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Il volto di Michelangelo

Pina Ragionieri

22,00 €

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edited by P. Ragionieri

exhibition catalogue: Florence, Casa Buonarroti, 7 May-30 July 2008

publication year: 2008
paperback with flaps
245x29 mm; 120 pp.
58 colour and 47 b&w illustrations

978-88-7461-119-5 Italian

Surprisingly few works have been written about portraits of Michelangelo, but this may be due to the artist’s proverbial aversion to depicting himself or sitting for other artists. According to Giorgio Vasari, “Of Michelagnolo we have no other portraits but two in painting ... and ... one in bronze executed in full-relief by Daniello Ricciarelli, and this one [the famous medal] by the Cavaliere Leone”. Conserved at the Casa Buonarroti, all four of these works—the paintings by Giuliano Bugiardini and Jacopino del Conte, Leone Leoni’s medal and a model of the famous bust by Daniele da Volterra—have been displayed (Florence, Casa Buonarroti, 7 May–30 July 2008). Michelangelo’s contemporaries (including Raphael) paid him tribute time and again, not only with portraits from real life, but also by painting him among the figures in their scenes. The publication of Vasari’s Lives, illustrated with small images of the artists, introduced another type of portrait that would prove to be very successful: the celebratory engraving. Founded by his great-nephew Michelangelo Buonarroti the Younger as an eloquent tribute to such an illustrious forebear, the gallery on the first floor of the museum boasts paintings and sculptures depicting Michelangelo with the masters of the era. The most significant works on display are the drawing attributed to Van Dyck (Chatsworth, Devonshire Collection), chosen for the catalogue cover, and a canvas by Delacroix (Montpellier, Musée Fabre) depicting Michelangelo in his studio with his famous marble statues around him: a tense, restless break. A large section is devoted to the myth of Michelangelo created by historical romanticism. The exhibition itinerary starts with these delightful and imaginative anecdotal works, for a journey back in time that ends with images of the master created during his lifetime. The last item is the autographic page from the Casa Buonarroti where, in the margin of a sonnet, a few swift lines deftly sketch out a figure reaching up to paint a vault: that of the Sistine Chapel.