Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Michelangelo on Transformation

 

— Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni in a sonnet

Few natives of the Anglosphere may know just how much of a Renaissance man Michelangelo was. Not only a painter and sculptor, but also a poet. Here he describes the process of creating a statue from marble, wasting away bits of the marble until only the statue is left. Sometimes, we don’t like to see waste. We don’t like to see people without or between jobs, but we are collectively shaping our country and our economy into something new each day. There will be chips of marble separated off that cannot be used for a smaller statue or for any other high purpose. Some will just wind up as dust and gravel, perhaps to mend a road. It will all be used in the end.

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  1. Judge Mental Member

    Arahant: Here he describes the process of creating a statue from marble, wasting away bits of the marble until only the statue is left.

    It’s like the old joke. How do you carve a statue of an elephant? Take a block of marble, and cut away everything that doesn’t look like an elephant.

    • #1
    • March 6, 2018, at 1:07 AM PST
    • 9 likes
  2. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    You’re going to make me do it again, aren’t you?

    In this connection I wish to say one word about Michael Angelo Buonarotti. I used to worship the mighty genius of Michael Angelo–that man who was great in poetry, painting, sculpture, architecture–great in every thing he undertook. But I do not want Michael Angelo for breakfast–for luncheon–for dinner–for tea–for supper–for between meals. I like a change, occasionally. In Genoa, he designed every thing; in Milan he or his pupils designed every thing; he designed the Lake of Como; in Padua, Verona, Venice, Bologna, who did we ever hear of, from guides, but Michael Angelo? In Florence, he painted every thing, designed every thing, nearly, and what he did not design he used to sit on a favorite stone and look at, and they showed us the stone. In Pisa he designed every thing but the old shot-tower, and they would have attributed that to him if it had not been so awfully out of the perpendicular. He designed the piers of Leghorn and the custom house regulations of Civita Vecchia. But, here–here it is frightful. He designed St. Peter’s; he designed the Pope; he designed the Pantheon, the uniform of the Pope’s soldiers, the Tiber, the Vatican, the Coliseum, the Capitol, the Tarpeian Rock, the Barberini Palace, St. John Lateran, the Campagna, the Appian Way, the Seven Hills, the Baths of Caracalla, the Claudian Aqueduct, the Cloaca Maxima–the eternal bore designed the Eternal City, and unless all men and books do lie, he painted every thing in it! Dan said the other day to the guide, “Enough, enough, enough! Say no more! Lump the whole thing! say that the Creator made Italy from designs by Michael Angelo!”

    — Mark Twain, Innocents Abroad

    • #2
    • March 6, 2018, at 2:00 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  3. Arahant Member
    Arahant

    Percival (View Comment):
    You’re going to make me do it again, aren’t you?

    True genius often sparks jealousy in lesser lights.

    • #3
    • March 6, 2018, at 2:14 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  4. Arahant Member
    Arahant

    Besides, it’s his 543rd birthday. Just wish him a happy birthday and give the guy a break.

    • #4
    • March 6, 2018, at 2:15 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  5. ST Inactive

    hello

    • #5
    • March 6, 2018, at 2:18 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  6. Profile Photo Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):
    You’re going to make me do it again, aren’t you?

    True genius often sparks jealousy in lesser lights.

    I don’t think Twain is jealous so much as irritated with the habit of lesser men borrowing reflected glory.

    • #6
    • March 6, 2018, at 2:26 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  7. Arahant Member
    Arahant

    ST (View Comment):
    hello

    Bon jour, Monsieur. Table for one?

    • #7
    • March 6, 2018, at 2:30 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  8. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Besides, it’s his 543rd birthday. Just wish him a happy birthday and give the guy a break.

    That’s a grand old age. Happy Birthday!

    • #8
    • March 6, 2018, at 5:10 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  9. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):
    You’re going to make me do it again, aren’t you?

    True genius often sparks jealousy in lesser lights.

    Yeah, Twain does that to me too.

    • #9
    • March 6, 2018, at 5:23 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  10. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Whistle Pig (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):
    You’re going to make me do it again, aren’t you?

    True genius often sparks jealousy in lesser lights.

    I don’t think Twain is jealous so much as irritated with the habit of lesser men borrowing reflected glory.

    I think it was a comment on the general tendency of Europeans to stand on their laurels as reflected through the specific tendency of tour guides to try to mold their presentations to their perceptions of their (in this case American) audience.

    • #10
    • March 6, 2018, at 5:28 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Some of my favorite sculptures are the incomplete ones of Michelangelo in Florence. It’s like watching the work living, emerging from the stone. Awesome to see.

    • #11
    • March 6, 2018, at 6:02 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  12. ST Inactive

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    Some of my favorite sculptures are the

    ones of living, breathing female (dare i say feminine) types.

    • #12
    • March 6, 2018, at 6:51 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  13. Mark Camp Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    Some of my favorite sculptures are the incomplete ones of Michelangelo in Florence. It’s like watching the work living, emerging from the stone. Awesome to see.

    Not me. I just give him an Incomplete for those.

    Once we start grading on a curve, our standards will erode, and before you know it, all art will be judged for its timeless beauty and transcendent insight into intangible truths, instead of on measurable nationwide objectives.

    • #13
    • March 6, 2018, at 6:57 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  14. ST Inactive

    Arahant (View Comment):

    ST (View Comment):
    hello

    Bon jour, Monsieur. Table for one?

    we

    • #14
    • March 6, 2018, at 7:10 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  15. Judge Mental Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    Some of my favorite sculptures are the incomplete ones of Michelangelo in Florence. It’s like watching the work living, emerging from the stone. Awesome to see.

    These days you might be able to make it into a modern arts museum by calling a block of marble an unfinished sculpture.

    • #15
    • March 6, 2018, at 8:39 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  16. Arahant Member
    Arahant

    Judge Mental (View Comment):
    These days you might be able to make it into a modern arts museum by calling a block of marble an unfinished sculpture.

    It has probably been done.

    • #16
    • March 6, 2018, at 8:42 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  17. Clavius Thatcher

    Sculpting is an interesting craft. You take things away to reveal what you want. Wonderful words from Michelangelo.

    • #17
    • March 23, 2018, at 5:11 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  18. Skyler Coolidge

    So did Michelangelo write Sonnets in English, or did someone translate this so it rhymes?

    • #18
    • March 23, 2018, at 6:46 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  19. Arahant Member
    Arahant

    Skyler (View Comment):

    So did Michelangelo write Sonnets in English, or did someone translate this so it rhymes?

    Translated. Obviously, he would have been writing in the Italian dialect of his place and era. I could probably find the poem in one of the volumes I have on my Kindle.

    • #19
    • March 23, 2018, at 6:50 PM PDT
    • Like
  20. Arahant Member
    Arahant

    Unfortunately, my source did not have the original. I have a collection of over 300 of his poems in the original, but I do not seem to be finding this one, unless the unknown translator used a very, very loose translation of certain words that should be easy to find with a search. Let me look a bit more to see if I can find the original.

    • #20
    • March 23, 2018, at 7:32 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  21. Skyler Coolidge

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Unfortunately, my source did not have the original. I have a collection of over 300 of his poems in the original, but I do not seem to be finding this one, unless the unknown translator used a very, very loose translation of certain words that should be easy to find with a search. Let me look a bit more to see if I can find the original.

    That’s kind of why I brought it up. It’s really hard to translate a poem to rhyme without changing the tone of the poem.

    • #21
    • March 23, 2018, at 7:38 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  22. Arahant Member
    Arahant

    Okay, a little closer:

    Michelangelo, Sonnet addressed to Vittoria Colonna; tr. Mrs. Henry Roscoe (Maria Fletcher Roscoe), Vittoria Colonna: Her Life and Poems (1868), p. 169.

    https://archive.org/stream/vittoriacolonnah00roscrich#page/168/mode/2up

    • #22
    • March 23, 2018, at 8:06 PM PDT
    • Like
  23. Arahant Member
    Arahant

    Okay, I think I know which sonnet it is now. Let me find it.

    This may be it, but if so, the translation in the book on Colonna and quote is just really bad (and free).

     

    • #23
    • March 23, 2018, at 8:37 PM PDT
    • Like
  24. Arahant Member
    Arahant

    Skyler (View Comment):
    It’s really hard to translate a poem to rhyme without changing the tone of the poem.

    Depends on the languages involved and how much of a poet the translator is. English is a rhyme-poor language compared to Italian. Of course, that quote I originally used does have a rhyme, but it seems incidental at best, and certainly not in the pattern Michelangelo used. You’ll note the one I think it may be is a full Petrarchan (Italian) sonnet. Seeing the fuller version in the book, we get thirteen short lines out of Michelangelo’s fourteen full lines.

    • #24
    • March 23, 2018, at 8:44 PM PDT
    • Like
  25. Judge Mental Member

    Kind of a late promotion.

    • #25
    • March 23, 2018, at 8:49 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  26. Arahant Member
    Arahant

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Kind of a late promotion.

    I’ll take it, though.

    • #26
    • March 23, 2018, at 9:01 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  27. Judge Mental Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Kind of a late promotion.

    I’ll take it, though.

    Maybe there is still hope for my stinky feet post.

    • #27
    • March 23, 2018, at 9:06 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  28. Al Sparks Thatcher

    Whistle Pig (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):
    You’re going to make me do it again, aren’t you?

    True genius often sparks jealousy in lesser lights.

    I don’t think Twain is jealous so much as irritated with the habit of lesser men borrowing reflected glory.

    You have to take this in context. Twain was one of the first — if not the first — modern travel correspondents. He often complained about tour guides who would give out false, exaggerated information about their subjects (reflected glory?).

    This included scepticism about supposed artifacts of The Cross and other religious artifacts that he encountered again and again in various churches in the Holy Land and Europe.

    • #28
    • March 25, 2018, at 6:31 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  29. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Al Sparks (View Comment):
    You have to take this in context. Twain was one of the first — if not the first — modern travel correspondents.

    After the Civil War, there was a spate of travel correspondents. Twain was satirizing them too, to a degree, by giving the actual interactions his group had with Ferguson (the name that he says the group assigned to all their guides “to avoid confusion”).

    • #29
    • March 25, 2018, at 6:52 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  30. Profile Photo Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    So did Michelangelo write Sonnets in English, or did someone translate this so it rhymes?

    Translated. Obviously, he would have been writing in the Italian dialect of his place and era. I could probably find the poem in one of the volumes I have on my Kindle.

    Wasn’t most of the poetry at that time written in Latin? The local Italian being thought too pedestrian for elevated art? I thought that was one of the groundbreaking achievements of Dante, writing in Italian.

    • #30
    • March 26, 2018, at 3:14 AM PDT
    • Like

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