Artist Watch: Michelangelo

One of my biggest influences in drawing and painting is Michelangelo Buonarroti. He is a remarkable Renaissance sculptor who happens to be a very gifted painter, architect, engineer, and poet. He was made famous by his ceiling frescoes on the Sistine Chapel, which he was at first reluctant to do because he considers himself a sculptor first. But he had astounded the world with his expertise in painting and had proven himself a real master!

(Left) Portrait of Michelangelo by Volterra.

My 5th grade class began studying about him and his works the previous week. We discussed about his Sistine Chapel ceiling frescoes and they were not as in awe as I was when I first learned that he spent four years on his back painting the ceiling, which kind of was a downer for me. So to give them a chance to appreciate Michelangelo’s hard work and extraordinary talent, I got this idea online to have them be Michelangelos for a few minutes.

To accomplish this, I gave my students A3 paper, tape, and charcoal pencils and asked them to tape the paper under the tables, which will be their ‘ceilings.’ They can draw anything they like for 10 minutes. They were thrilled to undertake this unusual project and soon, they were all on their backs on the floor, and the first pangs of difficulty had set in.

They reported that drawing on their backs gave them the following (although not all at the same time):

1) headache  2) back ache  3) visual difficulty  4) great fatigue over arms or hands 5) feelings of lethargy.

But they all nevertheless found the activity fun and interesting. I don’t suppose they’ll ever forget the experience, or perhaps the name Michelangelo.

For more of my drawing appreciation of Michelangelo’s work, click here.

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