Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Michelangelo, aka Michaelangelo Buonarroti, fully Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni NULL

Italian Renaissance Painter, Sculptor, Architect, Poet and Engineer

"The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark."

"Genius is eternal patience."

"Art is a jealous thing; it requires the whole and entire man."

"Love lent me wings; my path was like a stair; a lamp unto my feet, that sun was given; and death was safety and great joy to find; but dying now, I shall not climb to Heaven."

"Beauty is the purgation of superfluities."

"Death and love are the two wings that bear the good man to heaven."

"I thought all the while, I was leaning how to live, but now I know, I was learning how to die."

"Trifles make perfection; but perfection is no trifle."

"I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free."

"A beautiful thing never gives so much pain as does failing to hear and see it."

"In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it."

"I live and love in God's peculiar light."

"The promises of this world are, for the most part, vain phantoms; and to confide in one's self, and become something of worth and value is the best and safest course."

"Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish."

"The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection."

"Everything hurts."

"A man paints with his brains and not with his hands."

"My soul can find no staircase to heaven unless it be through earth's loveliness."

"Carving is easy, you just go down to the skin and stop."

"Heaven-born, the soul a heavenward course must hold; beyond the world she soars; the wise man, I affirm, can find no rest in that which perishes, nor will he lend his heart to ought that doth time depend."

"It is necessary to keep one's compass in one's eyes and not in the hand, for the hands execute, but the eye judges."

"Good painting is nothing else but a copy of the perfections of God and a reminder of His painting. Finally, good painting is a music and a melody which intellect only can appreciate, and with great difficulty."

"An artist must have his measuring tools not in the hand, but in the eye. "

"I sometimes set myself thinking and imagining that I find amongst men but one single art or science, and that is drawing or painting, all others being members proceeding therefrom. "

"True art is made noble and religious by the mind producing it. "

"Only God creates. The rest of us just copy."

"Painters are not in any way unsociable through pride, but either because they find few pursuits equal to painting, or in order not to corrupt themselves with the useless conversation of idle people, and debase the intellect from the lofty imaginations in which they are always absorbed. "

"And who is so barbarous as not to understand that the foot of a man is nobler than his shoe, and his skin nobler than that of the sheep with which he is clothed. "

"The mind, the soul, becomes ennobled by the endeavour to create something perfect, for God is perfection, and whoever strives after perfection is striving for something divine. "

"Faith in oneself is the best and safest course."

"There is no greater harm than that of time wasted."

"What do you despise? By this you are truly known."

"The greatest artist does not have any concept Which a single piece of marble does not itself contain Within its excess, though only A hand that obeys the intellect can discover it."

"Lord, make me see thy glory in every place."

"With few words I shall make thee understand my soul."

"Read the heart and not the letter for the pen cannot draw near the good intent."

"So now, from this mad passion Which made me take art for an idol and a king I have learnt the burden of error that it bore And what misfortune springs from man's desire... The world's frivolities have robbed me of the time That I was given for reflecting upon God."

"But if it so happens ... a work ... under pain of otherwise becoming shameful or false, requires fantasy ... [and that] certain limbs or elements of a figure are altered by borrowing from other species, for example transforming into a dolphin the hinder end of a griffon or a stag ... these alterations will be excellent and the substitution, however unreal it may seem, deserves to be declared a fine invention in the genre of the monstrous. When a painter introduces into this kind of work of art chimerae and other imaginary beings in order to divert and entertain the senses and also to captivate the eyes of mortals who long to see unclassified and impossible things, he shows himself more respectful of reason than if he produced the usual figures of men or of animals."

"O night, O sweetest time, though black of hue, with peace you force all the restless work to end; those who exalt you see and understand, and he is sound of mind who honours you. You cut the thread of tired thoughts, for so you offer calm in your moist shade; you send to this low sphere the dreams where we ascend up to the highest, where I long to go. Shadow of death that brings to quiet close all miseries that plague the heart and soul, for those in pain the last and best of cures; you heal the flesh of its infirmities, dry and our tears and shut away our toil, and free the good from wrath and fretting cares."

"Every beauty which is seen here by persons of perception resembles more than anything else that celestial source from which we all are come. "

"It grieves me greatly that I cannot recapture my past... I can only offer you my future, which is short, for I am too old."

"[His motto:] I am still learning."

"Criticize by creating."

"Every beauty which is seen here below by persons of perception resembles more than anything else that celestial source from which we all come?."

"Good art is nothing but a replica of the perfection of God and a reflection of His art."

"He who does not master the nude, cannot understand the principles of architecture."

"I followed my heart and figured that if I tried and failed, at least I?d know that I tried."

"If it be true that any beautiful thing raises the pure and just desire of man from earth to God, the eternal fount of all, such I believe my love."

"If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful at all."

"Lord, grant me that I may always desire more than I can accomplish."