I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.
Your dream is already there, you just have to set it free.
I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. — Michelangelo
Where did Michelangelo’s angel come from? Where did he first see it? It’s fascinating to think how this tiny sentence works.
- There is a block of marble.
- He carved and carved.
- An angel appeared.
He says he saw the angel in the marble and carved until the angel was free. He didn’t say he brought the angel into the marble. He didn’t wish the angel into the marble. He didn’t take a workshop about angels and carving and marble (well … maybe he took a few sculpture classes along the way).
Our art is within us, we just need to find it.
If you don’t like the word art, how about:
- Anything that’s important to you that you’re searching for.
We can stop looking for it. I don’t know if Michelangelo looked for just the right block of marble. Maybe this was the marble that was given to him and he wasn’t searching for anything. Maybe he just let free whatever was in that particular slab of rock. Had he started with another slab, maybe he would have carved out a knight.
Or was what he saw, the angel, based on what he wanted to see in the stone? How much was it what was in the stone and how much what was in Michelangelo? Or was it some balance between the two?
I heard a nice one today, “Happiness is like a cork in the water, it always wants to come to the top. It’s only not above the water when you’re holding it underwater.” In other words, it’s there, it’s always there and it always wants to come up. The default is “on,” the standard is happiness. You’re unhappy when you’re suppressing your happiness.
Our dreams are always within us. It’s just a question of setting them free.