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Michelangelo’s David

April 23, 2012

Watching the 2004 DVD BBC production of “The Divine Michelangelo” yesterday, Friday 20th April 2012, I recall Daphne and I visited Italy in August 2010 to attend the Venice Biennale of Architecture. We also had plans to visit Rome and Florence. This BBC production flooded my memories with Michelangelo’s magnificent works, particularly the giant David.

My 2010 November blog records my visit to St. Peter’s Square, the Basilica and Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. I did not blog the rest of our travels in Italy, but instead documented my sketching of the Basilica. Perhaps I was thinking I would do that sometime later. Well, after watching the DVD I felt compelled to revisit my Italy sketchbook.

The giant sculpture of David standing in its original location, in front of the Palazzo Vecchio, although a copy, mesmerized me as I wandered around it, spellbound in my thoughts as I imagined Michelangelo’s task of ‘freeing’ David to ‘life’. This was my second visit after a few years, but I was in awe as if experiencing it for the first time.

Here are my attempts at trying to capture the excitement of seeing and sketching the giant David in person.  You can’t win all the time, but I am glad I tried again and again.

“I have created a giant! What have you done?”

Michelangelo to Leonardo da Vinci, when da Vinci tried to persuade the committee not to install David at the entrance of the Palazzo Vecchio, Michelangelo’s selected site. It took 4 days to move the 6-ton giant from Michelangelo’s workshop to the site.

The BBC DVD portrays Michelangelo as a proud and arrogant individual; confident in his successes he often downplayed the works of da Vinci and especially Raphael. After he got into trouble with Pope Julius II and was commissioned the Sistine Chapel, he was reluctant to take the commission after all he is a sculptor and not a painter, and had never executed a fresco before. Four years after he began, the Sistine Chapel ceiling was completed in 1512.

When I experienced it in August 2010 eleven years after its restoration, the masterpiece reverberated a visual spectacle hard to describe in words. Vibrant colours and vivid details left one in a speechless state of mind. It is an amazing iconic work of art.  Travelling to Florence and the Vatican to experience Michelangelo’s works should be events not to be missed.

“Daphne and I experienced the adventure. When will you do it?”

 

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