What comes to mind when you hear the name Michelangelo? Prior to solidifying a visual image, consider the following information. As each fact is revealed, your image of this historical icon should become a little clearer in your mind. Let’s take a look.
- Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was his full name.
- He was born in 1475 and lived to be 89 years of age.
- He was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet and engineer.
- He was perhaps the greatest influence on western art in the last five centuries.
- He is often considered a contender for the title of the archetypal Renaissance man, along with his rival and fellow Italian Leonardo da Vinci.
- When the sheer volume of correspondence, sketches and reminiscences that survive is taken into account, he is the best-documented artist of the 16th century.
- He created a huge statue of the Biblical hero David (over 14 feet tall) in Florence before he turned 30.
- He painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome (commissioned by Pope Julius II).
- He designed the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica, completed after his death.
Now deliberate for a moment on that personal image that emerged as you read the above details of his life. With that image in mind, can you imagine this man sharing the following wisdom with the world?
“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it!”
“Excellence can be obtained if you:
… care more than others think is wise;
… risk more than others think is safe;
… dream more than others think is practical;
… expect more than others think is possible.”
“I hope that I may always desire more than I can accomplish.”
“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”
Can you imagine that these observations were made more than 500 years ago? Michelangelo said things at that time that can easily be adapted to today’s chaotic business environment. Note how relevant his words are … even though they were spoken more than a half century ago. That’s true of so many great minds over the years. There’s a reason these words of wisdom have lasted so long. They ring true because they have proven to be so ― time and time again Michelangelo was obviously a visionary as so many people of his time labeled him. I believe he would easily fit into our society today with very few problems. The question is: Would he want to?