(Orange) Tomb & Resurrection (Michelangelo)


One thing I learned from the wall texts at the blockbuster show of Michelangelo drawings at the Met is this. The orange chalk that gives so much of the exhibition its dark glow is unforgiving material on which to draw. So Michelangelo is showing off his skill, at work with material that might, in a different way, be considered as recalcitrant as marble. I don’t know if this was a theme that particularly exercised Michelangelo as a thinker, but I was drawn very much by the resurrection works. These, in particular, reveal this figure in direct relation to the theme of entombment, something which must have preoccupied Michelangelo’s time as a designer for deluxe funeral architecture. Brought together in these drawings are tomb and Christ. Caught in the act, the resurrecting Christ is a mix of muscle and spirit, stepping out from and lifting himself out of the tomb, out from and out of this tough and gloomy orange and chalky place. As per the inspired author of the wall text below, the religious scene is one of “stupendous frenzy” and “reinforced outlines.”



About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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