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Michelangelo's unrealized marble dream comes true in Italian quarry

Wednesday, August 02, 2017 - 01:09

Renaissance master Michelangelo dreamed of opening a quarry at Mount Altissimo, but it wasn't to be. These days, it's a hive of activity, and a surreal landscape even he probably wouldn't have dreamed up. Lucy Fielder reports.

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When Michelangelo climbed Mount Altissimo, he found the marble of his dreams. It was the Renaissance master's dream to quarry the Tuscan mountain to create the facade of San Lorenzo church. He deemed this stone finer even than the famed marble of nearby Carrara. That was in 1517 - but it was not to be during Michelangelo's lifetime. He got Pope Leo X's blessing, and permission to take as much marble as he wanted, in exchange for getting a quarry going. Workers carved out a road up the mountain, but the artist then lost his commission and San Lorenzo never did get its facade. Today, years of use have created a cubist landscape even Michelangelo probably wouldn't have dreamt up. A quarry opened on Altissimo at last in the first half of the 19th century. There are five on the mountain now, all owned by stone specialists Henraux. So later artists have been luckier; Rodin and Henry Moore among many to sculpt a masterpiece from Altissimo's fine, sugary stone.

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Michelangelo's unrealized marble dream comes true in Italian quarry

Wednesday, August 02, 2017 - 01:09