(b. 1475, Caprese, d. 1564, Roma)
Dusk and Dawn1524-31
Sagrestia Nuova, San Lorenzo, Florence
In the spirit of an allegory of Time, the deceased were coupled with figures representing the times of the day whose gender was determined by Italian grammar. The thoughtful figures of Dusk and Dawn are endowed with soft outlines as they gracefully adorn the edge of the sarcophagus. Dusk lies, featureless, with unfinished feet, hands and head. Along with Night, Dawn is the only female nude Michelangelo ever sculpted. A youthfully smooth, yet powerful body turns towards the observer. Her features are by no means serene: the dark eyes are deep set in their shadowy sockets. She wears a turban and a band around her chest in the style of slaves' garments.
The principal inspiration for these reclining figures came from the river gods of Antiquity.