Sunday, January 19, 2014

Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling

The title accurately describes the centerpiece of this history. It makes diversions into the papal politics of the day and his "rivalry" with Raphael. Michelangelo was originally working on a tomb for the pope. However, the Sistine chapel ended up coming out to take priority. The pope was a strong figure who always seemed to get his way. Michelangelo, however, was portrayed as also being strongly opinionated, and unwilling to compromise.

A little is given on Michelangelo's family and personal life. He was shown to have some trouble at home. However, nothing was extreme. As for personal life, he is seen as being fairly conservative religiously, and somewhat aloof from personal relationships. (This is in contrast to Raphael who is shown as a socialite with many amorous relationships.)

The pope Julius that he worked under was shown as a megalomaniac, who saw biblical prophecies dedicated to him. He felt dedicated to reclaim papal lands. He did not create many friends.

Michelangelo had some artistic friends and trainers. However, he tended to be more of an introvert.

The painting of the chapel was hard work, but done with many assistants. Michelangelo's commission to do it was ironically initially given as an action to make him fail. However, Michelangelo succeeded greatly on the fresco. Other artists (including Raphael) have later adapted many of the styles shown in the Michelangelo's work.

The work is a fairly dispassionate story of Michelangelo's work, bringing out the political and artistic context in which he was working.

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