Art Essay, Research Paper
The Italian painter, sculptor and architect Michaelangelo was brought to Florence right after birth and grew up in the care of a stonecutter’s wife. With 13 he became an apprentice to the Ghirlandajor and later was taken into the Medici household. In 1501, he returned to Florence from Rome and received a lot of recognition. During this time he completed “David”, a monumental, classicizing, heroic nude in which the body’s magnificent structure of bone and muscle is combined with alert, resolute expression of the head. In 1508 he started to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. Over the centuries there has been much discussion as to the larger meaning of the whole fresco and the specific meaning of the separate figures. The monumentality, the positive mood of the subjects as well as the classicizing and idealizing forms of architecture and figures are High Renaissance. But the potential energy, overall tension and twisting movements of the figures are unique to Michaelangelo. The large, many-figured fresco of the “Last Judgment” was painted from 1536 to 1542, the same time as he painted the Pauline Chapel frescoes. In the Sistine Chapel “The Last Judgment” (1534-41), “The Creation of Adam” and “The Fall of Man and the Expulsion from the Garden of Eden” (1508-12) are all painted in cool, subdued tones. Michaelangelo has been considered the greatest living artist after the Sistine Chapel was unveiled. He had lived through the early Renaissance, the triumph of High Renaissance and the rise of Mannerism but had maintained his unique and powerful style. His creative innovations were immediately adapted by his contemporaries, but he had no pupils or school partly because he executed his work alone without assistants. Michaelangelo was a sculptor – a carver of marble statues. His faith in the image of man as the supreme vehicle of expression gave him a closer sense of kinship with Classical sculptors than with any Renaissance artist. A dualism of body and spirit gives his figures their extraordinary pathos. They appear outwardly calm, but they are stirred by an overwhelming psychic energy that has no release in physical action. The emotion-charged, muscular bodies of Hellenistic sculpture, their heroic scale and superhuman beauty and power became part of Michaelangelo’s own style and through him of Renaissance art in general. During the last 30 years of his life, architecture became Michaelangelo’s main occupation. In 1537-39 he was commissioned to reshape the Campidoglio, the top of the Capitoline Hill in Rome.