Carving - Slave Called Atlas | Artopia


A Closer Look

Do you think this sculpture by Michelangelo is finished...or is the artist making a statement about slavery? What do you think he would be trying to say? There is a strong contrast between the finished parts of the sculpture and the rough stone. What do you think the work would look like if Michelangelo had completed it? Take a piece of clay and make an unfinished sculpture out of it, creating some details. Write about the meaning of your artwork.

About the Sculpture

A Slave Called Atlas is one of Michelangelo's unfinished sculptures. It helps us understand how he carved marble. He liked to think that the figure was imprisoned in the stone and he was gradually releasing it. First he outlined the figure on the front of the block. Then he chipped away from one side, working into the stone. As parts of the body emerged he partially completed them before moving on to the next part.

About the Artist

Today Michelangelo is so famous that we know him by his first name only, like a rock star. He lived in Florence and Rome, Italy during the height of the Renaissance, along with other great artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael. As a boy he studied art at the school set up by Lorenzo de Medici, the ruler of Florence, who loved art and treated artists very well. Michelangelo lived a long life and created many masterpieces.


Write About It

  • Make a list of what you see.
  • How did the artist use the elements and principles of design?
  • What do you think the sculpture means? How does it make you feel?
  • Select two sculptures to compare & contrast.