Photographer's Note


One of Michelangelo’s surpassing masterpieces depicts the Old Testament prophet Moses who climbs Mount Sinai, and returns with a pair of tablets containing the ‘Ten Commandments.’ Michelangelo Buonarotti (1475-1564) carved the marble statue between 1513-1515 for the tomb of Pope Julius II, which was originally planned for St. Peter’s Basilica. But after the pope's premature death, the tomb — and "Moses" — were placed instead in the lesser Church of San Pietro in Vincoli ("St. Peter Chained") on the Esquiline in Rome.

After taking the subway from the Chiesa di Santa Maria dell Popolo (see the earlier image, “Angels and Demons”), we arrived in the area of the Esquiline. It was necessary to ascend these steps to see the remarkable statue, which Michelangelo himself considered the most life-like among his astonishingly rich output. Tradition has it that, mesmerized by the face of his own creation, Michelangelo suddenly brought his hammer down on the statue’s knee, ordering it, “Speak!” And indeed, the statue still bares the damage that might have been created by a mighty stroke of the sculptor’s hammer. I am including the Statue of Moses here as a workshop.

In the present photograph, one can see the steps ascending to the church, with a young man descending — not with the tablets — but the ubiquitous cell phone.

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Additional Photos by Bulent Atalay (batalay) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6774 W: 470 N: 12149] (41261)
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