So what saved One of the Greatest Things Ever Written by Mankind from getting tossed into some burn barrel in an alley where bums would warm their hands over it? Politics.
Emperor Augustus had suggested the poem to Virgil in the first place, and parts of it implied that he was descended from Rome founder Aeneas, which would legitimize his reign. So when he learned of Virgil's "Please make sure no one sees the incredible masterpiece I created" request, Augustus issued an imperial decree of "Um, hell no," instead ordering Virgil's cohorts to finish editing the poem as best they could and publish it. And here we are, still talking about it, 20 centuries later.
When it inspires this kind of artwork, how can you not?
Michelangelo Creates Thousands of Drawings, Feeds Them to a Bonfire
We're all familiar with Michelangelo, the Italian artist whose painting, sculpting and nunchuck skills are the stuff of legend. Once his chief rival, Raphael, had succumbed to a fatal case of excessive boning, Michelangelo was basically the King of Renaissanceville, completing two of his most famous sculptures (David and The Pieta) before he was 30 years old. He viewed painting as an inferior art form, yet still rocked the Sistine Chapel -- because if you're going to waste your time on something beneath you, there's no point in fucking around. Oh, and he made a lot of drawings. Like, tens of thousands of them.
Also, he was possibly a Cenobite.
Or about 600, judging by what we have left. Of course, you have to figure that not every single doodle he scribbled of St. Peter's Basilica in perfect 1/1,000 scale would survive four and a half centuries, but even in his own time, Michelangelo's talent was fully recognized -- his drawings were considered priceless gifts to be treasured and protected. So why are so few of them still around? Well, it might have something to do with Michelangelo tossing reams of them into bonfires throughout his life.
What? Why? If his drawings were so highly regarded that he could have turned them into favors or some serious coin, why just toss them into the inferno?
The most likely explanation involves a weird form of vanity and public perception. In Michelangelo's mind, true genius centered around the immediate, seemingly effortless creation of a work of art, whereas the actual sketching and design stages were elements to be ashamed of and kept hidden. You know the merits of hard work and proper planning and learning from your mistakes and all that jazz? Well fuck that, because real prodigies effortlessly crap out masterpieces at a whim. Michelangelo worked his ass off on almost everything he did, yet he'd rather you remember him as a lazy, gifted sumbitch who just strolled into the Sistine Chapel one day, looked up, grabbed a few paintbrushes and a stepladder and went to town.
"Man, I don't even remember painting that shit, I was so hammered."
For art that needed censoring, check out 8 Filthy Jokes Hidden in Ancient Works of Art. Or learn about 6 Classics Despised by the People Who Created Them.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out 5 Movies That Prove the Action Genre Won't Let a Dog Die.
And stop by LinkSTORM to see what Cody did with his paintings of men riding unicorns.
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