Archives For T S Eliot

That Damn Michelangelo!

March 8, 2014 — 2 Comments

Michelangelo_Living In the Metaverse_David_Paul_Kirkpatrick

While inspired to create them , even Michelangelo (Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni ) was embarrassed by his  Sistine Chapel paintings.  He designed his work to be a reflection of the sacred,  not to BE the sacred.

As he wrote in his poem, On The Painting of The Sistine , written in 1545 and found in the Gutenberg Consortia in a translation by John Adington Symonds:

Whence false and quaint, I know,

Must be the fruit of squinting brain and eye;

For ill can aim the gun that bends awry.

Come then, Giovanni, try

To succor my dead pictures and my fame;

Since foul I fare and painting is my shame.

Michelangelo  struggled with how to paint this entity known as “God”. He left the  Sistine Chapel project because of it. While in anguish and retreat, he was inspired by the seemingly infinite waters of the  Tyrrhenian Sea. When he returned to Rome inspired, he painted man a God in an infinite sky. Michelangelo’s depiction of the divine  reflected the power elite of the time; but today, we see but a bearded, heavy-set white guy who flies in the sky in white robes.

Painted by a gifted artist, the image became so powerful  inside the human epoch that it has been burned into humankind’s collective unconsciousness.

Humans have launched into space, still  the painting remains the defining image of God even though, nowhere,  in Old or New Testament literature, is the sacred described in this manner.

I have never believed that spirituality and science are mutually exclusive. In 1987, when I was working  at Paramount with Carl Sagan  on a  possible movie adaptation of his book, Contact, Carl railed at me. He shouted  that  he did not perceive God as a “bearded white guy flying through the clouds.”

“Neither did I,” I said.

He looked confused at me as  if how could a Christian say that?

I fear that science contains many of the flinty prejudices which  organized religion has against science.

It is my belief,  that science will  ultimately help lead us to the divine. For all objectives should bring us to  truth. This would most likely be a divine not celebrated by the obsessed and anesthetized people  found in  T. S. Eliot’s The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock:

In the room the women come and go

Talking of Michelangelo.

There is no question of the  unquestionable genius of  Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni. That said, the human race now travels through the cosmos. It is time for artists to perfect a new language of images to reflect   Aeterna Pax.