What Michelangelo Can Teach Us
If you ever get the chance to spend some time with Michelangelo, I suggest you take it. I recently had the pleasure of attending Michelangelo: Sacred and Profane, an exhibit at The Muscarelle Museum of Art at the College of William & Mary. The collection of 26 drawings in all media is one of the most important and awe-inspiring displays of the master’s work the United States has seen in decades.
The imaginary portrait of Cleopatra is considered one of the Renaissance genius’s most poetic conceptions, which he made as a gift for his friend Tommaso Cavalieri. The serene refinement of the ancient seductress on the front side of the drawing is surprisingly contrasted on the reverse by an expressionistic rendering of the same woman in a state of anguish.
Michelangelo: Sacred and Profane includes studies for paintings and designs and plans for churches and military fortifications. Some have never before been exhibited in the U.S.
I expected to feel a sense of awe, standing in front of a Michelangelo — and I did. I’m not an artist, so I was rather surprised to feel so inspired by these centuries-old drawings. In Michelangelo’s time, paper was scarce, so some of his drawings appear on top of other drawings, or even on the back of correspondence paper. That’s right. Michelangelo was a recycler, and it didn’t affect his genius or his legacy. Hundreds of years later, we’re still able to appreciate his original works.
My takeaway? Stop making excuses as to why you’re not following your dreams. If there’s a drawing inside you, do whatever it takes to find that piece of paper. There will always be obstacles. Write the book. Sing the song. Dance the dance. If it means something to you, find a way to make it happen.
Michelangelo: Sacred and Profane will be on view at the Muscarelle Museum through April 14, 2013, and will travel to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, where it opens on April 21 and closes on June 30, 2013. If you’re anywhere near Williamsburg, Va. or Boston, Mass. on these dates, do yourself a favor and spend an afternoon with Michelangelo.
Post Photo: Madonna and Child by Michelangelo
Throughout his career, Michelangelo (1475-1564) alternated between interpretations of the divine and the worldly, or profane. The master’s powers to evoke the sacred are fully displayed in the large drawing “Virgin and Child,” one of Michelangelo’s most admired images. The statuesque figure of the child is contrasted to the expressive freedom of the Madonna’s face, which appears to see the future with foreboding.