Michelangelo and the sistine ceiling lecture


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Michelangelo and the sistine ceiling lecture

  1. 1. Michelangelo <br />1475 – 1564<br />Born in Tuscany (central Italy)<br />Traveled to Venice, Bologna, Florence, and Rome where he found patrons of the clergy and nobility<br />Renaissance Man<br />Well educated in a wide variety of fields<br />Poet, painter and architect but considered himself above all a sculptor<br />David - 1501-1504<br />A masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture<br />Originally commissioned to be one of the series of prophet statues on Florence Cathedral, but was instead placed in a public square (Piazza della Signoria) (now a public square) in front of a governmental building (Palazzo Vecchio)<br />Biblical hero David - favored subject in Florence<br />Symbolized the defense of the civil liberties of the Florentine Republic<br />Moved to the Accademia Gallery in Florence in 1873<br />Tensions in the face and neck, furrowed brow, eyes focusing in the distance<br />Bulging veins on the hands <br />Slingshot over his left shoulder<br />Does not depict with the head of Goliath slain<br />Intense expression, yet calm pose<br />All represent David has made his decision to fight Goliath but before combat<br />Moment between choice and action<br />Suggests his influence of Classical sculpture<br />Greek heroic male nude in contrapposto<br />Renaissance - tension and energy missing in Greek art<br />Facial expression - young vibrant and angry at the forces of evil (Goliath); whereas Greek statues are have calm and vacant expressions<br />Emphasis on the human figure in both sculpture and paint<br />Human anatomical studies<br />Dissected corpses<br />Called to Rome to create the tomb of Pope Julius II - was to be a large monument with many sculptures<br />A year later he had to abandon the project to paint the Sistine Ceiling on which he painted for the next four years from 1508-1512<br />Sistine Ceiling <br />1508-1512<br />Located in the Sistine Chapel, just north of St. Peter’s Basillica, Vatican, Rome, Italy <br />Named after earlier pope Sixtus (hence ‘Sistine’)<br />Note: had the talent to paint, but he hated it!, and was forced against his will<br />yet he creates two of the most influential works in fresco in Western art (the art of the European countries)<br />70’ high x 128’ long x 44’ wide; 700 square yds.<br />Fresco (pg. 165)<br />Very difficult medium technically<br />Paint must be applied to fresh wet plaster, therefore, only small areas at a time; mistakes difficult to correct<br />Moreover, had to work on 68’ high scaffolding; it had to be readable from 70’ below; cramped positions with paint and plastering dripping on his face<br />Ceiling - segmented square, rectangle and triangle frames<br />Religious scenes -<br />4 biblical stories at the four corner pendentives<br />6 Old Testament prophets (and 6 classical sibyls)<br />8 lunettes under the 8 triangular spandrels - ancestors of Jesus <br />Triangular spandrels general biblical characters<br />Nine Old Testament scenes from the Book of Genesis, such as:<br />Creation of the Universe<br />Creation of Adam and Eve<br />Temptation/Fall /Expulsion <br />The Great Flood<br />Earliest acts of Creation are closest to the high altar and to the Last Judgment <br />Greek and Roman mythological figures<br />6 Classical sibyls (female prophets) (and 6 Old Testament Prophets)<br />nude putti painted as pilasters holding up platforms<br />20 nude male Ignudi - between each scene on cornice projections<br />Painted as if it were Classical sculpture<br />Anatomical fullness and muscular energy<br />Suggests his preferred medium<br />Connects the older Classical art tradition with his contemporary Christian theology<br />Creation of Adam<br />Fourth in the chronological episode but one of the last images to be painted<br />Story from the Biblical book of Genesis<br />Adam, naked, reclines on a rock <br />God<br />Elderly white-bearded man<br />Wrapped in a swirling cloak<br />Dressed in a cloak<br />Eve - under left arm<br />Left hand points to a baby figure - perhaps allusion to Christ child<br />Focal point - God’s right arm and finger is outstretched reaching to Adam’s and the two hands just about to meet each other<br />Adam mimicking God’s gestures suggests a passage from Genesis 1:26 which states that man was created in God’s own image<br />Adam is perhaps already physically created and as soon as they touch, his spirit will enter his body and mankind will begin to exist<br />Three decades later Michelangelo was called back to Rome <br />The Last Judgment<br />1537-1541<br />Covers the entire wall behind the altar of the Sistine Chapel<br />Depicts the Second Coming of Christ and the Apocalypse from the Biblical Book of Revelation; Souls being judged by Christ surrounded by His saints<br />Radically departs from traditional depictions of the Last Judgment<br />Eye follows in circular motions around Christ in the center, as opposed to traditional horizontal layering of the compositions of heaven, earth and hell<br />This circular composition could connect to the Pope’s readings of the heliocentric model of our solar system<br />Christ <br />beardless and in typical Michelangelo musculature<br />the halo behind him is similar to depictions of the Greek sun God, Apollo<br />The Pope’s Master of Ceremonies, Biagio da Casena accused Michelangelo of heresy for painting nudes with blatantly exposed genitalia inside the most holy Christian Papal Chapel <br />Started the “Fig-Leaf Campaign” to have the fresco removed<br />He paints Casena’s face on Minos, judge of the Underworld, on the far bottom right with donkey ears - (reference to Midas? - Apollo turned his ears into a donkey’s for his lack of musical taste)<br />Casena complained to the Pope, but the Pope jokingly noted that his jurisdiction didn’t extend into Hell, so the fresco remained<br />