This won't be a mere counting of his works of Art but I'll try to make visible the man behind his works. He had everything such a great Artist needs: sensibility, intelligence, knowledge and the humble doubt in his abilities that puts you down to earthly ground but nonetheless doesn't stop you from climb the highest hights. If you have followed my trip to Florence, you know already alot about Michelangelo's works. But I have more room here to search for his inner being; what drove this man to create and above all, how lucky we are that most of his work has survived.

Michelangelo was born in Caprese/Tuscany on the 6th of March in 1475 as Michelagniolo di Lodovico di Buonarroti-Simoni. No age of time has looked with similar astonishment at such a personality as the 16th century did at the Florentine nobleman. They called him even during his life time "Il Divino" - The Divine. But I doubt if he ever realized this. It didn't matter to him.

He was only lucky when he could work stone with all his might. The pure marble. It is told that he could work more than three masters of stonemasons together in one day. And all those unfinished works tell us that he never ever miscalculated by the smallest millimetre. Heaviness and hardness of the stone - and locked up within the finished figure - became over and over again a metaphor in his poems in which he spoke mostly about himself and his grief with a new melancholy and outmost seriousness. He was not only a sculptor, graphic artist and architect, he was also the greatest lyrical poet of his century and beside Leonardo and Raphael its greatest painter.

I think the key to Michelangelo's work is his tortured soul. The French poet Romain Rolland has expressed it this way:

"He was a Florentine inhabitant - from that same Florence with the gloomy palaces, with the lancet-like towers, with the rolling and dry hills which contrast, fine chiselled, the violet-coloured sky with the black spindles of their small cypresses and the silvery shawl of the wave-like trembling olive-trees. From the Florence with its shrill elegance, where the pale, ironic face Lorenzo de' Medici's and Machiavelli with the smart, big mouth meets Botticelli's Primavera and his pallid Venus-figures with the pale-golden hair.

From Florence: feverish, haughty, neurotically - delivered to all fanatics, shaken by all religious or social hysterias - Florence, where everybody was free and everybody was a tyrant, where they lived well and where life was a hell - from that town with the intelligent, impatient, enthusiastic, invidious citizens with their sharp tongues, with their suspicious minds, who laid in wait, envied, tormented each other.

From the town, where there was no place for the free spirit of Leonardo, where Botticelli ended up in the maniac mysticism of a Scottish puritan - where Savonarola with his goat's profile and burning eyes let his monks danced around the pyre upon which burnt the work of arts. And where three years later again a pyre burnt to burn the prophet" [...]

"He was alone. He hated: he was hated. He loved: he was not loved. They adored him, and they feared him. Finally he aroused religious reverence. He outclassed his century. Michelangelo carried within himself a sadness that frightens humankind, and from which everybody instinctively flies. He created emptiness around him... But that was not the worst. The worst thing was not to be alone. The worst thing was to be alone with himself and not being able to live with himself, not to master himself, but to deny, to fight and to destroy himself.

"His Genius was paired with a soul that betrayed him. The key to his misfortune that explains the whole tragedy of his life is his lack of willpower and his weak character. He started, started, and never reached his objective. He wanted, and he didn't want. He had hardly made his decision before he started to doubt. Towards the end of his life he finished nothing anymore: everything he found repugnant. He was weak. He was weak in every direction, out of virtue, and out of shyness. He was weak out of conscientiousness. He tortured himself with a thousand scruples a more vigorous nature would have ignored. He was weak out of caution and out of fear. The same man who was called by pope Julius II "the terrible" was described by Vasari as careful - too careful - and he, who "made everybody afraid of himself, even the popes" was afraid of everything. He wanted to flee the popes, but he stayed, and obeyed. He had learnt the biggest mishaps human can befall. He saw his home country enslaved. He saw Italy delivered to the barbarian for centuries. He saw freedom dying. He saw everybody dying he loved, one after another. He saw all lights of art becoming extinguished, one after the other.

He remained the last alone, in the night, who sunk down. And as he looked back at the threshold of death, he didn't even receive the comfort, to tell himself he had done everything he had should done. His life seemed to be wasted. In vain it had been without joy. In vain he had sacrificed it to the idol of Art."

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