Monday, 3 February 2014

The Morley Serge drawings

One of the first things that drew me to Serge were the beautiful graphics.

Many of these early builders were artists who often covered their synths with collages & drawings.
By placing their own unique marks they imparted some of their personality and soul.

So when I saw the David Morley Serge I wondered where its artwork had come from.
It looked classical???

My sculpture teacher Kevin Norton, suggested I search Michelangelo's drawings & frescos.
The obvious place to start was the Sistine Chapel. A bit daunting as the ceiling covers a large area.
As it turned out, the images came not from the ceiling but from the far altar wall.

For a better picture click here

This fresco, titled "The Last Judgment" was painted by the Italian Renaissance master Michelangelo between 1536 and 1541.

It depicts the second coming of Christ. He is in the centre flanked by saints.
Humanity is being judged. The good rise to heaven and the damned are dragged into hell.

The above image is of  St. Bartholomew. He holds his own flayed skin. We might find this image bizarre today, but Christian art commonly showed the saints brandishing  the means of their own martyrdom.

There is a funny story surrounding this particular image. Back in the 16th century artists (as is the case today)
had to fight for commissions and often had to suffer the judgement of critics. The flayed skin is apparently a portrait of one of Michelangelo’s harshest critics. “You flayed me while I was alive,” Michelangelo allegedly told the critic. “Now I'll flay you for all eternity.”.

Above we have a section named "The Resurrection of the Dead".

 The colours of the Serge pictures have now faded. Probably these images were pulled from an art history text book or a art magazine from the 70's?

The images above show the boatman Charon ferrying the damned into hell. Charon was featured in Dante's Devine Comedy and also in Virgil's Eneid. Legend says that he carried the souls of the dead across the rivers Styx and Acheron.

                                               The Righteous are raised into Heaven.

Baigio da Cesena as Minos (s)
Baigio da Cesena was another severe critic of Michelangelo.
He was a papal Master of Ceremonies & complained that "nude figures had no place in such a sacred place, and .... the paintings would be more at home in a public tavern".

It seems that Michelangelo again had the last laugh. He portrayed Baigio as Minos, one of the three judges of the underworld. Baigio complained, but the Pope refused to force Michelangelo to remove the image, saying "he had no jurisdiction over hell".

Anyway, one can only guess about the religious nature of the images for the Serge.
The builder's name is still unknown. Was he an artist? Is he spiritual?
Anyway, part of the mystery behind the Morley serge is now solved.
Thanks Kev. You're a legend.!!!

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