I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.

~Michelangelo

The elections are over, candidates came and some went, everyone believing they know what’s best for my/our community, our district, our state. One falls and the other takes up the march. In the end, the stalks of corn whistle and whine and sing the song of tomorrow.

I just started watching “The Agony and the Ecstasy” about Michelangelo. It begins by covering his amazing sculptures such at St. Matthew, the tomb of Juliano, and the Medici tombs, including the tomb of Lorenzo. He was 24 when he carved the magnificent Pietà of St. Peters, and 26 when he started to carve famous statue of David.

And he was 33 when he started painting the Sistine Chapel. That huge, vast, empty ceiling. 

33. What were you doing when you were 33? 

I was working in downtown Chicago and had been married for three years and had a two-year-old when I was 33. The little painting I did was more a passing fancy, and the writing I did would not explode in earnest until ten years later.

Some people are just gifted. Some people are just magic. Some people have something we will never have. 

I don’t think the competition back in 1508 was as extreme as it is these days. There was no Internet, no Facebook or no blogs. No telephones, no printing presses, no TV or Xeroxes. Oh, I’m sure there were many sculptors back then. Sculptors and painters. But to have your work noticed and remembered and studied and worshipped — that’s a totally different story.

I have no idea how to sculpt anything, no less chisel a man out of marble. I may paint my pithy version of an alien landscape, but I have no idea how to paint people and ceilings and landscapes.

He did.

He knew how to create art from blocks of stone and angels from paint at the same time people lived with thatched roofs and bathed once a year.

When you stop and take a look at the history of art — really take a look at how such marvelous creations were created in such sparse and simple times — you cannot help be be amazed. 

You don’t have to be “into” the arts to appreciate the talent and stories that echo through the hallways of time. A calling was all that was needed; a calling to an artist who had the talent, the patience, and the dream of making something bigger than themselves. 

You may not have the fame or endurance of the masters of old, but you do have the talent and the inspiration. Throw yourself into your art, and let it flow through you and onto your medium.

Don’t compare yourself to artists like Michelangelo di Ludovico Buonarroti Simoni or Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn or Marc Zakharovich Chagall. You are your own magic, your own muse. You hear music others can’t hear. Follow that calling. 

And take a look at some of the artists of the past. Learn about their art, their history, their passions.

Maybe you will see yourself reflected in their creativity.

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5 thoughts on “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.

  1. I love art, good old art is spectacular, and some current art is wonderful. But, but, I have trouble with so-called modern art. Some looks terrible yet highly praised. I wonder why?

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    1. I do too. I am learning its the colors that draw me to a painting, not the meaning behind it. I’m a bit thick in the head when it comes to understanding certain art forms.

      Like

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