Fascinated y his creative process, I used a combination of the writing of “The Agony and the Ecstasy” by Irving Stone and the ever helpful Wikipedia to put together today’s main piece on Michelangelo and the creative process.
Monday, November 12, 2018
My 216th consecutive posting.
Time is 12.01am.
Boston’s temperature will reach a high of 50* and the skies will be partly cloudy.
Dinner is a 2lb rib eye steak shared with cousin Lauren. To top the steak we slowly-fried 6oz of steak-cut very large white mushrooms, added a bit of beef gravy, browned the steak, rare inside, served with an arugula salad with a vinaigrette dressing. And loved our gin and tonics.
Question of the Day:
How did Michelangelo approach his creations?
Love your notes.
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Marc Oliviere sent a note asking for some specifics re: my exercise program and so I sent him a copy of the program that I follow. I include it here for others who may be interested.
This is a program that I developed over many years.
Note that the I never follow the chart in the sequence presented herein.
Often I do the machine that appeals to me at that moment, wherever on the chart they fall.
Often the machines aren’t available forcing me to skip around.
Hope it helps.
Answer to Question of the Day:
How did Michelangelo approach his creations?
Lorenzo de’ Medici, in conversation with the young Michelangelo who, as Lorenzo’s protégé, lives in the Medici palace, tells him of the acclaimed beauty of Simonetta Vespucci, Sandro Botticelli’s favorite model.
Michelangelo is not hesitant in sharing with Lorenzo, as he calls him, that his concept of feminine beauty comes from within, like the love a mother has for her son.
He posits that in his search to develop his personal technique he must keep true to his own values.
Michelangelo begins to study in earnest. He roams the halls and common rooms of the palace drawing the large number of masterworks.
After a while he grows impatient with copying.
Not averse to paying out small amounts for their cooperation, he struck out into the town, drawing women in every posture, in every activity.
He went out into the countryside and painted women there.
And he spent time with his sculpture class visiting every treatment of the Madonna and Child theme, to copy and to listen to their teacher Bertholdo as he explained how their predecessors achieved their goals.
In many instances, Michelangelo found one or another to be fat, expressionless, primitive, poorly proportioned, wooden, or without spirituality.
His charcoal pencil and paper were critical to his search for the spirit of motherhood.
But after these months, Michelangelo still had not defined a fresh and vital theme of his work.
He distilled his thoughts.
Mary had to be given a choice to be the Mother of God.
To subject her child to the pains that would afflict Him.
On the other hand, could she really resist the will of God?
That moment, just prior to her decision, is what he would capture.
It would be her work.
She the heroine.
She having both the intellect and the fortitude to make a decision both personal and universal.
Her baby, at her breast, would have His time in thirty years.
Her baby, for the first time in either painting or sculpt would be shown with His back to the viewer.
He would not distract from His mother.
So he had the theme.
Traditionally, the sculptor finished his drawing for the art and then went searching for the stone.
Instead, Michelangelo insisted that the school buy him the stone now so the stone could help him decide on the setting.
Florence had a multitude of stone shops selling anything from Carrara marble to ‘ready-made’ door lintels.
They visited a bunch of shops and then went to a different part of the city.
He finally found a stone he loved.
He put it through many tests until all that was left was to see the block as the first morning’s light struck the stone.
He laid a blanket on the ground and went to sleep not far from the stone.
In the early a.m. the stone passed the test and Michelangelo drove it into Florence, to the Medici palace, and into the garden where the school had been given space.
Having the boundaries set by the stone, Michelangelo searched his hundreds of drawings accumulated on this theme and pulled out those he thought could help him with the decision.
He decided on a flight of stairs leading to a bench on which Mary would sit in profile.
He decided on two children additional to Jesus, of course, and John the Baptist, and Michelangelo started his final drawings and clay models.
While drawing and making models, Michelangelo also studied the marble block in detail.
When he knew how to approach the marble, he put away the drawings and the models and got out his hammer and chisels.
After freeing the sculpture from the block, Michelangelo polished it from rough to silky smooth, from mat to shiny.
Then he submitted his low-relief marble to Lorenzo de’ Medici who presented it to his Sunday night circle of brilliant scholars. Reviews were generally positive including vital, “impenetrable divinity of ancient Greek art,” tranquil beauty, superhuman, humanist with advanced perspective.
Negatives included the Madonna’s face being over-stylized, a superabundance of draperies diverted attention from the Madonna, the figure of the Jesus too muscular, and St. John being over-sized.
The piece is on view at the Casa Buonarotti.
We can all judge for ourselves.
Good morning on this Veteran’s Day, Monday, November 12
I spent my time developing the piece on Michelangelo. I do hope it is well met. I do thank Marc for offering some break in the exclusivity of the writing.
Have a good day, my friends.
See you soon.