Materials Sandblasted glass, cast glass, bronze, wood
Collection Marlene and Larry Eisenberg, Austin, TX
Michelangelo Buonarroti born in 1475 was the true Renaissance man, sculptor, painter, architect, poet, and engineer. Although mortal he like the archangel whose name he bore was above the others and closer to God in his talents. During his lifetime he was called “Il Divino”, the divine one. From the “Pieta” and “David,” to the frescos on the Sistine Chapel ceiling and alter wall, to Saint Peter’s Basilica where at the age of 74 he continued the line of masters becoming one of its principal architects, his works are known the world over.
For the sculpture itself, I used as an early reference for the wing the bas-relief sculpture of the Archangel Michael by Andrea Della Robbia, which was done in the year of Michelangelo’s birth. The sandblasted carved glass image of the maestro was from a portrait painted when the artist was 60 years old by Jacopino del Conte. As a sculptor Michelangelo was a carver so in that regard it was important to bring that aspect of his work into the piece and I did so with two elements, the unfurling wood (walnut) is a symbol of the band of fabric which covers the lap of Jesus in the “Pieta” and the carved renaissance frame which surrounds the portrait. My goal with the pate de verre was to use finely crushed crystal which when cast traps micro-bubbles of air in the glass giving it its white alabaster like quality symbolizing the white Carrara marble favored by Michelangelo for his pieces.
As an aside, in 1975 I lived in Rome as a recipient of the Prix de Rome in Sculpture. During this time, I was invited as one of 1500 artists throughout Europe to celebrate a high mass officiated by the pope at Saint Peters Basilica in honor of Michelangelo’s 500th birthday. As all the guests, I received a book of Poems and Drawings by Michelangelo printed by the Vatican for that special event. It counts as one of many great moments in my life.