This is Michelangelo’s “Moses,” and it is housed in one of the most unassuming places any great work art resides – the Church of St. Peter in Chains in Rome. Michelangelo was commissioned to do Pope Julius II’s tomb and Moses was to be one of 50 sculptures to decorate the tomb. Humility? I don’t think so.
The Pope ran out of money and the tomb was scaled back. But we got “Moses” out of the deal. Why the horns? Well, one account I’ve read says that the horns come from a mistranslation of the Old Testament. The Hebrew should have read “rays of light,” not “horns.”
Whenever I see a Michelangelo sculpture, I am struck first by how amazingly life-like the cold stone is. But I am also in awe of the physical feat it must have been for Michelangelo to wrest the figures from the stubborn Carerra marble.