One of Michelangelo’s best works, and perhaps one of the world’s most famous statues, is the statue of David that stands in Florence, Italy. Notably, it almost never came into being.
The piece was originally commissioned as a series of sculptures of Old Testament characters to decorate a cathedral in Florence. Another artist was chosen and given a huge chunk of marble to work with. He began to work, carving out some legs, and then was removed from the project. The piece of marble was given to anther artist, who never began work on it. It sat untouched for 25 years.
Finally, a 26 year old up and coming artist was given the unwieldy piece of marble. Within one month, he began carving.
When you think about it, that took a lot of guts. Here was a huge, incredibly costly piece of marble, and Michelangelo started carving on it right away. He apparently wasn’t worried about making a mistake that would have ruined his career before it even started.
What made the difference? Why was Michelangelo able to be successful with this odd piece of marble when no one else had? Two things: He had vision, and he had the passion to see it come to reality. Michelangelo has famously said this about the way he approached sculpting:
“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.”
As an artist, he begins with a clear vision. More than that, though, he had passion to see it become a reality. His vision was compelling enough that he threw himself into it. In the month between the time he was chosen and the time he started working, he made numerous sketches and small wax sculptures in preparation for the real thing. That demonstrates that he was not just an “inspired genius” but that he was passionate about his preparation as well as his execution.
Having a strong vision is important. But equally important is having the passion to see your vision come to reality. Knowing what you need to do to get from vision to reality is key.
What are you working on? What preparation steps do you need to throw yourself into?
What needs to happen now for your vision of the future to become a reality?