Pope Julius the II had authorized Michelangelo to choose the finest stone, and the Master was keen to spend months hand selecting the cuts and pockets to be quarried. Despite having the financial ability to acquire the best marble that the Carrara mountains could produce, imperfections and flaws threatened to surface once his chisel was hammered deep.
Moving marble by Ox and Cart was no easy feet and horrifically expensive. More importantly, Michelangelo’s time was priceless. Poor quality stone that risked cracking or had hidden flaws, could prove to be very expensive…. He had to be selective.
Today, we need to be equally discriminating… within our budgets. Stone is flawed, there is nothing we can do to improve on nature, but we can live within her limits.
Before you commit to buying the marble, and well before you can plan your piece, you need to map out the fault lines and have a good understanding of the degree and location of veins.
As you look at the stone, before you can visualize the sleeping giant trapped within, you need to understand the final size and shape after faults and flaws have been scythed.
Once the stone is in your studio, you will need to sheer off the sections separated by lines. One large stone may yield two or three smaller pieces.
Dark veins will need to be avoided, cut out, or factored into your design.
Certainly, if you have a monumental project in mind, it is best to buy a block that is oversized… Michelangelo favoured larger blocks with lots of room to move his planned model within the stone… floating as needed between hidden limitations. This was done within his minds-eye… maximum flexibility was part of his genius.
Once you have settled/gambled on your final selection…. You will need to hire your own Ox & Cart to truck you stone home…. Keep in mind that transportation will be a major part of the overall cost…. So fill the flat bed with as much as it will carry… the shipping price will be the same…