“… a sensational exhibition in more ways than one.”
“This show works like a trumpet blast, reawakening the viewer to [Michelangelo’s] inspirational powers.”
“… one of the greatest … shows you will ever see.”
“… far and away the most accomplished study of the subject yet.”
“A breathtaking collection of drawings…” Rating: Outstanding
“These are drawings of the most arcane refinement, unearthly beautiful.”
The New York Times
“… an unforgettable exhibition.”
Michelangelo’s masterpiece The Dream is one of the greatest of all Renaissance drawings. This complex work shows a nude youth being roused by a winged spirit from the vices that surround him.
The Dream was probably part of the celebrated group of drawings which Michelangelo made as gifts for Tommaso de’ Cavalieri, a young Roman nobleman with whom he had fallen passionately in love. With loans from international collections, the exhibition unites The Dream for the first time with these extraordinary drawings.
Michelangelo’s Dream also included a selection of previously unexhibited handwritten poems which the artist composed for Cavalieri. Further closely related drawings by Michelangelo as well as works by Albrecht Dürer and others shed light on the meaning of Michelangelo’s enigmatic masterpiece.
- The Friends of The Courtauld
- Vermeer Associates Limited
- The Samuel H. Kress Foundation
- Tavolozza – Katrin Bellinger
- The Doris Pacey Charitable Foundation
- Mrs Elke von Brentano
“If one chaste love, if one sublime compassion, if one fortune affects two lovers equally, if one harsh fate matters as much to both, if one spirit, if one will rules two hearts…”
S’un casto amor, s’una pieta superna
Michelangelo Buonarroti, c.1532
The exhibition Michelangelo’s Dream contained not only drawings but also the manuscripts of some of his most important letters and poems. The poems, recorded for the exhibition and available here as podcasts, were composed for the Roman nobleman Tommaso de’ Cavalieri and deal with spiritual longing and passionate desire. Michelangelo’s sonnets and madrigals are perhaps less well known than his sculpture and painting but were considered of great worth by humanist intellectuals in his time. The introduction is narrated by Jim Harris. The poems follow in English translation, and then the original Italian.
Michelangelo and Tommaso de’ Cavalieri
Find out about the relationship between Michelangelo and the Roman nobleman Tommaso de’ Cavalieri with whom the artist had fallen passionately in love.
The exhibition Michelangelo’s Dream contains not only drawings but also the manuscripts of some of his most important letters and poems. The poems, recorded for the exhibition and available here as podcasts, were composed for the Roman nobleman Tommaso de’ Cavalieri and deal with spiritual longing and passionate desire. Michelangelo’s sonnets and madrigals are perhaps less well known than his sculpture and painting but were considered of great worth by humanist intellectuals in his time.
Introductions narrated by Jim Harris. The poems are then read in English translation, and the original Italian.
Listen to an introduction to the exhibition:
Listen to the poem If One Chaste Love…
Listen to the sonnet If Desire of the Immortal…
Listen to the sonnet You Know That I Know…
Listen to the poem Not Even by Raising My Thoughts…
Listen to the poem To Burn Fiercely for Immense Beauty…
Looking at Michelangelo
18 February – 16 May 2010
This related display offered a chance to enjoy further works by Michelangelo from The Courtauld’s collection as well as drawings by artists directly influenced by the master.
Highlights of this rich group are three autograph drawings by Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), ranging from his early period in Florence to his very last years in Rome and covering both religious and pagan subjects. The display included the powerful late Christ on the Cross, drawn in the final years of the artist’s life.
Michelangelo never had an organised workshop, preferring to work alone with just a few pupils and assistants. Nevertheless, his work was immensely influential in his own lifetime. The display explores how contemporary artists such as Jacopo Tintoretto and Jacopo Pontormo responded to Michelangelo’s creations.
The display also included a remarkable large composite print of Michelangelo’s Last Judgement. Composed of ten separate numbered sheets of paper, this marked the first time the print was reassembled since it entered The Courtauld’s collection.