Today Gentle Readers, is the birthday of arguably the greatest of the Renaissance artists, Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475). Michelangelo, well known for his painting of the Sistine Chapel, was prolific and highly sought after throughout his 88years of life. His early years were spent with the Medici family under the tutelage of Bertoldo di Giovanni. Sculpture, painting, and even poetry proved to be talents this great man excelled at. He even ‘dabbled’ in architecture and was instrumental in Mannerism, the movement that succeeded the Renaissance.
‘David’, another of Michelangelo’s more famous works.
Amongst his works was a collaboration with Leonardo Da Vinci for the Florence City Hall. The murals, depicting military scenes, sadly did not survive for us to enjoy today. I can only imagine what it would be like to stand in a single room and see the two great masters working side by side, perhaps sharing a meal when they took a break. The conversations they must have had.
I don’t want to rehash his entire life story, but you can find more with a simple search of the web. You can start with the Wikipedia page-Michelangelo, which has many links to other sites.
For those of you who history gives a headache, even the impressive career of Michelangelo. You are in luck. On this day in 1899, Bayer patented aspirin. Headache sufferers rejoice for your savior is here.
The German company would face many difficulties before and during the World Wars as part of Nazi Germany’s pharmaceutical juggernaut. After having its US and Canadian assets seized, it would take until 1994 for Bayer to reclaim what was lost.
Speaking of Nazi Germany, it was on this day in 1941 that the Dutch Resistance attempted to hijack a German truck carrying food for the German air force, the Luftwaffe. Unknown to these young and hungry Dutch resisters, the head of the SS in Holland, Hanz Rauter, was riding in the truck. During the hijacking he was shot, but survived. In retalition the SS in Hollands rounded some 263 Dutch and executed them. Rauter would be later tried and convicted of war crimes and sentenced to death. His execution came in 1949.
Today was also the birth of Rob Reiner in 1947. Reiner would begin acting in his teens and later form Castle Rock, based on a city in Stephen King’s novels. Reiner would bring several of King’s works to the big screen but my favorite work of his is “The Princess Bride”. I will never forget the scene where Cary Elwes, playing the part of the Dread Pirate Roberts, is tumbling down a steep hill. Having been pushed by Buttercup, who clearly wanted him to die, he screams out, “As you wish”. Buttercup then knew that this was her beloved Westley, thought dead by the same Dread Pirate Roberts.
This movie had a great cast. The great Peter Falk playing the narrator and Grandpa in the scenes where he is reading to his grandson, Fred Savage. Then Cary Elwes as Westley/Dread Pirate Roberts. Mandy Patinkin with his life’s mission to find the six fingered man and avenge his father. The lovable rhyming brute Andre the Giant “Anybody want a peanut?” These two ‘villians’ were led by Vizzini, Wallace Shawn. ‘Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line.’ Billy Crystal even made an appearance as Miracle Max. This movie makes my top 5 list alongside Hackers and Godfather. One day I want to visit the Cliffs of Insanity in County Clare, Ireland.
It is inconceivable that this movie is nearly 30 years old. I was 5 when it came out, so it would be a few years before I saw it for the first time. Well, my Gentle Readers, in the words of Miracle Max and his lovely witch, I mean wife, Valerie, “Have fun stormin’ da castle.” Until next time. Live well, write well, be well.