Yesterday, I went to visit the Medici Chapel where Michelangelo’s famous Dawn/Dusk and Night/Day statues are. I chose this as my second sculptures-by-dead-sculptors place to visit because these sculptures are unfinished and therefore show Michelangelo’s process in the marks on the marble.
What I mainly got out of the visit is that Michelangelo is the man. I don’t, honestly, know what it is about them, but these sculptures have *presence.* I wanted to look at them, wanted to spend time with them, and they effected me viscerally with a sense of solidity and importance. For me, especially the Madonna and child.
That’s the most significant thing I got out of the visit. Unfortunately, due to Covid restrictions, visitors were ushered through quickly – no more than 10 minutes in the room. So, I didn’t get a ton of time to stay there. It was true that one could see the marks of the tools on the stone and that in some places the work was quite unfinished. Beyond seeing that the block is roughed out using a point (a pointed kind of stone chisel) and that the lines of the point run parallel in a kind of cross-hatching, I didn’t learn anything new. Wait, maybe I did: this also was *beautiful.* All the marks were beautiful, the unfinished parts were beautiful, the polished and finished parts were beautiful. At the moment, I don’t even want to analyze it. It’s just nice to know that sculptures like this exist.
There were also two works by a student of Michelangelo in the antechamber to the main room. They were interesting, showed the tool marks. Not as beautiful and compelling.