Michelangelo - 1508 Sistine Chapel - 01 TO GIOVANNI DA PISTOIA - ON THE PAINTING OF THE SISTINE CHAPEL
Type of Spiritual Experience
Painting by Jack Hayes
A description of the experience
Michelangelo – Sonnets [translated by Elizabeth Jennings]
TO GIOVANNI DA PISTOIA - ON THE PAINTING OF THE SISTINE CHAPEL
Like cats from Lombardy and other places
Stagnant and stale, I've grown a goitre here;
Under my chin my belly will appear,
Each the other's rightful stance displaces.
My beard turns heavenward, my mind seems shut
Into a casket. With my breast I make
A shield. My brush moves quickly, colours break
Everywhere, like a street mosaic-cut.
My loins are thrust into my belly and
I use my bottom now to bear the weight
Of back and side. My feet move dumb and blind.
In front my skin is loose and yet behind
It stretches taut and smooth, is tight and straight.
I am a Syrian bow strained for the pull -
A hard position whence my art may grow.
Little, it seems, that's strong and beautiful
Can come from all the pains I undergo.
Giovanni, let my dying art defend
Your honour, in this place where I am left
Helpless, unhappy, even of art bereft.