February 28, 2010


"Columns, after Michelangelo"

8 x 6, oil pastels on pastel paper

It is easy to see how Michelangelo would have served as an inspiration to the artists of his day. Art scholar Charles de Tolnay elaborates; "Each artist drew his inspiration from a single aspect of the master's art, transforming it and integrating it within the scope of his own tendencies "(such as carriage, drama, dignity of gestures ). Most artists wanted to expand beyond the classical view of an ideal world and incorporate their own visions into the work as Michelangelo had done with the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Never before had a painting been done that depicted God in the way the artist had boldly portrayed him. Suddenly Michelangelo's contemporaries began stepping out of their own comfort zones,  changed the proportions of their figures, and began using different backgrounds or employing figurative elements into their work. Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael among others, had previously embraced the principal that beauty is nature, while Michelangelo's focus became expressing his inward image of beauty that he "made more concrete by a profound study of the natural world" as he sketched and drew from live models. Tolnay further explains that the Master's incorporation of the ignudi in the Sistine celling was a new concept of "movement, and design"; and because they served as "a rhythmic outline freely arranged in space and no longer tied to earth" . This bold new concept "encouraged an entire group of young artists to liberate themselves from the classical Renaissance canons"  And the use of opaque, fresh colors Michelangelo had incorporated into the ceiling figures; along with a new emphasis on grandeur ushered in a new art age known as "Mannerism". A few years later, sculptor, architect, and founder of the Baroque Age, Gian Bernini would exclaim "Michelangelo was great as a sculptor and painter, but truly divine as an architect"

"After four tortured years, more than 400 over life-sized figures, I felt as old and as weary as Jeremiah. I was only 37, yet friends did not recognize the old man I had become...What one has most to work and struggle for in painting is to do the work with a great amount of labour and sweat in such a way that it may afterwards appear, however much it was laboured upon, to have been done almost quickly and without any labour...if people knew how hard I worked to achieve my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful after all"
"The science of design is the source and very essence of paint, sculpture, and architecture. Sometimes, it seems to me that, all the works of the human brain and hand are either design itself or a branch of that art"
...Michelangelo Buonorroti

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