Michelangelo

I love Michelangelo.

I love the human body. Especially knees and butts. In fact, one time I started crying while I was sculpting a butt because it was just so amazing and beautiful. If you’re an artist, you won’t get weirded out by that. If you’re not, I’m not sorry at all.

Anyway, back to Michelangelo. Each of M’s drawings and sculptures are a love-letter to the human body. When you love something or someone, it/they are more likely to take precedent in your life, thoughts, and actions. Michelangelo’s drawings and sculptures are known to be “larger than life.”  In a time when the human body was just beginning to be explored, Michelangelo was on the cusp of creations of human majesty.

While I don’t agree with his theology of art (see rage-fest on the Sistine Chapel), his innovations in drawing and discovery of the human body as something worth looking at, is a great thing. I’m forever thankful for Michelangelo.

But enough words. I’ve decided to make this post more of a photo-journalism type thing, so we can all appreciate M’s work together.

david-hand-760x970
Detail from David, Michelangelo, marble, 1504, Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence

Here, we can all tell that Michelangelo was taken aback by the action of the veins in a man’s hands when he is tensing his whole body. He also knew that when a hand hangs down, all the blood in the arm tends to rush to the hand. Delicately carved in Carrara marble, David’s hand looks shockingly life-like.

 

Male-Figure-1530s
Male Figure, Michelangelo, 1530s, Musee de Louvre, Paris, France

All right. Let’s get something out in the open. Michelangelo was OBSESSED with back muscles. Once when I was copying a drawing of his, I had to ask my professor what was going on because Michelangelo had emphasized muscles that you can’t actually see in a normal back. His dissections had introduced him to the wonders of muscle layers. So if you ever look at the drawing of a male nude by Michelanglo and you think it looks lumpy, know that those muscles are actually there. You just have to understand how they all intersect. But isn’t this the perfect example of how Michelangelo had fallen in love with the intricacies of the human body?

 

Detail from the Pieta, Michelangelo, 1499, St. Peter's Basilica, Rome, Italy, marble
Detail from the Pieta, Michelangelo, 1499, St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome, Italy, marble

Now, I’ll probably give Michelangelo a lot of flack throughout this blog for his manly women. But here is one instant where that is not at all the case. The Pieta perfectly freezes this moment in time that none of us can imagine. We know nothing of what it must have been like to be Mary holding Christ after his death on the cross. Yet Michelangelo has reverently carved all the tenderness, sadness, and a slightly-hidden joy in her delicate features. This is why this piece is so famous.

For more geeking out about the beauty if Michelangelo’s work, visit this site. They have categorized all of his works and have really decent pictures of all of it. …and you can order paintings of all of the photographs?

 

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