Even Michelangelo Needs Advice

Even Michelangelo Needs Advice

Reprinted with permission from: http://painterskeys.com

Dear Artist,

The following is part of a letter from an artist to an architect friend: “I asked him for some of the money I need to continue my work. He told me to come around on Monday. I went on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and there was no money. On Friday someone else came to the door and threw me out. I’m discouraged about getting paid for this job.”

Michelangelo_-_Creation_of_Adam

“The Creation of Adam” 1512
fresco 280 cm × 570 cm (9 ft 2 in × 18 ft 8 in)
by Michelangelo (1475-1564)

Sound familiar? The date on the letter is May 2, 1506. The artist was Michelangelo and the patron was Pope Julius II. The “job” was a three-story tomb with forty bronze and marble statues. Michelangelo never completed the job because he was never properly paid. Julius, who never got his big tomb, died. After two short-lived popes, Paul III, equally ambitious, took over. He got Mike to finish a ceiling. Then he told him to paint the end wall. This is the Sistine Chapel we’re talking about. Virtually a prisoner for four years, Mike applied what Thomas Craven called, “the compacted fury of twenty years in which the artist’s vision compromised with the world of fact.” This job was “The Last Judgment.” It’s been called “the greatest single work of art that man has ever produced.”

michelangelo_prophet-ezekiel_1510

“The Prophet Ezekiel” 1510
by Michelangelo

We artists are often asked to do something along the lines of somebody else’s ideas. If the subject matter turns your crank, I recommend that you should say “yes.” You should never say “when.” Commissions tend to bend your mind into dimensions where you may not at first be prepared to go. This is good for you. If the job or the patron starts to make you angry, you should pretend the job is for someone else. Even for some higher power. Popes are only popes but art is pretty darned permanent. And another thing, it doesn’t matter who you’re dealing with, get a decent deposit.

michelangelo_the-last-judgment

“The Last Judgment” 1536–41
fresco 13.7 m × 12 m
(539.3 in × 472.4 in)
by Michelangelo

Best regards,

Robert

PS: “Poets and painters have the power to dare, I mean to dare to do whatever they may approve of.” (Michelangelo) “Art is made noble and religious by the mind producing it.” (Michelangelo)

Esoterica: The pope wanted The Last Judgement to be done in oils. Mike thought it would be better in fresco. “Michelangelo did not say either yes or no. He did not lift a finger for several months. He let it be known around and about that oils were suitable only for women, the rich and the slothful. He quietly had everything plastered over in preparation for fresco, and then Michelangelo set to work.” (Giorgio Vasari)

This letter was originally published as “Commissioned artwork” on November 12, 2002.

cistine-chapel_detail

The Letters: Vol. 1 and 2, narrated by Dave Genn, are now available for download on Amazon, here. Proceeds of sales contribute to the production of The Painter’s Keys.

“If people knew how hard I worked to achieve my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful after all.” (Michelangelo)

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in spring 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

A work of art

THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST

THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST

ANGELFor your reading pleasure, the classic story about the Ghost of Christmas Past . . . which reminds me to have joy and peace, to be kind, loving, patient, generous, good and faithful. Remember Scrooge?

Scrooge, the old miser, was a squeezing, scraping, clutching old sinner. He hated Christmas, and said it was nothing but “humbug.” He refused any Christmas dinner invitations, and slammed the door to anyone asking for donations to help feed the poor. He couldn’t stand giving his workers time off for Christmas, but did it because they would quit if he didn’t.

original illustration

Original 1843 illustration by John Leech

The Ghost of Christmas Past is the first of the three spirits to haunt Ebenezer Scrooge. This angelic spirit shows Scrooge scenes from his past that occurred on or around Christmas, in order to demonstrate to him the necessity of changing his ways, and to show him how he came to be a bitter, coldhearted miser.

Ebenezer-Scrooge

Ebenezer-Scrooge

After showing up in Scrooge’s house, the Ghost of Christmas Past takes his hand and flies with him over London. He first shows Scrooge his old boarding school, where he stayed alone but for his books, while his schoolmates returned to their homes for the Christmas holidays.

Scrooge

The spirit also shows Scrooge the Christmas Eve when, as a young man, his beloved fiancee Belle ended their relationship upon realizing that he now cared more for money than he did for her.

What do each of the three spirits in A Christmas Carol represent?

The Ghost of Christmas Past represents memory.  By taking Scrooge through the different stages in his life, the Ghost of Christmas Past is showing Scrooge that he was once able to love and that he once cared about others.  But as he ages, Scrooge is shown how much less compassion he has for people, as well as how much more greedy he has become due to his lust for money.

achristmascaroldickens1225The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come represents death.  It is Scrooge’s fear of death that finally seals his fate and makes him change his ways.  More literally, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come represents the difference between heaven and hell, showing Scrooge how awful his life will be if he continues living the way he is, compared to how his life used to be when he had more compassion for the human spirit.

A_Christmas_Carol_-_Mr._Fezziwig's_BallIn the present, Scrooge is shown people enjoying themselves.  Scrooge never enjoys himself, and he realizes that Christmas Present symbolizes happiness and joy found in togetherness.  All of the people are poor, yet “content to be so” and happy to have each other.  Scrooge is stunned to see that his clerk has a crippled son.

episode_01_534x300“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future.” Scrooge does better than his word, and becomes a second father to Tiny Tim and a good friend to the Cratchits.  He also becomes a good Uncle.  Scrooge realizes, seeing the present as he did, that he has a ready-made family.  All he has to do is open his heart to them.

Here are the last two pages from the original book, A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens, pp115-116 (public domain-from the Library of Congress)

But he was early at the office next morning. Oh, he was early there. If he could only be there first, and catch Bob Cratchit coming late! That was the thing he had set his heart upon.

And he did it’ yes, he did! The clock struck nine. No Bob. A quarter past. No Bob. He was a full eighteen minutes and a half behind his time. Scrooge sat with his door wide open, that he might see him come into the tank. His hat was off before he opened the door; his comforter too. He was on his stool in a jiffy; driving away with his pen, as if he were trying to overtake nine o’clock.

“Hollo!” growled Scrooge, in his accustomed voice, as near as he could feign it. “What do you mean by comin here at this time of day?”

“I am very sorry, sir,” said Bob. “I am behind my time.”

“You are?” repeated Scrooge. “Yes. I think you are. Step this way, sir if you please.”

“It’s only once a year, sir,” pleaded Bob, appearing from the tank. “It shall not be repeated. I was making rather merry yesterday, sir.”

“Now, I’ll tell you what, my friend,” said Scrooge; “I am not going to stand this sort of thing any longer. And therefore,” he continued, leaping from his stool, and giving Bob such a dig in the waistcoat that he staggered back into the tank again—“ and therefore I am about to raise your salary!”

Bob trembled, and got a little nearer to the ruler. He had a momentary idea of knocking Scrooge down with it, holding him, and calling to the people in the court for help and a strait waistcoat.

“A Merry Christmas Bob!” said Scrooge, with an earnestness that could not be mistaken, as he clapped him on the back.

“A merrier Christmas, Bob, my good fellow, than I have given you for many a year. I’ll raise your salary, and endeavor to assist your struggling family, and we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon, over a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop, Bob! Make up the fires, and buy another coal-scuttle before you dot another i, Bob Cratchit!”

Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive form. His own heart laughed; and that was quite enough for him.

He had no further intercourse with spirits, but lived upon the total abstinence principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless us every one!

The End

If you click this: “The Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, written 1911, you can read the book and enjoy all the illustrations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST

Angels all around . . .

 

My angel is all caught up in the holiday spirit. No matter what I say, she insists on coming shopping with me to point out all the flickering lights, the toys, the wrappings . . . all this while dancing around the Christmas trees and saying to have joy and peace, and to be kind, loving, patient, generous, good and faithful. She says, “Remember Scrooge?

 

Scrooge, the old miser, was a squeezing, scraping, clutching old sinner.” He hated Christmas, and says it is nothing but “humbug.” He refused any Christmas dinner invitations, and slammed the door to anyone asking for donations to help feed the poor. He can’t stand giving his workers time off for Christmas, but does it because they would quit if he didn’t.

The Ghost of Christmas Past is the first of the three spirits to haunt Ebenezer Scrooge. This angelic spirit shows Scrooge scenes from his past that occurred on or around Christmas, in order to demonstrate to him the necessity of changing his ways, and to show him how he came to be a bitter, coldhearted miser.

After showing up in Scrooge’s house, the Ghost of Christmas Past takes his hand and flies with him over London. He first shows Scrooge his old boarding school, where he stayed alone but for his books, while his schoolmates returned to their homes for the Christmas holidays.

The spirit also shows Scrooge the Christmas Eve when, as a young man, his beloved fiancée Belle ended their relationship upon realizing that he now cared more for money than he did for her.

Thethe three spirits in A Christmas Carol represent?

The ghost of Christmas past represents memory.  By taking Scrooge through the different stages in his life, the ghost of Christmas past is showing Scrooge that he was once able to love and that he once cared about others.  But as he ages, Scrooge is shown how much less compassion he has for people, as well as how much more greedy he becomes due to his lust for money.

The ghost of Christmas yet to come represents death.  It is Scrooge’s fear of death that finally seals his fate and makes him change his ways.  More literally, the ghost of Christmas yet to come represents the difference between heaven and hell, showing Scrooge how awful his life will be if he continues living the way he is, compared to how his life used to be when he had more compassion for the human spirit.

In the present, Scrooge is shown people enjoying themselves.  Scrooge never enjoys himself, and he realizes that Christmas Present symbolizes happiness and joy found in togetherness.  All of the people are poor, yet “content to be so” and happy to have each other.  Scrooge is stunned to see that his clerk has a crippled son.

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future.” Scrooge does better than his word, and becomes a second father to Tiny Tim and a good friend to the Cratchits.  He also becomes a good Uncle.  Scrooge realizes, seeing the present as he did, that he has a ready-made family.  All he has to do is open his heart to them.

Here are the last two pages in the original book, A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens, pp115-116 (public domain-from the Library of Congress)

A CHRISTMAS CAROL—THE END OF IT

 

But he was early at the office next morning. Oh, he was early there. If he could only be there first, and catch Bob Cratchit coming late! That was the thing he had set his heart upon.

And he did it’ yes, he did! The clock struck nine. No Bob. A quarter past. No Bob. He was a full eighteen minutes and a half behind his time. Scrooge sat with his door wide open, that he might see him come into the tank. His hat was off before he opened the door; his comforter too. He was on his stool in a jiffy; driving away with his pen, as if he were trying to overtake nine o’clock.

“Hollo!” growled Scrooge, in his accustomed voice, as near as he could feign it. “What do you mean by comin here at this time of day?”

“I am very sorry, sir,” said Bob. “I am behind my time.”

“You are?” repeated Scrooge. “Yes. I think you are. Step this way, sir if you please.”

“It’s only once a year, sir,” pleaded Bob, appearing from the tank. “It shall not be repeated. I was making rather merry yesterday, sir.”

“Now, I’ll tell you what, my friend,” said Scrooge; “I am not going to stand this sort of thing any longer. And therefore,” he continued, leaping from his stool, and giving Bob such a dig in the waistcoat that he staggered back into the tank again—“ and therefore I am about to raise your salary!”

Bob trembled, and got a little nearer to the ruler. He had a momentary idea of knocking Scrooge down with it, holding him, and calling to the people in the court for help and a strait waistcoat.

“A Merry Christmas Bob!” said Scrooge, with an earnestness that could not be mistaken, as he clapped him on the back.

“A merrier Christmas, Bob, my good fellow, than I have given you for many a year. I’ll raise your salary, and endeavor to assist your struggling family, and we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon, over a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop, Bob! Make up the fires, and buy another coal-scuttle before you dot another i, Bob Cratchit!”

 

Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive form. His own heart laughed; and that was quite enough for him.

 

He had no further intercourse with spirits, but lived upon the total abstinence principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless us every one!

The end.

 

Original 1843 illustration by John Leech

 

This link below is for the book “The Christmas Carol.” It’s all ok to use, I will use this link in my blog. It’s a sweet book.

http://1.usa.gov/1TjLrkz

McMANSION FINALE

McMANSION FINALE

Location: Norwalk, Connecticut
National Landmark

Lockwood exterior 1867

Over the top, Lockwood Mathews mansion is over the top, bigger, better, more complex and complete than other later similar homes. It was first, before the Newport Cottages, before Victoria Mansion in Portland, Maine, before any of the homes in this blog. Mr Lockwood was a genius. He heated his house with radiant (floor) heating with the most amazing furnace in the basement. (Looks Steampunk.) Indoor plumbing . . . with sinks in every room. And a bowling alley in the basement. In the tradition of the Second Empire, this home was built in 1867 by Legrand Lockwood.

Library as it was when the Mathews family lived there after 1873

The Connecticut estate, about an hour outside of the city, was the summer home of the prominent railroad magnet and shipping mogul. It was later home to the Mathews family for 75 years until 1938 when Florence Mathews, last member of the family died. Now known as Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum, the estate originally had 30 acres of land overlooking the Sound. Slowly the land was sold off leaving a small parcel showing a 44,000-square-foot main house, a carriage house, a Victorian-style caretaker’s cottage. Can you imagine? You must see this one. You can get more history and information easily at: www.lockwoodmathewsmansion.com.

Library as it was when the Lockwood family lived there 1870


Lockwood Photos Courtesy of the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum 

Unlike the other noteworthy homes below that are for sale, Lockwood is not, but is open with tours to the public.

Location: New York City
Listing price: $14.95 million
The last remaining detached single-family house in Manhattan.
Photo: Curbed

The cities too had their fair share of elaborate mansions built in the Gilded Age, but thanks to development in the ensuing hundred odd years since, few survive. In NYC, the Schinasi Mansion, on Riverside Drive not far from Columbia University, is the last remaining detached single-family house in Manhattan. The 12,000-square-foot mansion retains almost all of its historic detail, including amazing coffered ceilings and a Prohibition-era trap door that leads to a tunnel that once extended all the way to the river. The 35-room marble mansion was built for “Turkish tobacco baron” Morris Schinasi.

Location: Mount Kisco, N.Y.
Listing price:
$26.5 million

Devonshire, with its 101 acres, was owned by the Vanderbilts.
Photo: Curbed

In the tradition of the English country house, sprawling homes began to spring up in Westchester, north of New York City, in the mid-1800s. This Mount Kisco, N.Y. estate, about an hour outside of the city, was built in 1901 for J. Borden Harriman, of the prominent American family, and was later owned by the Vanderbilts, and then ended up in the hands of a “prominent European family.” Known as Devonshire, the estate includes 101 acres of land, a 21,000-square-foot main house, a “carriage house, a Victorian-style guest cottage, and a caretaker’s house.” The garage, which fits 10 cars, has a washing station and hydraulic lift. The main house features a grand staircase, eight bedrooms, a 10,000-bottle wine cellar, “gold-leaf moldings, wood and antique mirrored panelling, and marble floors.”

Location: Miami, Fla.
Listing price:
$4.2 million

The Helmsleys’ penthouse was converted to an Arabian palace.
Photo: Sotheby’s

America’s second Gilded Age, the 1980s, produced many lavish residences, but perhaps none are so emblematic of the spirit of the decade as this Miami penthouse, built for notorious real estate magnates Leona and Harry Helmsley. At one point the Helmsleys controlled the Empire State Building, along with a string of NYC hotels, but by 1989, Harry was very ill and Leona was doing time for tax evasion. The couple never moved into the Helmsley Penthouse, completed in 1981, and sold it off to Saudi Shiek Saoud Al-Shaalan. The sheik transformed the modern apartment into an Arabian palace over two years, with the help of 27 Moroccan artisans and craftsmen.
Old-world-style American palaces
by Rob Bear, Yahoo Real Estate, May 1, 2012
Photos above provided by: Curbed

So, what are these places all about? Those years around the industrial revolution raised Robber Barons, using everyone else to make themelves rich and show off their new found money. Those spaces that seem unusable are show-off spaces. Victoriana, an era of more is better, bigger is better, periodically carried over to the 21st century.

The pendulum swings back and forth. Everything comes and goes, especially money. Nothing much seems to have changed, has it?

 

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