Michelangelo by Gulzar Summary and Explanation

Michelangelo short story by Gulzar was originally written in Hindi and later translated in English. Michelangelo is a well known artist, painter, sculptor of the Renaissance period who lived during the 15th century. His famous frescoes include the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and the Last Judgement on the altar. The writer Gulzar is a famous Indian story writer, poet and lyricist. Gulzar is his pen name and his name is Sampooran Singh Kalra. 

Michelangelo by Gulzar Summary

Michelangelo had been trying to finish his fresco ‘The Last Judgement’ for the last four years. Michelangelo needed new faces for his paintings and sculptures. Although the fresco was getting delayed, Pope Julius was convinced that he had made the right choice in Michelangelo to paint the ceiling and altar. This was because Michelangelo’s art had unique faces unlike other artists who boasted about painting faces from imagination yet whose characters seemed to come from the same family. However, this was also the problem. The problem was that Michelangelo did not rely on imagination to arrive at the face of his sculpture or painting. He looked for people who fit the information or inspiration. He used to read the Bible for hours to imagine the faces of his characters. The Last Judgement was almost finished, but Michelangelo was looking for a face for Judas and since he could not find what he was looking for, he was getting frustrated. 

To give an example of how Michelangelo came up with models for his art, the story goes back to his past in the city of Bologna when he used to go with his father to a restaurant which his father used to visit frequently. He would buy peanuts and sit outside on the bench watching people passing by while his father went inside the restaurant. A poor small naked boy used to stand around near the peanut vendor to pick up fallen peanuts. This little naked boy became inspiration for Michelangelo to make baby Jesus when he sculpted Madonna of Bruges. He was inspired by his own mother for the portrait of Mary on the altar of the Sistine Chapel. Another example is of a man who Michelangelo thought would make an excellent Jesus, but unfortnately for Michelangelo he was dead. With the help of the Pope Michelangelo manages to delay the man’s burial so that he could make his sketches.

Michelangelo ultimately finds his Judas in a small dark restaurant. Michelangelo recognised him immediately because he had the face he was looking for. A person with beady eyes, restless and trying to con people to get some food and money. Michelangelo convinces this person to model for him and takes him to the sistine chapel. Here he explains to the person that he would use his face for Judas, but this would make him immortal. The man agrees for a price and starts to come to Michelangelo so that the artist will be able to make the sketches. During one such visit he finds the sketches of the small naked boy from Bologna and asks Michelangelo about him. Michelangelo told him about the boy. Upon enquiring the name Michelangelo told him that the name of the boy was Marsolini. The beady eyed man opens his sleeve to reveal a tattoo on which the name Marsolini is written. He claims he is the same boy in the sketches who Michelangelo had used for baby Jesus and the iron is that today as a grown up he is a model for Judas.

irony in michelangelo by gulzar

michelangelo by gulzar short story

Michelangelo by Gulzar questions and answers