Valerio Cioli: Tomb of Michelangelo


Valerio Cioli c. 1564

Tomb of Michelangelo (detail)

Michelangelo’s David the Tranquil Heroic Naked Guy vs. Michelangelo’s David the Conquering Warrior Hero


“They commissioned statues of David because he was a martial hero who had felled an intimidating foe. They made him a beautiful nude to emphasize his heroism, not to disguise his bloody deed.”

— Virgina Postrel

armalite-gallery-1This controversy is news to me. Author  Virginia Postrel has an item about this in Bloomberg that I recommend, with the (wonderfully not-subtle) headline: Michelangelo’s David Has a Right to Bear Arms

So a gun company, ArmaLite, depicts Michelangelo’s David with a powerful firearm. Potent image. Effective advertising, too. It gets attention. Did ArmaLite think the Italian cultural establishment would view this…favorably? The backlash was perhaps stronger than they anticipated. What does David represent? Asymmetrical warfare, for one.

Come to think of it, Glenn Reynolds wrote a whole book on asymmetrical warfare (the digital revolution) in his classic An Army of Davids. Virginia Postrel’s book The Power of Glamour, makes her uniquely positioned to comment on the controversy.

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Michelangelo’s Handwritten 16th-Century Grocery List

Click for larger image

Click for larger image

Colin Marshall writes:  I admit to having a hard time keeping grocery lists. Do I write them by hand? If so, do I do it in a dedicated notebook, on a refrigerator pad, or on any old scrap I find around? Do I compose them electronically, using some combination of my computer, my phone, and other, more specialized devices? And do I keep separate lists for separate trips to separate stores? (Certain delicacies, after all, you can only get at Trader Joe’s.) Living in the 15th and 16th centuries, the Italian High Renaissance sculptor, painter, architect, poet, and engineer Michelangelo faced a rather less complicated shopping problem: he had only to send assistants off to market to bring back what he needed. Though vanishingly few of this prolific creator’s papers survive today, we do happen to have a few of the grocery lists he sent with them, like that which you see above.

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Was Michelangelo the First Celebrity Artist?

Museum staff at the British Museum looking up at a projection of Michelangelo's “Creation of Adam”. Photo: Getty

Museum staff at the British Museum looking up at a projection of Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam”. Photo: Getty

Martin Gayford writes:  On 14 February 1564, a young Florentine living in Rome named Tiberio Calcagni heard rumours that Michelangelo Buonarroti was gravely ill. Immediately, he made his way to the great man’s home in the street of Macel de’ Corvi near Trajan’s Column and the church of Santa Maria di Loreto. When he got there he found the artist outside, wandering around in the rain. Calcagni remonstrated with him. “What do you want me to do?” Michelangelo answered. “I am ill and can find no rest anywhere.”

Somehow Calcagni persuaded him to go indoors but he was alarmed by what he saw. Later in the day, he wrote to Lionardo Buonarroti, Michelangelo’s nephew, in Florence. “The uncertainty of his speech togetherwith his look and the colour of his face makes me concerned for his life. The end may not come just now, but I fear it cannot be far away.” On that damp Monday, Michelangelo was three weeks short of his 89th birthday, a great age in any era and a remarkable one for the mid-16th century.

Later on, Michelangelo sent for other friends. He asked one of these, an artist known as Daniele da Volterra, to write a letter to Lionardo. Without quite saying that Michelangelo was dying, Daniele said it would be desirable for him to come to Rome as soon as he could. This letter was signed by Daniele and also underneath by Michelangelo himself: a weak, straggling signature, the last he ever wrote.

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Goodnight, sweet prince: Polish artist’s chainsaw sculpture depicts the death of Super Mario


Another beautiful item from those lovable nuts at RocketNews24 –  reports: Even the greatest of heroes meet their end eventually, whether they be staff-wielding wizards or portly plumbers. With this incredible sculpture, Polish artist Kordian Lewandowski presents the demise of none other than our favourite 8-bit champion, Super Mario. And as sad as it is, it’s really quite breathtaking.

“Game Over” shows Peach, or Princess Toadstood to her subjects, cradling the limp body of Mario in a pose reminiscent of Michelangelo’s “Pietà“. Rather than carving it out of solid marble, Kordian chose to work with an enormous styrofoam block, but he did create his own masterpiece with something that even the great Michelangelo could never claim to be a competent user of: a chainsaw.

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