I am researching Michelangelo at the moment. Reading on a wiki. I am interested in him as he is one of the most acclaimed artist of all time, maybe the “archetypal Renaissance man”. And, he is listed as an artist that may have had mental illness. And there is evidence that he was gay. I guess I wonder about the later two. Some speculate that people with mental illness use different parts of their brains or access different parts of their brains. They are quicker to make associations. How can someone that is mentally ill create this level of art?

credit: wikipedia

You can’t argue that he was passive or lazy. One could argue that his work is “perfection”. During his productive years he was in demand to the point that he was frustrated with interruptions. The Sistine Chapel puts the viewer at awe centuries after its completion. But these are history and religious paintings commissioned by powerful religious figures. Religious art today is more associated with folk art. Michelangelo didn’t have a choice to work in history or religious genres. That was the role of the artist of the day.

The work of Michelangelo inspires the arts today. Yet he was reclusive and really didn’t socialize with other artists including Leonardo Da Vinci or Raphael. He was so successful that he had biographies written while he was alive. I don’t know how historians can determine his sexuality centuries later but they point to the poetry he wrote in the later stages of his life. Considering his standing in the church, their current issues with homosexuality, and religious doctrine, it would be ironic if it were true.

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