By continuing to use the site you agree to our Privacy & Cookies policy

Your browser seems to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser.


Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.




Michelangelo Extans: Sonnet 89 and the Medici Chapel University College Dublin

Tutor: Hugh Campbell

Exstare means to stand outside.The wilful creative artist par excellence Michelangelo is an outsider, but why? What makes a Mannerist differently mannered. Is he part of something or apart from it?

Exstare means to be ecstatic.Michelangelo's work seems to have been produced by one who was beside himself with a feeling of some kind. Feeling for what?

For whom? What brings one to such a state?

This essay attempts to resolve aspects of the artist's identity with his means of expression, as poet and architect.First, the Medici Chapel is briefly read as an architectural historical object.Then, a reading of a sonnet composed coevally with the building reveals a coded expression of his sexuality.Finally, the Chapel is re-examined in terms of the poetic code to reveal an otherwise hermetic layer of meaning.

Michelangelo, it appears, is not himself Judges'comments Donovan deals with a historical subject - the relationship between Michelangelo's poetry and architecture - in a way which is at once engaging and provocative.Written with great economy, the dissertation is at once taut and sparse in construction and yet simultaneously personal and seductive in tone.Donovan's exegesis reveals a dimension to Michelangelo's work which hitherto has not been readily apparent, and which, by setting architecture against poetry, discloses what Donovan identifies as a 'deliberate incoherence' in Michelangelo's work: a yearning born out of sexual, architectural and literary passion.Exceptional control over language and subject matter.

'A personal voyage of discovery which I enjoyed enormously' Sarah Chaplin 'Sparse poetry with a strong emphasis on literary representations' Murray Fraser 'A subtle integration of the personal and the theoretical. A pleasure to read' Flora Samuel 'Eloquently written, insightful and poetic. Quite astonishing for an undergraduate' Kim Dovey

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment.

The searchable digital buildings archive with drawings from more than 1,500 projects

AJ newsletters