Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475–1564), a towering genius in the history of Western art, is the subject of this once-in-a-lifetime exhibition. During his long life, Michelangelo was celebrated for the excellence of his disegno, the power of drawing and invention that provided the foundation for all the arts. For his mastery of drawing, design, sculpture, painting, and architecture, he was called Il Divino ("the divine one") by his contemporaries. His powerful imagery and dazzling technical virtuosity transported viewers and imbued all of his works with a staggering force that continues to enthrall us today.
This exhibition presents a stunning range and number of works by the artist: 133 of his drawings, three of his marble sculptures, his earliest painting, his wood architectural model for a chapel vault, as well as a substantial body of complementary works by other artists for comparison and context. Among the extraordinary international loans are the complete series of masterpiece drawings he created for his friend Tommaso de' Cavalieri and a monumental cartoon for his last fresco in the Vatican Palace. Selected from 50 public and private collections in the United States and Europe, the exhibition examines Michelangelo's rich legacy as a supreme draftsman and designer.
Additional support is provided by an anonymous donor, the Gail and Parker Gilbert Fund, the Diane W. and James E. Burke Fund, Dinah Seiver and Thomas E. Foster, Cathrin M. Stickney and Mark P. Gorenberg, Ann M. Spruill and Daniel H. Cantwell, and the Mark Pigott KBE Family.
It is supported by an Indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.
The catalogue is made possible by the Drue E. Heinz Fund.
Additional support is provided by the Wolfgang Ratjen Stiftung, Liechtenstein.
In this Now at The Met blog post, exhibition curator Carmen C. Bambach highlights two of the works on view and discusses Michelangelo's hands-on approach to selecting the marble used in his sculptures.
Banner image: Michelangelo Buonarroti (Italian, 1475–1564). Studies for the Three Labors of Hercules (detail), ca. 1530. Red chalk, 10 11/16 x 16 5/8 in. (27.2 x 42.2 cm). Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017, www.royalcollection.org.uk. Related Content image: Michelangelo Buonarroti (Italian, 1475–1564). Apollo-David (unfinished) (detail), c. 1530. Marble, H. 146 cm (57 1/2 in.). Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence (Sculture 1879, no. 121)