Flesh or Stone? Michelangelo’s Statue of Lorenzo in the Medici-Chapel
Deutsches Haus at NYU and NYU’s German Department present a talk by Professor Luca Giuliani on Flesh or Stone? Michelangelo’s Statue of Lorenzo in the Medici-Chapel.
Michelangelo’s seated statue of Lorenzo de’ Medici created for the nobleman’s grave in the Sagrestia Nuova of San Lorenzo supports its left elbow on an object that scholars generally call a casket. Closer inspection however reveals that it depicts neither a casket nor any other object of use; it is quite simply a carefully smoothed ashlar block decorated with a mask. This detail has consequences for the way Michelangelo transformed his material, stone, into a subject of his art. Stone as a subject, in turn, directs our attention on the artistic production of the work. Although Michelangelo completed this particular statue, it thus leads to a better understanding of all the sculptures he left unfinished – a phenomenon that struck his contemporaries as a conspicuous characteristic of his art and that since then has provided the occasion for a wide range of interpretations.
Luca Giuliani was born in Florence. He studied Greek and Roman archaeology, Social anthropology and Italian literature in Basel and Munich, taking his Ph.D. in Basel (1975) and his „Habilitation“ in Heidelberg (1984). For more than ten years he has been a curator in the Antikenmuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. In 1992 he moved from museum to university, teaching first in Freiburg and then at the Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität in Munich. Since 2007 he is Rector of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin – Institute of Advanced Study and Professor for Greek and Roman Archaeology at the Humboldt Universität, Berlin (1998-2007). His research has concerned Greek sculpture, Attic and Apulian vase-painting, Roman portraiture and Roman sarcophagi as well as the history of classical studies. His most recent publication in English is Image and Myth: A History of Pictorial Narration in Greek Art (Chicago 2013).
Luca Giuliani’s talk on Flesh or Stone? Michelangelo’s Statue of Lorenzo in the Medici-Chapel is sponsored by DAAD, the NYU German Department, and Deutsches Haus at NYU.