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Weekly Inspirations: Dec 7, 2018

Here are the things that I think are worth reading and checking out this week:

Why Seclusion Is the Enemy of Creativity

In 1545, Jacopo da Pontormo scored a major commission from Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici to paint the main chapel of Florence’s church of San Lorenzo. A contemporary of masters like Michelangelo, Pontormo was a distinguished but aging artist who was eager to secure his legacy. Pontormo knew he needed to make these frescoes the crowning achievement of his career, so he sealed off the entire chapel. He built walls, erected partitions, and hung blinds so that nobody could steal his ideas or sneak an early peek. Trusting no one, he chased away local youth and kept human contact to a minimum. He spent eleven years holed up, painting Christ on Judgement Day, Noah’s ark, and Creation itself. Pontormo died before his work on the chapel was done, and none of it survives, but the legendary Renaissance writer Vasari visited the site soon after the painter’s death. He reported a confused composition and unsettling lack of alignment, scenes that ran into each other every which way. Robert Greene writes, “These frescoes were visual equivalents of the effects of isolation on the human mind: a loss of proportion, an obsession with detail combined with an inability to see the larger picture.”
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