Friday, March 18, 2011
Michelangelo´s inspiration for the Sistine Chapel ceiling. From The Agony and the Ecstasy
The Sistine Chapel ceiling. Image from maitaly.wordpress.com
To read the great best seller about the life of Michelangelo has been a pleasure for me. All his work, the historical intrigues, explained by the enchanting words of Irving Stone. I think this is a book that all the Arts´ lovers should read. It makes us feel as if we have been transported to Michelangelo´s days.
Let us read some excerpts from chapter ¨The Pope¨, pages 515/6, edition USA 1987; his inspiration for the Sistine Chapel vault:
¨On New Year´s morning, with his country hosts celebrating the first day of the Year of our Lord 1509, he left their stone hut in the mountains, mounted higher and higher along the sheep trail until he came to the summit. The air was sharp, clear and cold. (....) Reverentially he thought, ¨What a magnificent artist was God when He created the universe: sculptor, architect, painter: He who originally conceived space, filled it with His wonders.¨ He remembered the lines from the beginning of Genesis:
God, at the beginning of time, created heaven and earth. Earth was still an empty waste, and darkness hung over the deep...(...)This vault God called the sky....vault... God too had been faced with the need to create with a vault! And what had He created? Not merely the sun and moon and heavens of the sky, but a whole teeming world below it. Sentences, phrases, images flooded his mind from the book of Genesis (....)
And Michelangelo knew, just as clearly as he had known anything in his life, that nothing would suffice for his vault but Genesis itself, a re-creation of the Universe. What nobler work of art could there be than God´s creating of the sun and moon, the water and the earth, the evolving of man, of woman? He would create the world in that Sistine ceiling as though it were being created for the first time. There was a theme to conquer that vault! The only one that could so overwhelm it that all of its ugliness and clumsy architecture would vanish as though it never existed, and in its place would come the glory of God´s architecture¨.