The Sculptor's Muse - A Touch of all the Arts

July 14, 2010

When the Pope approached Michelangelo and asked (told) him to paint the ceiling of the Sistine chapel, Michelangelo's response was "I'm a sculptor, not a painter" However, we now not only have the gorgeous ceiling, but he was afterwards compelled to paint the wall behind the altar as well. Many artists throughout history were proficient in more than one area of the arts, though, most times they are only known for their expertise in one medium. Gianlorenzo Bernini (one of my favorite sculptors) is known for his incredible Baroque sculptures, however, he also painted (again, like Michelangelo, he didn't like it too much, so he never signed his paintings, there are only two extant works that we know he painted) he wrote operas, created opera sets (complete with special effects like floods and fires ) and composed musical scores! Ingres, an incredibly gifted (if cocky) painter was also an amazing vilolinst.
I have many friends who are professional viusal artists, and they all also have a musical talent: Mary Lane Reed and Steve Moppert are portrait painters, Mary Lane plays the piano and Steve not only plays the guitar but also refurbishes them.
It seems that artist's minds, already creative, also lend themselves to being able to 'pick up' other areas of art. However, most young artists can find themselves at a disadvantage with this aspect. They love to draw, and sing and act and write and .... they want to do it all. However, I believe the adage does hold true 'jack of all trades, king of none'. The truth is, we have only one lifetime. For me, I could have been a mediocre actor or dancer, I could have been a bit better at the piano or violin, or a so-so poet - I enjoy all those art forms and had some level of proficiency in them all... OR - I could excel in sculpture.
Find your strength and pour your heart in soul into that area. This doesn't mean that you can't gain some expertise in other areas of art, but you should focus on one area to have mastery in.
"Through all the world there goes one long cry from the heart of the artist. Give me leave to do my utmost." Isak Deneson, 'Babette's Feast"

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copyright 2019 Tracy H Sugg, Sculptor