Michelangelo: Drawings Colour Plates
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Michelangelo's drawings offer a unique insight into how the artist worked and thought. They are beautiful artworks in their own right but also provide a crucial link between his work as a sculptor, painter and architect. This book traces Michelangelo's life from youth to old age through drawings.
Michelangelo was extraordinarily famous during his lifetime, so much so that other artists produced portraits of him and three biographies were written. His artistic achievements set him in a class apart from his contemporaries; after the death of his main rival Raphael in 1520, he was to dominate the Roman art world for more than four decades. His primary focus as an artist was the male body, and his drawings chart his relentless search to find poses that would most eloquently express the emotional and spiritual state of his subjects.
A sculptor, architect, painter, and graphic artist, Michelangelo cannot be assigned definitely to any of those genres. The drawing as a medium for developing new ideas and conveying artistic thoughts, however, is the connecting link to and the basis of all his creative activities. During the Renaissance, drawing was established as the basis of every genre of art. Michelangelo viewed his drawings as material he needed for his work.
Contemporaries of Michelangelo collected his drawings during his lifetime and guarded them like precious gems. Presently, the total number of his existing drawings is around 600. However, during his more than seventy years of activity, he certainly produced much more, thus many works by the master must have been lost. It is well known that Michelangelo twice destroyed his own drawings: the first time was in 1517, the second time shortly before his death.