An extraordinary exhibition to mark the 450th anniversary of Michelangelo’s death – 18 February 1564 – is opening today in Rome at the Musei Capitolini, located in Piazza del Campidoglio, the very same square Michelangelo designed and made famous around the world.
“Michelangelo. Incontrare un artista universale” features 70 works by the Tuscan-born artist, from painting to sculpture, to poetry and architecture, the four genres adopted by Michelangelo, displayed in nine sections focusing on the themes of his art.
The underlying theme is a series of thematic “opposites” used to highlight the difficulties experienced by Michelangelo the man and Michelangelo the artist when devising and creating his masterpieces; opposites such as ancient and modern, life and death, battle, victory and imprisonment, rules and freedom, earthly and spiritual love. The contrast of earthly and spiritual love, for example, was strongly felt by Michelangelo, both in art and in life. This is demonstrated by a set of drawings and other works inspired by close friendships such as those with Tommaso Cavalieri and Vittoria Colonna. Each theme is analyzed by comparing drawings, paintings, sculpture and architectural models, as well as select letters and poetry.
The Madonna della Scala, which Michelangelo completed when he was just 15 years old, greets visitors to the exhibit, and introduce them to a display of jewellery from the collection of Casa Buonarroti.
Thanks to a large number of outstanding sketches and preparatory drawings, it is also possible to get a closer look at Michelangelo’s creative process, understand how his ideas were conceived, subsequently developed and finally made into something tangible, be it a sculpture or a painting.
Works are on loan from the Vatican Museums, the Uffizi in Florence, the Accademia in Venice, the Biblioteca Reale in Turin and the British Museum in London, among others.
“Michelangelo. Incontrare un artista universale” is open until September 14, 2014.
For information, check the exhibit’s website.