Tuesday, May 16, 2017
The Spiritual Power of Creativity
Along the way I've blogged about the Sistine Chapel in Rome, and the tour de force paintings by Michelangelo Buanarotti. Even though Michelangelo considered himself a sculptor he took on this monumental project which he undertook without a plan. The ceiling depicts dozens of biblical figures and stories, including the iconic creation image of a bearded God conveying the divine spark to Adam, the mythical first human. I just read a big think article about speculation that Michelangelo concealed images around and beneath these various figures, including an anatomically accurate brain behind God in that creation image. Outlined this way it doesn't take a brain surgeon to see it...sorry... This isn't as far-fetched as you might imagine. Michelangelo was a student of anatomy, doing dissections of cadavers at a time when this was considered a desecration of the human body.
This is an excerpt from the big think piece:
At age 33, Michelangelo Buonarotti began the project. It was 1508. He finished in 1512. It wasn’t easy. He painted mostly standing up,not on his back as rumored. Craning his neck for long hours caused him terrible headaches, spasms, and muscle cramps. A mold bloom made him scrap the first draft. He scraped the whole ceiling and started over. The great master even had to create a system of scaffolding and platforms to allow him to complete the work.
The highlighting is mine because it chucked me upside the head. Michelangelo had to erase the first draft of what is one of the great accomplishments of fine art and the depiction of the biblical narrative. What if he had abandoned the project in frustration? Or what if his church sponsors had decided to choose a less ambitious form of decoration?
This is more than an example of "if at first you don't succeed..." It speaks to the power of creativity, God's and ours, which is a profound form of spiritual expression.