XIII: Michelangelo

“Now in a frail craft upon the storm-tossed flood, doth this my life draw nigh to the port we all must go.”            Michelangelo 

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 Morning Coffee with Barry Stebbing

Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564)

 God Touching the Hand of Adam  Sistine Chapel  Michelangelo


 Michelangelo is a wonderful study to understand the profound industry that lays within each and every one of us.  He was extremely intense, focused on the monumental pieces of art work he had to complete, and a man who spent most of his life in solitude.  He was also a gifted poet and just as passionate in his love for Christ as in the completion of his works.  God Touching the Hand of Adam is part of the central scene on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.   It has become as much part of the Christian logo as the fish.  The entire ceiling painting is as large as a football field, painted in fresco (on a moist plaster surface with colors ground in) and laying on his back on scaffolds 40 feet high. It took over four years to complete.

 Self-Portrait by Michelangelo

Michelangelo was an uncomely man.  At the age of 14 his nose was broken in a fight and remained disfigured for the rest of his life.  Throughout the many years of his career he was always covered in marble dust or paint, and always disheveled.  His appearance seems similar to that of Jesus as stated in Isaiah 53:2, “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him.”   Michelangelo never married and spent most of his time steeped in solitude.  He was  also a prolific writer and poet.   The Pieta (below) was completed when he was 23 years of age, and is a massive piece of sculpture.  When someone inquired why he made Mary so young, Michelangelo responded, “Women in God’s grace are pure in soul and body and never grow old.”   He always considered himself to be a sculptor saying, “Nothing was right with me unless I had a chisel in my hand.”

The Pieta by Michelangelo

Though Easter is now behind us it Michelangelo shares with us its profound significance below.  It is a great breath of inspiration and should be boldly proclaimed by us each new morning, especially in this day and age. 

“Why do you keep filling gallery after gallery with the endless pictures of the one ever-reiterated theme of Christ in weakness, of Christ upon the cross, Christ dying, Christ hanging dead?  Why do you stop there as if the curtain closed upon that horror?  Keep the curtain open, and with the cross in the foreground, let us see beyond it to the Easter dawn with its beams streaming upon the risen Christ, Christ alive, Christ ruling, Christ triumphant.

For we should be ringing out over the world that Christ has won, that evil is toppling, the end is sure, and that death is followed by victory.  That is the tonic we need to keep us healthy, the trumpet blast to fire our blood and send us crowding in behind our Master, swinging happily upon our way, laughing and singing and recklessly unafraid, because the feel of victory is in the air, and our hearts thrill to it.”        Michelangelo (1564)

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Coffee Memo:  I never laughed until I had my coffee.  Clark Gable

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