Renaissance Men

While in Italy a few months ago surrounded by the glorious art of the Renaissance — a period of cultural rebirth after the darkness of the Middle Ages — I had an epiphany.

This happened while listening to David Archuleta’s Ave Maria as I was viewing Michelangelo’s Pietá in the Florence Duomo museum. Michelangelo was a devout Roman Catholic. His art was commissioned by several Popes.

Michelangelo was a man of great faith, and he was an artist inspired. His art cuts across centuries, religions — across humanity.

Not a Catholic? An agnostic? Atheist? ….No matter…. Because this Pietá, this most achingly beautiful, profound and dramatic work of art, carved when Michelangelo was nearing his 80s speaks volumes about the human condition.

Its message brings to life Michelangelo’s great longing to merge his soul with God and that pathos is unmistakably reflected in the artist’s representation of himself as the bearded man supporting Christ.

And, Michelangelo’s tender yearning is there in spades. It speaks to the viewer no matter their faith, their religion.

The day I stood before this masterpiece in Florence, people of all cultures, all walks of life, were gathered round it with me. We had made a pilgrimage of sorts, whether it was an educational trip, a holiday or a faith-based adventure, to see Michelangelo’s Pietá. And there was a sacred sense of awe, hushed whisperings; we were in the presence of something most rare and wondrous. Yes, all that, and more because true art transcends religion — it is an expression of the innermost soul; an expression of yearnings and ideals, of deepest hopes and joys, of meanings and purpose.

My epiphany: I just gotta hand it to David Archuleta. He walks a very fine line.

He obviously is devout in his religion. He doesn’t hide that. He doesn’t emphasize it either. It is who he is.

He handles with the aplomb of a veteran ambassador, seasoned in the diplomatic handling of the Arab -Israeli conflict, that delicate and fragile balance of communicating faith and religion.  Or maybe, it is just pure dumb luck. Either way, it works.

David puts in print his thoughts about his faith and religion in his liner notes on his Christmas From The Heart album. He gives thanks to “…God who comes first in all this.  It is because of Him that I’ve gotten the chance to do something I love so much.”

He then describes his intentions and purpose of the album:

“I dedicate this album especially to Him, and our Savior Jesus Christ.  Maybe it can be another way I can give back to them and to all those who listen to the songs as well so that they can feel the spirit and message within them…

“Through this album…I hope you understand where I come from with my music and as a person.”

He then continues with:

“…I also hope the music on this album will go beyond anyone’s personal religious beliefs so I don’t want anyone to feel I am only addressing this to people who believe in a certain way.

“I want the experiences that you may feel through the music to communicate to you in your own personal language and in light of your spiritual or religious beliefs.

“Music has a universal message that can speak to people of different ages, beliefs and languages…”

The Product Description on Amazon on David’s autobiography, Chords of Strength, to be released on May 4, 2010 states, “… David opens up about the strength he draws from his unshakable faith.”

And, so, we will soon have David, himself, revealing to us additional insights about his faith, his religious beliefs and how that has made him who he is.  And, what an appropriate vehicle to communicate his fundamental truths — an autobiography, where he can be sure the public hears his words and understands his meanings just as we did in the CFTH liner notes.

Michelangelo didn’t have liner notes to deal with, of course, he expressed himself through his work — an approach David has largely followed, as well.

For Michelangelo, these works were depictions of his relationship and/or thoughts on God and his religion as he experienced his 16th century world around him. His art has stood the test of time and invites all to share his deepest yearnings, hopes and joy. No matter our religious beliefs, we see the beauty and we feel the pathos in his art.

So, too, I think much the same can be said for David’s recordings and performances. Like Michelangelo, David’s art is for all humanity; it is an expression of his innermost soul.

It encompasses and embraces all of us, from Atheist to Zen Buddhist. We simply open our mind to the message and listen with our heart.

And what is David’s heartfelt message?

L O V E, ACCEPTANCE, GIVING, COMPASSION and PEACE.

Who better embodies in art, word and deed, the essence of this song:

We Are the World

There comes a time
When we head a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying
And it’s time to lend a hand to life
The greatest gift of all

We can’t go on
Pretending day by day
That someone, somewhere will soon make a change
We are all a part of
God’s great big family
And the truth, you know love is all we need

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day
Just you and me

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28 Responses to Renaissance Men

  1. TOfan says:

    Kizzi, how do you do it? You make me want to hop on a plane for Florence (with a charged up dPod, of course!).

    There’s nothing like gazing at a work of Michelangelo, Bernini or Raphael to bring the term “divine inspiration” to mind … and listening to David’s Ave Maria at the same time? Not quite sure I could handle all that Beauty, to tell you the truth.

    I love reading your insights on these BIG topics, Art, Faith, Beauty, Truth, and how they relate to David’s creations … profoundly moving. And that you connected these deep thoughts to David’s liner notes … amazing! 🙂

  2. Kizzi says:

    Thanks TOfan. It remains amazing to be a fan of a 19 year old young man.

    It is always great fun and big laughs and good for the heart and soul to experience all the light and goodness of being a David fan.

    And, then there is this serious, heart-clutching, soul searing part that grabs me and shakes me and say “this is IT, this is IMPORTANT, this is REAL, PAY attention.”

    It’s the connection of all of us, the sameness, the awesomeness of that sameness that has me in alt.

    Hopefully, I was able to show that respect, that alt and that “this is IT” in what I wrote.

  3. refnaf says:

    “David’s art is for all humanity; it is an expression of his innermost soul’
    David’s rendition of “Imagine”….. need I say more?

    Thanks for this (((kizzi)))

  4. Kizzi says:

    Amen Ref

  5. rosemary says:

    Your writing is beautiful and relevant and I don’t even know what to say, so I’ll just say…

    …. you done good kizzi!

  6. KathyH says:

    Beautiful post, Kizzi!

  7. SandyBeaches says:

    Kizzi, I appreciate your article in its entirety.

    “Yes, all that, and more because true art transcends religion — it is an expression of the innermost soul; an expression of yearnings and ideals, of deepest hopes and joys, of meanings and purpose.”

    The words “true art transcends religion” to me is something valuable to know. I believe it and probably know it in my innermost thoughts, but never fully realized it as you have stated it .

    SB

  8. Kizzi says:

    Rosemary, KathyH and SandyBeaches – thanks for your kind words.

    Its a delicate and sensitive topic to write on – someone’s religion – and I appreciate how David communicates his – its a thing of beauty to see someone so devout and who also completely respects others who believe differently.

    In general, that is a very difficult ideal to live period and then to do so and remain in the good graces of people of all backgrounds, beliefs and cultures is just maximally noteworthy.

    Thus why I saw the connection to Michelangelo’s art and all the individuals from around the world who were standing with me in alt and awe yet obviously not all of us were Catholic or even of a Christian background – amazing, simply amazing.

    I got to thinking of all the ages of David’s fans and cultures represented from the fan sites from around the world and the similarity of alt and awe when seeing/hearing David perform and so, those thoughts went on from there.

  9. TOfan says:

    Kizzi,
    It is truly remarkable how David and his music have brought together people from different lands, belief systems, ages and circumstances … so I think your addition of the “We Are the World” lyrics is particularly appropriate.

    I know that it’s only natural for some of us to focus on the differences between us — even on the different ways we choose to express our fandom — but you’ve put a spotlight on what brought us together in the first place …

    … a transfixed crowd gathered before Michelangelo’s masterpiece or a group of viewers moved beyond words by David’s Imagine … you’re right, it is REAL, it is IMPORTANT, and boy, are we ever paying attention!!!

    New Page alert: Check Tab up top.

  10. Scott says:

    Hi ,
    I am new to commenting here but just wanted to say how much I love your site ! I love coming and reading the posts! They are always great!
    I’m from the U.S btw and love Our Canadian Archie friends! I’m hoping to visit Canada SOON!
    Great job with the site!

  11. ” And there was a sacred sense of awe, hushed whisperings; were in the presence of something most rare and wondrous”

    There are few places in the world were that can happen — now when is that Archu-Tour of Italy everyone was talking about after Kizzi’s Currents of Joy article going to happen?

    Yes David can bring people from all over the world together! Last time I checked – our website had viewers coming in from 135 different countries. (of course US was first, but Canadians not too far behind)

  12. conditioner says:

    Kizzi,

    Thanks for this beautiful post! I have enjoyed reading it, and imagining you in front of this phenomenal piece of art, and listening to Ave Maria! It must have been as close to heaven as you could possible get!

    hugs.
    Dee./conditioner

  13. TOfan says:

    Welcome, Scott, great to hear from you! Hope you’ll come by often!

    ArchieFanDoc, thanks for the reminder about that Italian Archu-Tour, after reading Kizzi’s post, I think the first stop should be Florence!

    {{{conditioner}}}

    I finally saw “This Is It” last night, the movie about the preparation for what was to be Michael Jackson’s final tour. So reading the lyrics of WATW, above, is esp. poignant. And although I marvelled at all the high tech pyrotechnics he had planned for the tour, my favourite part of the movie is near the end, when it’s just Michael rehearsing on stage alone doing a brilliantly simple Billy Jean in front of cast & crew. A true original.

  14. TOfan says:

    Newsflash: Chords of Strength release date pushed to June 1st, acc. to Amazon. I’m thinking maybe to coincide with a single release? Or, dare I even think it … tour?!?!?!

    Also Rabid’s latest amazing creations:
    His take on a Chords of Strength cover HERE, and, my fave, called “Oh, the Places You’ll Go”:

    Rabid Seuss

  15. Kizzi says:

    Good Sunday Afternoon SAz!

    Scott and Conditioner and AFD – thanks for the kind comments.

    TOfan – wowza for those Rabid pics – very cool.

    And the delay of the book publication – not unusual for biographies an editor friend of mine told me. But the speculation about timing with new single is spine tingling and mind tantalizing 😀

    And AFD, I actually have tour rates for October (11-21) for the “Currents of Joy” tour from my travel agent. If anyone is interested, email me at kizzix2008@gmail.com. Rates are around $2500 per person double occupancy room (flight to/from JFK and room, rail and tours including wine tasting in Tuscany); single occupancy is higher and if the group is 15 or more,then the rate falls to $2200 double occupancy – includes breakfast.

    Have a great Sunday evening. Have mucho family here and we are grilling out – Chilean Sea Bass, grilled garden veggies, hummus & pita chips, and pineapple upside down cake for dessert.

    Ciao Bella I miei Amici!

  16. Claire says:

    I am a longtime lurker but wanted to tell you Kizzi how much I enjoyed your post.

    I studied art history in college and appreciate the parallels you draw between the visual arts, the nature and purpose of art itself and David’s music. I enjoy reading about people’s personal fan journeys but your writing Kizzi about these significant cultural themes feeds my soul, much the way his music does.

  17. TOfan says:

    Claire, welcome, please de-lurk more often!!!

    Kizzi, brava, bravissima on that Currents of Joy Archu-tour! Wowza!!!! Throw in a David concert and I’m so there! lol

    Was anyone else disappointed that they removed the song performances from the Oscars last night? They were always the highlight of the show for me. Here’s hoping that once someone slaps some sense into the producers and they put them back in, one of David’s songs will be in the running and he’ll be there to sing it live. Perhaps a Spanish song for one of the Best Foreign Film nominees? *sigh*

  18. TOfan says:

    New VLOG!!! He is one happy camper!

    More info: Meet Joy Williams Yetton, and Nate Yetton! The happy couple haha. Looking forward to this week of writing!
    Category: People & Blogs
    Tags: David Archuleta Nashville Joy WIlliams Nate Yetton Dreamgirls Syesha Mercado Brooke White

  19. refnaf says:

    hey saZ!!! Welcome to all delurkers, lovely to see you here!!

    I lol’d at the vlog…I thought he had a really bad bowl cut!!! Seeing him so happy, makes this a good Monday.

    Kizzi, Currents of joy tour…. hmmmm thinking>

  20. TOfan says:

    Refnaf,
    I think that toque seals the deal on his secret Canadian identity, how ’bout you?

    😆

  21. refnaf says:

    Deal sealed, it can not be a secret any longer…
    The whoa at 1:34!!!

  22. TOfan says:

    hahaha, and the “whoooooo” at 1:52 LOL …

    I think the “whoa” and the “whoooooo” could be put together for a beat-box dance mix MGR! 😆

  23. Kizzi says:

    Hi Claire – Thanks for delurking and sharing your insights. I am a big fan of the humanities and love to find the connection through art and culture. You are so right that those connections to art, history, music and nature feed the soul.

    Fun and zestful vlog. Bowl head FTW! The Charlie Brown look – LOL 😀

  24. TOfan says:

    AmAZing interview from the LA Times HERE.

    Fave bit (about American Idol):
    “I feel like there’s a lot of pressure for them because people are now expecting them to change up the songs, and they’re not sure exactly what to be showing people. It’s matter of balance — changing the song enough to show who you are but still preserving the song for what made it magical.

    and this:

    Q. Please tell us we won’t be hearing you all auto-tuned.
    A. “I hate auto-tune!”

    and this:
    Q. Your book, “Chords of Strength,” is coming out. How do you respond to those who say you’re too young to write a memoir?
    A. “I agree with them.”

    Okay, basically the whole dang thing. 😆

  25. djafan says:

    Hi Kizzi,

    Great article! I have always been an admirer of your writing and insight.

    And what is David’s heartfelt message?

    L O V E, ACCEPTANCE, GIVING, COMPASSION and PEACE.

    This screams at me in David’s own quiet way.

  26. TOfan says:

    From Miss Bianca at end of previous thread:

    Check out the scrapbook page I made of David’s participation in the Read Across America event. It features Deb’s great rhyme!

    On my blog: http://www.bearsafloat.net/smileblog

  27. TOfan says:

    Angelica, either you spotted my comment above (12:02) or great fans think alike! LOL

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