(b. 1475, Caprese, d. 1564, Roma)
Christ on the Cross with the Virgin and St John1555-64
Black chalk and white heightening, 382 x 210 mm
Royal Collection, Windsor
This Crucifixion is part of a series of large-format drawings on the subject that are stylistically related and were probably created in close succession during Michelangelo's last creative period. They share in common - among other features - the arrangement on parallel pictorial planes of the figures, whose bodies are enclosed in a block-like manner and strictly separated from one another. They depict the dead body of Christ on the Cross, in most cases with the Virgin and St John the Evangelist at his feet. The drawings on this subject are an overwhelming testament to Michelangelo's meditations on the suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ, a theme with which the artist deeply concerned himself in his late creative period in the face of his own death.
The exact chronology of these drawings is not established.