|Oil on cardboard / 20x16|
And another painting sold from the Roux & Cyr Gallery in Portland, Maine - thank you, Susan Roux, you are wonderful!
|Piping Plovers Cubed / oil on linen / 9 x 12 / SOLD|
The second masterpiece by Michelangelo, according to Miles Unger in his book "Michelangelo: A Life in 6 Masterpieces" is the sculpture originally referred to as 'Il Gigante' or, as we know it today, 'David'.
After completing the Pieta, Michelangelo returned to Florence with accolades while his fame spread to all corners of Italy and beyond. At this time, there lay in the courtyard of the cathedral of Florence a massive block of Carrara marble. It had been there for over 30 years exposed to wind and rain, covered in dirt and surrounded by weeds. The abandoned monolith was "a monument to frustrated ambition and humbled pride". Florentine's referred to it as "the Giant" as it faintly resembled the ill formed figure of a man inexpertly hacked at by two obscure artists over 10 years time who both abandoned the projects they had barely begun.
In 1501, overseers of the cathedral took a renewed interest in the massive piece of stone - 18 feet from end to end - which had been excavated in 1464 from the mountainside and hauled over 80 miles to Florence at great expense. They were eager to commission a new statue to adorn the exterior of the cathedral and it seemed prudent to use the perfectly serviceable stone what was already on hand. They decided that the symbolism of an underdog emerging victorious in the face of long odds would be perfectly encapsulated in a statue of David, a shepherd boy who defeated the giant Goliath with a stone.
Michelangelo was hired to "make and carry out and to finish perfectly a figure...within 2 years" and he immediately set out to carve a giant figure that would inspire, astound and amaze. As was his habit, he enclosed his work site, carved in solitude and worked with furious speed. The stone was now upright and in order to carve a column more than 3 times the height of a man, he erected a surrounding scaffolding. Michelangelo was forced to fit his figure into contours of the stone that were less than ideal as the two previous attempts on the stone left it damaged and "badly blocked". As the statue progressed and Michelangelo was forced to allow overseers of the church to view his progress, they realized it was worthy of a more prominent site - in the heart of political Florence - the Palazzo della Signoria.
David is not only beautiful, grand and of enormous size, he is fully in command and perfectly at ease. Armed with a sling he is confident but uncertain of his fate - a heroic version of man.
Here is David, the shepherd boy, on the verge of battle in the very moment that he becomes aware that Goliath is approaching. He turns his head, looking over his shoulder. The tendons of his neck stiffen as he realizes the critical moment is at hand. He knits his brow and shifts his eyes toward his enemy. He shows determination in the face of uncertainty, the eloquently portrayed shepherd boy who became the holy warrior.
With the installation of David, Michelangelo became the most celebrated sculptor in Europe, his reputation as an artist surpassed only by that of Leonardo da Vinci.
Next up: the Sistine Chapel.