” I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” Michelangelo
Michelangelo found inspiration in a block of stone, a rock. As a painter, he found inspiration in a blank space, a canvas. What moved in him propelling his energy, effort and power to see, to envision, hidden perfection? Was he inspired by fellow artists, the culture of Renaissance in his adult years, by the early experience as a child losing his mother and being sent to live with a nanny — a family of stone cutters? A brief reading of biographical writings point to the simple and profound answer — life — he was inspired by his life. While his circumstances changed – good fortune and ill, creative output and blank canvas – in the end he had many careers, and many creations.
This is a bit rich, nonetheless, it is an unequivocal example of development, productivity and creativity dwelling within until all is set free. In his essay, The Angel in the Marble, Nils Parker writes “..in a 1547 letter to Varchi…Michelangelo not only summed up the critical distinction between sculpture and painting, but he pinpointed the essence of the editing process in the context of the written word. Sculpture, like editing, is about chiseling away at the unnecessary, at the external, in pursuit of the truth and beauty within. Painting, like writing, is the process of adding layer upon layer to a flat surface until there is something where before there was nothing.”
This is fascinating to me. The carving away of that which is deemed unnecessary and impediment to release compared to the application of color, variety and light to reveal captivating images. Release and reveal. Carve and capture. I see living and life much the same. And writing about it follows a similar process of adding to – the paint and color – and carving out – the essential elements – of a story well-told. A life well-lived. It always takes time…A lifetime.
What is inspiring you at this moment in your life? Just a thought…