I Fell In Love Again

August 21, 2023

He took my breath away, for the millionth time since I met him. I looked up at his perfect form, his perfect face, broad shoulders, strong legs, ready to take on the world.

As I stood mesmerized, tears running down my face…again, for the millionth time since I met him, I realized that this was true love and that my passion for him would never wane.

I am speaking of Michelangelo’s David.

When I was a little girl, the World’s Fair came to New York. Composed of various pavilions dedicated to world cultures, the fair was designed to open our minds and our hearts to the world around us.

My grandfather and I arrived at the Italian pavilion. We stepped from sparkling sunlight into a darkened room, with a moving sidewalk. In the distance, in front of a navy blue velvet drape stood the most beautiful thing my young eyes had ever seen: The Pieta by Michelangelo. We moved slowly past her on the moving sidewalk and as we exited, blinded by the sun, I looked at my grandfather, both of us with tears in our eyes and simply said, “Again, please, again.” It set us up for the entire day of passing the Pieta and getting back in line to pass her again and again, seeing nothing else the Fair had to offer. 

And so began my obsession with all things Michelangelo, from devouring books, documentaries and bad movies about him to writing my Master’s Thesis on his work and life.

I met David when I was twenty-two. Heading to the Academia to see the statue by the sculptor that had occupied so much of my consciousness was completely intoxicating. As I walked through the room of paintings, I felt like I was vibrating with anticipation. I dallied in front of masterpieces, delaying the pleasure of seeing him for the first time, letting the excitement build inside me.

By the time I rounded the corner into the corridor that led to the enclave that housed him, I was ready to faint with anxiety. What if I was disappointed after all this anticipation?

I laid eyes on him and was filled with so much emotion at his beauty that I could hardly breathe. I stood there, transfixed for what might have been hours. Several guards came to see if I was ok as time passed and passed. At one point, I laid on the floor to see my David as he might look on the buttress of the Duomo, his first intended home.

What appeared to be a too large head, too large hands and an elongated torso came into perfect perspective from my prone view. The pure genius of Michelangelo was on full display as he sculpted his masterpiece, judging what it might look like from the ground with no computers to create perspective; just his brilliant eye and talent. Talk about nailing it! Astonished guards, after my halting Italian explanation actually stood beside me so I wouldn’t be trampled!

I was in sculpture love, where I have remained. My long-term love affair with the beauty of the David never seems to wane. I never grow tired of seeing his magnificence and to ponder how twenty-nine-year-old Michelangelo had the wherewithal to create such a masterpiece…or as he put it in his own letters…to free him from the marble that housed him. He described feeling David’s heartbeat as he worked; feeling his presence deep within the stone.

Such talent is incomprehensible to us in modern times. Was Michelangelo touched by divine inspiration? No one can know, but he certainly moved at a higher energetic vibration than anyone else of his time…or any time, in my humble opinion.

You may wonder why I am writing about this ancient masterpiece for social media. I just finished a “biography” of the David that takes the reader on the journey from the quarrying of the marble, to the several unsuccessful attempts to create a colossal masterpiece…until the stone found itself in the loving, talented hands of Michelangelo. The book moved me in new ways as I discovered things I didn’t know; running my fingers over the page that showed Michelangelo’s sketches of what would become the David.

I adore the work of Michelangelo. This ancient talent has transcended time and trends with his work, inspiring us for centuries. He reminds me that even on the most difficult of days, there is beauty everywhere.

Sometimes, you just have to listen for the heartbeat to transform the physical into the divine.