aiming too low

“The greater danger for most of us is not
 that our aim is too high and we miss it, 
but that it is too low and we reach it.”

I have a box on my Google home page that highlights famous quotes every time you logon.  This was the quote when I logged on this morning.

You could put a list of 1,000 leaders in front of me and I would not pick the author of this statement.  Of all the leaders throughout history the person who said this would not even get an honorable mention on my list and I would have never identified him as the owner of this thought.

He lived in the 1500’s.  1,500?  Yes, Michelangelo said this in the 1,500’s.  As you see below, he aimed very high and we remember him as one of the greatest artists of all time.

Aim high this week!



Michelangelo was considered the greatest living artist in his lifetime, and ever since then he has been held to be one of the greatest artists of all time.  A number of his works in painting, sculpture, and architecture rank among the most famous in existence.  His output in every field during his long life was prodigious; when the sheer volume of correspondence, sketches, and reminiscences that survive is also taken into account, he is the best-documented artist of the 16th century. Two of his best-known works, the Pietà and David, were sculpted before he turned thirty. Despite his low opinion of painting, Michelangelo also created two of the most influential works in fresco in the history of Western art: the scenes from Genesis on the ceiling and The Last Judgment on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. As an architect, Michelangelo pioneered the Mannerist style at the Laurentian Library. At 74 he succeeded Antonio da Sangallo the Younger as the architect of St. Peter’s Basilica. Michelangelo transformed the plan, the western end being finished to Michelangelo’s design, the dome being completed after his death with some modification.

In a demonstration of Michelangelo’s unique standing, he was the first Western artist whose biography was published while he was alive.  Two biographies were published of him during his lifetime; one of them, by Giorgio Vasari, proposed that he was the pinnacle of all artistic achievement since the beginning of the Renaissance, a viewpoint that continued to have currency in art history for centuries. In his lifetime he was also often called Il Divino (“the divine one”).  One of the qualities most admired by his contemporaries was his terribilità, a sense of awe-inspiring grandeur, and it was the attempts of subsequent artists to imitate Michelangelo’s impassioned and highly personal style that resulted in Mannerism, the next major movement in Western art after the High Renaissance.