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Travel Tip: Art and Archaeology in Austria
The Era of Michelangelo

Photo courtesy of the Albertina
Photo courtesy of the Albertina
The Era of Michelangelo : Masterpieces from the Albertina
VIENNA  •  Albertina  •  Ongoing
The Era of Michelangelo: Masterpieces from the Albertina presents 70 of the most important sixteenth century Italian drawings and prints in the collections of the Albertina, Vienna. Michelangelo revolutionized the artist’s conception of the human figure, in Florence (the Battle of Cascina cartoon) and in Rome (the Sistine Chapel ceiling). This revolution is the major theme of the exhibition, beginning with a youthful study by Michelangelo after a fresco by Masaccio. His long life, 1475-1564, sets the time frame for the selection of 66 drawings and 4 prints which survey the artistic development of Michelangelo and of his Italian contemporaries, with examples of the High Renaissance and Mannerism in Florence and Rome, as well as Milan, Perugia, Parma, Naples, Cremona, Genoa, Bologna and Mantua.

First Fra Bartolomeo and then Raphael were quick to apprehend this change, abandoning the static and graceful manner of the early Renaissance in favor of a heroic figure style orchestrated in complex and dynamic figure compositions. Raphael came to be the main beneficiary of Papal patronage, both Julius II and Leo X, from his arrival in Rome in 1508 until his early death in 1520. This exhibition tells the story of how this High Renaissance style spread through Italy, above all thanks to the pupils of Raphael (Giulio Romano, Perino del Vaga, Polidoro da Caravaggio) and, by developing its expressive, graceful and artificial elements, how it transformed into Italian Mannerism (Parmigianino, Bandinelli, Beccafumi, Francesco Salviati, Vasari). This courtly and decorative style was imported to France by Francis I and Henry II, who hired Rosso Fiorentino, Primaticcio and Niccolò dell’Abbate to work in the Château de Fontainebleau. This is the time and place when the art of drawing—whether as preparatory studies for paintings or as finished works—rose to its highest level of achievement in the history art.

Michelangelo’s drawings include studies for the Battle of Cascina cartoon and for the Sistine Chapel ceiling as well as for a Pietà. Seventeen drawings by Raphael include the famous Madonna of the Pomegranate, the Cumaean Sybil for his frescoes in Santa Maria della Pace, Rome, studies for his frescoes in the Vatican Stanze, for the tapestry cartoons (Victoria & Albert Museum, London), for the Logge of Leo X, and for his last great work The Transfiguration. Another celebrated drawing is a caricature study by Leonardo da Vinci. The drawings are complemented by one engraving by Marcantonio Raimondi (a masterpiece in collaboration with Raphael), two chiaroscuro woodcuts by Ugo da Carpi, and an etching of The Entombment by Parmigianino. The exhibition concludes with a highly finished figure drawing of Aeneas and a Boy by Daniele da Volterra, Michelangelo’s protégé in his old age, which is based on drawings by Michelangelo himself.

This exhibition will travel subsequently to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (November 2004 – March 2005).

Albertina Web Site

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Tel: 43 (0)1534 83-0

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