3 February 2021

Sleepless Eyes. Night, Day, and the Vigilant Artist – Michelangelo

Sonderforschungsbereich 1369 ‘Vigilanzkulturen’

Chiara Franceschini discussed early modern notions of the vigilant artist at the Lecture Series Zeiten der Wachsamkeit, organized within the framework of the SFB 1369 Projekt Vigilanzkulturen based at LMU Munich.

A focus on the visual arts and artistic cultures of the Renaissance can illuminate crucial aspects of “vigilance” – a word which, in pre-modern Italian, is always strongly linked to an alteration of the physiological day-night rhythm and the state of being “vigilant” in its spiritual (more than bodily) implications. In particular, this lecture will offer some initial thoughts on the conceptual constellation of “vigilance” in the world of Michelangelo Buonarroti. While the materials available to carry out such an exploration are extremely rich, no coherent investigation of “vigilance” for Michelangelo’s art making and connected art discourse have been carried out so far. This talk will unfold in three acts: a preamble in the New Sacristy, a central part focusing on the declinations of “vigilance” in three anecdotic stories concerning Michelangelo’s character and working methods, and a (provisional) conclusion for a common discussion on the relevance of “artist vigilance” for an exploration of the multiple facets of the Zeiten der Wachsamkeit.