Divine Michelangelo - overview of Michelangelo's major artworks
colossal masterpiece, the David, regarded as probably the most famous
sculpture in the world, celebrates its 500th anniversary in 2004.
year it was visited by over a million people.
Incredibly, Michelangelo was a mere 26 years old when he began work
on the 17 foot tall marble statue of the biblical hero who killed
towering sculpture, made out of one piece of flawed marble, has
been acclaimed internationally for its depiction of male beauty.
marked a watershed in Renaissance art and established Michelangelo
as the foremost sculptor of his time.
The ideal male form of the David, combining human strength and uncertainty,
became a symbol of the power and determination of Republican Florence.
went on display beside the main doorway of the Piazza della Signoria
in Florence in 1504 and remained there, at the mercy of the elements,
until 1873 when it was moved to its present location in the Galleria
David's nudity has been the centre of much controversy. Today the
image, uncensored or censored, has become iconic in popular reproductions
on T-shirts, refrigerator magnets and in advertising.
Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel
the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel for Pope Julius II was perhaps
the greatest odyssey in the history of art.
the 380 figures was a massive struggle that stretched Michelangelo
physically, emotionally and technically.
during the four years of toil from 1508 to 1512, Michelangelo created
one of the greatest artworks in history.
there are about 17,000 daily visitors to the Sistine Chapel.
the vault of the papal chapel, Michelangelo devised an intricate
system of decoration that incorporated nine scenes from the Book
of Genesis, including God Separating Light from Darkness and the
Creation of Adam, the Creation of Eve, the Temptation and Fall of
Adam and Eve and the Flood.
centrally located narratives are surrounded by alternating images
of prophets and sibyls on marble thrones, by other Old Testament
subjects and by the ancestors of Christ.
depiction of the Creation of Adam, in which the hands of God and
Adam meet, is one of the most iconic images ever.
famous marble sculpture, created between 1498 and 1500, was finished
when Michelangelo was just 25 years old.
youthful Mary is shown seated majestically, holding the dead Christ
across her lap, a theme borrowed from northern European art. Instead
of revealing extreme grief, Mary is restrained and her expression
is one of resignation.
days after it was placed in Saint Peter's, Rome, Michelangelo overheard
a pilgrim remark that the work was done by Christoforo Solari, a
night, in a fit of rage, Michelangelo took hammer and chisel and
scrawled: "Michelangelo Buonarroti, Florentine, made this"
across Mary's breast. This is the only work that Michelangelo ever
later regretted his passionate outburst of pride and determined
to never again sign a piece of his work.
having received no professional training in this field, Michelangelo's
brilliant and innovative building designs were to change the face
of Rome and establish him as a master architect.
aim was to revive the glory of ancient Rome and his crowning achievement
in this endeavour was his work at St Peter's Basilica, where he
was made chief architect in 1546 whilst in his seventies.
sacred task of designing a dome for the largest church in Christendom
meant a great deal to Michelangelo.
spun the myth that, for the first time ever, he worked on this project
for free. However,
in truth, he was very handsomely paid for his job.
designed a dome that would dwarf the enormous Pantheon nearby. It
would be smaller than the Pantheon in diameter, but stand much,
still stands as the largest dome in the world reaching 138 metres
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