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Friday, November 26, 2010

A Stone Cut Out of the Mountain Pt. I

You might think this weird, reading a story written by a block of stone--Italian marble, to be precise--but that's what you're doing.  It has never been an easy life, as you might expect, but I hope my story helps you fleshier folks appreciate what you've got.  It's not much, but here it goes.

My home--Carrara Quarry, Italy

I was born over three hundred thousand... well, you don't want to hear about that long ago do you?  That's boring.  Mostly just lava and hot and... yeah.  Fast-forward to the year 1464.  I was discovered and roughly hewn from the warmth of Mother Earth in my home of Carrara, a marble quarry in the Italian Alps.  I was, needless to say, a little upset.  After being jostlingly carted to the city of Florence, I was taken to a large building where men of all shapes and sizes examined me over and over, feeling every bump and scrutinizing every surface (quite embarrassing, if you think about it).  They told one another of my great potential, how priceless and beautiful I was (my narcissism got the best of me there), how only the greatest sculptor, a Master, would be able to form me into the perfect statue.  They mentioned how I was to become a great and marvelous statue to personify some other man who had been dead for centuries.  All narcissism aside, that didn't exactly sound like my cup of tea. 

 "Great," I said to myself.  "They don't even care about what I want!  All they can think of is their selfish pursuits!  Well!  We'll see who erodes first!"

Finally, a man named Agostino was selected to "shape me up" into this statue or whatever.  I can still remember the first day he walked into the studio--he didn't look like much of a "Master" to me, but hey, I'm just an eons-old hunk of rock, what do I know, right?  He strode onto the platform, picked up his chisel and hammer, looked at me for a few minutes, and then BANG!! Right in my side!  Oh how it hurt!  and it didn't stop!  BANG, BANG, BANG! Oh boy, it still makes me cringe just to think about it.  I hated the chiseling!  It was so bad that first day that I said to him "Hey! what are you doing?!  you think that feels good?!"  But he wouldn't listen.  He just kept on chiseling!  So again I say to him "Hey!  Cut that out!... no don't cut that out of me, I mean stop!  It is really uncomfortable!!"  Nothing.  Day after day I pleaded, begged, and almost grovelled (not "gravelled", that's something different) for him to stop; despite my pleas, he still chipped, brushed, and pounded away at my beautiful marble, leaving a strange-looking lump where my corner used to be.  I wasn't altogether happy about this. 

So I decided to think very hard thoughts, hoping to toughen up enough to break that puny little chisel of his, or at least make him tired enough to want to stop.  Well, guess what--it worked.  Now, the historians will tell you a more complicated story about how Agostino needed some time off, then a man named Rossellino stepped in but couldn't quite hack it (no pun intended)... No.  I was the one who bested them.  I knew better than they what my potential was!  A statue?  No.  No man could be as majestic or glorious as I; no man would catch the public's gaze as could my brilliant marble sheen; and certainly, no "Master" could ever design a product as magnificent and breath-taking as a block of Carraran marble!

...Or so I thought. 

...They called him "Michaelangelo"...

To be continued...

Image from: http://www.artinfo.com/media/image/4154/BurtynskyCarraraMarbleQuarries.jpg
Historical info from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_(Michelangelo)

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