A sculptor, architect, painter, and graphic artist, Michelangelo cannot be assigned definitely to any of those genres. The drawing as a medium for developing new ideas and conveying artistic thoughts, however, is the connecting link to and the basis of all his creative activities. During the Renaissance, drawing was established as the basis of every genre of art. Michelangelo viewed his drawings as material he needed for his work.
Contemporaries of Michelangelo collected his drawings during his lifetime and guarded them like precious gems. Presently, the total number of his existing drawings is around 600. However, during his more than seventy years of activity, he certainly produced much more, thus many works by the master must have been lost. It is well known that Michelangelo twice destroyed his own drawings: the first time was in 1517, the second time shortly before his death.