We know and admire Michelangelo as a sculptor, painter and architect, a true genius of Renaissance art. Many of the Michelangelo drawings that he completed, some as studies for his larger works such as the frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, and some as gifts for friends, are notable works of art in their own right. The art historian Vasari stated that Michelangelo destroyed many of his drawings, “so that he would leave nothing that is not perfect.” The many drawings that do survive provide a snapshot of the thought process of a great artist. Presented here is a personal selection of just a few examples of Michelangelo’s work.
Head of Cleopatra, c.1533-4, black chalk on paper, Casa Buonarroti, Florence, Italy.
The Egyptian Queen seems unperturbed by the asp coiled around her shoulders and biting her breast.
Portrait of Andrea Quartesi, c.1532
The only surviving portrait drawing by Michelangelo. Quartesi was a youth of noble birth a member of a wealthy Florentine banking family.