Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday Feature: Michelangelo

Pieta Sculpture by Michelangelo
There are two interesting elements to the life and works of the artist Michelangelo that fascinate me. The first being how he identified himself as a sculptor and didn't care for painting yet he produced amazingly dynamic frescos.  The most famous of which is his work on the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.
The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo
Note how sculptural Michelangelo's depictions of the human form are in the painting above.  The lesson I take away from this is how craftsmanship in any format can aid in the development of another.
And then there are the issues of loincloths...
Shortly after the Sistine Chapel was finished it was decided by the powers that be to have another artist paint loincloths over the genitals of the bodies of the ceiling frescos.  This action was influenced by the conservative movement of the Counter Reformation.  What irks me as always about such censorship is the idea that our bodies are crass.  I perceive sexuality as a divine energy responsible for our own creation, something to be celebrated with sacred reverence.  The paintings were recently restored to their original state of nude glory.  Rock on.

I feel as lit by fire a cold countenance
That burns me from afar and keeps itself ice-chill;
A strength I feel two shapely arms to fill
Which without motion moves balance.

The flesh now earth, and here my bones,
Bereft of handsome eyes, and air,
Still loyal are to him I joyed in bed,
Who I embraced, in whom my soul now lives
-Michelangelo's love poems to Tommaso dei Cavalieri

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