Thursday, July 24, 2008
Portraits: Michelangelo Was No Beauty
Michelangelo was a master at sculpting male beauty, but he was not so beautiful, himself.
Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery News
In reality, Michelangelo wasn't exactly a refined man. In fact, he likely smelled terribly bad. According to Vasari, "he wore stockings of dogskin constantly for months together, so that when he took them off the skin of the leg often came away with them."
"The fact that Michelangelo wasn't either handsome or particularly considerate about his personal care isn't so important. One should look at his letters and poems. They are his real, inner self-portraits," Ragionieri said.
The only known self-portrait of the artist is scratched into the margin of one of Michelangelo's poems, on show in Florence. The image is a sort of caricature of the artist, done during the years he was painting the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel in Rome.
"This portrait reveals much about Michelangelo -- that he is right-handed and that, in his artist's mind, bodies need no clothes, including his own," Catterson said.
"Moreover, the drawing reveals Michelangelo's sense of humor since the figure he is drawing is not one of the massive heroic participants from the stories of Genesis that would ultimately populate the ceiling, but rather, one with cartoon-like features including huge eyes and hair standing straight up on ends."
An extended version of the exhibition, which will include several works never before seen in the United States, will travel to New York City shortly. It will run at Syracuse University from Aug. 12 through Jan. 4, 2009.
The only known self-portrait of the artist is scratched into the margin of one of Michelangelo's poems. The image is a caricature of the artist, done during the years he was painting the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel in Rome.