(Italian, 1475 - 1564)
for the Nude Youth over the Prophet Daniel (Primary title),
for the Sistine Ceiling: Ignudo (Former title)
for the Sistine Chapel Ceiling: The Nude Figure next to the Prophet
Daniel (Alternate title)
Sheet: 33.5cm x 23.4cm, Secondary Support: 34.4cm x 24.4cm
Red chalk over black chalk
lower right, in black ink: 55 [crossed out] ; SECONDARY SUPPORT,
lower left, in purple crayon: [illegible] O a ; lower center,
in graphite: 80
Michelangelo, who is universally recognized as one of the greatest
artists, regarded himself as primarily a sculptor. The peak of
his early career, however, was the vast ceiling fresco in the
Sistine Chapel, in which he depicted scenes from the Old Testament.
This is a preparatory drawing for the monumental nude youths who
sit at the four corners of every other narrative scene in the
fresco. It is one of a small group executed during the second
phase of Michelangelo's work on the chapel ceiling (1511-1512),
in which he used red chalk with a precision more typical of penwork.
During the first phase, in 1508, Michelangelo had used traditional
techniques: most often black chalk for loose figure studies and
pen and brown ink for more finished drawings. In 1510 Michelangelo's
patron, Pope Julius II, became engaged in war, and the ceiling
project was discontinued until the following year. When work resumed,
Michelangelo began the unusual practice of using red chalk for
finished drawings instead of fine hatching in pen and brown ink,
presumably after finding a supply of red chalk hard enough for
such exact work.
In the Cleveland drawing Michelangelo first traced an earlier
drawing to the sheet with black chalk and then drew the elaborate
shading over it in red chalk, probably studying the subject from
a wax or terracotta model. The precise function of the drawing
was to provide a detailed image of the surface modeling to copy
directly onto the wet plaster of the ceiling within the outlines
that had been transferred from a full-sized cartoon.
Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Gift in memory of Henry G. Dalton by his nephews George S. Kendrick
and Harry D. Kendrick
Pierre Jean Mariette (Lugt 1852, stamped, lower left, in black
ink); Burckel, Vienna; Dr. Alexander de Frey, Tamesvar, Romania;
Henry G. Dalton, Cleveland; George S. and Harry D. Kendrick, Cleveland.
Sale: Paris, Galerie Jean Charpentier 12-14 June 1933 (de Frey
collection), no. 7, pl. ii (verso, as school of Michelangelo).
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