Essay About Michelangelo

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Michelangelo was arguably the most famous artist of the late Italian Renaissance, and inarguably one of the greatest artists of all time. There is no question that Michelangelo excelled in all three arts: sculpting, painting and architecture. Although that is the case, Michelangelo made it clear that he was first and foremost a sculptor. When Michelangelo was in his late 20’s, he sculpted the 17-foot tall David. David and his later sculptures such as Moses and Pieta demonstrated his astounding ability to make marble seem like living flesh and blood to the point where it is hard to even imagine that they could have possibly been created with a hammer and chisel. It almost seems impossible that the artist responsible for the most glorious and exquisite paintings on the Sistine Chapel walls and ceiling quite often declared that he was not a painter. He was more of a sculptor at heart than a painter, which is why Vasari quoted him saying, “I cannot live under pressures from patrons, let alone paint.” Michelangelo wanted his name to live on, but solely as “Michelangelo, the sculptor”, which is who he signed off as on every letter and contract. Michelangelo once wrote that a true and pure work of sculpture, one that is cut, not casted or modeled should retain majority of its original form of the stone block and should also avoid projections and separations of parts that it would roll downhill of its own weight. He sought to prove that devotion to the integrity of the stone block is the foundation in which great sculpture is created. It is often said that he had the ability to visualize the finished sculpture by simply looking at the block of stone in front of him. He sometimes characterized his idea for a sculpture as a prisoner insi... ... middle of paper ... ...e than that. The sculpture is intimidating because of its size, but Michelangelo intentionally created no indication of aggression or tension to represent it as a warning to Florentines that whoever governed Florence should govern justly and defend it bravely. The David illustrates the Renaissance’s sense of force strengthened by intelligence. When it came time to paint the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling, Pope Julius II was adamant that no other than Michelangelo would be the one to do it. People were confused as to why he was painting if he was sculptor because prior to the ceiling frescoes, the only painting he’d done was as a brief student in Ghirlandaio’s workshop. Even so, it soon became apparent that Michelangelo could do anything. He begrudgingly accepted the pope’s request and spent the next four years of his life perched on scaffolding with his brush in hand.
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