BERNARD BERENSON on Michelangelo and the human figure: "Nowhere outside the best Greek art shall we find, as in Michelangelo's works, forms whose tactile values so increase our sense of capacity, whose movements are so directly communicated and inspiring. Other artists have had quite as much feeling for tactile values alone--Masaccio, for instance: others still have had as much sense of movement and power of rendering it--Leonardo, for example; but no other artist of modern times, having all his control over the materially significant, has employed it as Michelangelo did, on the one subject where its full value can be manifested--the nude. Hence of all the achievements of modern art, his are the most invigorating. Surely not often is our imagination of touch roused as by his Adam in the 'Creation,' by his Eve in the 'Temptation,' or by his many nudes in the same ceiling of the Sistine Chapel -- there is no other purpose, be it noted, than their direct tonic effect! Nor is it less rare to quaff such draughts of unadulterated energy as we receive from the 'God Creating Adam,' the 'Boy Angel' standing by Isaiah, or -- to choose one or two instances from his drawings (in their own kind the greatest in existence) -- the 'Gods Shooting at a Mark' or the 'Hercules and the Lion.'
"And to this feeling for the materially significant and all this power of conveying it, to all this more narrowly artistic capacity, Michelangelo joined an ideal of beauty and force, a vision of a glorious but possible humanity, which, again, has never had its like in modern times. Manliness, robustness, effectiveness, the fulfillment of our dream of a great soul inhabiting a beautiful body, we shall encounter nowhere else so frequently as among the figures in the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo completed what Masaccio had begun, the creation of the type of man best fitted to subdue and control the earth, and, who knows! perhaps more than the earth. -- "Italian Painters of the Renaissance"