It is easier to create than ever before. From YouTube to Instagram to TickTock, there is an infinite amount of content to consume. Yet we simply brush past the majority of the art that we see.
This fire-hose of content is perhaps what made the works of art below all the more striking. These works of art made me slow down and left a disproportionate and lasting impact on me. They shocked and surprised me. Perhaps most importantly, they inspired me to believe that humans beings are capable of extraordinary things.
Pietà - Michelangelo
I wasn’t familiar with this piece before I saw it for the first time on a trip to the Vatican when I was 18 years old. As I strolled into the basilica, and came across this statue and felt frozen in time.
The juxtaposition between beauty and loss transfixed me. Never before or since as any artwork left me as shocked and shaken as this.
Sistine Chapel - Michelangelo
I still remember the song I was listening to on my headphones as I stepped into the Sistine Chapel, The Start Of Something by Voxtrot. Whenever I hear this song, I’m transported back to the awe I felt as I poured over every inch of this incredible and massive work.
To imagine that one person could craft something this ambitious and beautiful in an entire lifetime would be difficult to believe. Yet Michelangelo painted the chapel’s ceiling in just four years.
David - Michelangelo
I didn’t have high expectations for Michelangelo’s David. Likely because I had already seen so many half-baked replicas and miniatures in gardens and Italian restaurants. However, seeing this sculpture with my own eyes made me realize why it has been so broadly replicated. This work of art brought my friends and me to silence for nearly 45 minutes. We examined it from every distance and angle, trying to grasp the beauty that we were beholding. The scale and the perfection of this work are difficult to comprehend. This statue inspires me whenever I think of it.
Hamilton - Lin-Manuel Miranda
I saw Hamilton for the first time without ever having listened to the musical album first. It took me about the first 20 minutes of the musical to acclimate to the tone and lyrical style. After that, I was mesmerized.
This story of ambition, friendship, betrayal, and loss is so intricate that I find myself listening to the musical album repeatedly, only to discover another layer each time. This musical masterfully tells the story of one of America’s most complex and compelling leaders.
Sleep No More - Felix Barrett and Maxine Doyle
Sleep No More is the most unique artistic work I’ve ever experience. Imagine slipping slowly into a dream where you find yourself a side-character in a Shakespearean tragedy. A multi-layered drama is unfolding all around you in a massive open environment, and it is up to you to follow along with the story in whatever way compels you.
This experience was so visceral and real that it feels like an actual memory. It’s not artwork that I witnessed, but artwork I was a part of.