Date of Award

Spring 1977

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Director

Charles H. Haws

Committee Member

Joseph M. Tyrell

Committee Member

Douglas Greene

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.H47R45


The problem of interpreting Michelangelo's art, and poetry in terms of the Renaissance philosophy of Neoplatonism has long been debated. After establishing that Michelangelo was personally acquainted with the major philosophers Marsillo Finco and Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, selected major works by the artist are analyzed as to how they illustrate the major concepts of Neoplatonism. Supporting evidence, is drawn from Michelangelo ' poetry, in which he expressed his esthetic theory, which included the Platonic system of ideal forms; a hierarchical universe; the perfectibility of the human soul through contemplation; and the exercise of human love as preparation for divine love. It is concluded that, Neoplatonism was compatible with Michelangelo's personality as well as his devotion to Christianity. Through it he produced a synthesis of philosophy and religion which made him, through his arc, the spokesman for his age.


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