Battle of the Lapiths and Centaurs
This exhibit explores the artistic and cultural influences acting upon Michelangelo that formed his creation of the Battle of the Lapiths and Centaurs (1492). This unfinished artwork was one of his earliest surviving attempts at sculpting marble and in dealing with classical myth. Considering the humanist setting in which it was carved, during Michelangelo's time in the household of Lorenzo de' Medici, it is important to examine the humanist and artistic influences that surrounded the young Michelangelo. The discussion begins with a description of the myth and its place in humanist learning. Functioning in Neoplatonic thought as a tale of the higher nature of the soul triumphing over the base lust of the body, this was a part of the intellectual world Michelangelo found himself privy to. The antique and contemporary pieces of art which inspired and influenced Michelangelo follows. An interactive exhibit makes visible the similarities in Michelangelo's figures to the works of art he would have seen daily and studied in his own artistic training as well as display the beginning of his own exploration in sculpture and his experimentation with the human form.