The subjectivity in art only lies in its expression…

Not in what you are trying to express.

Consider this:

“Ludovico Buonarrati, Michelangelo’s father. He was a wealthy man. He had no understanding of the divinity in his son, so he beat him. No child of his was going to use his hands for a living. So, Michelangelo learned not to use his hands. Years later a visiting prince came into Michelangelo’s studio and found the master staring at a single 18 foot block of marble. Then he knew that the rumors were true — that Michelangelo had come in everyday for the last four months, stared at the marble, and gone home for his supper. So the prince asked the obvious — what are you doing? And Michelangelo turned around and looked at him, and whispered, “sto lavorando,” (I’m working). Three years later that block of marble was the statue of David.”

Why does Michelangelo state at a block of marble for four months? Is it because he is “concieving” what to turn it into, or rather… is he divining what it ALREADY MUST BE? This is an important question at the fork for every artist.

Art exists independent of the artist –

A sculptor is chiseling a statue out of a raw stone and when asked “What are you making ? Is it Ganesh? Is it Lakshmi? Is it a man? Is it an elephant?” He replied ” I do not know; there is ALREADY a statue inside and i’m only removing the extraneous material and it will come out on its own!”

The David – intended, like the Pietà, to be looked at from the front, even though it was properly finished on every side – confirmed Michelangelo’s concept of art, already elaborated a few years before: “to sculpt” meant “to take away”, not “to add”, as the sculpture already existed inside the block of marble. The stone was just the covering that contained a work of art; the sculptor only had to take away the part in excess. The notion of the statue that potentially existed inside the marble was expounded in several of Michelangelo’s letters as well as in afamous sonnet. This idea, already partly expressed by Alberti, attained with Michelangelo a higher philosophical meaning: the sculptor’s hand, guided by intellect, could only take out what was that already extant inside the block of marble and needed to free the “idea” inside from the superfluous surrounding it.

~ by revolutionwithin on October 15, 2009.

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