Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer

Watch a video preview of the exhibition Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer, on view at The Met Fifth Avenue from November 13, 2017 through February 12, 2018.

Featuring Carmen Bambach, Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints, The Met

Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475–1564), a towering genius in the history of Western art, will be 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.


Carmen Bambach: For me, it's a dream come true to do this exhibition. The attempt is to widen the conversation about Michelangelo. It's an extraordinary opportunity to see many works from 53 different museums and collections that are never seen together, to see Michelangelo in many guises as he uses drawing as a language, from his very quick sketches to the finished drawings that come from the Royal Collection in Windsor. Drawing is the first thing he uses to create a painting, to create a sculpture, to create architecture. It's what unifies his career.

Michelangelo is a very forceful draftsman. When he draws he brings a sculptor's understanding and eye. There is a roughness sometimes, because he wants to block out ideas. This is a sculptor who left the majority of his sculptures unfinished. We have three marble sculptures by Michelangelo in the exhibition.

We can see him thinking, almost having a conversation on the sheet of paper. We see him inventing or just having fun—so, doodling. There's a sense of intimacy, of immediacy, it's like glimpsing over the shoulder of this genius. The 500 years that separate us from Michelangelo melt away. For the three months that the exhibition is up, we will all have the privilege of entering his world and being so close to this absolute genius of the history of art.

Director Kate Farrell
Producer Melissa Bell
Interviewer Christopher Noey
Editor Sarah Cowan
Camera Sarah Cowan, Dia Felix
Lighting Dia Felix
Production Coordinator Kaelan Burkett
Production Assistants Bryan Martin, Liam O’Connell
Original Music Austin Fisher

Images courtesy of:

© Albertina, Vienna

Archivio Fotografico Gallerie dell'Accademia, Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo. Museo Nazionale Gallerie dell'Accademia di Venezia, Gabinetto dei disegni e stampe

© Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

Casa Buonarroti, Florence, photo by Antonio Quattrone

French State, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs

Gabinetto Fotografico delle Gallerie degli Uffizi

Imaging Department © President and Fellows of Harvard College

J. Paul Getty Museum Open Content Program

Ministero dei Beni e delle Attivita Culturali e del Turismo, Musei Reali - Biblioteca Reale, Torino

© Musée du Louvre, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Suzanne Nagy

Museo Nazionale del Bargello, photo by Antonio Quattrone

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, photo by Studio Tromp, Rotterdam

© RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY, photo by Michèle Bellot

© RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY, photo by Gérard Blot

© RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY, photo by Thierry Le Mage

Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

© The Trustees of the British Museum

© 2017 The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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