Moses by Michelangelo
I think my biggest nerdy art fantasy would be to have dinner with Michelangelo and Bernini. Can you image? My art historian heart beats faster when I think of what sort of sculptures they would have created if they’d been commissioned by someone to do pieces for the same space.
The Moses by Michelangelo, which was created as part of Pope Julius II‘s unfinished tomb, is one of the few (or only?) pieces of sculpture by Michelangelo in Rome. It’s so funny to me that a lot of people don’t even think of him as a sculptor, associating him only with the Sistine Chapel. This would have driven him crazy! He didn’t want to paint, but was forced to by Julius II and had always hoped that he could return to his original commission, which was Julius’ tomb. The Moses piece is located in San Pietro in Vincoli (St. Peter in Chains), which is the church that I photographed the Spanish students hanging out in front of.
As usual I decided to focus on my favorite detail of the sculpture, which is Moses’ fingers winding through his long beard. The most impressive thing to me about sculpture is when the marble is made to look soft and malleable (which is probably why Bernini is my favorite sculptor). Here Michelangelo has captured that softness without giving up any of the strength and majesty that his pieces posses. The last photo features the head of Moses, gazing off into the distance. I will always remember my high school history teacher explaining why Moses had horns. It was a bad translation of the Bible and so instead of “halo” the word was transcribed incorrectly as “horns,” thus all the horn bearing Moses’.
San Pietro in Vincoli is free to visit and is open from 7.30 to 12.30 and 3.30 to 6.30.