Artibus et Historiae no. 31 (XVI)1995, ISSN 0391-9064
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Buy article pdf
JOSEPH MANCA - Michelangelo as Painter: A Historiographic Perspective
The recent restoration of the Sistine Chapel frescoes has revealed a new Michelangelo. He is now widely loved and praised as a great painter, but this is hardly how he was regarded in the Cinquecento. Early writers thought very highly of the design and invention of his work, yet in the actual craft and technique of painting they held him in lower esteem. Even otherwise sympathetic critics, such as Giorgio Vasari and Raffaello Borghini, recognized that Buonarroti was not as a good a painter as Leonardo, Raphael, Correggio, or Titian. Many now criticize the post-restoration appearance of the ceiling as flat, gaudy, and cheap in appearance, and they blame the Vatican restorers. But, in light of Michelangelo's critical fortune as a painter, it is worth asking the question: might not Michelangelo himself be to blame? His works look appealing today not because he was a good painter by sixteenth century standards, but because styles and tastes have changed.