„Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer“ at the MET in New York City until February 12, 2018

First the artist turned to drawing, whether he was creating a painting, a sculpture, or architecture, and it is what unified his career

„Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer“ is an exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City until February 12, 2018. It presents a stunning range and number of works by the artist: 133 of his drawings, 3 of his marble sculptures, his earliest painting, and his wood architectural model for a chapel vault.

A towering genius in the history of Western art, Michelangelo was celebrated already during his long life for the excellence of his disegno, the power of drawing and invention that provided the foundation for all of the arts. For his mastery of drawing, design, sculpture, painting, and architecture, he was called „Il divino“ (the divine one) by his contemporaries.

„Young Archer“, Michelangelo’s first know sculpture, ca. 1490 Marble. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, lent by the French State, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.

The show traces the artist’s life and career, beginning with his training as a teenager in the workshop of Ghirlandaio and his earliest painting, „The Torment of Saint Anthony“ (1487–88), and first known sculpture, „Young Archer“ (ca. 1490), among others.

„Drapery study of a standing figure“ by Domenico Ghirlandaio, drawing 1485-90. In Ghirlandaio’s workshop Michelangelo studied as a teenager. Uffizi_Florence

An entire gallery will be devoted to the Ceiling of the Sistine Gallery with Michelangelo’s original studies for the project.

Other sections will explore his portraiture and the beautiful finished drawings he created for close friends. His last decades in Rome are reflected in the last part of the exhibition.

„The Torment of Saint Anthony“, Michelangelo’s earliest painting, ca. 1487–88. Tempera and oil on wood. Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth.

Michelangelo Buonarroti was born on March 6, 1475 in Caprese (southeast of Florence). Drawing was the first thing he turned to, whether he was creating a painting, a sculpture, or architecture, and it is what unified his career. He was a forceful draftsman and brought a sculptor’s understanding and eye. In the exhibition, „we can see him thinking – almost having a conversation on the sheet of paper – and there is a sense of intimacy and immediacy, as if looking over his shoulder. The exhibition will give visitors an unmatched opportunity to enter the world of this absolute master in the history of art“, according to the MET.

„Three Labours of Hercules“, Michelangelo, 1530–33. 
Drawing, red chalk. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.Portrait of Andrea Quaratesi, Michelangelo, 1532. Drawing, black chalk. The British Museum, London.

Michelangelo died a wealthy and famous man, on February 18, 1564, in Rome. Although he spent the last 30 years of his life there, his love was always for Florence, and all things Florentine. His art, his training, his methods, and his poetry were, to the last, rooted in Florentine culture.

„Michelangelo Buonarroti“ by Daniele da Volterra, probably ca. 1544. Oil on wood. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Michelangelo’s longevity was extraordinary for a person of his time. Also exceptional for an artist of his era, five major biographies were written during his lifetime or soon after his death.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

(07.01.2018, USA: 01.07.2018)