(b. 1475, Caprese, d. 1564, Roma)
Marble, length: 194 cm
Sagrestia Nuova, San Lorenzo, Florence
The picture shows the figure of Night, a detail of the tomb of Giuliano de' Medici.
The artist's representation of Night, along with Dawn the only female nude Michelangelo ever sculpted, has her less at rest on her sloping plinth than actually pushing herself against the incline. In so doing, he takes every opportunity to endow the sculpture with straining muscles which are a sign of age in Michelangelo's work. Features which were probably borrowed from a 'Leda' motif, appearing alongside her, can only offset the scandalous aspect of the work with difficulty. Night was said to be a fertile inspiration to the arts, and fertile generally. Yet, the position of the right arm allows the face to be shown in shadow, which leaves the figure shrouded in mystery.