Page last updated at 16:15 GMT, Thursday, 18 February 2010

Michelangelo drawings of his muse go on display

The Dream is considered one of the finest of all Renaissance drawings

A series of drawings which Michelangelo made for a younger man he is thought to have fallen in love with, have gone on display at London's Courtauld Gallery.

The exhibition is built around his masterpiece The Dream (Il Sogno), bequeathed to the gallery in 1978.

It depicts a naked young man, thought to represent Tommasso de Cavalieri, being roused from sleep by a spirit.

The Michelangelo Dream exhibition, which also features handwritten sonnets to Cavalieri, will run until 16 May.

'Serious friendship'

The series of works created for Cavalieri were described in 1568, by artist and Michelangelo biographer Giorgio Vasari, as "drawings the like of which have never been seen".

Drawings portray Michelangelo's love

In a letter to Michelangelo, also featured in the exhibition, Cavalieri said the drawings had been admired by "the Pope, the Cardinal de Medici and everyone".

Curator Stephanie Buck said Cavalieri was thought to have been "an adolescent of 17 or under" when Michelangelo fell in love with him.

"It was a deep and serious friendship which was to last until Michelangelo's death in 1564," she told the BBC News website.

"The two men met in the winter of 1532 and Michelangelo fell passionately in love with Tommaso de Cavalieri, who was praised for his outstanding beauty, gracious manners and intellect."

These extremely complex and beautiful works show Michelangelo's power of invention, the immense creativity and mastery in the medium
Curator Stephanie Buck

When Michelangelo created the drawings for Cavalieri he was "the most famous living artist of his day, at the height of his career, and praised as 'the divine'", Ms Buck said.

"These extremely complex and beautiful works show Michelangelo's power of invention, the immense creativity and mastery in the medium.

"They also show him engaged with concepts of love and beauty."

A group of drawings by Michelangelo of Christ's resurrection, based on a "heroic nude figure of the reborn Christ leaping free of the tomb and the bondage of life on earth", is also featured.

The gallery said the drawings offered "close thematic and formal comparisons with The Dream".



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Inquiry over 'Michelangelo' work
05 Jun 09 |  Europe
Michelangelo's David 'may crack'
19 Sep 08 |  Europe
Michelangelo 'last sketch' found
07 Dec 07 |  Europe

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific