“Genius is eternal patience.” -Michelangelo
‘Dying Slave’ (1513-1516) by Michelangelo
The name Michelangelo can remind you of many things- the Italian Renaissance painter/sculptor or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle- but either way, it’s a famous one. Here’s a little bit of background on the Italian Renaissance painter/sculptor (and the inspiration behind Michelangelo’s name on TMNT):
Michelangelo (1475-1564) was a sculptor/painter of the high renaissance known for reinvigorating the classical idea that the nude human body was sufficient enough to express all the emotions that a painter could. His mastery of sculpture, painting and architecture remains unparalleled by any other artist in history. (Wow, he was so accomplished it makes me feel bad for binge watching Netflix all day.)
Anyways, Michelangelo has many famous pieces of work- some of which include: David, his Pieta, The Last Judgement Fresco- just to name a few. It’s no wonder why he was known as “Il Divino”, aka ‘the divine one’. He was admired for his ability to inspire a sense of grandeur, also known as terribilita, and attempts to imitate it inspired the next great art movement- mannerism.
So this sculpture, the ‘Dying Slave’, was originally made to be displayed at the tomb of Pope Julius II along with ‘Rebellious Slave’ (a sculpture that I’ll discuss in a later post). The ‘Dying Slave’ is seen as youthful and handsome, and looks like he’s in a deep sleep which contrasts with the ‘Rebellious Slave’. These sculptures are supposed to represent an extraordinary force that emanates from the human body that reinforces the impression of power.
This sculpture is massive, it’s no wonder why Michelangelo was known for his ability to create a sense of awe-inspiring grandeur. Standing at 2.15m, it’s giant, and by displaying it on a stand, it makes it seem more massive. It made me feel tiny just looking at it- and I guess that was kind of the point.
Despite the grandeur of the slave sculptures, they’re actually unfinished. This was actually a recurrent theme of Michelangelo’s as he would abandon a piece when he felt it could not achieve his vision. So the marks of the chisels and hammers can be seen on the raw marble- leaving traces of his efforts. If only my unfinished work could be seen as pieces of art instead of me procrastinating that would be amazing- I’d be the greatest artist ever.
Thanks for reading, and I’ll talk to you soon.