Wouldn’t it be great to see some marine art by Michelangelo? Alas, the man who is held to be one of the greatest artists of all time (pictured above in a portrait by his contemporary, Daniele da Volterra) did not paint seascapes. He channeled his artistic energy to religious and mythological subjects. Even his drawings depicted the human anatomy, not ships. No surprise there. Michelangelo was born in Caprese in Florence and lived variously in Bologna, Florence and Rome. He is not known to have spent any time near the sea and obviously felt no connection with it. The closest he got to creating marine art are the following details of larger paintings:

The Deluge 1508-09

Last Judgment (detail-7) 1537-41

Last Judgement, detail of the Boatman Charon 1536-41

It is probably just as well that Michelangelo chose to deal with the divine instead of the mundane. To borrow a line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet: “There are more things in heaven and earth, sirs, than are dreamt of in your shipping world.” And what seascape could overshadow Michelangelo’s frescoes in the Sistine Chapel?

Creation of Adam, fresco on Sistine Chapel ceiling by Michelangelo 

~ Barista Uno


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