The old master copy above is a figure study by Michelangelo for an Ignudo or idealized male in the Sistine Chapel. I drew my version in graphite pencil while the original was done with red chalk. Michelangelo also used what the Teyler Museum in Holland, which houses the drawing, calls a loodstift. A loodstift, from what I can tell, is a lead pencil of some sort. It was a precursor to the lead pencil, which was a precursor to the graphite pencil. The graphite pencil was a precursor to the Apple pencil. The Apple pencil has a lot of advantages over the regular Number 2 pencil. I like to talk about the several benefits of an Apple pencil, but I can’t get over the fact that an Apple Pencil costs $99 and a regular pencil costs about 10 cents.
“…several falling-outs with upper management.”
Now let’s talk about Michelangelo’s personality with information borrowed from the good folks at the biography.com website. With his brilliant mind and many talents, Michelangelo won the admiration and patronage of wealthy and powerful Italians, but he also had his backbiters. He was aggressive and quick-tempered, often leading to several falling-outs with upper management. In addition to getting Michelangelo into trouble, his personality also caused him to be somewhat disgruntled. Michelangelo continually attempted to achieve perfection without compromising. During his artistic career, he suffered increasing impairments and describes the enormous physical strain he underwent while painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. He often wrote about his melancholy in some of his literary works, which include over three hundred poems and sonnets. Here is a fun quote: “I am here in terrible distress and with severe physical strain, and I do not have any friends of any kind, nor do I want them, and I do not have enough time to eat as much as I need; my joy and my sorrow/my repose are these discomforts.” Wow, I guess that is enough melancholy for one blog post. Until next time.
Just above this well worded post is a copy in pencil of a sketch by Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni. His close personal friends just called him Michelangelo. Today he is known by the name Señor Simoni. The drawing is a preparatory study St. Laurence or St. Lawrence done in red chalk for the Sistine Chapel. I created my copy in graphite pencil because chalk is messy, tends to smear and has that scratchy feeling when you draw with it. Whereas a pencil has wood around it so my delicate hands never even have to touch the actual drawing medium. When someone tries to insult me by saying I am afraid to get my hands dirty, I really can’t argue with him or her but more likely a he. Since we have talked about drawing mediums and Señor Simoni (Michelangelo), I think we’ll talk about the subject of the drawing, St. Laurence. I have taken most of the information from the online version of the encyclopedia Britannica as oppose to the actual set of Britannica books.
Today he is known by the name Señor Simoni.
Saint Laurence or Saint Lawrence, if you’re partial to the letter ‘w’, passed away in 258 in Rome, Italy. I couldn’t find out when he was born. Only when he died. That is a sign of someone living their best life. They go totally unnoticed when they are born but when they die it is sure as hell recorded. He was a extremely celebrated martyr. I didn’t read about how he died but when he is described as a martyr you know it can’t be good. Actually, I just found out that he was probably beheaded. I am telling you this just in case your a real martyrdom buff.
Saint Lawrence is known as the patron Saint of the poor because he apparently gave away the churches riches to the sick and poor. He is also known as the patron Saint of Cooks because it is also quite possible that he was cooked to death on a gridiron. I think that’s why the date of his death was recorded. Your peers definitely wouldn’t forget something like that.
Here is the link if you would like to see a facsimile of the drawing I copied: Study of St. Lawrence for the Last Judgement in black chalk at the Teyler Museum, Haarlem by Michelangelo Buonarotti.
The featured image in this post is a drawing in various graphite pencils. Actually, I think only used one pencil. I think I used the “Prismacolor® 14420 Ebony Graphite Drawing Pencil”. That’s right the old “14420”. You’re probably familiar with a number 2 pencil. Well the “14420” is not that. It is 7210 times darker than a number 2 pencil. (7210 x 2 = 14420) Please note: I not only have no vested interest in the Prismacolor® company but I also know very little about the Prismacolor® company and it’s products.
This drawing is a copy of a drawing in red chalk by Michelangelo Buonarotti entitled “Study for the Nude Youth Over the Prophet Daniel for the Sistine Chapel Ceiling”. The figure on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is located above Daniel and below “God Dividing the Water from the Earth”. According to Wikipedia: Daniel is, believe it or not, the main character in the Book of Daniel. Few people debate whether or not this is true. So the next time you are in a heated discussion over religion, you can both can agree that the main character in the Book of Daniel is in fact Daniel. As you can see this blog is not just about art but about healing the world in general.
Above the nude figure we were talking about is the scene of “God Dividing the Water from the Earth”. Apparently, according to Bible scholars, he divided the water to be either above the firmament or below. I can only assumed that he further divided the water between fresh, salt and brackish. I prefer to call brackish water either lightly salted water or even perhaps salt water with 50% less sodium. On the second day, because we can all agree that dividing water is an all day affair, he separated morning and evening. Then he added lights to the firmament of heaven. It was then that he realized that he should have put up the lights first so he could see what he was doing. Perhaps then he could have put the lights up and divide the water all in the same day.
Graphite pencil figure drawing copied from Michelangelo Buonarroti. According to the book of drawings I’m working from the description is “Study for one of the resurrected of the last judgement”. It also says it is in ‘British Museum’. Once again I’m going to assume it is The British Museum and not one of the garden variety British museums. The British Museum labels the drawing “A FIGURE RISING FROM THE GRAVE, IN THE FOREGROUND OF THE LAST JUDGEMENT.” Yes, they wrote it out in all caps. If you’re THE BRITISH MUSEUM you can do things like that. If you are The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & Natural History, also in London, then you cannot get away with things like that. The last thing people want is Viktor Wynd appearing to yell at them. Let’s get back to the drawing. Michelangelo did his in black chalk heightened with white. I just did mine in pencil. The scratchiness of chalk bothers me somehow. Like pastels and so forth. So I try to substitute it for something non-scratchy. The term “non-scratchy” was not underlined so I guess it’s a real word. Thanks computer for taking my side for once.
On the back of the drawing is another drawing. Michelangelo was perhaps very frugal in his use of paper and/or environmentally responsible. In hindsight, I think it would have been OK if he would have used two sheets of paper. I mean I don’t think he would be ‘cancelled’ of discredited for using more than one piece of paper. I mean I’m all for getting the most out of your materials but really, I mean it’s Michelangelo.
The drawing above is a copy of a work entitled ‘Standing Male Back Nude’ by Michelangelo Buonarroti. The original is housed in the Albertina Museum in Vienna. Michelangelo’s drawing was done in brown pen over black chalk. I drew mine in graphite pencil over another layer of graphite pencil. I have copied drawings from Michelangelo before and perhaps I’ve even talked about him. But I mean it is Michelangelo, so I guess we can always talk about him some more.
The following information comes from Wikipedia. Actually, the German version of Wikipedia that was then translated into English using the built-in translator feature on my browser. I guess I could just go to the English version of Wikipedia or translate the Italian Wikipedia page but this method is more fun and exciting and if you’ve read the rest of my blogs you will see that fun and exciting and me go hand in hand. Moving on, the German wikipedia page says Michelangelo came from a middle class family in Florence, Italy and that their family was distinguished. The family was distinguished, not Florence. Although you could say the city of Florence is quite distinguished. But the article states that his family was distinguished. However, it doesn’t say what exactly makes the family distinguished. It does say his father worked for a year as a city bailiff in Caprese. So I guess that is enough to make a family distinguishing.
Michelangelo had always wanted to become an artist even though his father was against it. When he was thirteen he convinced his father to let him study art. So he became an apprentice in the workshop of Domenico Ghirlandaio where he learned to paint on fresco. So let’s get this straight, Michelangelo knew as a child what he wanted to do the rest of his life. And not only that, he was also able at the age of 13 to convince his father to let him do it. I’m going to let that sink in and call it a day. More to come later…
The next old master copy is of a black chalk drawing by Michelangelo Buonarroti. However, there is some doubts about whether it was actually drawn by Michelangelo himself. The drawing is a study for the central part of a fresco of the ‘Battle of Cascina’. Unfortunately, the work was never realized which I guess means it was never started or perhaps it was started and never finished. In the book I copied the drawing, it says it was done in black chalk. The British museum, where it is on display, states that it was done in pen and brown ink, brown and gray wash, and then heightened with white over leadpoint and stylus. It also states that the white is somewhat discolored. So either the book titled “Anatomy Lessons From the Great Masters: 100 Great Figure Drawings” is being overly simplistic or the British museum is being very British. It is really hard to say. Wait a second, I think I found out what the confusion is about. The drawing at the British Museum says the it was an experiment with different mediums that didn’t work out very well. It goes on to say that Michelangelo created other studies of the same subject in black chalk. I know what your thinking. I am writing about the wrong drawing. And you would be correct in your thinking. But in all fairness it does look very similar to the one I copied. Nonetheless, I made my copy with a pencil or to be more exact, a few different types of pencils. Moving on. The fresco was to celebrate the ‘Battle of Cascina’ and was to be displayed on a wall in the Great Council’s Florentine Room of the Palazzo Vecchio. Leonardo da Vinci was suppose to paint another work on the other side of the room to celebrate the ‘Battle of Anghiari’ which was another victory for the Florentine army. Leonardo’s painting was done with an experimental method that failed and was unable to be salvaged. Speaking of salvaged, I am unable to salvage this poorly written blog post.
Here is a graphite pencil drawing after Michelangelo titled “The Risen Christ”. The original was drawn in black chalk around 1532. It is part of the Royal Collection Trust in the United Kingdom. There are over one million articles in the collection which includes 150,000 works on paper. Apparently, it is all owned by Queen Elizabeth II. Most of the old master drawings where acquired by King George III. The original drawing might have been done as a finished work of art rather than a preparatory sketch. I would assume it is not to hard to find this drawing by Michelangelo in the Royal Collection. Because of it’s importance it must be on display in a conspicuous place. I would hate to think that is hidden in a large pile of 150,000 pieces of paper. But then again if the Queen owns so many items then she just might be a hoarder. In that case there might be several large cardboard boxes of drawings jammed into the Royal garage or perhaps stored up in the Buckingham Palace attic.
“I would hate to think that is hidden in a large pile of 150,000 pieces of paper.”
Moving on, I came across an interesting quote by Michelangelo regarding drawing. “The science of design, or of line-drawing, is the source and very essence of painting, sculpture, architecture. Sometimes it seems that all the works of the human brain and hand are either design itself or a branch of that art.” He also said “Draw, Antonio; draw, Antonio; draw and don’t waste time.” So as you can see, drawing is very important. I would assume that it is important for many people and not just Antonio. But the fact that he singled out Antonio means that drawing is even more important for Antonio. Unfortunately Michelangelo destroyed a lot of his drawings so others wouldn’t see how he developed his work. Here are a couple of more quotes to ponder “If you knew how much work went into it, you wouldn’t call it genius.” And “If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.”
The original is titled “A male nude with proportions indicated” I however, left off the proportions, so now it is just a male nude. The drawing by Michelangelo is in the Royal Collection in merry ole’ England. The original was done in two shades of red chalk. I did mine in two shades of pencil. I guess I could use chalk but it has that ‘scratchy’ feel to it that I do not care for. Of course graphite pencil is not incredibly smooth. If you find that interesting, then I am speechless. But I need to finish this blog post so I will continue.
“What are those writing issues?”
I am writing this post in the ‘word counter.net’ online application. It gives me important information about my writing. For instance, up to this point, it should have taken you about 32 seconds to read this. If you were speaking it out loud for some strange reason, then it would have taken you about 50 seconds. Fascinating stuff indeed. It also shows that I am writing at the 7 to 8th grade level. And believe it or not it is doing this all for FREE! It keeps reminding me that I should upgrade to the application ‘Grammerly’ which checks for grammar, spelling issues and plagiarism. I can even do a brief check for free. Let’s do that now, shall we. It says I have, 2 issues of grammar, 4 spelling mistakes, 12 punctuation “errors” (which in my writing style is actually pretty darn good) and 8 additional writing issues. What are those writing issues? I would have to pay to find out. But since I’ve been humiliated already I think I will leave it there. On the plus side, they did not find any problems of plagiarism and I consider that to be a big win!
Graphite pencil figure drawing after Michelangelo Buonaratti. The original drawing is described as “A nude young man, to front, looking to right, beckoning”. The sketch by Michelangelo can be found at The British Museum. Once again I must emphasize that it is from THE British Museum and not just any run of the mill British Museum. For example the Dog Collar Museum in North Yorkshire. You know the one in Leeds Castle. Moving on, although I drew my copy in pencil, the original was done in pen and not one but two shades of brown ink. Both shades of brown ink are known as iron gall ink. When I say ‘known’. I mean ‘known’ by people other than me. So I had to research it.
“Iron salt is salt with iron in it.”
Are you ready for some fancy book learning? Iron gall ink is made from iron salts and tannic acids. Iron salt is salt with iron in it. That should help clear things up. The tannic acid came from vegetables. Iron Gall ink was used in Europe from the 400s and is still being used today. It can be found on Amazon as well as various pen supply stores. It cannot be found at Michaels Craft Stores or Hobby Lobby “home of oily paint and signs with religious expressions”. If your the handy type, there is a recipe to make your own at instructables.com
So now I should write something about Michelangelo. From what I understand he would often destroy his drawings so people wouldn’t know how he developed his figures. According to artist and biographer, Giorgio Vasari said that Michelangelo burned his drawings “so that no one should see the labors he endured and the ways he tested his genius, and lest he should appear less than perfect.” Out of the thousands he made there are only a few hundred still with us today.