Michelangelo's Zeal for Defying the Norm Research Paper

Pages: 12 (5345 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 20  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Art  (general)

Michelangelo's Zeal For Defying The Norm

Michelangelo's enduring influence

Michelangelo's creativity

Michelangelo's Emphasis on Visual Effects

Emotional nature of Michelangelo's effects

Success of visual effects

Beyond Borders

How Michelangelo's work influenced many states

Future Generations Inspired

Michelangelo influenced his younger peers

Michelangelo continues to influence architecture

Architectural Designs Inspired from Michelangelo

Michelangelo -- Inspiration for Design and Approach

Michelangelo's continuing influence

Most influential works

N ame

Michelangelo's devotion and emphasis on the overall design of a creation is obvious in his work because he often translated concepts from one field to another and the most renowned was his interest in the male figure that he not only portrayed in his paintings but also into his sculptures. Michelangelo is well-known for his interest in the human body (Hall 82) and he felt that the needs of the whole would always be more important than the needs of the parts. Just as in the human body, it is the articulation of the whole body, composed of limbs and other elements, which will always be placed before the articulation of a single element.

The beauty of the male figure, Michelangelo's main focus, can be seen in many of his art works. Perhaps the most famous reflection of his focus on the concept of the beautiful male is his infamous nude statue of David. David appears as the perfect man; muscular, handsome, and strong. His positioning is also bold; the strong concept of thought present in his eyes is strong and his presence is overwhelming. His very maleness is obvious and striking, and reflects on the concept of what a man was expected to be.

The Sistine Chapel, with its muscular biblical characters, is yet another reflection of this. For instance, the presence of God and Adam in the chapel shows Adam as a strong, bold, muscular figure. Adam, much like David, is beautiful and perfectly proportioned, his maleness is striking, and his appearance is incredibly bold.

Michelangelo translated this concept into architecture and his bold designs, tearing away from classical architecture, give witness to his views. His defiance to classical theory is evident in his Laurentian Library. The Library was designed for Pope Leo X and stands out in its mannerist architecture and use of unusual structural form for its time.

Perhaps because Michelangelo had little or no qualms about nude art and the focus on the male body as beautiful, much of Michelangelo's work was rejected or looked down upon during his time (Condvici 83). Certainly, accusations of homosexual eroticism can be made based on Michelangelo's obsession with the male figure. Regardless, Michelangelo continued this focus. He did not let this rejection keep him from continuing with his efforts. This attitude is inspiring many modern architects, often to the distaste of their critics. Michelangelo's interest in the human body and his rejection of the norm (which was often looked down upon) has served to define his art, and have influenced future generations.

Michelangelo's need to divert from the norm is felt by many architects today as Robert Venturi put it, "This is an architecture that inspired me the most and that is because of the idea of the Mannerists of accepting and acknowledging convention and then diverting from it -- making exceptions and creating appropriate ambiguities" (Belogolovsky 82).

A. Michelangelo's enduring influence

Michelangelo was one of the Renaissance great figures who shaped Mannerism style. Mannerists' paintings show distorted or twisted poses and foreshortening, a way in getting the impression of forms projecting into space. Its figures appear elongated especially in the body, neck, arms and legs. 'Mannerism is a style displaying the skill of the artist and demanding the knowledge of the viewer' (Mannerism 2000). Michelangelo's Last Judgment is an example of a mannerism style. In this painting, foreshortening with lesser control was used in displaying his visually powerful art skill.

Foreshortening is a drawing style wherein the subject is made shorter than its actual size to create a three-dimensional effect. It was a practice in painting in the 15th and 16th centuries and Michelangelo also used this in his paintings in the ceilings of Sistine Chapel to show supremacy and movement of his prime figures.

One of the followers of Michelangelo was Daniele da Volterra whose Kneeling Figure reflected Michelangelo's defined drawing style. Also, another drawing by Giulio Clovio was 'a repetition of Michelangelo's The Dream of Human Life (II Sogno) of the early 1530s, reflecting the fame and influence of his extremely refined and original presentation drawings' (Mannerism 2000). Seated Barbarian Prisoners by Pellegrino Tibaldi was also an example of the lasting persuasion of Michelangelo's figure draftsmanship and style. The same with Bronzino whose painting shows a saint almost nude, a reflection of Michelangelo's Last Judgment where both saints and sinners were depicted in nudity. Michelangelo believed that the nude human body was God's greatest creation so he always emphasise this in his works.

B. Michelangelo's creativity

Michelangelo's creativity was shown in his creations like when he carved David out of a useless and damaged solid giant block of marble. His creation has transformed a thing of no value into a highly classified sculpture which is considered a masterpiece of a genius. 'He can see through each block of stone a figure hidden inside, waiting to be released through sculpting' (Schuman & Paxton). His creativity is seen in his desire to glorify God. His belief that man was created in God's image was his inspiration in making male nude figures. He describes his masterpieces as the true reflection of how God created His highest creation.

Drawing was Michelangelo's avenue in releasing the ideas formed and developed in his imagination. His creativity is stirred while drawing, speeding-up as he puts them on paper. 'Although Michelangelo's art is rooted in naturalistic observation he often manipulates human anatomy for expressive effect, creating poses that look natural but are in fact impossible' (Soden & Longair 2006). His knowledge of the human anatomy, acquired both from corpses and life models, combined with his varied and extensive experience of drawing enabled him to create poses that highlight the figure's muscles. 'Michelangelo must have had a clear idea of the design before embarking on detailed life studies, so his figures are seen from behind while the torsos twisted violently and heads looking the other way' (Soden & Longair 2006). He usually outlines the left portion of the design only because he knows that there will be an overlapping of figures in the finished product. Michelangelo's creativity extends in his sketches, drawings, poetry, paintings, frescoes, sculptures, architecture and as a trusted military engineer.

II. Michelangelo's Emphasis on Visual Effects

As previously mentioned, Michelangelo emphasized strong visual effects and his views are represented in his works and architectural designs. No more so than Michelangelo's Capitoline Hill. Capitoline Hill plays with perspective with its odd shape. Not quite a Square shape, but more Rhomboid in structure, with its center a statue of Marcus Aurelius. The slight difference in shape plays with visual perception.

The 2005 exhibition in Biennale "Metamorph," gave examples of modern architects' attempts to find new and sometimes unaccepted ways of designing a composition (More 23). The weird experimental shapes were described as some to be a show of "pessimism" or distrust in modern architecture. They were, all the same, loaded with visual trickery, often blending into the background. These visual effects and the care with which the architectural compositions were created were with the intent to mesmerize by extraordinary perspectives. Many claimed to be inspired by Michelangelo, while many others named other renowned architects, however, Michelangelo's influence of playing upon convention and defying the norms as well as emphasis on visual effect was prominent.

Another proof of Michelangelo's visual effects is when he did the 14-feet sculpture of David. That time the people of Florence were facing adversities and the city was surrounded with threatening forces. Michelangelo's creation of the sculpture somehow put a visual reminder to the people of David's victory over the giant and powerful Goliath. He discreetly reminded Florence of courage over numbers.

A. Emotional nature of Michelangelo's effects

Michelangelo's drawings focus on the male human body, mostly nude, revealing its God-given beauty through its muscular torso, toned muscles and a variety of unique poses indicating emotional movement of action. His nude and semi-nude subjects pulsate with drama and suggest spiritual state of action. 'The idealised nude is inspired by classical sculpture and has an incredibly dramatic pose wherein the figure is seen from behind, his torso twisting violently and his head looking the other way' (Soden & Longair 2006). Its emotional effect indicates a sharp motion and tells a story.

The drawings of Michelangelo are detailed, revealing bursting veins, muscular body and powerful muscles. He uses different tones of the black chalk to provide the contrast of light and shade, blending the shades with the use of his fingertips or a small piece of cloth. His Pieta paintings reveal loneliness and sorrow. It was this time when he was at the lowest point… [END OF PREVIEW]

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