On Michelangelo and Kierkegaard

Pictured: Lecturer Anthony Eagan speaks with a faculty member before question period

Each summer, where Friday night lectures leave off Wednesday night lectures begin! Summer lectures are hosted by the Graduate Institute, and feature a wide variety of speakers and topics. This weeks lecture featured Anthony Eagan, himself an alumnus of the St. John’s College Graduate Institute. His lecture was centered around Kierkegaard and Michelangelo’s David, and was inspired by his own impression on first seeing the magnificent piece, as well as the 1991 hammer attack that a viewer made on the sculpture.

While awed appreciation and an attempt at destruction seem like opposite reactions, Eagan argued that they sprang from a very similar place: the way in which Michelangelo’s work forces us to confront the eternal and the beautiful. Drawing on Kierkegaard, among others, he explained how someone might attempt to avoid vulnerability by denying the beautiful and eternal, and attempting to destroy representations of them in the world.

In closing, he said that he hoped that the lecture would serve as a call for each of us to look inward on ourselves, and consider the ways in which we interacted with the beautiful in the world, and if our own defense mechanisms might ever lead us to harm it. As always, the lecture was followed by a question period, allowing listeners to ask questions of and converse with Mr. Eagan.

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