Michelangelo – Famous Sculptor and Painter
Once in the city of Florence a massive, shapeless block of marble that seemed fitted to be the raw material of some colossal statue. One sculptor after another tried his hand at it, without success. They cut and carved and hewed and chipped at it, till it seemed hopelessly disfigured. Then someone suggested they give Michelangelo a chance with his skills. He began by having a house built over the block of marble, and for many months he was shut up there with it, nobody knowing what he was doing. Then one day he flung open the door and told them to come in. Before their eyes, instead of a shapeless, meaningless block, was the magnificent statue of David, one of the glories of the world.
Isn’t this a picture of Christ taking defeated and disfigured lives and refashioning them into the very image of God.
Here’s another vignette from the life of Michelangelo: There was a fellow artist who was very jealous of him and his ability. Not only was he an outstandingly gifted sculptor, but proved to be an equally outstandingly gifted painter. The fellow artist wanted him to be embarrassed and brought to disgrace so he asked the Pope to commission Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, thinking his painting would bring humiliation. Michelangelo spent four years painting the ceiling to the Sistine Chapel and it is considered the premier painting of all times.
We do not know the name of the other painter but we certainly know the painter of which he was jealous.
Michelangelo, Disappointment, and Waiting
It was the winter of 1498, a very cold, snowy winter in Florence , Italy . Michelangelo’s was as heavy as the clouds that blocked out the sun. The Grand Duke of Florence, had been the young artist’s benefactor. He had given Michelangelo numerous slabs of marble that he used to refine his incredible talents. Before he was able to create his masterpieces, the old Duke died and his source of marble was cut off. His son, the new Duke, had no use for a sculptor on the payroll so the artist’s great talents were put on the shelf, and Michelangelo sat and waited.
In what looked like an incredible answer to his prayers, he was summoned before the new Duke. While he was afraid to believe it, the rumor circulated by the servant who came to fetch Michelangelo was that he was being commissioned to carve a great statue. At last! When he arrived at the palace, he was ushered into the Duke’s presence and told that his services as a sculptor were needed. All he had to do was go down to the garden and he’d find all the white marble he needed to make a masterpiece for the Duke’s party.
What a disappointment when he found that the ‘white marble’ in the garden was actually snow. Now heralded as the greatest sculptor of all time had been brought to the palace to create a snow sculpture for a royal dinner party! Instead of being furious at that embarrassment, he simply went to work. Hour after hour he gathered snow into a great mound and began to carve.
Working from the top down (when normally you carve from the base up with real marble), a figure emerged from the white snow that would be viewed as a joke by the Duke and his guests then soon melt away.
The guests arrived, the snow carving was unveiled and instead of laughter came breathless silence. The Duke and his guests stared in awe and amazement at the figure that seemed able to breathe, walk and even sling a rick at a giant. That statue Michelangelo created in the snow represented the Bible’s David.
In the days that followed, that statue was replicated in marble, marble give to him by the new Duke. This priceless work has drawn millions of people to Florence . . . all because Michelangelo was willing to carve something of beauty out of snow.