Who Was Michelangelo’s Niche?
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was an Italian sculptor, painter, architect, poet, and engineer.
We’ll determine his niche by answering the following four questions:
1. Why = Who is the artist, what did he stand for, what did he stand against, and why?
Before we can know Michelangelo’s niche, we must first know who he was as a person.
This man was a very devout Catholic who was deeply pious.
He was passionate, emotionally expressive, and sensual in nature.
Michelangelo channeled his relentless energy and his towering ambition into his art. He lived to serve God. That was his creative purpose, his “Why.”
Michelangelo was also an anatomist. Because of a special papal dispensation he received when he was 17 years old, he was allowed to dissect corpses from the church graveyard to study human anatomy.
However, his relationship with the Catholic Church became increasingly strained because his pious nature clashed with the opulence and corruption of the Vatican.
Michelangelo’s conflicting emotions about his patron are reflected in his art. His representation of human struggle makes his figurative works relatable.
“That which is most personal is most universal.” –Stephen Covey
2. What = Based on his why, what is the one problem he believed was worth solving?
That other Catholics should feel a more passionate devotion to God.
3. How = How does he solve this problem using his artistic and other skills and resources?
Michelangelo portrayed figures in a far less prescribed manner than Pre-Renaissance artists. His human forms are emotionally expressive and anatomically recognizable, so they’re relatable.
Michelangelo created passionate, dramatic, and sensual figures to create identifiable characters that teach an inspired Catholic narrative.
4. Who = Who had the one problem that he believed was worth solving?
Who else wanted Catholics to feel a passionate devotion to God? The Vatican and those aligned with the powers of the church, such as the Medici family.
Through banking and commerce, the Medicis became one of the most prestigious houses in Florence, producing four popes; Leo X, Clement VII, Pius IV, and Leon XI.
Oscar Wilde’s 19th-century quip rings true about this Renaissance banking family: “When bankers get together for dinner, they talk about art. When artists get together for dinner, they talk about money.”
By educating the illiterate followers of the Church through visual storytelling, Michelangelo inspired their further devotion.
In a modern sense, Michelangelo acted as an incredibly skilled chief content creator and social media manager for the Vatican.
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