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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Rounder Than The O, parts 1960 - 1963

 1960. But now we come to the most important anecdote Vasari ever recorded. An anecdote that reveals the soul of a great artist and at the same time throws a spotlight on the social standing, in flux at the time of the Renaissance. The story is of Michelangelo’s David.

 1961. It happened at this time that Piero Soderini, having seen The David in place, was well pleased with it, but said to Michelangelo, at a moment when he was retouching it in certain parts, that it seemed to him that the nose of the figure was too thick.

 1962. Michelangelo noticed that the Gonfalonier was beneath the Giant, and that his point of view prevented him from seeing it properly; but in order to satisfy him he climbed upon the staging and quickly took up a chisel in his left hand, with a little of the marble-dust that lay upon the planks of the staging, and then, beginning to strike lightly with the chisel, let fall the dust little by little, nor changed the nose a whit from what it was before.

1963. Then, looking down at the Gonfalonier, who stood watching him, he said, "Look at it now." "I like it better," said the Gonfalonier, "you have given it life." And so Michelangelo came down, laughing to himself at having satisfied that lord, for he had compassion on those who, in order to appear full of knowledge, talk about things of which they know nothing.

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