So, since I haven’t posted anything for a while, I decided to share one of my journal assignments from my art history class. Basically the assignment was to pick an artwork out of the book and write like a page/page and a half explanation about why you picked it and a little bit of information on the piece and the artist–I think that part was just to make sure we were actually researching it. And my response turned basically into a fangirl attack…
The David is a colossal marble statue standing tall at seventeen feet. It depicts the biblical hero David as he’s about to slay the giant Goliath. He stands in Florence, his gaze focusing in the direction of Rome, the rival city of Florence. The details that Michelangelo put into this sculpture is mind boggling.
Looking at the backs of his hands—which are slightly enlarged—there are exquisitely carved veins. His facial expression isn’t of the calm rational expression that the Renaissance tended towards but of a slightly tense and fierce expression as he prepares for his battle against Goliath, or in the statue’s case, as he prepares for his battle against Rome.
Michelangelo was a sculptor, painter, poet and architect, his name is now considered synonyms with “masterpiece”. He is the guy you think of when you think about when you think about the Renaissance, it is either Michelangelo or Leonardo Da’Vinci, personally I think of Michelangelo and his Pieta and the David before I think of Da’Vinci, or even Botticelli, who did three of my favorite neo-classical paintings.
Michelangelo was born in Caprese in Tuscany, but he always considered himself a “son of Florence” like his father considered himself a “citizen of Florence”. His mother was too weak to nurse him, so he was placed in a foster family of stone cutters. This is where he got his love and his preference for sculpting. When Michelangelo told his father that he wanted to be an artist he was furious.
His father wanted Michelangelo to be a powerful merchant or something that would gain him position in society, position he didn’t think Michelangelo could obtain as an artist. But nevertheless, at thirteen he became an apprentice to an artist and went on with his plans to become an artist.
When Michelangelo carved the David, he was only twenty five years old. That is mind blowing and incredible. The technical accuracy he was able to achieve is stunning. The fact that the hands are supposedly enlarged doesn’t detract from its perfection, but enhances its energy and emotional power.
I think if Michelangelo was alive today, I could be considered his stalker. I absolutely love his work. I love how the Sistine Chapel ceiling looks like the molding is really there and not painted to look three dimensional. I love how Mary in his Pieta is enlarged bigger than the dead Jesus in her ams and yet the scene is so emotionally powerful and more believable than if she was the proper size and overwhelmed by the body of her son. It would still be believable, but it would not carry the same kind of emotional power that I think he was going for.
The David was probably Michelangelo’s most famous work, there are thousands of alterations in popular culture, including a relatively new version that is instead of being the epitome of physical perfection, it’s fat. Which I like almost as much because it reminds me of the Venus of Willendorf but in a massive male form.
I’m pretty sure I picked the David because I have an awkward crush on Michelangelo. And if this is a little past the boundary of what was acceptable for the assignment I apologize, but it’s the best way to describe how excitable I am about art, which is a good thing…I hope.
Crush is also a nice word for it, if he were alive today, I’d totally be stalking him…at least on Facebook.