The Legend of Michelangelo`s “Last Judgement”

Michelangelo`s  “Last Judgement”

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was an Italian sculptor, painter, architect, and poet of the High Renaissance who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art.

I was recently told this old story about one of Michelangelo`s works and I had to share. Even if this legend might not be entirely true (who really knows?), I still found it to be a very beautiful story that has to be told , cherished and shared.

“The Last Judgement” is one of the most influential works in fresco in the history of Western art. Painted on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, it depicts the Second Coming of Christ (a future return of Jesus to earth) and the final and eternal judgment by God of all humanity. Jesus is shown in the center of the painting and is surrounded by prominent saints; while the Resurrection of the Dead and the Descent of the Damned into Hell is shown in the zone below.

When Michelangelo wanted to paint this biblical story, he had to reproduce a scene with the holy angels. And just to paint an angel, Michelangelo sought among the people a person with traits of an angel. Thus, he found a child with a beautiful face lighted like a gentle and pure angel, he managed to paint the image of this child.

After a few years and reaching the painting on the altar, he had to reproduce a scene with a devil. Again, the painter sought for a man to be so ugly and distorted as to resemble a demon. He wanted to portray this character as being slightly older than the angel and with a specific face expression. Finding such a man took him years.

As he finally found him and was painting, the man began to cry, realizing that the painter wanted to reproduce the image of a devil.

Finally, Michelangelo feeling ashamed for making the man cry, asked him: “Why, have you cried while I painted you?  Are you upset that I somehow took you as a model for my painting?”

And he answered:” No, that is not why I was upset. I cried because I remembered being a child and you chose me as a model for your painting of an angel.  Back then I was pure, kind hearted and innocent,  but afterward, I left my parents` home and began to drink, smoke, steal, and live a life full of iniquity. I became engulfed into all the earthly pleasures and things, and lost the connection with my inner self. My face began to twitch reaching the likeness of a dark demon and revealing so much about my life and actions. “

The moral of this little story?

(This is just my opinion though….)

All good people have some evil in them & all the evil ones have some good in them. The one we feed the most becomes who we truly are, and is the one that`ll show on our faces.



Michelangelo Quotes:

If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all.
I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.
Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.



Catalina Magee

Founder / CEO at Trend Prive Magazine. Editor-in-Chief at The Backstage Collections Magazine.