6 x 8, oil
For this painting, I chose to study a portion of Michelangelo's sculpture of the Bruges Madonna. Paintings and sculptures of the Madonna holding a swaddled baby Jesus were common during the Renaissance; but in this instance, the artist chose to depict Jesus as a toddler who appears to be contemplating taking a step away from his mother. Mary has a loving, yet somber expression that most art historians agree is evidence of her understanding of the child's future. What draws me to the work is the artist's sweet and tender depiction of Mary holding onto her baby's hand. Her gentle grasp reminds me of the delicate balance we seek as parents, as we simultaneously provide support and guidance while encouraging our children to seek independence and explore their world.
As we look forward to a new year and contemplate our goals, dreams and resolutions to make the world a better place; let us consider the wisdom and courage in what Michelangelo had to say about this subject over 500 years ago:
"The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark"....Michelangelo