Divinity versus Happiness

July 17, 1998

What is the price of greatness? What price would one pay for immortality? To have lived beloved, respected and admired by millions. The ability to leave an everlasting impression on the world once one has left it behind. Michaelango achieved such amazing feats of glory. He left the world with vivid paintings, surreal sculptures and other works of art. Millions adore his paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and on the roof of Saint Peter\'s Cathedral. Artists marvel at these fascinating and famous works of art. But what price did he have to pay? At what cost was he labeled the Divine Michaleangelo?
After viewing the program biographing the life of Michealango on the Arts and Entertainment Channel I was convinced I knew the cost. The price he had to for his divinity. It wasn\'t money, wealth or possessions. Actually, it had nothing to do with material goods. It is more on the personal side. The price Michelangello paid for divinity was his happiness.
The television program portrayed his life to be filled with tragedy and depression. The death of his mother at a young age accompanied by his brother\'s illness and father\'s dependency on him for money. He shows his reactions and feelings through the facial expressions of his work. The statue David\'s face seems perplexed, as in deep thought and worry. His own face as the skin of the saint on the wall of the Sistine Chapel and the stern face of Moses reflect his emotions that are far from regular or happy.
Although he achieved great recognition at young age and rarely lived the life of a starving artist, his life never seemed to be fulfilling. His unreturned love for the young male model and the Pope forcing him to switch towards painting appears to leave him unhappy. He spent six years away from his first love of sculpturing to paint the Sistine Chapel. Michaelangelo was given the name of the "Divine" Michaelangelo and in the latter years of his life became, wealthy. Yet he appears to be more weary and sad in his art. With each painting of grief his public life, he grows sadder in his public life.
Michaelangelo wasn\'t like many of his fellow artists who spend their life poor and starving. His life was quite the contrary. He had all the breaks. He was recognized at a young age to be a great artist and stayed in an encouraging environment. His father was wealthy and he never lived his life as a destitute. But this artist fell into the common trap of sacrificing happiness for greatness in art. Artist like Vincent Van Gogh who cut off his own ear and Edgar Allen Poe who was a dead drunk when writing his poems are good examples of sacrifices.
My reflection is that he had no need to be depressed and actually had an excellent life. His art was well taken and quickly appreciated, while he was alive as well as after his death. We all have problems and ways to ventilate them. Michaelangelo choose his art. What makes his problems bigger or more terrible than everybody else\'s? The fact that they\'re his. His expression cost him his happiness and brought him greatness.