“La vita è breve e l’arte è lunga.” -? (Life is short but art endures.)
‘Rebellious Slave’ (1513-1515) by Michelangelo
As mentioned in the ‘Dying Slave’ post from earlier on, this sculpture was made as a pair to be placed at the tomb of Pope Julius II. The two pieces were supposed to be placed in the lower part of the Popes’ funerary monument, so the front of the sculpture received more effort than the sides.
You can see that the slaves hands are held behind his back, and he is contorting his torso trying to twist himself free. This twisting motion gives the impression that he is moving towards the viewer- which I thought was kind of cool- which contrasts with the ‘Dying Slave’. If you compare the two sculptures, you can also see that the structure of this sculpture is larger and displays more muscle. The man depicted in the sculpture seems more mature when compared to the youthful appearance in the other sculpture.
Another thing is his head. He moves it in almost a painful way, opposite to the direction that his shoulders are moving (which are moving opposite to the hips). This sculpture is a great example of how Michelangelo used the body to express all kinds of emotions, and an even greater feat is that he was able to do so in the form of marble. As mentioned before, the grandeur of this sculpture is incomparable. It has the same heigh as the ‘Dying Slave’, but due to the large frame and contorted body, ‘Rebellious Slave’ feels even larger and awe inspiring.
I would definitely recommend seeing the pair for yourself as my photos don’t do them justice.