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I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. by Michaelangelo

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”

A Michaelangelo quote

Reading time: Just over two minutes

What does this quote mean?

Michelangelo’s quote, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free,” reveals the heart of his creative process. It reflects how he saw more than just a block of marble; he envisioned a captive entity yearning to be set free. This perception likely influenced his approach to crafting the world-renowned sculpture of David, the towering 17 feet (5.17 meters) statue portraying the biblical hero who triumphed over the mighty Goliath with a slingshot.

What Michelangelo was trying to express is the concept of recognizing potential, seeing the possibilities that others might overlook. It’s about envisioning the end product even when it’s not immediately apparent. Michelangelo saw beyond the raw, unformed stone to the masterpiece hidden within. He didn’t force his vision onto the marble; instead, he chipped away, bit by bit, until the inner form revealed itself.

However, this quote isn’t only applicable to sculptors or artists. We believe it’s a metaphor for life itself. Each of us encounters our blocks of marble in various shapes and forms. It could be a challenging job, a complex relationship, or an internal struggle. We need to see beyond the immediate and perceive the potential hidden within these challenges, just as Michelangelo saw the angel trapped in the marble.

How can I use this quote in my life?

You can harness the essence of Michelangelo’s wisdom. Encourage yourself to see beyond immediate obstacles and recognize your latent potential. Instead of being deterred by the seemingly intractable marble of life’s challenges, find the strength to envision the angel concealed within.

When faced with a difficult situation, see it as an opportunity waiting to be revealed. It might seem daunting, like a massive block of stone, but within it is an opportunity for growth. Exercise patience, and steadily work towards a solution, just like Michelangelo revealed his angel one chisel stroke at a time.

Look at the people in your life with the same vision. Recognize their potential, even if it’s hidden beneath the surface. Encourage them, support them, and you might just help set free their inner angels, allowing them to become the best versions of themselves. And, of course, share this quote with them!

Finally, don’t forget yourself in this journey. Remember that you, too, are like Michelangelo’s marble block. Every day, strive to liberate your inner angel. Keep refining, improving, and learning. Through persistence and patience, you’ll unveil the masterpiece that is the best version of you.

About the Author

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, known simply as Michelangelo, was born on March 6, 1475, in Caprese, Italy. A leading light of the Italian Renaissance, Michelangelo demonstrated his genius in sculpture, painting, and architecture. His most notable creations are the awe-inspiring Sistine Chapel ceiling, the iconic David sculpture, and the majestic St. Peter’s Basilica. Michelangelo’s life ended on February 18, 1564.