Father Gordon MacRae revisits “Michelangelo and the Hand of God: Scandal at the Vatican” a prequel to some upcoming thoughts in solitude behind These Stone Walls.
Four-hundred and fifty years ago, the famed Italian sculptor, painter, and architect, Michelangelo Buonarroti, left this world having almost attained his 90th year. His final work of architectural genius was the design of the great dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the centerpiece of the Roman Catholic Church, completed in the year of his death in 1564. He outlived the High Renaissance, a period of individualism and idealism in art for which, five centuries later, he remains an almost superhuman figure.
Michelangelo began his famous marble sculpture, the “Pieta,” at the age of 21, and at 26 he undertook the liberation of the majestic “David” from his marble tomb in Florence. With his unrivaled genius for depicting the human form in motion, Michelangelo painted for Pope Julius II the entire ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, an area of several thousand square yards in just four years. One of those panels, the “Creation of Adam” depicts God, with the unborn Eve under His left arm, instilling the divine spark of the soul into Adam. It is perhaps the most viewed image of Renaissance art known to history.
But above all, Michelangelo considered himself a sculptor, and was undoubtedly the greatest sculptor of his time. He was able to capture in marble the animated human form with a realism not seen in art for over 1,000 years.
As a young man in his 20s, Michelangelo just happened to be present, seemingly by chance, at the unearthing of a treasure out of mythological lore lost for over a millennia. The odds against him being in that place at that time were astronomical, but there he was, and from it, his life and all of art history were changed.
This is that story, and it’s a prequel to an upcoming look at the Hand of God in human history, literature, art, and the story of each of us who can still be inspired despite inevitable suffering. If you’ve ever wondered whether faith will survive the sordid scandals of our times, or whether God has a hand in the part of the tapestry of creation into which your own life is woven, then please read and share this week’s encore prequel post – “Michelangelo and the Hand of God: Scandal at the Vatican.”
Editors’s Note: a continued thanks to TSW readers for their generosity in responding to Ryan MacDonald’s appeal to help with the legal costs, at the Federal level. We haven’t reached our goal yet, so please share this link to Ryan’s news alert post!