TECHNOLOGY

Michelangelos & # 39; first & # 39; Artwork that was drawn at the age of 12 is revealed


A sketch has been discovered that is believed to be the earliest known drawing by Michelangelo. It shows that he could make his art look like a child's play from an early age.

The seated man was identified by Sir Timothy Clifford, a leading scholar of the Italian Renaissance, as "the earliest drawing effort of a youngster who would one day emerge as one of the most remarkable artists who have ever lived". He dates it from around 1487.

Few would have realized that the portrayal of a seated man was the work of a child as young as 12 or 13.

However, Michelangelo's artistic potential showed itself long before he created masterpieces such as the sculpture of David and the frescoes on the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.

It is also remarkable that the sketch has been preserved at all. Michelangelo was obsessed with destroying drawings he had no use for a lifetime – and burned a large number just before his death to prevent anyone from "seeing the way he tested his genius" .

This sketch of the seated man is said to be the earliest known Michelangelo, which was created around the age of 12. Drawn with pen and two shades of brown, it measures 220 x 153 mm. The figure wears a toga and appears to be sitting on a throne while holding a scepter

The survival of the sketch is remarkable since Michelangelo was obsessed with destroying drawings for which he had no use for a lifetime. Shortly before his death, he burned a large number of them to prevent anyone from "seeing the way he put his genius to the test". (Above a portrait of Michelangelo in a work by Sebastiano del Piombo around 1520)

The survival of the sketch is remarkable since Michelangelo was obsessed with destroying drawings for which he had no use for a lifetime. Shortly before his death, he burned a large number of them to prevent anyone from "seeing the way he put his genius to the test". (Above a portrait of Michelangelo in a work by Sebastiano del Piombo around 1520)

Sir Timothy said, “It is the earliest known Michelangelo drawing by a year, maybe two, than anything else we know. So it's particularly fascinating. & # 39;

As soon as he was shown the drawing, he considered it "very likely" by Michelangelo.

Regarding Michelangelo's tendency to destroy many of his drawings, Vasari, the 16th-century biographer, said: “Shortly before his death (Michelangelo) burned a large number of his own drawings, sketches and cartoons to prevent anyone see the work he endured or the way he put his genius to the test for fear that he might not appear perfect. & # 39;

At the age of 12, Michelangelo learned his trade as an apprentice in the studio of Domenico Ghirlandaio, then one of the most important Italian masters.

Vasari also wrote about his early genius: "The way Michelangelo's talents and character developed surprised Domenico, who saw that he did unusual things for boys his age and not only outperformed his many other students, but very often competed with the performances of the master himself. & # 39;

Michelangelo's artistic potential was shown long before he created masterpieces such as the frescoes on the Sistine Chapel (picture) in the Vatican

Michelangelo's artistic potential was shown long before he created masterpieces such as the frescoes on the Sistine Chapel (picture) in the Vatican

The drawing of Seated Man with feather and two shades of brown measures 220 x 153 mm. The figure wears a toga and appears to be sitting on a throne while holding a scepter.

His young artist was inspired by a colossal Roman marble fragment that originally formed the lower half of a statue of the enthroned Jupiter. Although it is now in the National Archaeological Museum in Naples, it belonged to a well-known collector in Rome in Michelangelo's day.

Sir Timothy said that Michelangelo's richly descriptive shading, shaded with narrow lines, is distinctive: “He uses two different types of brown ink.

He has an idiosyncratic way of drawing, with a rounded chin and a very hard line under the nose, which also appears in a somewhat later drawing. No other Ghirlandaio student draws like this. It is an extremely interesting object because Michelangelo is indeed very young. & # 39;

He dated it in part by comparing it to two other somewhat later Michelangelo drawings, one after Giotto and the other after Masaccio.

He said that even though the seated person is "a piece of youth", the art of drawing is sophisticated enough to stand a comparison with the work of the Florentine draftsmen of the time: "But there is something that the game only reveals." It is a fascinating object. & # 39;

Sir Timothy, former director general of the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh, has made numerous discoveries. This includes Michelangelo's chalk drawing of a candelabrum, which he found in 2002 in a box with luminaire designs in the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York.

The Seated Man drawing belongs to an anonymous British collector who bought it at a French auction in 1989. His artist was not identified.

He contacted Sir Timothy after the art historian Miles Chappell made a first proposal for Michelangelo's hand.

One of Michelangelo's later works included this masterpiece - a marble statue of David (above in the dome of the Accademia Gallery in Florence, Italy)

One of Michelangelo's later works included this masterpiece – a marble statue of David (above in the dome of the Accademia Gallery in Florence, Italy)

The owner remembered: “When I first saw it, I was thrilled that it was an important drawing from the early Renaissance. It is all the more satisfying to find out that it is a Michelangelo. & # 39;

For the first time, until June 30, he has given it to a large exhibition of Michelangelo drawings entitled "Triumph of the Body" in the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest.

In a scientific essay on the drawing in the exhibition catalog, Sir Timothy writes: "When 12-year-old Michelangelo entered the workshop of Ghirlandaio, he would have followed the usual mechanical practices of sanding colors and prepared lime for the plaster surface of the exhibition. Fresco painting, not to mention learning to paint in tempera, oil and fresco.

He would also have been taught to draw in the manner of his master. Michelangelo's earliest panel paintings and frescoes confirm the profound training he had acquired in the practical application of his craft. & # 39;

The discovery was endorsed by, among others, Professor Paul Joannides, the leading Michelangelo scholar, who writes in the Budapest catalog: “Could this chance of survival have been given at the beginning of his education? Or even before? & # 39;

Zoltán Kárpáti, the exhibition's curator, added: “Given the fact that study drawings from apprentices were rarely preserved, coupled with Michelangelo's lifelong obsession with destroying drawings for which he had no use, the sketch deserves (Seated man ) an outstanding place in the œuvre of the master. & # 39;

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