Michelangelo Buonarroti: "The Divine One"

Today’s birthday is Michelangelo’s.

In art nonpareil every connoisseur knows.

Aren’t we fortunate Julius had ‘im

Paint the primeval creation of Adam?

“Michelangelo had a particular love and reverence for the naked male body, and saw it as God’s finest creation—something purely splendid in itself and yet inadequate and incomplete without being matched by an equal splendor of the spirit. Adam, in his glorious male beauty lies sprawled across the newly created world. His head, however noble its features, is still relatively inanimate; this is body just on the point of receiving soul. Without clear understanding of what is at stake, he reaches out one languid, flaccid arm, and a finger rises just enough to be present for the electrifying charge that is soon to meet it from the creative hand of God. That tiny space is the distance between superb animal and superb human being. God parallels Adam, but from above, glorious in his mature power and encompassed with the spirits of heaven. The majesty of God becomes visual in Michelangelo’s intensity of imagination: that benign and fatherly head—stern, but just and loving—leads us down to the hand, vibrant with creative electricity, and the stretched finger, ready to awaken Adam. [Sister Wendy Beckett. “Sister Wendy’s 1000 Masterpieces” p. 316]


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