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2014 New York Josephine Waters Bennett Lecture
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When: Saturday, 29 March 2014
7:30 PM–8:30 PM
Where: Hilton New York Midtown
Second Floor, Sutton Rooms
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Josephine Waters Bennett Lecture

Sponsor: The Renaissance Society of America

William E. Wallace, Washington University in St. Louis

"Certain of Death”: Michelangelo’s Late Life and Art

What do we know about the final eighteen years of Michelangelo Buonarroti’s life? From his appointment as architect of St. Peter’s in 1546 through his death in 1564, Michelangelo completed no further sculptures. He took on nearly a dozen architectural projects, personally supervising half of them, but completing none in his lifetime. He lived with the constant expectation of death. I will examine the seeming paradox of an artist who, despite a plethora of incomplete endeavors, only increased his stature and authority, and extended his influence over the art and architecture of his time. Rather than the entrepreneurial artist of his earlier career, the elder Michelangelo astutely cultivated powerful patrons, influential bureaucrats, and a few trusted companions to realize his vision, remaining ever mindful of his legacy, the salvation of his soul, and the perpetuation of his family.

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