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Unfinished Work

by on Oct.10, 2010, under Lived Inquiry

I was touring Europe and visited the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence, Italy where Michelangelo’s David is housed. There was an art class walking through the Galleria and I tagged along. The instructor was showing the students Michelangelo’s unfinished sculptures and explaining to them that Michelangelo left many of these behind because he would stop working when he learned what he needed to learn. Sometimes this coincided with the manifest completion of the physical work, but often he would walk away from a work “unfinished” because something within himself told him it was time to move on. Then the instructor said something that blew my mind. He said that “strangely” enough, these unfinished works have been the most valuable to art historians because they have given us a complete and accurate map of just how Michelangelo worked. So in the end, his unfinished works were a profound gift to humanity. This really rocked my world. I sat there alone, looking at his unfinished works, for several hours, as my mind and soul deconstructed the notion of what it means to complete something.

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