While this work is exceptionally beautiful and evokes strong emotion for this reason, it is also a powerful political statement.
Fans of Michelangelo may not always think of his political leanings when considering his paintings or sculpture. To forget the artist's background in this critical aspect is to miss the nuance of this work and its significance in the social climate of the time. The Medicis as a family have established a name that is as famous or some may say, almost as famous, as the artist.
The Medicis took over the city that Michelangelo regarded as his home. They ruled in a way that was controversial and had their shares of supporters and opponents. Michelangelo was not a supporter of the family. While he was against having them rule the city, he could not openly oppose them for several reasons. He chose to make his views on the political situation known more subtly through his art.
The Brutus was created in 1538 by Michelangelo. It is presently in the Bargello gallery. This is Michelangelo's last work which has a principally political message. In the head, which indicates quality of will in the way it is swung to one side, a cool peacefulness and extraordinary vitality mix fascinatingly with disdain, rage and sharp hatred.
This bust is the artist's interpretation of the slippery Roman statesman that planned the destruction of Julius Caesar. Like the Meidci, Julius Caesar was not always looked upon kindly by those in the ruling class. His policies ran contrary to what some believed was best for the country. Michelangeleo identified with this and with other elements which struck him as similar between the Medici and Brutus. He saw the bust as a clear way to communicate his thoughts on the sequence of events that had taken place in the city.
Michelangelo is credited as one of the top figures from a period known for its extraordinary imaginative and generally inventive personalities. He was a genuine renaissance man because he was an ace of many creative disciplines. Some of his manifestations convey a notoriety considerably more prominent than the man himself. An example of this is seen in his work David, which is also a sculpture.
A conventional bust made out of marble, Brutus portrays the treasonous Roman representative who sold out his pioneer and companion, the military despot Julius Caesar. Brutus upheld his companion's death and this is what some people find so hard to deal with. The level of treachery required to carry out such an act. Michelangelo shows this clearly in the features of the bust, which has a blend of different emotions. Behind the congressperson's grinning and great face, Michelangelo stacked the look with a magnificent deadly aim. His end goal seems to be to show Brutus' focus on equity and opportunity.
The Brutus serves as a discourse on the lost flexibility of his picked home. Florence had become something unlike what the artist and other great thinkers of the time hoped for. The bust of the statesman was planned as an image of opportunity, as Medici despots had recently come back and restored themselves as the political bosses of Florence. This created in Michelangelo a profound feeling of distress. Despite the fact that he couldn't straightforwardly restrict their actions his bust of Brutus was an allegorical way of expressing his dissatisfaction with their stranglehold on the city. This model is a bastion of Michelangelo's resistance and one of his most severe and politically contentious commissions.
Brutus was set in the Medici family morgue in the house of prayer of San Lorenzo, where it obscured the burial markers of Lorenzo and Giuliano de Medici in unobtrusive challenge. Michelangelo had initially been dispatched to make twelve figures. These were to trim the Medici mausoleum. He never bothered to finish them and this was another forceful signal of insubordination to the respectable family. Instead, he supplanting the pieces he was asked to do with his Brutus. Since a significant part of the work the artist was asked to do had been finished before the Medici despots had come back to power, his dejection and anguish seen in this bust appears to be somewhat of an after-thought. This straightforward bust is stacked with feeling and encapsulates Michelangelo's inward quality and ability even as he matured as an artist.
Michelangelo contrasts the old history of Rome and the current history of Florence. Students of history know Julius Cesar was the primary Roman Emperor. In the same way, Alessandro de Medici was the principal Florentine Duke. Both urban areas had been Republics for a considerable length of time before transforming into Monarchies. Julius Cesar was killed by Brutus and in Renaissance Florence, Duke Alessandro was killed by Lorenzino de Medici. Brutus was a received child and the top choice of Julius Cesar whereas Lorenzino was a cousin and the top choice of Alessandro.
The commission for the bust was given to Michelangelo by a companion of his, Donato Giannotti, for the Cardinal Niccolò Ridolfi. Both Giannotti and Ridolfi were important members of the republican group estranged abroad from Florence. At the time they were actively working on restricting the Medici family. Michelangelo owed a large amount of his livelihood to the Medicis and began his vocation with their help.
Brutus is a Michelangelo bust sculpture from 1538.
The print to the right provides a closeup of the facial features of Michelangelo's subject.
The Brutus bust is now on show at the Bargello Museum in Florence. This was a specific commission for Michelangelo in 1538, where his career was fully established at the artist was never short of work.
Although Michelangelo continues to have new artworks attributed to him, even in recent centuries, it is highly likely that this is the only bust sculpture that he ever completed.
This artwork was chosen by Michelangelo has a direct complaint, many believe, to the ruling powers of his beloved Florence at that time, with a lack of freedom as he saw it.
Brutus is considered by art historians as one of Michelangelo's most important and technically impressive sculptures, from a long back catalogue of work that spreads across his whole career.