Adam was the First: Michelangelo’s Top 4 Most Famous Works of Art

Michelangelo is one of the most renowned artists in history, with much of his work having close ties with the country of Italy. Being born, working, and passing away in his homeland, much of his work can still be found in museums or churches across Italy. Make Michelangelo’s finest masterpieces a part of your next vacation to Italy and lose yourself in some of the finest Renaissance period paintings and sculptures known to modern man.

Michelangelo, Renowned Sculptor and Painter

Toward the end of the fifteenth century, the artist many simply refer to as Michelangelo was born as Michelangelo Buonarroti in a village in Tuscany, Italy. From his early adolescence, he gravitated toward the discipline of art which only continued to flourish under the guidance of prominent patron of the arts Lorenzo de’ Medici and sculptor Bertoldo di Giovanni in Florence. In his twenties, the accomplished Renaissance artist spent much of his time in Rome where one of his most famous works was commissioned, Pieta. Over the course of his eighty plus years, Michelangelo created dozens of paintings and sculptures that are considered still today to be some of the finest works of art ever created.

Adam Was the First

One of the first of Michelangelo’s masterpieces to become well know was a vibrant fresco titled The Creation of Adam, which can be found inside the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel. The fresco is thought to date back to the early sixteenth century and is a depiction from the Biblical book of Genesis when God created the first man, Adam. The scene shows an older figure, presumably God, reaching out to a nude Adam to bestow life upon him. The fresco is one of the main highlights for visitors coming to the Sistine Chapel and is considered one of Michelangelo’s most captivating works.

Michelangelo's Creation of Adam is a must see when on vacation in Italy

Michelangelo’s Top 4 Most Famous Works

As wonderful as a trip to the Vatican to see The Creation of Adam is, it’s just one of many of Michelangelo’s artistic masterpieces to be found in Italy. To see only this particular fresco, is to see just a small snapshot of the artist’s talents, which included dozens of works including paintings, sculptures, and even poetry. With this in mind, avid historians and art lovers alike may enjoy incorporating visits to more of his famous works during a vacation to Italy.

The top four most famous works of Michelangelo outside of The Creation of Adam may include:

  1. David
  2. Pieta
  3. The Last Judgement
  4. Moses

David

Michelangelo’s early sixteenth century sculpture, simply titled David, is perhaps his most iconic work and can be seen at Florence’s Galleria dell’Accademia. The white marble statue which took two years to create stands approximately fourteen feet tall and is in the form of a muscled and handsome nude male figure that represents the historical man of David from the Bible in the first book of Samuel.

As stated in the Bible, David is a young Israelite shepherd boy who cleverly battles a giant Philistine named Goliath using only a slingshot. The statue captures the young boy as he must have looked right before going into the infamous battle.

What To Look For:

  • The slingshot, which ultimately won the battle for David, can be seen worn across his body. Although visible, its appearance is quite subdued, which many believe to be a nod to the way in which David used primarily his mind in bringing down a giant adversary with only the aid of a simple slingshot.
  • Notice the details of the tense posture of the figure as he is portrayed readying for battle. This tautness of the sculpture’s body and the fine details of even the pronounced veins on the back of the hand lend itself to David’s feelings moments before battle.

Pieta

One of Michelangelo’s earlier works is that of the statue titled Pieta. The Pieta is a religious marble sculpture that often evokes feelings of spirituality and emotion in onlookers. The grand statue is a representation of the Virgin Mary holding Christ in her arms in the sad moments between his crucifixion and burial in the tomb. Pieta can be found in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.

What To Look For:

  • Note the sculpture features two individuals. This was highly unusual for a sculpture of the Renaissance era due to the complexity involved and materials required.
  • Pay close attention to the expression of the Virgin Mary. Spectators often comment on Michelangelo’s efforts to give Mary an expression of peaceful acceptance amidst the heartbreak of watching her son die.
  • Look for Michelangelo’s name. It is said to be the only one of his works to bear his signature.

The Last Judgement

Also found in Vatican City is Michelangelo’s famous painting, The Last Judgement, which can be found on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel. He began this artistic work in the second quarter of the sixteenth century and is said to have taken an estimated four years to complete it. The title of The Last Judgement is said to describe the second coming of Christ as stated in the Bible. This astounding painting is made even more so by its sheer size, which is forty-eight feet by forty-four feet.

The painting depicts a judgement day theme, but the eye travels over a vast array of different scenes including the joy of the saved, the resurrection of the dead, the despair of the damned, and the angels and saints.

What To Look For:

  • The Christ figure can be found near the center of the painting.
  • Notice the expressions on the other figures’ faces as Christ appears to be arranging for their existence in heaven or hell.
  • Search for key Biblical figures such as the Virgin Mary, Michael the Archangel, Saint John the Baptist, Saint Peter, and countless others.

Moses

Michelangelo’s early sixteenth century sculpture titled Moses was originally intended to be an integral part of Pope Julius II’s tomb but can be seen today in the church of San Pietro in Rome. The sculpture was created to portray Moses’ reaction to finding the Israelites worshiping other gods shortly after the delivery of the Ten Commandments. The artist is said to have considered Moses one of his most lifelike works, so much so that upon completion of the sculpture he allegedly hit it on the knee and commanded it to speak.

What To Look For:

  • Note Moses’ expression is one of deep anger which his body mirrors with intricate details such as flexed muscles and pulsating veins.
  • Find the two horns on the top of Moses’ head which are said to be present due to a problematic translation of the Bible book of Exodus in which rays where incorrectly translated as horns.
  • Look for some of the details that contribute to the sculpture’s lifelike presence as noted by Michelangelo.

Michelangelo is an integral part of Italian culture, history, and art. Make some of his most famous works a highlight of your Italian getaway while getting lost in the beauty of the museums and churches they live in.

Discover The Rich History Of The Valadier Temple In Marche, Italy

Marche_Valadier_Temple_Rossetti_picture_blgIn Italy, the more you explore the more you realize that in every corner you can find a piece of art, a secret, or some joy for the eyes. In the Marche region, The Temple of Valadier is one of those places lost among the Apennines and sheltered inside a karst cave. This place mixes a spiritual and ascetic setting with a sense of discovery and adventure. Continue reading “Discover The Rich History Of The Valadier Temple In Marche, Italy”

Italy History: Santuario Santa Maria dell’Isola in Tropea, Calabria

Calabria_Tropea_Santa_Maria_dell_Isola_church_blgIn Italy some sealed books are best retained by locals. Italians, especially in the south part of Italy, are very proud and jealous of their areas. Some hidden spots are confidential and reserved only for those who have connections in site or who have decided to live inside the boot shaped country. For this reason, tourists are practically inexistent in these places. One of these spots is the wonderful Tropea, in Calabria, where you could spot sometimes some Germans, but no other foreign tourists besides them. Continue reading “Italy History: Santuario Santa Maria dell’Isola in Tropea, Calabria”

Italian Monuments: Nuraghe Santu Antine in Sardinia, Italy

nuraghe, SardiniaThe Sardinia region has a distinct culture that sets it apart from other regions in Italy, as evidenced by the island’s particular cuisine, language, and traditions. These differences are mostly a result of geography; since the island is physically separated from the rest of the  Italian peninsula, its history has unfolded in different ways. One symbol of Sardinia’s unique culture is the nuraghe, an ancient cone-shaped structure composed of large stones that can only be found in Sardinia. The nuraghi were constructed by the Nuragic people, a prehistoric civilization that lived exclusively in Sardinia from the 18th century BC to the 2nd century AD. Though 7,000 examples of these massive structures can be admired in Sardinia today, not much is actually known about the nuraghi or the Nuragic civilization. Continue reading “Italian Monuments: Nuraghe Santu Antine in Sardinia, Italy”

Art In Italy: History Of The Floating Piers on Lake Iseo

Lombary_Saluzzo_20160620_Christo_Floating_piers_Giulia Acquisti - IMG_4152Married artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude have created stunning works of environmental art together for decades. From wrapping Berlin’s Reichstag with a tarp in 1995 to placing brightly colored gates through New York City’s Central Park in 2005, their art has always been about creating unique experiences and recreating familiar places. Their latest project, entitled The Floating Piers, will be on display from June 18th to July 3rd in Lake Iseo, a small lake located about 60 miles from Milan in the Lombardy region of northern Italy. Previous art produced by the couple in Italy includes Spoleto’s Wrapped Fountain and ‎Wrapped Medieval Tower in 1968, Milan’s Wrapped Monuments in 1970, and Rome’s The Wall – Wrapped Roman Wall from 1973 to 1974. Continue reading “Art In Italy: History Of The Floating Piers on Lake Iseo”

Ponte delle Torri – A bridge between two fortresses

Spoleto_Umbria_Rocca_castle_bridge_of_the_Towers_blgIn a large gorge south of Spoleto, an imposing limestone bridge arises from a sea of lush vegetation. The precise, man-made structure juxtaposes with the wild, organic flora that surrounds it to create a breathtaking panorama unforgettable to those who have the chance to admire it. Spoleto’s Ponte delle Torri (Bridge of Towers) is not only the most iconic symbol of the city, but for centuries it has been an inspiration to countless poets and artists (from famed German writer Johann Goethe to British landscape painter J.M.W. Turner, and many more).

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Matera: European Capital of Culture 2019

Matera in BasilicataThe European Capital of Culture is a title given to a European city for an interval of one year during which the city will organize cultural events showcasing both the city and its role in Europe. Established in 1985, this distinction aims to promote European unity.  The title is an opportunity for European cities to gain international attention as well as obtain possible economic and social benefits. For the year 2019, an international panel of cultural experts have chosen the proposals of Matera, Italy and Plovdiv, Bulgaria.  Several cities in Italy have been awarded this distinction before (such as Florence, Bologna, and Genoa) but this is the first time a city in southern Italy has been chosen by the panel, and the honor is long overdue.

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Flower Festival of Genzano

Relax And Smell The Roses…Plus A Million Other Flowers

Genzano spring festival infiorataIn Italy, everything is about beauty, art and celebration. In the second week of June, they all come together in the “Infiorata”, or Flower Festival, held in Genzano, which is just outside of Rome.

It is a tradition that started in the 1700s, but it pays homage to the Christian celebration of Corpus Christi back in the 13th Century, when townspeople would throw sacrament petals during the procession through the streets.

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Ronciglione Carnival and Ussari parade

UssariIn the region of Lazio, in the province of Viterbo, there is a town called Ronciglione that celebrates a unique carnival throughout its streets. The Ronciglione Carnival is a great moment for the city and this events attract a lot of visitors.

Usually the Ronciglione Carnival takes place from the Thursday before the Shrove Tuesday up to the Shrove Tuesday itself. During this days there are different types of events and especially three are worth to mention. Continue reading “Ronciglione Carnival and Ussari parade”

Michelangelo – The Greatest Artist Of All Time

Pieta MichelangeloItaly is second to none when it comes to masterpieces of art and statues, architecture, museums, and squares. So it is no surprise that one of the most important artists of all-  time was born and raised in Italy. Continue reading “Michelangelo – The Greatest Artist Of All Time”