Marcello Venusti. Portrait of Michelangelo, post-1535. Oil on canvas. 36 x 27 cm. Casa Buonarroti, Florence

Marcello Venusti. Portrait of Michelangelo, post-1535. Oil on canvas. 36 x 27 cm. Casa Buonarroti, Florence

Study for the Head of Leda

Michelangelo: Study for the Head of Leda

Two weeks ago, I finished reading The Sistine Secrets.  No, not reading, devouring!  This afternoon  I finally went to see Michelangelo: The Man and the Myth show at The Louise and Bernard Palitz Gallery- Syracuse University’s Lubin House.  This exhibit was worth seeing just for a close inspection of Marcello Venusti’s portrait of Michelangelo–the only surviving painting of the Renaissance Master, in a rich array of late Baroque style lighting captured in rich oils. But far more rewarding was admiring the physicality of  the Pièta in person. The Renaissance fascination with perfect human form cast by the Master of his time.   Then, see the same pair of hands and eyes trace the contours of an effeminate profile in a sketch for the head of Leda: minimum  strokes, maximum pathos. To think that before the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo had not created any large-scale frescoes…what else can demonstrate the power of the ‘beginner’s mind’? In who else do we see the art mastering both the intimate (portraits, poetry) and the grandiose (frescoes, sculpture) with such electic splendor?

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