New York Magazine

Michelangelo’s Drawings Detonated Art History

A new exhibition shows just how radical the master was.
Archers Shooting at a Herm, 1530–1533.



THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM’S “Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer” is a stupendous metaphysical-visual exhalation. Somewhere amid the High Renaissance master’s drawings, time and mediums piled up for me and art’s house was set on fire. The show burns from Michelangelo’s time into the past—with his rediscoveries and reinterpretations of classical Greek and Roman art. It simultaneously convulses forward, into sensibilities then unknown—breaching the exaggerations of Mannerism and the cinematic Baroque into the cauldrons of brooding Romanticism and part-by-part Impressionism, even into the shadows of our own existentialism. The tightly constructed survey, organized by the Met’s Carmen C. Bambach in 14 chronological galleries, is an exhibition by turns exhausting and exhilarating. It is

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