On the most obvious level, he represents the Herculean task the artist has set for himself, one in which he expects to emerge victorious…. – Miles Unger, Michelangelo, A Life In Six Masterpieces
Miles Unger is an American writer who tends to write about ancient Italians. His book on Michelangelo is one of the best biographies we have read, an excellent accounting of the life of man who will be talked about as long as there are humans around to chat about him. Both Mr Unger and Michelangelo have appeared in this feature before.
On the most obvious level, he represents the Herculean task the artist has set for himself…
Michelangelo’s Herculean task was to bend the world into the shape he wanted, not to bend to humanity’s wind. Michelangelo did this not only by creating the masterpieces allowed by his vision and supreme talent but also in changing how the public perceived and artist and his genius. Michelangelo flouted accepted norms of the time, making the world accept him as an artist with a vision and not just a craftsman for hire.
Every artist must do this, regardless of medium or vision. Our example is when we sit down to write something for you, we do it so you will remember it the rest of your life. Now, we write an awful lot and it is not reasonable to expect you to remember all of it, but if we do not set out with that goal we are not writing, we are merely typing and our efforts would not be worth your time or ours.
…one in which he expects to emerge victorious.
Michelangelo, as both a sculptor and painter, is one of the very few to reach the highest levels in separate forms of human endeavor. He did this because he was determined to lead a groundbreaking life and get the most out of the talents he was issued at birth. He expected to emerge victorious.
We should be equally determined to live a groundbreaking life. Like Michelangelo, we are artists, too, and our lives are our canvasses. We may not live down the ages like Michelangelo – or, then again, we might – but we can make our time on this planet serve us. When we do this, regardless of our talents, we emerge victorious.
The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s private stock.