ScrivnerEngl. 101; 12:00AL#51.20.18The Last Judgement;The Ethos of Mythology In order for one to understand Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni’s The Last Judgement, we must first analyze key characters to gain a deeper understanding of the mythology concealed within.
Unveiled on All Saints Day 1541 Michelangelo’s The Last Judgement, created as a reminder to Christians is filled with echoes of mythological representation. Through the use of classical mythology, poetry and wit. Michelangelo incorporates ethological ideas with some simple and some, not-so-simple artistic creativity. He paints a Jesus Christ, center stage with the resemblance of the ancient god of war and guardians of the underworld that do not exist in Christianity. Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, born 1475 in Caprese(near Florence) Italy. Losing his mother when he was only 6, Michelangelo was then raised by a stonecutter’s family, in Settignano where his father owner a marble quarry. Later, young Michelangelo would be sent to Florence to attend school, and quickly found himself more interested in the artwork and not so much class.
He began to copy the works of art he would discover in the school house and around town in the churches. First, The Last Judgement represents the second coming of Jesus Christ and the ascent of the saved against the descent of the damned. Center in the painting is an Apollonian Jesus, without beard and appearing equal size to man. To his right man resurrected from death ascends to heaven. To his left, the damned being dragged from salvation and condemned to an eternity in hell.
This duality, is a repeated them to the borderless ends of the fresco. Even depicting Mary, no longer able to pray for the souls of the damn, not even she can restore grace to the fallen. The Last Judgement,” second coming, the rapture, the end of times all describe Jesus Christ’s return; appearing center fresco, facing the viewer. Christ stands atop a cloud, with medium length auburn almost rust color hair pulled back behind his shoulders.
His face, beardless, stoic and youthful as he watches the chaos of the condemned to his right fall to hell. His right hand raised above his head palm facing the audience, left hand palm down in front of his chest, as a conductor orchestrating his finest symphony. His shoulders and torso are strong, with his latissimus-dorsi, pectoralis, and abdominal muscles rippling and heavily shadowed to show depth and strength. Depicting Christ as the absolute power in not just the spiritual world but the physical as well. Michelangelo used several ideas to identify Christ amongst the over 300 equally sized images of mostly men, and women.
He placed Christ in the center of the fresco, with the events of the last judgment surrounding him. Ostentatio vulnerum, “display of the wounds”, a common position for Christ amongst art depicting the second coming. Placing the wounds of Christ on display for all to see with his hands up and his chest bared. His wounds have healed but his scars from the crucifixion remain. Christ, painted in front of yellow sun like glow, highlighting the figure and drawing the eye to the center of the painting immediately.
At the epicenter of the painting, Jesus Christ has returned for his final reckoning as the judge of all mankind, dead and alive. Painted as a sterling example of man, Christ, in peak condition has returned in the flesh for all men to see. Christ here, no longer represents compassion and forgiveness, but indifference and punishment, painted into his expressionless face.
For some this symbolizes a position at his feet and for others an eternity of damnation.