As an earnest and diligent student of figure drawing, I followed my art instructor’s recommendation to see the Michelangelo exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City. The drawings are culled from multiple collections, both public and private, throughout Europe and the U.S. I was enraptured by each contour, hatchline, and the shade and shadows that created three-dimensional images on a flat piece of paper. These magical acts come from a discipline unmatched by any other since Renaissance times, and I was able to view these hundred or more performances all at once.
I first joined an exclusive after-hours evening at the Met to digest and sip the information slowly. The next morning, with a courtesy admission, I was able to quickly document the exhibition so I could later savor this encounter with Michelangelo.
Here are a few visual highlights with associated text from the exhibition. They are annotated in the order that resonates the most for my interest in figure drawing:
The Human Figure
Early Precedents: These show how and from whom he learned. The white highlights on tone paper provide contrast and depth to the drawings.
Painting Preparation and Students
There’s still time to see this magnificent exhibition until February 12! If you are unable to attend, I invite you to please study and relish these reproduced copies carefully. In order to share these in a timely fashion, I have not captioned or annotated every image. I hope you will nevertheless catch the whiff of Michelangelo’s development, intentions, and success. We should appreciate the wealth of information we now have at our disposal. The contributors to the exhibition are listed below. Congratulations and thanks to the Metropolitan Museum for this incredible effort.
P.S. I wanna be this guy!!