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In what ways did the influence of Classical Antiquity effect idealization in the styles of Michelangelo

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Mikhail Rodricks 13 Stevens AS Art History "In what ways did the influence of Classical Antiquity effect idealization in the styles of Michelangelo?" One would not have expected the violent and politically unsettled Italy during the early sixteenth century to have produced arguably the greatest artist in the world, but it did just that. This artist was none other than Michelangelo Buonarroti or "Il Divino" who at the height of his prowess gave life to marble, created frescoes that could move, and designed buildings that would inspire millions. Born in 1475, Michelangelo was one of many artists that just happened to be at the right place at the right time, for he was born into an Italy that was experiencing an 'artistic revival', now known as the Renaissance. This movement was brought about by the discovery of many Greek and Roman artifacts, remnants of a lost time, which sparked a renewal of a way of life this forgotten age had represented. ...read more.


A good example of the influence of Neo-Platonism in his work can be seen in 'The Fall of Man and the Expulsion from Paradise', which links the physical state of the body with the moral state of the mind. Michelangelo's recently found Neo-Platonic philosophy tied in well with his strong Christian beliefs, "Good painting is nothing but a copy of the perfection of God and a recollection of His painting". It is with this philosophy that Michelangelo set out to carve the 'David', perhaps one of the most famous sculptures in history. David represents all that Michelangelo has been influenced by to this date, he portrays a Christian symbol of great faith and virtue, a preexistent form in stone that awaited one with the gift from God, and most importantly, a figure of Classical repose, a Grecian portrayal of heroism, an idealization of the human form. To this point, we have seen Michelangelo idealise with the Christian values taught to him by Ghirlandaio, the Grecian and Roman tradition brought out from Classical Antiquity, and the philosophies promoted by Ficino and Neo-Platonism. ...read more.


The 'Rebellious Slave' and 'Dying Slave' are two examples of further development on this ideology, for they represent the Platonic quest to free the soul from the bodily prison, evident in the strong contrapposto of the figures, while portraying the romanticism and harmony of Classical art. Right up till his death in 1564, Michelangelo continued to produce art; in his later years this took the form of architecture, and in particular the redesigning of St. Peters. Michelangelo's life can be seen as a "culmination of a quest to reconcile fidelity to the natural world with the classical ideals of harmony and proportion." His strong Christian values seem to reverberate throughout his career, with a central theme of redemption, whether through the suffering of the Piet�, through the heroism displayed in David, or through the divine grace represented on the Sistine ceiling. Through Michelangelo's work one can see that he held the human form in great respect and idealized human beauty and from this I would say that he did indeed achieve perfection, which is perhaps why his contributions to the history of art are immeasurable. ...read more.

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