Calm Down!

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“He’s got fire in his belly!”  “Her eyes were blazing!”

We use terms like that to describe someone who either 1) has great passion for some cause or achievement, or 2) anger.

Have you or your spouse ever staggered home with bloodshot eyes either at the end of a really long work day, or as the result of a visit to a local watering hole?

Well, it certainly looks like this bird at the Atlanta Zoo was really angry about something!  Actually, it was very calm.  Perhaps it knew that it was rather funny looking and didn’t want to draw any more attention to itself – perhaps it is shy.

I think I would be, too, if I had eyes and a nose like this bird!!!  And talk about a double chin!  What if  your chin looked like this and was bright yellow with a black stripe?  Who knows?  Maybe the bird’s keep spiked its water with vodka.

Yeah, thought so.  I just sit there quietly, too.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:  in 1475, Michelangelo Buonarroti, arguably the greatest of the Renaissance artists, was born in the small village of Caprese in Italy. The son of a government administrator, he grew up in Florence and became an artist’s apprentice at age 13. Showing great talent, he was taken under the wing of patron Lorenzo de’ Medici, the ruler of the Florentine republic. For two years he lived in the Medici palace, where he was a student of the sculptor Bertoldo di Giovanni and studied the Medici art collection, including Roman sculpture.

With the expulsion of the Medici family in 1494, Michelangelo traveled to Bologna and Rome, where he was commissioned to do several works including his early work, the Pieta (1498), a sculpture based on a devotional image that showed the body of Christ in the lap of the Virgin Mary.

With the success of the Pieta, the artist was commissioned to sculpt a monumental statue of the biblical character David for the Florence cathedral. In the 17-foot statue, David is shown watching the approach of his foe Goliath, with every muscle tensed.

In 1508, he was called back to Rome to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo’s epic ceiling frescoes, which took several years to complete, are among his most memorable works. 

In 1512, Michelangelo completed the Sistine Chapel ceiling and returned to his work on Pope Julius II’s tomb. He eventually completed a total of just three statues for the tomb, which was eventually placed in the church of San Pietro in Vincoli. The most notable of the three is Moses (1513-15), a majestic statue made from a block of marble regarded as unmalleable by other sculptors. In Moses, as in David, Michelangelo infused the stone with a powerful sense of tension and movement.

In later parts of his life, Michelangelo turned to architecture. His first major architectural achievement was the Medici chapel in the Church of San Lorenzo in Florence, built to house two young Medici family heirs who had recently died. The chapel, which he worked on until 1534, featured many innovative architectural forms based on classical models.

In 1534, Michelangelo left Florence for the last time and traveled to Rome, where he would work and live for the rest of his life. That year saw him painting the The Last Judgment on a wall above the altar in the Sistine Chapel for Pope Paul III. The massive painting depicts Christ’s damnation of sinners and blessing of the virtuous, and is regarded as a masterpiece. During the last three decades of his life, Michelangelo lent his talents to the design of numerous monuments and buildings for Rome, which the pope and city leaders were determined to restore to the grandeur of its ancient past. The Capitoline Square and the dome of St. Peter’s, designed by Michelangelo but not completed in his lifetime, remain two of Rome’s most famous visual landmarks.

Michelangelo worked until his death in 1564 at the age of 88. In addition to his major artistic works, he produced numerous other sculptures, frescoes, architectural designs, and drawings, many of which are unfinished and some of which are lost. He was also an accomplished poet, and some 300 of his poems are preserved. In his lifetime, he was celebrated as Europe’s greatest living artist, and today he is held up as one of the greatest artists of all time, as exalted in the visual arts as William Shakespeare is in literature or Ludwig van Beethoven is in music.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  Ancient Hawaiians believed that the heavier a woman, especially a chieftess, the more beautiful she was.

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