The Divine at the MET... (Part I)


04/01/18 - After years of investigation, astronomic sums of money, countless negotiations and never-ending obstacles, the MET Museum in New York is finally exhibiting "Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer".
It's the largest set of original drawings by the Italian master ever seen. Fifty institutions and private collectors lent 200 works that allows us to understand the importance of the drawing in the artistic process of Michelangelo's works. It took 8 years for curator Carmen Bambach to organize this exhibition. First she had to decide the curatorial concept and then ask for the artworks under the jealous guardianship of several private and public institutions.
Of course, these drawings, done 500 years ago, are extremely fragile, so they must be protected from light and humidity. The transportation had to be made under certain conditions to avoid all possible damage and all the pieces were accompanied by a group of experts that took care of them.
After a careful set up, due to the fragility of the drawings, it was determined that the exhibition should last only three months, because that's as much light as the works can take without being in danger.
The exhibition presents a Michelangelo (1475-1564) as a student, philosopher and master, but not so much as a semi-god. This is probably the best achievement of the curator: she adds a new chapter in the story of an artist we thought we've seen everything already. 
The chronological order of the artworks allows us to discover that, at age 17, Michelangelo was already an exquisite draftsman. In the first artwork we see two figures which, according to biographer Giorgio Vasari, were made observing a painting by Giotto, master of Italian disegno. But Michelangelo wanted to improve its realism using to models, to capture such details as the way of holding the tunic and the draperies of the fabric. It is believed that the following drawing is the earliest to have survived and we can see the fierceness of his hand.
(To be continued...)
Studies after two figures en the Ascension of Saint John the Evagenlist by Giotto, by Miguel Angel.
Pen and two Hues of Brown ink (one slightly reddish Brown and the other grayish Brown) over stylus underdrawing.
Départament des Artes Graphiques, Musée du Louvre, Paris   

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Liliana Wrobel

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