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The journal of an aspiring animation filmmaker. Inspiration, Film Analysis, Animation Art, Student Work, Book Notes, Book Store, Composing Pictures, and much more!

Feb 22, 2009

Michelangelo, Studying the Master

"I saw Michelangelo at work. He had passed his sixtieth year, and although he was not very strong, yet in quarter of an hour he had caused more splinters to fall from a hard block of marble than three young men in three or four times that amount of time. No one can believe it who has not seen it with his own eyes. And he attacked the work with such energy and fire that I thought it would fly into pieces. With one blow he brought down pieces three or four fingers in breadth, and so exactly at the point marked, that if only a tiny piece of marble more had fallen, he would have been in danger of ruining the whole work"

That's an excerpt from the book below. I finally set aside some time to study the gigantic Michelangelo book I got from my girlfriend for my birthday last June. Over the past week I've been consistently blown away by his work. This is the book I'm referring to:

It has to be the best "art of" book I have ever seen. It is massive! Michelangelo knew the human form better than anyone. The wealth of anatomical drawings in this book alone prove that beyond any doubt. His trademark is the ideal beautiful form. I tend to lean towards his sculpture more than his painting as his sculpted females look more like actual females whereas his paintings of females just have female heads slapped on ideal male bodies:

"...without having seen the Sistine Chapel, one cannot form a true picture of what one person is capable of." - Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

I can't wait to see this stuff in person.

Sculpture does not get better than this:

"How can it be, Lady, what long acquaintance
Lets everyone observe, that the live figure
In the hard mountain stone can last longer
Thank it's maker, whom age returns to dust?

The causes yield and bow to the results;
Hence it is art that overpowers nature.
I know, I've tested it in beautiful sculpture,
Time and death to the work will not keep trust.

Thus I can give a long life to us both,
By either means, with carving or with paint,
Portraying the face of the two,

So that a thousand years after our death
They'll see how you were beautiful, I faint,
And that I was no fool in loving you."


Now technically this isn't the best book on Michelangelo money can buy...this is. But it is the best book you can afford.



Blogger Matt J said...

The Sistine Chapel is surprising- the space itself is very spare-barn-like simplicity- Completely empty save for the couple hundred tourists squeezed in there at a time. But the walls & ceiling are of course mind-blowing. The art you can see in Italy is over-whelming.

February 23, 2009 2:57 PM


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