What is Recognition?
Recognition is the action of being acknowledged for something’s existence. Recognition is important in one ‘ s life when their goal in life is to work hard for something to receive acknowledgment. There are certain individuals who will go above and beyond in order to receive this recognition from one or many others. However, the desire in receiving this attention can also have its consequences in one ‘ s life. If one ‘ s desire for recognition becomes too strong, it will lead to unhappiness. The desire for recognition leads to an unhappy life . Two people that epitomize this desire for recognition are Jay Gatsby and Michelangelo Buonarroti. Both in different ways, but yet quite similar, go a great distance to receive this recognition for one ‘ s love, and the other in one ‘ s masterpieces.
Gatsby’s desire for recognition leads to an unhappy life. Before Gatsby’s major fall is gone into detail, the personality and picture he depicts for himself will be explored first. The first book used to support this is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby. In this novel , Jay Gatsby is a fictional millionaire and owner of a luxurious mansion where he throws and hosts extravagant parties. Gatsby is known as a man with a lot of money and acquaintances, but very few friends. Although he is a luxurious man, Gatsby is also a very mysterious character. This leads to Gatsby’s ultimate fall, where we see his motivation for throwing these parties and his desire for wealth. Gatsby does all of this in order to receive the attention from his former lover, Daisy Buchanan. He throws countless numbers of parties in hopes that one day Daisy would show up to one, astonished at the beauty of his wealth, and fall right back into his arms. However, Gatsby comes to realize that winning Daisy’s love back would not be that easy. In addition to Gatsby realizing that his love would not be easy to get, Michelangelo also goes through the same realization in his life when his desire for recognition of his art is also not as easy to get either.
Michelangelo’s desire for recognition leads to his unhappiness. Again, let us look at Michelangelo’s life before his passing. Michelangelo Buonarroti was a painter, architect, and sculptor from Florence, Italy during the turbulent Renaissance era in the year 1488. He is known for his famous pieces of work such as his painting on the ceiling of the Sistine chapel, his sculpture of David, and his architecture of the dome of St. Peter’s. Michelangelo’s life included love, tragedy, and of course, his artwork. Michelangelo began his work at the young age of thirteen . H is love for his work had grown stronger by the time he was nearly a man. He was infatuated with all of the arts and it shortly became his main focus in life. However, he had a difficult time getting others to acknowledge his work. He realized that he was not the only one wanting their pieces of art all over Italy. Michelangelo had to compete with some of the greatest artists in Italy and that was not an easy task to accomplish. In addition to this obstacle, his life at home also did not help. His family was struggling financially and they were also unsupportive of Michelangelo’s passion. With this difficulty came a change in his life whether it was moving to other places or gaining and losing friendships over receiving recognition of his artwork. This was Michelangelo’s greatest challenge in his life. There were times when Michelangelo would rather be alone working countless hours on a painting or sculpture rather than interacting with others. Although he was determined, this determination came with consequences that would follow him his entire life. Similarly to Gatsby, Michelangelo’s desire for recognition impacts his life dramatically for the worse.
The next question that can be asked is about Michelangelo and Gatsby’s goal that makes them so different from one another? The answer to this question is their actions. Gatsby’s desire for recognition leads to an unhappy life due to his selfishness while Michelangelo’s is due to the obstacles he must overcome in his career. Gatsby, for a short period of time, receives affection from Daisy, selfishly knowing that he is interfering with Daisy’s relationship with her husband, Tom. This later becomes one of the consequences that Gatsby must deal with in order to keep his love with Daisy. Michelangelo on the other hand must deal with problems such as family crises’ and work if he wants his art to be acknowledged. He must take care of his father, financially, when he becomes ill and must also due what he is told by his overseer whether he agrees with him or not. In addition to obeying his overseer, it also does not help that he is being reassigned to a different successor frequently, due to economic crises’, leaving many of his projects unfinished . By the time Michelangelo has become satisfied with the works he has completed, he has also already grown very old and does not know how much time he has left to complete the projects he so greatly would love to finish. Both Michelangelo and Gatsby have the same drive, but even their end results turn out differently. They both desire recognition, but they desire it for different reasons. Michelangelo wants his art to be loved while Gatsby wants his own love to be loved. Michelangelo paints for his own love of it and wants other to love it as well. Gatsby on the other hand, throws parties for one person to love. However, they both have something in common. By the end of their lives, they both never fully grasp the recognition that they so greatly desire.
Although Michelangelo and Gatsby have their differences, in the end, they both have the same determination to overcome their adversities. They both desire recognition for their ambitions. As once said before, Michelangelo wants his art to be recognized and Gatsby wants to be loved by Daisy. Michelangelo goes through so much trouble in order to get his art to reach the same fame as these other Renaissance artists that he is competing with. This is not an easy task to fulfill, and Gatsby must similarly do the same. Gatsby waits so long for Daisy to finally attend one of his parties, but once she shows up, it still is not enough to him. Gatsby wants more than just her attendance. He wants her to love him like she once did. Michelangelo wants the same for his pieces of art. He puts so much hard work into these pieces that he does not just want his patron to be entertained, he wants everyone to know his name and wants his work to be appreciated just as all the other artists that he is racing. However, there is more than just their desires that they have in common. Their ends to their desires are their ultimate similarity. Michelangelo and Gatsby’s desire for recognition leads to their deaths. Going back to the statement on Gatsby realizing that winning Daisy’s love back would not be that easy, Gatsby makes selfish decisions that would later lead to his death. Gatsby was aware that Daisy was married and had a child, however that did not hold him back from going after her. Gatsby and Daisy had an affair with her husband, Tom. Daisy, obviously, wanted to keep their relationship with one another a secret. However, Gatsby, still in acknowledgement of keeping their relationship a secret, made little attempt to hide it in front of Tom. However, Tom actually knew about their affair and turns out they were not the only ones having a secret affair. Gatsby was unaware of the anger that Tom’s comrade, George, had towards him. George B. Wilson is the owner of a run-down auto shop in the Valley of Ashes where Tom Buchanan happens to be customer of his. However, the affair Tom is having on Daisy is with George’s wife, Myrtle. Long story short, Daisy, driving Gatsby’s car with him in it, accidentally runs over Myrtle and kills her. George, devastated about his wife’s death, blames the whole situation on Gatsby and shoots him in the back. Gatsby’s selfish action leads to his death. Gatsby’s intentions on having a relationship with Daisy had its consequences, and he dealt with them. Gatsby desired this recognition from Daisy so greatly that it led to his death.
In addition to Gatsby’s death, Michelangelo’s desire for recognition leads to his death. Michelangelo, as stated before, spent most of his life trying to become one of the greatest Italian Renaissance artists. However, in order to achieve this greatness, he had to overcome many obstacles that crossed his journey to success. He had to overcome obstacles such as problems with his family in Florence and the indecisiveness of his patrons paying him to complete his work in Rome. Although bothered by his family asking for financial help, Michelangelo grew more frustrated constantly having to begin new pieces of art due to economic circumstances and being thrown under new apprentices to work for. Michelangelo’s focus on his art was constantly deteriorated from his family bothering him for money. His art brought him the most happiness, however the problems back in Florence kept him from his stable state of happiness. His father grew ill when Michelangelo was working in Rome and had to take care of him financially while still sculpting and painting in order to receive money for his father. However, outside of art and family, Michelangelo also struggled with keeping a social life as well as a love life. Michelangelo never married because he was focused particularly on one noble woman, a widow by the name Vittoria Colonna . Michelangelo grew very in love with Vittoria, however, they did not end up with one another due to the complexities in her life such as her father’s power over her marriages. Moving aside from his personal life, Michelangelo’s apprentices were most interfering in reaching his desire for success. During his career Michelangelo worked under multiple apprentices; each wanting something different whether it was a sculpture, painting or architecture. However, working under different apprentices during such small period of time leaves Michelangelo frustrated for many of his projects are left unfinished.
This frustrated Michelangelo by reason of becoming unsatisfied with his incomplete work. In Michelangelo’s incomplete sculpture above titled The Atlas , Michelangelo sculpts a slave that is carrying a boulder over his head right above his neck. Michelangelo truly admired human anatomy because he was able to portray one’s emotions and power through their appearance and stature. However, sculptures were not the only pieces of art Michelangelo was unable to complete. Michelangelo was also unable to finish many of his paintings, including one of his famous self portraits. The painting above is Michelangelo’s painting Holy Family with St. John the Baptist . However, Michelangelo was unable to display many of his art pieces publicly because they were not finished, again due to the change in apprentices. This constant change of apprentices leads to Michelangelo’s art unable to be complete, which leads to his unhappiness. In addition to not receiving recognition for his unfinished work, Michelangelo also struggled receiving recognition for his completed work as well. When he was around the age of 25, Michelangelo sculpting one of his greatest masterpieces, The Piet. This remarkable Renaissance sculpture by Michelangelo depicts Mary holding her son Jesus after taking him off the cross from his crucifixion. Although it was identified as a masterpiece by critics, Michelangelo did not receive the recognition for this great work because he was still a relatively unknown artist. Due to the very little popularity he had, it was difficult for others to identify that it was Michelangelo’s sculpture.
In order to let everyone in Rome know that he was the sculptor, Michelangelo snuck into the cathedral, in which the sculpture was placed, one night and chiseled his name across Marys chest. That night, Michelangelo did what no other sculptor had done, and that was to make his name never be forgotten for his work. Michelangelo so greatly desired that his sculpture be recognized that he went out of his way to carve his own name into his sculpture, knowing that there could have been serious consequences following his actions.