17 December 2016

#142 Snowmen

But if the consolation for life is art, what may the artist expect from life?
An incident mentioned quite casually in Vasari's Lives of the Most Excellent Italian Architects, Painters and Sculptors always seems to me worth recalling. It teaches several lessons: that if you want something done get the best executant available to do it; that minor jobs are often worth taking on; that duration in time should not necessarily be the criterion in producing a work of art.
Vasari says that on a winter day in Florence, when snow was deep on the ground, one of the Medici sent for Michaelangelo to build a snowman in the courtyard of the Medici palace. Notwithstanding those (like Constant Lambert) who dislike the High Renaissance one can scarcely doubt that the finest snowman on record took shape.

Anthony Powell; The Strangers All Are Gone
Contributed by Pictures in Powell