Rev. Washington Gladden, D.D., gave the second of the William Belden Noble lectures in Phillips Brooks House last evening on "Michelangelo Buonarotti, the Artist." Michelangelo, he said, was a lover of beauty, a loyal friend of freedom and justice, and a true servant of the God of light and love.
Michelangelo, the son of one of the lesser nobles of the city of Florence, was born in 1475, at the time when the Italian Renaissance was at its height. As a youth he made but a poor scholar and at an early age was apprenticed to the artist Ghirlandajo, at whose workshop his masterful faculty at once asserted itself. Then for three years he lived at the Casa Medici where, under the patronage of Lorenzo the Magnificent, he had opportunity for personal contact with the most vigorous and influential minds of his age; and was enabled to feel the full power of the mighty intellectual movement of the Renaissance.
Throughout all the intellectual strees of his time, Michelangelo never lost his faith in the central ideas of the Christian religion. He was greatly influenced by the powerful preaching of Savonarola, with whose desire for reformation of the church and the freedom of Florence he deeply sympathized.
In Michelangelo's work the sensuous beauty of the elder art gives place to an intensity of life of which the ancient sculptors had little conception. The art of Greece shows us human nature in untroubled freedom, the art of Michelangelo brings before us the poignant strivings of a later day when the soul obtained peace only through the mastery of evil. Life as he sees it is not hopeless, but sublime. Both his sculpture and his poems bear profound testimony to his belief in the realities of Christianity.