The Michelangelo I tend to Forget About

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In Rome, Michelangelo usually = Sistine Chapel and maybe the Pietà. Those are the biggies at least. And they both involve the unpleasantness of visiting the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s. There are a ton more of course, including the Risen Christ in Santa Maria sopra Minerva, which most people don’t even realize is a Michelangelo:

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But I always forget about the Moses (with Leah and Rachel probably started by the master but completed by assistants) in little San Pietro in Vincoli. San Pietro in Vincoli is tucked away up above the Colosseum and I pretty much never think about it up there.

image via wikipedia
image via wikipedia

So, on a hot, hot day late in July I wandered over that way after spending a bit of time in Monti, psyched to get to hang out with a Michelangelo I hadn’t visited in a while. But when I got there, nope! You can’t come in! I had, despite visiting hundreds upon hundreds of Italian churches up to that point, made a rookie mistake and forgot to cover my shoulders. And unlike most churches they didn’t have scarves to borrow. And the church attendant was actually a bit more brusque about it than they often tend to be. I assume, that even though I forget about the Moses, a lot of tourists don’t and they try to come in with their shoulders blazing in the sun. Oh well.

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A few days later I visited again, this time properly attired, and spent a bit of time with old Moses. I like the unfinished/tragic history of the Tomb of Pope Julius, which this sculpture is a part of (though the whole thing was meant to be a helluva lot bigger and in a totally different church!), and while the Moses has the best horns and beard of any sculpture I’m aware of, for my money the best Michelagelos are up in Florence. And no, I don’t mean the David. Angry Moses says skip the damn David.

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