commission and if he had known how big he would be today, would he do his art different?

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The Biography of Michelangelo Buonarroti

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

Introduction

Along with Botticelli and Da Vinci, there are very few artists in the history of human art who enjoy world-wide recognition and they name are recognized wherever they are spelled, and Michelangelo is definitely one of them. This is an artist who would leave humanity a series of works of art that would become invaluable treasures, and a sample of the artistic abilities that a person can have, all thanks to the patronage he received from the Medici family, one of the most powerful at the moment of his life.

Childhood

Michelangelo was born on March 6, 1475, in Florence, a city that at that time was in an age of splendor thanks to the businesses and altruistic works of the Medici family. He was the second of five children and came from a family of Florentine merchants and bankers, where his father was a senior official with a good socio-economical position in the city. Since childhood Miguel Ángel showed his love for the arts, so he was inclined to the artistic career, which caused discomfort and dislike among his parents who wanted him to follow in his father’s footsteps and enter politics like him.

The Workshop

At the age of 13, a close friend of the family took him to the workshop of Domenico Ghirlandaio, so he could learn the various painting techniques that the Master of Arts was teaching, including the wall-fresco technique, which he would later apply with exceptional mastery in the Sistine chapel. His parents initially opposed this decision, but they would end giving up and accepted this fate for their beloved son, so they would begin to support him to make his way into the world of the arts more accessible.

The School of Arts

The months would pass in his stay in this workplace where he was being instructed and by 1489, a year after entering the workshop, an opportunity came that would change his life, as Lorenzo de Medici the Magnificent, known at that time as a great Patron of the arts, would visit the workshop and at that moment he met Michelangelo and noticed the talent of the young artist, so he did not miss the opportunity and extended an invitation to join the ranks of his private school of artists in his palace.

At that time, the school of arts that Lorenzo the Magnificent had running, was composed of the most famous poets, philosophers, and artists in those golden years, because by the time Michelangelo arrived, Botticelli, Da Vinci and other virtuosos of the time had already passed by, so this place became for him his great source of learning and inspiration.

Sometime after his arrival in the Medici family, he began to frequent the Garden of San Marcos, where he would be in charge of the ornamentation of some marbles, thus learning the fine art of sculpture.

After the Death of Lorenzo

In 1492 Lorenzo the Magnificent died and his son, Piero de Médici, nicknamed ‘Il Fatuo’, decreed that Michelangelo will remain at his service. Even thou the family kept Michelangelo in his payroll, he would not receive large commissions in this period, because as detailed later in this book, this character did not share his father’s ideals and the stimuli to the arts would decrease dramatically, to the point where many artists had to abandon Florence to seek fortune elsewhere. The bad fortune of the young artist of 20 years would not end with the decrease in art commissions, the entry of French troops in the region by 1494, forced him to flee to Venice, where he would have to continue his career one way or another.

Thanks to the fact that he was initiated in the world of the arts by the Medici, his patrons were always relevant men, like Pope Julius II, since Michelangelo did not waste time while in the Medici academy of arts, and began to relate with the elite of that time, in order to continue his experiences in the art world. It would not be long before this artist managed to return to Florence, and in 1501 he arrived again at the city that saw his techinique flourish, but this time with a lot of success behind him, because while he was away, he managed to become very renowned as an artistic genius.

Rome

It is necessary to make a parenthesis and mention a fact that is important not only for this narrative, but for the history of mankind. During his exile after the fall of the Medici regime and the invasion of Florence by French troops, in 1496 the artist moved to Rome, where he spent five years performing several commissions.

The papal city, in full pontificate of Alexander VI, known as the lavish Pope established by the Borgias, had become a center of attraction for artists, in a similar way to Lorenzo de Medici’s Florence, which offered generous prospects of patronage and wealth for any artists with enough talent. To prove his talent, Michelangelo was commissioned with a work that could give any proof that he was an exemplary artist, so he was commissioned to do what would become one of his masterpieces, “La Pietà dil Vaticano”.

With this beautiful sculpture, the technique of MIchelangelo was proven to everyone, as that classic perfection of the figures in marble made by him remain to this day as a testament to the perfection in arts, a fact that filled his contemporaries with astonishment and with that he would gain critical acclaim and success.

After the election of a new pope in the Medici family in 1513, Leo X, Miguel Angel will be hired again to conclude the works of the church of San Lorenzo in Florence. With this new task, Michelangelo designed a facade that was never built, the new library, and the New Sacristy.

The idea of the Sacristy arises in 1519 after the death of the Pope’s brother, Giuliano, Duke of Nemours, and Lorenzo, Duke of Urbino. Michelangelo takes as a model the ancient sacristy of Brunelleschi but adds a second floor that complements the building as a whole. He also plays with the different architectural elements, breaking some canons of classical architecture at the time, which he conceived rather in a sculptural way.

Something in which historians agree is that Michelangelo was a person very sensitive to his surroundings because he used to analyze what was happening around him and tried so hard to capture that feeling, being the historical events that he was forced to live as a good example of it, because his work “Il Sacco di Roma”, captures with great detail, the disastrous event that took place in 1527 in the Italian capital.

Another outstanding example is the painting he made about the monk Savonarola, where he began to see the violent preaching against luxury and corruption that reigned in Florence, protests that stimulated Michelangelo’s religious concerns. Two years later from this event, Charles VIII invaded Italy, just as Savonarola had predicted, forcing the Medici to leave Florence.

Last Years and Death

It is said that in his last years of life, Michelangelo experienced a deeply spiritual and religious crisis, since the artist entered into a relationship with Vittoria Colonna, a beautiful and pious aristocrat, for whom he composed numerous sonnets. Linked to the circle of Juan de Valdés, a Spanish humanist resident in Naples who advocated a profound reform of the Catholic Church, Vittoria Colonna could influence the religious questioning of Michelangelo.

In any case, a kind of regret began to dominate the artist, who stopped thinking that the beauty of the human body in art was an expression of Divinity. The fear of death and the eternal condemnation that it could carry led him to renounce hedonism so the ways that served as a muse for his creations in the past were over. Since the death of his great friend Vittoria, the idea of death will be a predominant theme in his poetry and his paintings.

This new sensibility was especially reflected in his sculptures, as those works from this artist underwent a profound change in the last phase of his life. A testimony for this can be seen in his latest works, a series of representations of the piety of man and his merciful expressions, a theme that Michelangelo would give a meaning of a requiem.

Thus, in the dramatic Piedad Rondanini the bodies of mother and son merge in their agony. It is said that the sculptor worked on this work until the day before he died. The life and his work were like that for Michelangelo, a series of feelings that could be reflected in the world, because in the end, that was what determined his creations, as his works would be the reason for his existence.

Michelangelo Buonarroti died in Rome on February 18, 1564, a little while later after finishing one of his most beautiful works at the St. Peter’s Basilica, following the scheme of Bramante, where he designed a Greek cross-plan temple crowned by a spacious and monumental dome on scallops 42 meters in diameter. Subsequently, Carlo Maderno modified the original plant and transformed it into a Latin cross plant.

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My Favourite Sculptures by Michelangelo

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

A Jack of All Trades

The saying usually goes, a jack of all trades, but a master of none – although when it comes to Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti he was not only a jack of all trades, but a master of each and everyone. Michelangelo was considered the greatest living artist in his lifetime, and it still holds up. A good number of his works rank among the most famous/influential in history to this day. Michelangelo was born in Caprese Michelangelo, Italy on March 6th 1475, and he is one of the few during the Renaissance Age who completely changed the game for art and how it was viewed among the world. The reason he changed the game for art is due to the he brought realism into art and how he challenged the old way of thinking by showing people that painting the human body was not a sin. This encouraged a lot of different and new thinking for when it came to presenting art. The reason Michelangelo became an artist was due to being influenced by many artists – one artist that comes to mind is Lorenzeo Ghiberti a Florentine artist from the Early 1400s; Ghiberti had designed the metal doors for the Cathedral in Florence which showed scenes from the Old Testament. The first piece of art that really shined from Michelangelo was when he received a commission to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling as a consolation prize of sorts when Pope Julius II temporarily scaled back plans for a massive sculpted memorial to himself that Michelangelo was to complete. Although Michaelangelo was also a painter, architect and poet it was really his marble sculpture that caught my attention to wanting to understand why he made them this way, what emotions he was trying to portray, and all the background knowledge on how that sculpture came to be.

Moses

The first marble sculpture that really caught my eye was “Moses”. When I saw it the first thought that came to my mind was “Wow that’s incredibly cool” and just how insane that a person was able to create something so real and all that detail behind it, let alone during that time, but even now it still holds up amazingly. A thing that is different with this sculpture compared to the others was this was made later in his career. You can really see all the refinements with the Moses compared to his earlier work. While that isn’t to say that this is better than the others, I am willing to say that you definitely can see more realism among this one than his older works. The Moses was created during 1513-1515 was described as “Moses is an imposing figure—he is nearly eight feet high sitting down! He has enormous muscular arms and an angry, intense look in his eyes.” The Moses shows his courage and passion at a time when he was fighting to be able to complete the tomb of Pope Julius II. It is true he never completed the Pope’s tomb, but in Moses we can see once again his geniusness at play. He considered it his most important work. The Moses sculpture as I see it, was Michaelangelo being at a total understanding with his talent and abilities, and then being able to put that all together at the age of 38 – his pinnacle.

The Pieta

The next marble sculpture that caught my eye was The Pieta. When I was witnessing pictures of it, I had a different thought than when I was looking at the Moses. The only word I had for it was beautiful. The Pieta was created during 1498-1500. In 1497, a cardinal named Jean de Billheres asked Michelangelo to create a work of sculpture to go into a side chapel at Old St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. That resulted in the Pieta which would have so much succes it brought even greater acknowledgement to Michelangelo career, unlike any past art he had created. When the figure was examined it showed that the proportions were not in natural relation to one another – in short the dimensions were discumbuluated to say. While the heads were proportional it showed that the Virgin’s body was larger than Christ’s. She was so large, that if she would stand up she would tower over her son. A reason that he made it this way was so it was necessary that the Virgin could support her son on her lap; had her body been smaller, it might have been very difficult or awkward for her to have held an adult male as gracefully as she does. Around the time the work was finished, there was a complaint against Michelangelo because of the way he depicted the Virgin. She appears rather young – so young, in fact, that she could scarcely be the mother of a thirty-three-year-old son. Michelangelo’s answer to this criticism was simply that women who are chaste retain their beauty longer, which meant that the Virgin would not have aged like other women usually do. The Pieta can be found in Vatican City.

David

Finally, the last sculpture that is ranked among his best not even in just marble sculptures, but just art in general – David. This outstanding sculpture was created between 1501 and 1504. Michelangelo accepted the challenge with enthusiasm to sculpt a large scale David and worked constantly for over two years to create one of his most breathtaking masterpieces of not only marble, but art as well. It is a 14.0 ft marble statue depicting the Biblical hero David, represented as a standing male nude. Michelangelo was only 26 years old in 1501, but he was already the most famous and best paid artist in his days.

Another interpretation about these larger details lead scholars to think that Michelangelo intentionally over-proportioned the head to underline the concentration and the right hand to symbolize the pondered action. It is known from archive documents that Michelangelo worked at the statue in utmost secrecy, hiding his masterpiece in the making up until January 1504. In January 1504, his 14 foot tall David was unveiled only to the church: they all agreed that it was far too perfect to be placed up high in the Cathedral, thus it was decided to discuss another location in town. Thanks to its imposing perfection, the biblical figure of David became the symbol of liberty and freedom of the Republican ideals, showing Florence’s readiness to defend itself.

Michelangelo once wrote, “That a true and pure work of sculpture, by definition, one that is cut, not cast or modeled should retain so much of the original form of the stone block and should so avoid projections and separation of parts that it would roll downhill of its own weight.”

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The Recreation of ‘the Creation of Adam’ Over Time

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

Art has no purpose beyond its own self. Art exists to celebrate life, nature, and the world we live in. And to some extent, to expose problems in society. We can conclude that we use our senses to identify ourselves with an artwork. However, there came a time where people developed curiosity towards art based on realism. In the 1500s, the renaissance or the ‘rebirth’ of art came into play. A painting by Michelangelo named ‘The Creation of Adam’ sparked an interest amongst Europeans. The painting located on the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling represents many things, but mainly, the creation of mankind.

Michelangelo shows us how God looks at us. He paints the background with vivid colors but shifts his focus on God trying to reach Adam to give him consciousness. Neither touch hands. While God tries putting all his energy into reaching Adam’s hand, Adam lays on a rock attempting to try to touch. Although some may think Adam seemed lazy, or that God tried to give Adam consciousness, this shows how humans have a lack of devotion towards God. One assumes that God can only be realized fully or known through the process of devotional service and, thus, the atheistic cannot know Him because they we are not willing to build a relationship with Him. Man has tarnished and misrepresented religion so much that individuals who are seeking to understand higher are afraid to do so out of fear of being labeled a “sheep” among other things.

Although art might be a way to please the eye, it can be used as a way to mock others. On February 18, 2012 the ShockBlast Website attempted to make the painting become a mockery to the internet. By altering the painting and turning it into a meme, the meme became act of internet trolling. The image is an exact replica of the painting except for Adam’s face. “A ‘meme’ is a virally-transmitted cultural symbol or social idea. The majority of modern memes are captioned photos that are intended to be funny, often as a way to publicly ridicule human behavior. Other memes can be videos and verbal expressions. Some memes have heavier and more philosophical content.”

In chapter 1 of Ways of Seeing, John Berger discusses the ideas on perception of art by the viewers. He established the idea that “it’s seeing that establishes our place in the world” shortly adding “don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” He talks about how art and photography, you have to ‘judge by its cover’ because they are both visual. He then argues how they viewers can think and see things differently. He states how those who view art and photography tend to not always approach it with the same meaning. However, he then goes into more depth about how art and photography can be altered to make the viewer see that the artist wants them to see.

The word meme “Meme” originated from a book titled “The Selfish Gene” written by Richard Dawkin in 1976, showing how the word has been around even before the internet was created. The book talks about meme as ways or things human behavior and culture not only share but evolve from. As we have entered a new generation, technology has taken center stage and a large portion of people spending time online. Memes are things such as funny images, funny videos, and inside jokes. They became a way in which we communicate with each other and a part of everyday internet culture.

A meme can mean something different to everybody, but it can also form a bond with each other and create a snapshot of the moment in time. Memes are used and what they are or present. However, in this case the image is an mockery towards art or even towards people of wealth. Meanwhile you can access a meme anywhere in the internet, a painting is much more valuable and harder to obtain. Art over the decades have represented wealth. During the renaissance, only those who came from wealthy backgrounds were able to have an expensive taste acquiring what they wanted without going out there way to get it.

Even though a meme is used to help us relate to funny moments, aerosol artists help us see art in a different way. On November 4, 2006 in Waterloo, Iowa the Weekend Edition Saturday from NPR News interviews a man named Paco Rosic. Rosic recreates the painting ‘The Creation of Adam’ with spray paint on a building ceiling in downtown Waterloo. The spray painting by Rosic illustrates his accomplishments as an aerosol artist and as a son. Just like Michelangelo, he painted half of the panting on his back. Meanwhile Michelangelo took a few years to finish his painting, it only took Rosic 4 months to complete his. He uses part of his past with his mother to recreate the painting. “Paco’s fascination with the Sistine Chapel began at age 6, when his mother Anna began sharing her passion for art. In the family home outside of Sarajevo, Anna, Paco and his older brother Alen would study books filled with the works of Pablo Picasso and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.”

Rosic did not let time discouraged him from pursuing his dreams. Due to the dedication and appreciation towards art, he showed how in order for us to be fulfilled in this life we must embrace who we are and what we are capable of achieving. There is something about problems and difficulties that bring out the best in us, as they force us to focus on what really matters. While Rosic struggled to look for a perfect place to paint his work of art, he never gave up. However because he used spray paint, the colors are more vigorous. Compared to the meme and the actual oil painting, this recreation was more colorful and vivid. The way is painted is different from the meme. Anyone can create a meme, but spray paints take more time and precision.

In John Berger:Ways of Seeing, he establishes that “the way we see things is affected by what we know or what we believe” affirming that seeing might come first; however, we often use that to relate to past experiences. A primary function of a painting can interpreted in many ways. In this case being black feminism. On May 16, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois: Michael Blackmon recreated ‘The Creation of Adam’ with black women. While replacing the white male figures in the painting, she uses black women to show the viewer how she sees herself. Inspired by the Michelangelo and her parents, she felt the need to recreate a painting with people who looked like her.

In an interview with Buzzfeed, Rosales states how she wants her “daughter to grow up proud of her curls and coils, her brown skin, and for her to identify as a woman of color, a woman of value”. She used her recreation of the panting as a social commentary to show her awareness of discrimination against black people. From a very early age, we are taught things from a materialistic point of view. We are influenced to do things such as go to school, get an education, get a job, make money, have a family of your own, and a wide range of other things that are supposed to help us become successful and happy in life. Although, these things are essential to our advancement in life, they are not as important as our parents, family, teachers, and mentors telling us to “love yourself” or even mentioning what self love is. Apart from not being influenced to self-love, in western culture we are not properly educated on the all-important knowledge of self.

Later on in her interview, she claims that people of color were ‘underrepresented’ and ‘misrepresented’ and still are. She wanted to show that not everything revolves around white people. “And when you consider that all human life came out of Africa, the Garden of Eden and all, then it only makes sense to paint God as a black woman, sparking life in her own image.” With this, one can assume Rosales wanted equality for future women and children of her skin complexion. In chapter 1 of Ways of Seeing, Berger approaches that art no longer exist the way it did due to the mystified ways people change them turning them into more political issues instead of something that can be appreciated as history itself. Later on in Chapter 3, he discuss how nudity was used in paintings. Berger talks how women were viewed and treated as objects to portray power to men. Later on he defines nakedness “as being oneself.” Later adding that nudity is “to be seen naked by others, not recognizing oneself.” Here Berger claims how some artist cannot resist women objectification. He claims how artists failed to create a different perception in culture due to the fact of how media and society at the time wouldn’t change how men thoughts were towards women.

In the original painting, Michelangelo plays a neoplatonic thought by representing mankind in 1500s by showing Adam as a image of the form of an “Ideal man” rather than a natural way. Forcing us to consider the idea of a man rather than the physical and temporary real man. Meanwhile in Rosales painting, she paints women with bodies with whom she and other black women can identify with. Beautiful, knowledgeable, old, and wise black women.

All these recreations represent something different but are all connected by the same concept. In our current age, all spirituality and religion has been somewhat lost, as we have surrendered to dealings of the lower self, succumbing to temptation, anger, lust, and material desires. It is not known the power to manifest anything that you wish to be true until you put yourself out there. Like Michelangelo, Rosales, the meme, and Rosic, they all show the reminiscing we humans do. While we are here, bound by time and space, we serve as a connection to the future and the past. Just like a meme and a painting, they are both things we can go back to in the further future. Art will always play a big role in society.

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