Five hundred years ago, Michelangelo was going about his business creating some of art’s most enduring images: extraordinary icons, such as his statue of David, on display in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, and as a full-sized plaster-cast replica in London’s Victoria & Albert Museum (the latter complete with a nearby half-metre-high (ooh-er) plaster fig-leaf, used to cover up David’s nether regions when official visitors of a blushing and nervous disposition came to call).
When asked how he went about producing sculptures such as his David, Michelangelo suggested, of course, that he didn’t find it that difficult:
‘In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.’
In his mind, he wasn’t creating something new, just simply releasing what he believed already existed there inside the stone.
Maybe this is a helpful metaphor when it comes to viewing who we are now, and who we’d like to be? While some may approach this with the view that we could be literally anything we choose, perhaps it’s more helpful to be comfortable with the thought that our ideal form is already there, and simply waits to be revealed?
Be comfortable with who you are, fig leaf or not.