February 25, 2009
Michelangelo ‘The Last Judgment’
Have you ever taken the opportunity to take a good look at Michelangelo’s famous painting, ‘The Last Judgment’? If you are like me, you might look at a painting but not pay attention to the details within the painting. Michelangelo when painting ‘The Last Judgment’ incorporated many artistic covert messages. Some of the paintings had an explanation of why Michelangelo chose to incorporate it into the painting where others there was no explanation given.
Michelangelo was famous for many of his sculptures and was becoming well known everywhere by the early 1500’s. In fact it is said that ...view middle of the document...
The skinned man has his eyes open and has a depressed look on his face. I am curious to why Michelangelo would have painted himself as being flayed alive and if there is significance to why St Bartholomew is the man holding the skin of Michelangelo.
St. Bartholomew, a Hebrew decent, is one of the twelve apostles from the gospels Matthew, Luke and Mark. (New Advent) Bartholomew may have also been known as Nathanial because the name Bartholomew was not a proper name of an apostle. It’s said that Bartholomew traveled to many uncivilized countries in the east such as Persia, Arabia, India and finally Armenia to preach the gospel. These particular Countries worshipped Idols, which I could not find and research on what the “Idols” were. (Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska) Astyages ordered to have Bartholomew skinned alive and hung from a cross for converting his brother, Polymius King of Armenia. (New Advent)
There are other paintings and sculptures portraying St. Bartholomew holding his own skin. But in the painting of the ‘The Last Judgment’ it is Michelangelo’s skin that St Bartholomew is holding. What could be the reason of this? Did Michelangelo feel empty for some reason? Was he being mortared for some reason in the process of the painting?
In my research I found one unreliable source that explains the reasoning of why Michelangelo would have painted St Bartholomew holding his skin. The research fits with the rest of the articles I had found pertaining to this subject. It is said that because of his dislike in the idea of having to paint ‘The Last Judgment’ and the figure of St. Bartholomew depicts the satirist and erotic writer Pietro Aretino who had tried to take a valuable drawing from Michelangelo. He holds the painter's flayed skin as a symbol of attempted victimization. (Wikipedia)
Reflecting on the research how can we use this information to relate with what is happening in the world today? Michelangelo was forced to do something he really did not want to do and gave up about fourteen years of his life to finish it. For many years while painting ‘The Last Judgment’ and the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel he was...