06 Jun Michaelangelo – what he taught me this week.
Florence – the birthplace of the Renaissance and really modern-day society. On my recent trip to Italy (on the train now back to Rome !) I was most impressed with the works, talent, and dedication of Michaelangelo.
A sculptor, a reluctant painter (I’ll explain), and architect. He was known as Il Divino – the divine one. I can see why. Look at my picture of David. 17 feet high he is breathtaking. As you walk into the room built for his greatness, I was overwhelmed. Out of one mound of marble, he carved this masterpiece at age 26. He used to say that he did not create his sculptures but released them from the stone in which G-d placed them! What an amazing statement. He was doing the work of G-d by uncovering the masterpiece that lay beneath the rock. Spiritual and artistic at the same time.
The Sistine Chapel – in 4 years, Michaelangelo reluctantly completed the most amazing, beautiful fresco anyone has ever seen. He was a sculptor. The Pope practically had to beg him to do it. Painting was not his thing. Stepping out of his comfort zone, he uncomfortably had to paint upside down on wet plaster stunning pictures of the creation of the world. Separately on the wall (the Pope said to fill that wall with something), he painted what was to me the greatest work of art I’ve ever seen, The Last Judgement.
I will think twice about complaining my back hurts after a long surgery. Michaelangelo must have been in severe pain for 4 years twisted around while painting the chapel.
I have seen many wonders of the world. Most have been created by 1000s of men (and slaves) defying logic to build temples, arenas, and buildings that are magnificent works of art. But what Michaelangelo did by himself, to me is truly motivating and humbling. One man with unprecedented talent sacrificed his time to create masterpieces. He has proven that anything is possible.
As doctors, we struggle with trying to deal with human existence and mortality. We often feel defeated as we did not achieve our patients’ goals, or ours. But like Michaelangelo, I will not give up or be discouraged. The life we want for our patients is there inside the marble. With our talent and patience, we can bring it out.