“You Won’t Make It, Poet...”. Some Notes on Michelangelo’s Seven Sonnets, Translated by Vjačeslav Ivanov

Maria Candida Ghidini


The article examines a recent bilingual illustrated edition of Seven Sonnets by Michelangelo translated by Vjačeslav Ivanov. Placing the interest in Michelangelo in the context of the European cultural scene at the beginning of the 20th century, the author observes that Ivanov changed his attitude towards the Italian poet when he was translating the sonnets, thanks to the influence of Simmel’s thought, which Ivanov likely began to consider because of Ol’ga Šor. She was connected with the State Academy of Artistic Sciences (gakhn), where the authority of the German philosopher was profound, in particular for his seminal works about Goethe, Michelangelo and Rembrandt. During the process of translating Michelangelo (1925-1926), Ivanov and Šor exchanged several letters on the subject, in which Michelangelo’s tragic nature is no longer seen in a demoniac dimension, typical of the Symbolist vision of the turn of the century, but is articulated in a more neo-Platonic perspective, in a re-evaluation of the Renaissance, no longer opposed to the medieval religious vision. This shift in point of view also substantially influences the practice of Ivanov’s translation, as Šor astutely recognizes.


Vjačeslav Ivanov; Ol’ga Šor; Michelangelo Buonarroti; Simmel; Poetic Translation.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13128/Studi_Slavis-25216

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