Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Florence Journal 2012: Michelangelo and La Accademia

Michelangelo and La Accademia

The Accademia is a gallery in Florence that we visited for a second time during our sixth week here. The Accademia is renowned for the David that was crafted at the hands of Michelangelo but also has many of his other, albeit unfinished, works.

The David, you will notice, is covered with wires to monitor the effect of movement around it as it is fairly fragile. This is because it spent 300 years exposed to the elements and in this time was struck by lightning and had his toe hammered off in the 1540’s. Although so carefully looked after because it is considered a masterpiece, it does have its faults. For example, the legs are slightly out of proportion and there is a crevice in his upper back where Michelangelo had simply run out of marble.

Michelangelo was known to work ‘into the stone’. Therefore, pushing the material back as he carved an image out of it. He always began a sculpture from the edge of the stone (unlike Donatello, who also did a portrayal of David during his career, who began his work from the center of the stone). This can be seen from the unfinished pieces from the 1503 commission in which Michelangelo was asked to sculpted the 12 disciples (one pictured below). This was never finished as he was bombarded with commissions following the success of his David - he didn’t have enough time!

Another attribute specific to Michelangelo was his ‘Infinito concept’. It does not mean unfinished per se, but rather that you must complete the rest in your own mind with your own experience. Evidence of this lies in the inscription of his completed Pieta that reads ‘work in progress’.

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