“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” [Ephesians 2:10]
A “The winter of 1494 was memorable for its bitter cold. The city of Florence, Italy, was blanketed in snow, and Michelangelo Buonarroti’s heart was as heavy as the gray clouds that dipped low and blocked out the sun.
The Grand Duke of Florence, Lorenzo de’ Medici, had been the young artist’s benefactor. It was this great supporter of the arts who had given Michelangelo the numerous slabs of marble he needed to refine his incredible talents. [But before Michelangelo was able to create his masterpieces, the old duke died, and his son, Piero, had no use for a sculptor on the payroll. So the great artist’s talents were put on the shelf, and Michelangelo sat and waited.] That is, until a few days before a great party at the new duke’s palace.
In what looked like an incredible answer to his prayers, Michelangelo was summoned before Piero. He’d never been to the palace, even when the grand duke had been alive, and he hurried down the streets, past the guards, and in to see Duke Piero.
While he was afraid to believe it, the rumor circulated by the servant who came to fetch Michelangelo was that he was being commissioned to carve a great statue! At last!
When Michelangelo arrived at the palace, he was ushered into a large room where not only Duke Piero de’ Medici but also a crowd of the duke’s friends awaited his arrival. He was indeed told that his services as a sculptor were needed by his new patron. All he had to do was to go down to the garden, and he’d find all the white marble he needed to make a masterpiece for the duke’s party.
Can you guess by now what the duke was actually asking Michelangelo to do? All the white marble in the garden was… snow. Perhaps the greatest sculptor of all time had been brought to the palace to create a snow sculpture for a royal dinner party!
Just imagine for a moment what was going through Michelangelo’s mind as he walked from the room and down to the garden. If it had been me, I’d have been furious. What an embarrassment! What a colossal waste of time –to put all that effort into something that would melt as soon as the sun broke through the clouds!
`Michelangelo could have stormed out or at least left the duke’s presence with an angry, unwilling heart. Instead, he simply went to work. Hour after hour he gathered snow and packed it tightly into a great mound. Then, at last, he began to carve.
Working from the top down a head appeared, and then shoulders, limbs, torso, and legs. A figure was emerging from the white snow that would be viewed as a joke by Duke Piero and his guests, and then melt away in no time.
Yet still, Michelangelo worked. That’s because he had decided in his heart that even if all he could do was make Florence a more beautiful place for a few hours –he would put all his heart into carving that block of snow. And then it came time for Piero’s party.
The guests arrived. The snow carving finally was unveiled… and instead of laughter came breathless silence. The duke and his guests were staring in awe and amazement at the figure in the snow that seemed able to breathe and walk and even sling a rock at a giant.
The Duke was silenced by the tireless efforts of the young artist who had created a masterpiece of the Biblical David made of snow.
Then, amazingly, that statue turned to marble. Not that hour, of course, for it wasn’t magic. But in the years that followed, Michelangelo’s David was replicated in marble –given to him by none other than Duke Piero himself. This priceless work has drawn millions of people to Florence since it was unveiled –all because Michelangelo was willing to carve something of beauty out of snow….” A
Several years ago I read an interesting biography about Michelangelo. He got his start in Florence. Later in Rome [1496-1564 AD], he lived in a tough time when the hierarchy of the church was corrupt and these men told him what to do.
Michelangelo approached sculpting with the humble conviction that a unique and beautiful piece of art already existed within the stone or snow, and his work was only to release it.
Notes: A- The story is paraphrased from John Trent’s “The Light of Home”. as recorded in “One2Won Discipleship Training” by Joe White p.59-60. Source for men and women click here.
Henry Luke 1/27/2018
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