11 months ago7 views
Michelangelo Is the Divine Star of the Must-See Show of the Season
Although Michelangelo would have been the last to tell us — he liked to present himself as a parthenogenetic wonder — he did have some art training.
With this sculpture, he had found what would be his favorite subject, and the one that would make his name: the heroic male body.
Approximately a decade after the “Young Archer” came the colossal “David,” and with
that Michelangelo was a star, a Medici darling, and on his way to becoming the new kind of public celebrity he aimed to be: not just a highly skilled maker of things, but a multitasking, miracle-working aristocrat of creativity called a genius.
The Metropolitan Museum’s show of 133 drawings by the Renaissance artist, the largest ever
assembled, is a tour de genius — the evolution of Michelangelo as deity and brand.
The show is as close as we can now get to seeing the massive sculptural tomb of Pope Julius II in its many aborted iterations;
it was this “urgent” commission (years before Julius’s death) that pulled Michelangelo off the battle fresco.
It confirmed that sculpture was the medium he cared about most deeply; it exposed him to a Classical tradition
that he would emulate and transform; and it initiated a lifelong Medici connection that would be a boon and a curse.
It’s in drawings that I start to feel close to this art and its maker.
“Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a monument to a monument.
Then in 1996, an art historian identified it as a Michelangelo.
And a final drumroll: The fame of Michelangelo Buonarroti may last long, but this Met-built monument to him, which opens on Monday, Nov. 13, will not.