The Sculptures of Michelangelo ...

The Sculptures of Michelangelo ...

The Sculptures of Michelangelo ...

The Sculptures of Michelangelo ...

Excerpt

To come nearer to the work of Michelangelo, the greatest sculptor of his millenary--that is what has been attempted in this volume. Natural sight is set against scientific sifting, ocular perception against the experience of historical and critical conceptions. The great art-historians of the preceding century, owing to the costliness of means of reproduction and the unnaturalistic transposition of all such representations, were compelled to present works of art by means of description. By thus transforming the visible and tangible into words, they appealed to the inner, not to the outer eye; but for this very reason every detail became clear, and all the context too; the description was at the same time an explanation, throwing light on that which they thought should be shown. The development of the processes of reproduction, which have become naturalistic in the course of the last fifty years, has increased the ocular knowledge of art research, but at the same time has replaced the selective analysis which verbal descriptions provided by barren surveys without spiritual details--summaries such as may be found in the items of an inventory. Only the photograph of the chosen detail in conjunction with a rendering of the whole in the proper light can provide an adequate equivalent for explanatory description; sometimes it can give more than words can ever give--an unequivocal representation of a definite view and an intimate insight into the working motions of the artist's tools. For this, however, an approximation to the actual dimensions and a considered arrangement of lighting are indispensable.

The catalogue which follows contains an epitome of the substance of old knowledge and conjecture concerning Michelangelo; the limited number of new conjectures it has been possible to include has been cautiously and indeed diffidently worded, and in most cases has been relegated to the notes.

Knowledge and opinion concerning the spiritual and technical foundations of Michelangelo's works; a guide and an aid to the eye, to the understanding and mental retention of them--all that will not hinder the reader from enjoying their full beauty with that freedom from predisposition with which all beauty should be enjoyed. For he who has knowledge of the phenomenon of the spectrum can enjoy the gleaming purity of sunlight not less than the child who accepts this gift as it accepts the miracle of its own life.

LONDON, WINTER 1939-40 LUDWIG GOLDSCHEIDER

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