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Dude, that spiky fish with the elephant trunk is, like, totally trippy.
May 14, 2009 6:54 AM   Subscribe

When you were 12 or 13, did you like to draw scary monsters? Well, so did Michelangelo.

Be sure to check out the slideshow that accompanies the article.
posted by flapjax at midnite (61 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
I drew giant scenes of airplane dog fights and enormous networks of underground tunnels and secret bases, but I guess his stuff is pretty cool too.
posted by Science! at 6:58 AM on May 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


How freakin non-threatening is that half trout half man thing?
posted by spicynuts at 6:59 AM on May 14, 2009


Mine was a lot more multiple-conveyor-belts-bringing-people-to-their-grisly-and-unnecessarily-complicated-death. I would like to see something like this from oh, maybe Rembrandt.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:07 AM on May 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


I drew princesses. Specifically me as a princess. Or me as part of the X-Men. But I didn't know a lick about shading much less shading in color.
posted by spec80 at 7:09 AM on May 14, 2009


Michelangelo seemed to be in a Bosch mood as a kid. Or maybe Bosch was like an immature Michelangelo.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:13 AM on May 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I like St Anthony's expression. Long-suffering to say the least. 'If that's what floats your boat, nozzle-faced fish demon, don't let me get in your way.'
posted by tavegyl at 7:14 AM on May 14, 2009 [9 favorites]


Mine was a lot more multiple-conveyor-belts-bringing-people-to-their-grisly-and-unnecessarily-complicated-death.

I did the same thing - is this something that is genetically programmed into some/many/all young adolescent boys?
posted by gagglezoomer at 7:15 AM on May 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I expected this to be more like those cute Viking Child drawings. Still, I was amused to see even Michaelangelo had trouble with perspective when he was 12. (cf the "parallel teeth" slide.)
posted by DU at 7:15 AM on May 14, 2009


That kid has talent!
posted by Paid In Full at 7:16 AM on May 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


It took him like three hours to finish the shading on St Anthony's upper lip. It's probably the best drawing he's ever done.
posted by Darned account name at 7:19 AM on May 14, 2009 [9 favorites]


Shown up by Michelangelo once again, god damn it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:20 AM on May 14, 2009


...but it is Leonardo who I have to thank for the tanks and the helicopters without which my 12 year old drawings would have been just rolling hills.
posted by rongorongo at 7:23 AM on May 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


At 13 I drew a pretty good Tippy the Turtle.
posted by cazoo at 7:23 AM on May 14, 2009


The kid obviously knew nothing about plagiarism. Schongauer's going to sue his ass and get a court order to ban him from owning 'materials pursuant to painting activities'. That'll put the dampners on this punk's career.
posted by Sova at 7:24 AM on May 14, 2009


The kid obviously knew nothing about plagiarism.

Boy, no kidding. I posted that fish demon in a comment on MeFi like 3 months ago and he copied it pixel for pixel!
posted by DU at 7:25 AM on May 14, 2009


I drew a lot of stick figure battles with multiple bases on rocky terrain.

Also, I got in trouble in art class in kindergarten because our assignment was to draw something to celebrate the Fourth of July, and I drew some guys breakdancing on a battleship. The teacher said it didn't have anything to do with the Fourth of July.

I mean, come on, teacher. It was a battleship.
posted by Bookhouse at 7:29 AM on May 14, 2009 [6 favorites]


This is totally a thing that happened to his cleric guy last week in D&D! He got a Hammer of Stormening, +4 after he and his friends kicked those demon dudes' asses. He'll sketch up the hammer tomorrow so you can see how much it rules.
posted by ignignokt at 7:33 AM on May 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


Mike, that's way cool. Check out this sweet spaceship I drew last week!
posted by DU at 7:38 AM on May 14, 2009


Genius filter: Michaelangelo completed his first Pietà at the age of 24. TWENTY FOUR!
posted by fire&wings at 7:38 AM on May 14, 2009


My kid could draw that.
posted by Evangeline at 7:43 AM on May 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is pretty rich-- Mike precisely copying Schongauer-- considering how he thrashes on northern painters later on in letters and is such a Florentine chauvinist; e.g. discussing Flemish painting in one letter,

‘It will appeal to women, especially to the very old and the very young, and also to monks and nuns and to certain noblemen with no sense of true harmony. In Flanders, they paint with a view to external exactness or such things as may cheer you and of which you cannot speak ill, as for example saints and prophets. They paint stuffs and masonry, the green grass of the fields, the shadow of trees, and rivers and bridges, which they call landscapes... And all this, though it pleases some people, is done without reason or art, without symmetry or proportion, without skillful judgment or boldness, and, finally, without substance or vigor. Nevertheless, there are countries where they paint worse than in Flanders. And I do not speak ill of Flemish painting because it is all bad but because it attempts to do so many things well (each one of which would suffice for greatness) that it does none well...It is practically only the work done in Italy that we can call true painting, and that is why we call good painting Italian.... Thus we give the name of Italian painting not necessarily to painting done in Italy but to all good and right painting... and if good painting be produced in Flanders it will still be Italian painting.’
posted by Capybara at 7:47 AM on May 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Astro Zombie: Shown up by Michelangelo once again, god damn it.

I know.

I just keep repeating this paraphrase of Tom Lehrer to myself as a comfort:

By the time he was my age, Jimi Hendrix had been dead for a year.
posted by koeselitz at 7:48 AM on May 14, 2009


I drew a lot of knobs. Just like Michaelangelo, in fact.

But if David is anything to go by, mine were probably bigger than his.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:49 AM on May 14, 2009


I like St Anthony's expression. Long-suffering to say the least. 'If that's what floats your boat, nozzle-faced fish demon, don't let me get in your way.'

They've missed out the second panel in the sequence when St Anthony whips out a pair of Uzis and shows those demons some serious shit.
posted by panboi at 7:49 AM on May 14, 2009



I drew giant scenes of airplane dog fights and enormous networks of underground tunnels and secret bases, but I guess his stuff is pretty cool too.


Wow, that dredges up a long forgotten memory. This is exactly the kind of stuff we would draw too, often collaboratively with 4 or 5 other kids in a 3rd or 4th grade class.
It was made all the better because we could tear off like 10 feet of that side perforated printer paper and draw these epic battle scenes that stretched across 4 or five desks crammed together. After a while it got complicated as the pages filled up with criss-crossing bullets (usually long dashes) and scribbled explosions.
posted by dan g. at 7:53 AM on May 14, 2009


For bizarre religious/folk paintings, you can't beat the Brueghels. The Pieters are my favorite (Mad Meg, Triumph of Death).
posted by orrnyereg at 7:59 AM on May 14, 2009


Uh, what do you mean, "kid?"

I draw monsters all the time. I just drew a grip of monsters a couple of hours ago. I will never stop. Not until you pry this pen from my cold, ink spattered hand will I stop with the monster-drawing.
posted by louche mustachio at 8:00 AM on May 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


Is 'grip' the collective noun for a bunch of monsters? That would be awesome.
posted by Science! at 8:07 AM on May 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


In high school, I was drawing a super sweet swamp monster during history class. Hunched back, bulging, tormented eyes, just great. The teacher, who was a substitute, walked over to my desk, grabbed the drawing from under my pencil, tore it up, and tossed it in the trash.

All the air was sucked out of the room, and then...

I wasn't a popular kid by any stretch of the imagination, but nobody was going to stand for the disrespecting of a kickass swamp monster, and a grown man was reduced to tears that day by a class that was not going to tolerate the uncalled-for destruction of art.
posted by louche mustachio at 8:15 AM on May 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


A grip is a lot of anything.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:15 AM on May 14, 2009



Is 'grip' the collective noun for a bunch of monsters?


It is, if you don't know the specific type of monster. Sometimes they are also a plethora, or a herd, or even a buttload.
posted by louche mustachio at 8:16 AM on May 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


My landscapes of tanks and airplanes had airplanes spinning and crashing into the ground, airplane guys coming down on parachutes and blown up tanks with burning stick figures pouring out. Even as a kid I knew there was no way I would ever go into a fucking tank or submarine.

I still have one, circa 1981. No. 2 pencil on 10" x 14" card stock.

Shall we start the bidding at, say, $500K?
posted by double block and bleed at 8:23 AM on May 14, 2009


Oh man, I'm so out of it. I thought a "grip" was a suitcase. *dons tophat, adjusts monocle*
posted by DU at 8:24 AM on May 14, 2009


It was made all the better because we could tear off like 10 feet of that side perforated printer paper and draw these epic battle scenes that stretched across 4 or five desks crammed together

It just occurred to me that the relatively brief lifespan of the dot matrix printer has given our generation a very unique childhood for just this reason.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:24 AM on May 14, 2009


One of my favorite parts of the Sistine Chapel is one guy down in the lower right corner in the depiction of The Last Judgment. One of Michelangelo's critics decried his use of nudity in sacred art, so Michelangelo painted him as the Judge of Souls, gave him donkey ears, and painted a snake biting him on the junk.

So at least we can't see his penis.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:24 AM on May 14, 2009 [11 favorites]


Demon makeover. "Torment? I'll say. Black is so Dominican friar, am I right, Buer?"
posted by kid ichorous at 8:26 AM on May 14, 2009


Is there anything the Ninja Turtles cannot do?

Thanks, Flapjax.

This was awesome synchronicity since I was just talking with a friend about being born in San Antonio.

My vote for unparalleled monstrosities: Van Eyck, Last Judgement panel NY Met. Probably the work Schongauer was painting from.

It's turtles all the way down.
posted by effluvia at 8:37 AM on May 14, 2009


louche mustachio: "In high school, I was drawing a super sweet swamp monster during history class. Hunched back, bulging, tormented eyes, just great. The teacher, who was a substitute, walked over to my desk, grabbed the drawing from under my pencil, tore it up, and tossed it in the trash.

All the air was sucked out of the room, and then...

I wasn't a popular kid by any stretch of the imagination, but nobody was going to stand for the disrespecting of a kickass swamp monster, and a grown man was reduced to tears that day by a class that was not going to tolerate the uncalled-for destruction of art.
"

That's awesome. My best story was that a friend and I spent an entire afternoon drawing pictures of each other being thrown out of planes, chopped up in blenders, and meeting other horrific forms of death. After school the teacher detained a mutual friend of ours and demanded to know what the two of us were drawing and if it was dangerous. He had to answer questions for half and hour when we were the two depicting violent deaths of another person. We laughed and laughed. He didn't.
posted by Science! at 8:39 AM on May 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Too bad it was rejected by "Highlights For Children".
posted by orme at 8:39 AM on May 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


Michelangelo's earliest known work.
posted by mazola at 8:43 AM on May 14, 2009


My first painting involved a Triffid-esque blossom towering over an isolated cottage, beside which stood a giant woman with hair that resembled flayed flesh draped over her scalp. And the whole time, this woman was smiling, smiling, smiling with vacant eyes and thin lips. She was missing some fingers, and she didn't care. Didn't care about anything. Oh god.
posted by katillathehun at 8:58 AM on May 14, 2009


Science! - My friends and I did that too, although we were usually being eaten by something, or exploding, or being stomped on or otherwise smushed. Lots of medieval torture as well, when we were in the library and had references. Good times.
I did a nice gory drawing of my Economics teacher's head exploding. Of course, somebody had to narc on me. But that teacher actually thought it was pretty funny. He appreciated the detail of the eyeball zooming toward the viewer.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:04 AM on May 14, 2009


Wow what an amazing painting, thanks for sharing. Last summer I visited at a museum that has a scary amount of Bosch' paintings. I thought that he must have lived around one hell of a story teller (you know, like your favorite uncle who drinks a bit too much on the family birthdays). Mickey Angelo must have had that exact same uncle.
posted by ouke at 9:04 AM on May 14, 2009


Though the provenance of the painting has long been disputed, expert opinion has shifted in recent months to the view that the painting did hang on his mother's refrigerator.
posted by marxchivist at 9:05 AM on May 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


His first poem:

David with a sling and I with a bow.
Michelagnolo.
Broken is the high column.


Cocky little guy.
posted by StickyCarpet at 9:05 AM on May 14, 2009


I just remembered some of the drawings I did when I was really really little. There was a horrible war of the animals where a lot of them died, and everyone was sad. I spent all afternoon on that drawing.

I don't think my mother remarked on how messed up it was because she was relieved I hadn't drawn it on the wall in permanent marker this time.

She also didn't say anything about the tiger in the purple dress, For some reason this tiger had enormous boobs with bejeweled nipples. Oh, wait. She did say "Tigers don't have boobs like that." (NOT FURRY. I was eight.)

She said this is what my Dad sounds lie when he snores. I drew that when I was... uh.... 37.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:23 AM on May 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Everything I drew as a kid had swastikas on it because they were cool and we were too young to understand what they meant.

Now the news takes the place of monsters. Why imagine when you just turn on CNN?
posted by tommasz at 9:56 AM on May 14, 2009


Those of you poo-pooing the fish demon - did you not see he's beating St. Anthony with a flaming stick? Plus who knows what else he's capable of. Fish can be unpredictable, vindicative little buggers. Pull one into the boat thinking all the fight is gone out of him, and then BAM! he snaps his body, sticking his spines into you.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:58 AM on May 14, 2009


This is cool. Thanks.
posted by dios at 10:09 AM on May 14, 2009


If you like the Brueghels and the Boschs and the Van Eycks, check out the heavy metal stylings of Matthias Grunewald!

I am an art teacher now, but interestingly my first drawings were not of monsters. My earliest memory of drawing was making an image in kindergarten of a diver jumping off a boat while a captain looked on. Why? I have no idea. I did do lots of gigantic spaceship battles with another friend in church.
posted by Slothrop at 10:40 AM on May 14, 2009


Huh, that was so interesting. Thanks flapjax. What extraordinary talent Michelangelo had. It's marvelous to see his first work and delightful that he was a typical teen in his love of monsters and drama. A Nightmare on Elm Street Renaissance style.

Interesting the primordial fear of monsters and how similar they seem down through the centuries. The Alien beast, the gremlin bunch, Stitch, could fit right in there.

Other versions of the Temptation of Saint Anthony.

There is a Buddhist version of the ordeal of the spiritual seeker being plagued by Mara, temptation, distraction and fear.

It seems particularly Italian Renaissance to do a rendition of an engraving by German master, Martin Schongauer and put it in an Italian landscape.

A neat little detail about Michelangelo's painting process: "According to Michelangelo’s biographer and former student, Ascanio Condivi, whose information came directly from the artist, the young Michelangelo was granted access to some of the prints and drawings in the workshop of Domenico Ghirlandaio. Of these, we are told, one particularly attracted his attention: an engraving by the 15th-century German master Martin Schongauer of The Temptation of Saint Anthony. Michelangelo reportedly took this engraving and, in an effort to try his hand at painting, produced a mesmerizing rendition of it on a wooden panel. Condivi also provides the curious detail that while Michelangelo was working on the painting, he visited the local fishmarket in order to learn how to paint fish scales—a feature missing from the engraving."
posted by nickyskye at 11:05 AM on May 14, 2009


Oh man, I'm so out of it. I thought a "grip" was a suitcase. *dons tophat, adjusts monocle*

But you know what'll never die? Vaudeville!
posted by rusty at 11:05 AM on May 14, 2009


The original Martin Schongauer engraving [BM] (didn't see it linked anywhere above? or I is blind). The torment of St Anthony must be one of the most popular themes for artists around that Renaissance period. I always liked Callot's version (selflink).
posted by peacay at 11:09 AM on May 14, 2009


I draw monsters all the time.

Yeah, me too. It's not just a kid thing.

Of course, by "draw" I mean "imagine", and by "imagine" I mean "hallucinate are chasing me after drinking three bottles of cough syrup and huffing some Clorox"

I guess in this respect, I'm exactly like Michelangelo.

Well, except for the international renown and nearly incomparable talent, that is.
posted by quin at 12:28 PM on May 14, 2009


If you like monsters, check out Monster Brains.
posted by various at 2:40 PM on May 14, 2009


That kid has talent!

I can picture "Renaissance Italy's Got Talent!" and Simon Cowell would totally make him cry.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:31 PM on May 14, 2009


PS: nickyskye!!!!!!!!!!!!! There's a beloved username I haven't seen in ages!
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:31 PM on May 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


So, St Anthony is the forefather of Sam and Dean Winchester?
posted by bwg at 6:04 PM on May 14, 2009


The torment of St Anthony must be one of the most popular themes for artists around that Renaissance period.

It was, and still is, a great excuse to draw monsters and nekkid women.
posted by louche mustachio at 6:43 PM on May 14, 2009


I drew tanks shooting airplanes that were dropping bombs on the tanks and the crashing airplanes were going to knock stick dudes into the lava-filled spike trenches. I also drew one battleship a year for like 8 years in a row. They got progressively cooler. I still have all of it.
posted by sciurus at 7:48 PM on May 14, 2009


I destroyed most of my 5th grade year drawing epic space battles with asteroids, lasers, rockets, moon bases and hundreds of tiny one-pilot fighters that looked very similar to (but legally distinct from) a cross between a Battlestar Galactica Viper and the Mach 5.

The next year it was all out nuclear targeting strategy maps with hand-drawn MIRV cluster trajectories.

*sigh* I miss the Cold War.
posted by Aquaman at 11:13 PM on May 14, 2009


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