Michelangelo's Last Judgment Barnes Critique Essay

1767 words - 7 pages

As we read through the third chapter of "The Last Judgment and The Critics" from Bernadine Barnes's Michelangelo's Last Judgment - The Renaissance Response, it is striking to see the two completely opposite views on the fresco by the sixteenth century critics, where " those who approved of it saw it as the height of Renaissance art; those who disapproved saw it as an unsuitable use of art" and that "it was censured as the work of an arrogant man, and it was justified as a work that made celestial figures more beautiful than natural" (71).

The Last Judgment dealt with an especially evocative subject, and Michelangelo engaged viewers by creating highly imaginative scenes tempering fear with hope and by referring to contemporary events. The painting's original, elite audience--the papal court and a handful of distinguished lay persons--was sophisticated about art and poetry, almost exclusively male, and orthodox in its religious beliefs. That audience later broadened and included artists allowed into the Chapel to copy Michelangelo's work. These artists helped to create another, less sophisticated audience; one that knew the fresco only through reproductions and written descriptions. The response of this latter audience eventually prompted the church to censor the painting.

Although the copies might not seem as incomparable and important as the original fresco itself, the responses to the fresco deduced from the copies made most of the critics change their perspectives on the fresco. For instance, Pietro Aretino, "the quintessential Renaissance man of letters", responded to the fresco "beginning before the fresco was finished, and ending thirteen years later", in which "Aretino's interest changed from an apparent desire to collaborate in the design, to lavish praise of the finished result, and finally to sharp criticism" (74). The reason for the dramatic change in Aretino's criticism is debatable, but what is true is as Barnes points out, that Aretino "was acutely aware of the audience response - he changed not only the content of his own writings but also their style to appeal to different groups" (74). Aretino never got to see the fresco but derived his interpretation from the copies, and in order to make his writing more dramatic, put down his own expectations of the fresco rather than the real content, "filling in imaginative and dramatic details" (75). As the copies of the fresco reached the public and the public responded to the nude figures in the fresco with vehemence, Aretino changed his criticism from an attitude of appreciation to an attack on the display of nude figures as non-religious. In his appreciation, the work was so deified that he stated that the work is almost perfect: "you bind within the outlines of the bodies (the human bodies in the fresco) the end of art" (77). Then what other explanation can there be, other than for the sake of fame and popularity among the public, that Aretino later on took a counter side on...

Find Another Essay On Michelangelo's Last Judgment- Barnes Critique

Michelangelo Buonarroti Essay

929 words - 4 pages known piece of art. It is difficult to understand the importance of the Freccoes, paintings on glass, on The Sistine Chapel (Tazartes 443). The Pope asked Michelangelo to redo the ceiling because the Pope thought that the gold background with blue stars where lame (Tazartes 443). Michelangelo had many drawings to pick from, but he decided to go with the twelve Apostles design. Some of Michelangelo's late work was also really good, like The Last

The Influence of Neo-Platonism on Michelangelo throughout his carrer

1861 words - 7 pages sibyls are accompanied by two youths, which, in traditional Christian art, these figures would have been angels. The center of the ceiling depicts the story of man and his relation to God. On the surface, it is a portrayal of biblical history, beginning with the creation and ending with the Last Judgment. The nine scenes, however, are in reverse chronological order, beginning with the Drunkenness of Noah. Noah symbolizes the soul who is overwhelmed


1609 words - 6 pages , in 1536, Michelangelo was at work on the Last Judgment for the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel, which he finished in 1541. The largest fresco of the Renaissance, it depicts Judgment Day. Christ, with a clap of thunder, puts into motion the inevitable separation, with the saved ascending on the left side of the painting and the damned descending on the right into a Dantesque hell. As was his custom, Michelangelo portrayed all the figures nude

Michelangelo: Book Review

1765 words - 7 pages for two large wall tombs facing each other across the high, domed room. The two tombs were conceived as representing opposite types: the Lorenzo, the contemplative, thoughtful personality and the Giuliano, the active, overenthusiastic one. Work on the Medici Tombs continued long after Michelangelo went back to Rome in 1534, but never returned to the beloved city. In Rome, in 1536, Michelangelo was at work on the Last Judgment for the alter wall

Sistine Chapel Ceiling and The Last Judgment

2638 words - 11 pages : Illustrations, introductory essays, backgrounds and sources, critical essays.( New York: Norton, 1995), pp. 172-173. Tillich, Paul, and Robert C. Kimball. Theology of culture. (London [u.a.: Oxford Univ. P, 1964), pp. 10-48. Vasari, Giorgio. Life of Michelangelo. [Translated by Gaston du C. de Vere.] (New York: St. Pauls, 2003), pp. 69-132. Zawie, Nathan. "Michelangelo's Last Judgment." Michelangelo's Last Judgment. 28 Sept. 2013 .

Michelangelo Buornarriti

1763 words - 7 pages with the government in Florence while the city was in a state of turmoil. After the Florentine Republic fell, the Pope forced Michelangelo to continue work on the Medici Tombs in 1530. In 1533, Michelangelo's father died and he went back to Florence for the last time. The following year he began work on The Last Judgment. Commissioned by Pope Clement III, the fresco was to be painted on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel. Fresco painting

Michelangelo Bounarroti his life and work

1356 words - 5 pages , he worked on The Last Judgment, for the alter wall of the Sistine Chapel. It is the largest fresco of the Renaissance and depicts an apocalyptic Day of Judgment. Christ, with a bolt of lighting, separates the saved, ascending into heaven, from the damned falling to the ground and being sucked into hell. It has been noted that some of the men that are portrayed as damned to hell can be recognized as high-ranking church officials at the time


1798 words - 7 pages , extroverted one. He carved magnificent nude personifications of Dawn and Dusk beneath the seated Lorenzo, Day and night beneath Giuliano; reclining river gods were planned to be carved out on the bottom. The Medici Tombs were worked on long after Michelangelo went back to Rome in 1534, although he never returned to his birth city.In Rome, in 1536, Michelangelo went to work on the Last Judgment for the alter wall of the Sistine Chapel, which was

the prophets

1998 words - 8 pages . Obadiah is a salvation oracle, it is arguable this was the first writing Prophet to emerge just before the prophecy of Joel. The oracle dates to the time of 840-830 B.C. (Barnes, 2012). The periods of the writings have been estimated. The King of the nation “is not mentioned”(McConville, 2002) in his writings for that time. The focus of the book by Obadiah is on the judgment of Edom by God. The Edomites had great hatred of Israel. The message of

Sistine Chapel

1340 words - 5 pages , the largest ever painted in that century, depicting the Last Judgment, was probably suggested to Clement VII by the traumatic events that were undermining the unity of Christians at the time. After the pope's death, on September 25, 1534, and only two days after Michelangelo's arrival in Rome, his successor, Paul III Farnese confirmed the commission to Michelangelo, and in April 1535, scaffolding was put up in front of the altar wall. Even

Biography of Michelangelo

3754 words - 15 pages only two days after Michelangelo's arrival in Rome, his successor, Paul III Farnese confirmed the commission to Michelangelo, and in April 1535 scaffolding was put up in front of the altar wall. All that had happened in the church in the years that preceded the Judgment, including the Reformation and the Sack of Rome, had a direct influence on the work's conception: painted on the altar wall, the Last Judgment was to represent humanity face

Similar Essays

Michelangelo's Fresco The Last Judgment Essay

1648 words - 7 pages different interpretations regarding the significance of various pieces. Works Cited "Art - Medical Definition and More from Merriam-Webster." Dictionary and Thesaurus - Merriam-Webster Online, accessed March 24, 2014, http://www.merriam-webster.com/art Barnes, Bernadine. 1995. "Metaphorical painting: Michelangelo, Dante, and the Last Judgment." Art Bulletin 77, no. 1: 64. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed March 24

Humanites Michael Angelo Essay

522 words - 2 pages Pieta. Michelangelo's Pieta made his name known, and he returned to Florence a famous sculptor. He also stated that he "felt an almost religious calling to sculpt, to unveil the spiritual significance of physical beauty". Michelangelo was not only known for his paintings and sculpting, but he was also a poet, architect and engineer.Michelangelo's painting, The Last Judgment, took four years to complete. The main figure in this work of art is Christ

Michelangelo Notable Creator Essay

1264 words - 5 pages commissioned to sculpt a statue of David. The gigantic statue took him about three years to complete. Between 1508 and 1512, he painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. In 1541, he finished the Last Judgment. It is very difficult to choose which projects are more notable.DeathMichelangelo Buonarroti past away on February 18, 1564. He stated to three of his friend before dying that he gave"his soul to God, his body to the earth, and his material

Michelangelo's "The Last Judgement" Essay

1693 words - 7 pages with the ceiling. The wall had to be done over and Michelangelo never spoke to Sebastiano, who had once been a student of Michelangelo. (Brandes 389)There were many previous depictions of the Last Judgment which influenced Michelangelo's plan for the painting. Such other works include Giotto's painting on the wall of the Camposanto in Pisa, Giovanni Pisano's sculpture on the pulpit of the San Andrea in Pistoia, and Fra Angelica's and Signorelli's