Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Michaelangelo at the Muscarelle

"Let this be plain to all: design, or as it is called by another name, drawing, constitutes the fountainhead and substance of painting and sculpture and architecture and is the root of all the sciences. Let him who has attained possessing this be assured that he possesses a great treasure; he will be able to make figures taller than any tower, both painted and carved, and he will find no wall or side of building that will prove narrow and small for his imaginings."

In learning anatomy I would draw the masters from memory...left: Muscarelle catalog / right: just for fun... Drozda graphite/ink notebook drawing from memory 1979.

I received a belated birthday present today. My sister Linda gifted me with an outing to the College of William and Mary and the Muscarelle Museum of Art to view 'Anatomy as Architecture, Drawings by the Master'. Linda's friend Sharon, a weekend docent at the museum, happened to be passing by as we approached the front door. She graciously offered to come in and walk us through the intimate collection of Michelangelo's drawings. Her enthusiasm and knowledge provided insight as well as the storyline that makes each of the twelve works really fit within a context of his time.
She pointed out that Michelangelo rebelled against the Vitruvian Canon used as the standared for anatomical proportion popularized by Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man. Michelangelo chose to break out and exaggerate form seeing the human body as the inspiration for his architectural designs and in the monumental way that we associate with his style.
The upper level special exhibitions gallery at the Muscarelle is always serene. I've been there many times over the years and rarely encounter any other patrons. Today was no exception. Linda and I had a private tour of rare and magnificently intimate pages of this masters poems, writings and sketches...the installation is beautifully augmented by a series of engravings that, like the work of the master are rarely seen outside of Florence, Italy. All on loan from the Casa Buonarroti.
This is the only stop in America for these exceptional works, all of them appearing to be torn right from the master's sketchbook. The March 17 Wall Street Journal article states that " is actually possible to have the drawings to yourself. This doubles the intimacy of the experience__ you can see the artist at work, as if peering over his shoulder."

That's how it felt... like a private hour looking over the shoulder of 'genius at work'.

~Sing the day~


  1. Hey D
    There is something about walking through an exhibit in the quiet and in such nice!
    I printed out the Michelangelo quote you used and have shared it with my students. I particularly love that M. says that "he who has attained possessing this (drawing)be assured possesses a great treasure" Great Treasure!! Wow!

  2. What a wonderful birthday present!

  3. What an experience! And what a sweet sister to take you there!

  4. We have been inspired...Jackie and I are going to go off and see this wonderfull exibit next week. Day trips are allways so much, food, and a ramble around town...doesnt get much better...unless its a sunny spring day out in a kyack...

  5. thanks all for stopping by. Indigo I'm so glad you tapped into the quote...there were others just as grand but this one got me.
    Kay and Sharmon my sister Linda is one of those ever so thoughtful ones who just knows what will make magic happen and she scored with this day!
    Holly I know..kayaking / art making that choice is now once again upon us...all good.


Thanks for stopping '-)