June 11, 2012

What it Means to Dare Greatly.

Photo: Beyond Forgetting

The English word “emotion” is derived from the French word “émouvoir” meaning “to stir up.”

It’s a kind of fire inside—the kind that caused Beethoven to sit at the piano and play until his hands went numb.

It has also been the fire that burnt people to the ground, as it nearly did to Abraham Lincoln during his life long battle with depression. Yet, he learned to manage this fire and convert it into a powerful force to change the world.

As Steven Pressfield writes in his book the War of Art, “Genius is a Latin word; the Romans used it to denote an inner spirit, holy and violable which watches over us, guiding us to our calling, a writer writes with his genius; an artist paints with hers.”

In the Upanishads it says, “You are what your deep, driving desire is. As your desire is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.”

Michelangelo was moved by this fire and understood how powerful it was when he made art. He even did almost impossible things with this drive.

Michelangelo was a sculptor. He generally didn’t regard himself as a painter. Yet, he went on to paint one of the most astonishing pieces of art ever created: The Sistine Chapel.

Prior to this, the only painting he had ever done was as a student when he briefly studied with Domenic Ghirlandaio.

The Sistine Chapel is a massive undertaking.

Its roughly 131 feet long and 43 feet wide—not to mention, it was painted under extreme circumstances. Meaning, he had to stop a few times because there was a major problem with mold and terrible weather patterns that made the plaster not apply correctly. There was also a major war going on and the entire time Michelangelo was painting; he didn’t really know if he was going to get paid.

It was also very detrimental to his health to breathe in mold and painting in awkward postures caused him severe back pain.

It took him over four years to create this masterpiece. He worked on it from July, 1508 to October, 1512.

Instead of painting in an easier fashion, he decided to paint in buon fresco. Only a true connoisseur and master craftsman paints in buon fresco. It is the most difficult method.

But Michelangelo was stubborn and he dared greatly.

So go ahead, be stubborn and dare greatly on any endeavor you partake in.


Source: Michelangelo – The Sistine Chapel Ceiling Seven Common Questions About the Frescoes By Shelly Esaak http://arthistory.about.com/od/famous_paintings/a/sischap_ceiling.htm


Editor: Brianna Bemel

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