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Michelangelo Discovers Salvation by Grace Through Faith

Michelangelo, the great Renaissance artist, is known for his statue of David and the incredible Sistine Chapel. But what many don’t know is that Michelangelo lived as the Reformation was sweeping through Europe and was influenced himself by Reformation ideas about justification by grace through faith.

Michelangelo was plagued throughout his life to live up to his own and others’ high demands for his artwork. But as he approached his death, a spiritual rebirth began to occur. One of his final works, intended to be his gravestone, was a statue of himself, in the guise of Nicodemus—the one who was “born again” (John 4)—holding the dead body of Jesus. You can see the statue at the Duomo Museum in Florence, Italy, where a poem by Michelangelo is printed on the opposite wall. In the poem, Michelangelo describes coming to the end of his life and seeing that his artwork was actually harmful to his soul because it became “my idol and my King.”

At the end of the day, his only hope was not in being a great artist or receiving acclaim from others, but rather, the “divine Love, who to embrace us, opened his arms upon the cross.”

Click here for a poem and photo of The Deposition statue.

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