“MICHELANGELO 1564-2014 : A Universal Artist” at the Musei Capitolini in Rome through September 14, 2014


MICHELANGELO 1564 – 2014 

May 27 – September 14, 2014

A documentary exhibition on the occasion of the 450th anniversary of the death of the great Florentine artist is at the Musei Capitolini in Rome through September 14:

The exhibition Michelangelo. Incontrare un Artista Universale, covering the life and work of this colossus of all times, is currently at the Musei Capitolini on the occasion of the 450th anniversary of the death of Michelangelo Buonarroti in Rome on the 18th of February 1564. In the heart of the Rome, right in the Piazza del Campidoglio (designed by Michelangelo himself), over 150 works, of which approximately 70 by the Tuscan artist, are on exhibit from many of the leading cultural institutions in Italy and elsewhere.

This exhibition succeeds in exhibiting “non-transportable” Michelangelo masterpieces (a prime example being the frescoes from the Sistine chapel) by exhibiting a wide range of his works which can be admired together. These works are in fact displayed, in many cases for the first time, facing each other and side by side in an extraordinary compendium of matchless artistic output, from painting to sculpture and from poetry to architecture, the four genres adopted by Michelangelo, which are linked together in nine display sections to focusing on the crucial themes of his art.

One major example is the extraordinary presence in the exhibition of the great work of art by Michelangelo in a political vein, Brut, on view alongside earlier classical busts, the bronze Brut from the Musei Capitolini and the Caracalla from the Vatican Museum, at last on display in a direct comparison with two works which, in different ways and circumstances, were its inspiration.

The fil rouge guiding visitors through the exhibition is market by a series of thematic “opposites” used to highlight the difficulties of the man and of the artist in the devising and creating of his works: ancient and modern, life and death, the battle, the victory and imprisonment, rules and freedom, earthly and spiritual love. The contrast of earthly and spiritual love, for example, was particularly felt by Michelangelo, both in art and in life. This is demonstrated by a set of drawings and other works inspired by close friendships and elective affinities such as those for Tommaso Cavalieri and Vittoria Colonna. Each theme, as if mirrored, is to be analyzed by comparing drawings, paintings, sculpture and architectural models, as well as a highly select choice of signed writings, i.e. letters and poetry, via Michelangelo’s full personal and artistic career.

Michelangelo, Studi per la testa della “Leda”, 1530 ca., pietra rossa su carta, Casa Buonarroti, Firenze

Michelangelo, Studi per la testa della “Leda”, 1530 ca., pietra rossa su carta, Casa Buonarroti, Firenze

The perfection of the Madonna della Scala, a masterpiece by the fifteen-year-old Michelangelo, greets visitors at the Musei Capitolini, introducing them to a display of the jewelry from the collection of Casa Buonarroti. The latter has brought to Rome the Study for the Head of Leda, one of the artist’s finest drawings, the impressive model in wood of the San Lorenzo façade, never built, in Florence and some of the most significant signed sonnets. Thanks to efforts by Roma Capitale, Mibact and many cultural organizations, it is finally possible to compare the now famous wooden crucifixes attributed to Michelangelo, while the statue of the Risen Christ from Bassano Romano can be compared to the later one of the Basilica di Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, a few yards from the Campidoglio. Also on display are the Fall of Phaeton from the Accademia in Venice and the Study of the Head of the Cumaean Sibyl from the Biblioteca Reale of Turin. Important works have also come from the Uffizi in Florence and the Vatican Museum. Some of the finest drawings ever produced by Michelangelo are also on special loan from the collection of the British Museum in London.

The presence of a large number of outstanding sketches and preparatory drawings which underline the creativity of Michelangelo illustrate the birth of the idea, subsequent development and final creation of the work in its completeness. The exhibition offers an opportunity for a closer look at the beginning of the creative process, essential and decisive for in-depth study of the brilliant inspiration behind the Sistine Chapel and the Last Judgement.

The exhibition is under the Patronage of the President of the Republic of Italy and is organized by Rome city council, Roma Capitale, culture, creativity and artistic promotion department – Rome Heritage Superintendence; Italian Heritage, Culture and Tourism Ministry; Lazio regional authorities and ARCUS. The exhibition was devised and curated by Cristina Acidini, curator for the historical, artistic and ethnoanthropological heritage and for the museums of the city of Florence, with the art historians Elena Capretti and Sergio Risaliti. Produced and organized by the Associazione Culturale MetaMorfosi and by Zètema Progetto Cultura, with assistance from a high-profile specialist committee whose members, in addition to the curators are: Riccardo Bruscagli, Alessandro Cecchi, Anna Imponente, Antonio Paolucci, Claudio Parisi Presicce, Daniela Porro, Pina Ragionieri, Pietro Ruschi, Claudio Strinati and Pietro Zander.


Musei Capitolini
Piazza del Campidoglio 1 – Rome, ITALY

Opening hours
Tuesday-Sunday: 9am – 8pm
Last admission 1 hour before closing time
Monday: closed
Adults: € 13,00
Free admission is granted to children under 6 years, groups of elementary and (lower) middle schools, EU disabled people and their carers and RomaPass holders (if used to access the first 2 sites).


About SACI

SACI is a US non-profit College of Art and Design in Florence, Italy, for undergraduate and graduate students seeking accredited instruction in studio art, design, conservation, art history, and Italian language and culture. Founded in 1975, SACI offers the following programs: Academic Semester/Year Abroad, Summer Studies, Venice Summer Program, Post-Bac in Conservation, MFA in Studio Art, MA in Art History.

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