by The Dreamer
the closest i’ve ever gotten to a michelangelo sculpture was in Bruges, when the tour guide pointed out, “beyond these walls is an extremely valuable michelangelo stone sculpture named ‘madonna of bruges’ and it is one of the two michelangelo works that has ever left italy.” but unfortunately we had to pay just for a sneak peak from 15m away so my parents said no.
i’ve always been awed by michelangelo’s works. for all his whimsical, masochistic ways, he was, after all, a living embodiment of passion.
i saw the angel in the marble and carved until i set him free.
this is exactly what i’ve always been aiming for whenever i write; to set these shadows and silhouettes with indistinct features and shapes in my dreams free from the confines of my mind. when you truly see these figments of your imagination breathe life through words, gradually see them take a true form until they might even take control of your words and your breath, until – in a way – the art makes you instead of you making the art…that’s a truly spiritual experience. but i have much too far of a journey to go; i am merely at the mouth of the road.
but michelangelo, here, is a man whom i vaguely emphasise with for his uncontrollable feelings like the storms in my heart. while he was truly talented, his art was very much swayed by his relationships and anchored by love.
in a few of his most beautiful masterpieces, i see the imprint of his unrequited disillusionment in every edge and every contour and every hastily scribbled note of despair. he pours all his feelings into his works, and that’s what makes them truly feel alive.
gherardo perini was a handsome model he loved dearly, and on nights when he didn’t show up, michelangelo was wrecked with anxiety and loneliness. michelangelo loved what he couldn’t – models half his age that shared the same sex as him, but nevertheless, trying his best through gifting poetry and drawings, a much less diluted version of the chocolates we give during valentine’s day. and then there was febo di poggio, the “little blackmailer” who addressed michelangelo as “my honorary father” (posh term for sugar daddy, essentially) and held the man at the tip of his fingers, extracting out gifts and money and clothes from the poor love-struck sculptor. the tormented love and suppressed desires from his unfulfilled sentiments was channelled into many beautiful words and art pieces, but my favourite has to be this:
here with his beautiful eyes he promised me solace, and with those very eyes he tried to take it away from me.
did michelangelo realise the destructive nature of his passion but was unable to stop them from ruling over his life? his subservience blinded by his love left him emotionally wrecked when he is finally exposed to the fact that febo was stealing riches and precious works from him, ripping him of his dignity and his talent.
may i burn if i do not love thee with all my heart, and lose my soul, if i feel for any other. what from thee I long for and learn to know deep within me, can scarcely be understood by the minds of men.
the man’s love went far beyond sexual passion, but in yearning of a much deeper and richer emotional fulfillment and contentment, but he was unfortunately unable to find that in his partners. i feel him on his desperate search and clawing of something beyond, though earthly matter does not seem to sustain that fire within, and it leaves me feeling hollow and vast and forever unwholesome.
ah, but i think some of his most dear poetry came from a period of grief after losing a 13-year old lover at the age of 66 to illness.
the earthy flesh, and here my bones deprived
ff their charming face and beautiful eyes,
do yet attest for him how gracious I was in bed
when he embraced, and in what the soul doth live.
i was only alive; but dead, i grew
dearer to him who lost me when I died.
he loves me more than when I lay beside him;
then good is death if love, for it, grows too.
but on a more wistful note, michelangelo eventually succumbs to his fate and attempts to lock up his tendencies for excessive emotions by marrying a woman known for piety, chastiny and goodness. his life, in the romantic aspect, can be termed as chaotic but tragic, like a battle that he had failed to triumph over, and while i relate to him and seek solace in stories from his 14th century past, there is a part of me that wishes the same patterns will not reflect in my life.
however, he did invest much of his time in his creative works, leaving no time to spare on love. the intensity of his art is seen by all eyes, and his influence in the western art development is unparalled. one day, if i get the chance to see his works in its full glory, i hope to have my breath snatched away from him, the way he had everything snatched by his lovers.
what spirit is so empty and blind, that it cannot recognize the fact that the foot is more noble than the shoe, and skin more beautiful than the garment with which it is clothed?
the promises of this world are, for the most part, vain phantoms; and to confide in one’s self, and become something of worth and value is the best and safest course.
the greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.
there is literally no point in his post (haha), i just wanted to share my recent obsessions/appreciation of michelangelo and to pen down in words the ways my passion and wild emotional state rivals his. so, i’ll end here.
钧 x x
j e a n x x