Celebrating the great Master, by Ellen Miller

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Ask anyone to name one artist from Italy, and the majority will name Michelangelo. February 18, 2014 marks the 450th anniversary of the death of the great artist. The great master will be celebrated all over Italy in both new publications as well as special exhibits and conferences arranged to mark the occasion. If you are currently visiting Italy, be sure to stop by one of these special events to pay your respect to the great painter and sculptor. Perhaps one of the most unique events is the new lighting that is being installed in the Sistine Chapel. A pilot project with LED lights, the goal is to improve the quality of light being shone on Michelangelo’s signature frescos. The new lights will illuminate the paintings between five and ten times more than they are currently. Visitors will be able to experience the frescoes in a new diversity of colors, seeing them the way Michelangelo intended. As Michelangelo was from Florence, there will be a number of events closer to home for those whose future does not include a trip to Rome. From February 18 to May 18 an exhibition entitled Ri-conoscere Michelangelo, or Getting to Know Michelangelo Again, will be featured at the Accademia, where Michelangelo’s most famous sculpture, the David, already resides. From February 18 to April 18, the Florence State Archive will display documents from the last 450 years concerning Michelangelo including some works by Galileo. The Medici Chapels will host a group of photographs of Michelangelo’s works until March 15. For something to look forward to, in April there will be a large costumed procession through the city and readings will be held, appropriately, in Piazza Michelangelo. If you are not able to make it to Italy to celebrate Michelangelo, there is another way you can mark the occasion: by reading love poems written by the artist himself. Michelangelo wrote quite a few poems dedicated to his muse Vittoria Colonna, which he originally intended to have published in a collection together. Perhaps due to his many other commitments, this never happened before her death. Michelangelo had admired her for her beauty and the depth of her mourning for her husband. 450 years later, though, the poems are being published together for the first time, in the original order indicated by Michelangelo. Wherever you are in the world, be sure to get a copy and see the master’s musings on love and beauty. Another way to participate from afar is to view the Icarch Gallery’s online exhibition of submissions from all over the world, designs for a house for Michelangelo. Challenged to design a house for the quintessential artist who wanted peace, a tormented soul, the submissions are all different kinds of mediums. Or perhaps the best way to celebrate of all is to indulge in a creation of your own. Michelangelo was not limited to one medium, so take the time to create your own sculpture or painting, remembering the works and life of the great master as we mark the 450th anniversary of his death.

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