Brian Kelly, AIA, professor, University of Maryland, school of architecture, planning & preservation
Unlike other Renaissance architects, Michelangelo left no comprehensive written text to serve as the theoretical basis for understanding his architecture. Alberti, Serlio, Palladio, and Vignola all left “how to” books that today form the foundations of the Western architectural canon, but Michelangelo left us only his painting, sculpture and architecture, both in the form of finished and unfinished projects. This lecture focuses on Michelangelo’s production of architecture as thematically interwoven with his work in painting and sculpture. It posits that Michelangelo’s architectural sensibilities were first stated in his frescos depicting The Book of Genesis on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. His subsequent work involves thematic variations on the Sistine Ceiling and can be seen as a fusion of the Neo-Platonic thinking that he was exposed to in the company of the Medici family with his lifelong fascination with the human body as his principal expression of art.
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