“some historians think that michelangelo was drawing god in a human brain. very few people knew what one looked like at the time; but michelangelo had dissected cadavers and would have known. it even has the hint of a brain stem. if true this would have been a great “fuck you” to the pope whom he was not friendly with but also would have meant god was in a human brain, or created by man.”
also michelangelo painted a baby angel flipping off the pope
the blond one, you see his right hand? that’s called the fig and it’s an old world european gesture for ‘fuck you” because apparently Pope Juluis II was a total raging asshole and everyone hated him
but nobody ever noticed this little fucker because the ceiling was so high
and then thirty years later they called michelangelo back to paint the wall behind the altar and he wasted no time in painting the gates of hell behind the pope’s chair
what a badass
It amuses me to this day how much Michelangelo hated his job
It’s not that he hated his job, he was challenged to paint the Sistine Chapel. When I went there, the historian doing my tour (who was a lady from England and was Anglician so she really did not care about what she said being controversial to this Catholic monument, yet was still very respectful at the same time) said that Pope Julius II commissioned Michelangelo to built his tomb in 1505, to be done in five years and contain dozens of statues (since Michelangelo was a sculptor first). This took Michelangelo 40 years because he’s a perfectionist and the Pope keep on giving him other tasks, including painting the support beams for the ceiling.
But but… Michelangelo painted the ceiling!!! Yes he did, but it was not what he was commissioned to do. Michelangelo was commissioned to paint the Twelve Apostles on the triangular supports of the ceiling, BUT that was only after a builder/architect of St Peter’s Bascillia convinced the Pope to have Michelangelo to do something outside of his medium of sculpting (Bramante is his name but I learnt his name after some research, the guide did not know and it is only be one person’s account that it was Bramante). Bramante convinced the Pope to do this as a way to challenge Michelangelo and to hopefully see him fail. So the Pope commissioned Michelangelo to paint the Twelve Apostles in 1508 - 3 years into his work on the tomb.
Now, there is the brain and the angel giving the obscene gesture but that is not the biggest ‘fuck you’ that Michelangelo did. His biggest one was that he convinced the Pope to let him paint the ENTIRE CEILING instead of a small portion. Michelangelo wanted to free hand the ceiling (basically doing whatever he wanted and something that is not easy unless you are a trained painter). He finished the ceiling in 4 years, in 1512. Michelangelo’s ‘fuck you’ was that he succeeded in doing something that he was not known for after being challenged to do it. It was only after he finished the ceiling that he became know for painting.
So yeah, he may not have 100% enjoyed doing the painting because it was not his medium, but basically he was challenged to paint because someone wanted to see him fail at something. I feel like that is a good life lesson.