Design In Exile: Art In Exile

Michaelangelo at the Getty - Video Tours Online Now 

For those of you discovering your inner-Michaelangelo under quarantine or others in need of a little culture fix, here you have it.

In the last few hours before the staff left the Getty Museum as part of Los Angeles’s safer-at-home initiative, they shot some short videos in the exhibition Michelangelo: Mind of the Masterwhich had opened to the public on February 25, and which is closed for now.

Exhibition curator Julian Brooks reflects on that hurried tour of the galleries and shares the first video here:  Check back in at the Iris or on Facebook for the next ones.



Three of world’s greatest works - the marble David in Florence, the fresco paintings on the Sistine Chapel ceiling in The Vatican and the monumental dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome — were all created during the Italian Renaissance by the same man, Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564). 


Familiarly known as Michelangelo, he was a sculptor, a painter and an architect. But the foundation of his work was drawing. Now a new show at the Getty, “Michelangelo: Mind of a Master,” showcases these drawings, placing his preliminary sketches alongside large photographs of the finished works to show their genesis. “Every one of Michelangelo’s works began with a drawing,” says Timothy Potts, director of the Getty Museum, “It’s through his masterful drawings that we can witness his creative process at its most spontaneous and expressive.” Initially he drew with pen and ink but, as time went on, he switched to naturally mined black and red chalk, appreciating its convenience, effectiveness and fluidity. It became his preferred medium as he grew older, producing vivid, layered images that vibrate with life.


The exhibition explores the range of Michelangelo’s work as a painter, sculptor and architect through these sketches, presenting 28 pieces drawn from the collection of the Teylers Museum in the Netherlands which have never before been exhibited as a group in the United States. Many of the sheets have sketches on both sides of the paper. They’re shown on freestanding pedestals so that visitors can experience the artist’s use of the entire sheet.

Interestingly, despite his prolific outlet, there are but a few of the artist’s drawings in existence. Conscious of his reputation, Michelangelo burned many of his sketches with the intent of erasing the blood, sweat and tears that fueled his genius. Instead, he stoked the myth and the magic of the natural genius who plunged straight into this work without preparation. “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free,” he said, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” The implication was that his work sprung into creation fully realized. But the drawings tell a different and compelling story, one of craft and application, toil and time that speaks of dedication and focus. As a student, drawing helped him learn from the work of other artists as he sketched and copied their work, improving on their figures and compositions. Later, it was an integral tool that he used to capture reality and bring his imagination to life. Dedicated to drawing the human figure from life, he studied corpses to understand the underlying muscles and bones, taking his work to a new level of realism and beauty to create timeless work that has stood the test of centuries.

 Michelangelo: Mind of a Master

The Getty Museum

through June 7, 2020


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