Drawings dedicated to Tommaso dei Cavalieri
by MICHELANGELO

In 1532, Michelangelo was 57 when he met the 17-year-old Tommaso dei Cavalieri, who came from a well-respected patrician family. The artist was immediately and utterly smitten by the youth's beauty, distinguished appearance, and intellect, and their meeting marked the beginning of a lifelong friendship. Michelangelo sent Tommaso sonnets, letters, and drawings, in which he expressed his love for him. He promoted the young man's artistic interest by teaching him how to draw and by imparting architectural knowledge to him.

Michelangelo presented as a gift to Tommaso a series of drawings on classical-mythological themes. These included The Rape of Ganymede, The Punishment of Tityus, The Fall of Phaethon. All these heroes symbolized the "fire that burned in him". According to Vasari, the master created many other drawings for Tommaso, among them the "divine heads" in black and red chalk, such as the portrait of Cleopatra.

The works that Michelangelo dedicated to Tommaso possess an extraordinary refinement and decorative ingenuity that certainly reflect the feelings of the master for his beloved friend. The years between 1532 and 1534 marked a phase of beauty and grace in Michelangelo's drawings.

Preview Picture Data Info
The Punishment of Tityus (recto)
1532
Black chalk, 190 x 330 mm
Royal Library, Windsor


The Punishment of Tityus (detail)
1532
Black chalk, 190 x 330 mm
Royal Library, Windsor


Study for a Risen Christ (verso)
1532
Black chalk, 190 x 330 mm
Royal Collection, Windsor


The Rape of Ganymede
1550s
Black chalk on brownish paper, 361 x 275 mm
Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge


The Fall of Phaethon
c. 1533
Black chalk, 413 x 234 mm
Royal Library, Windsor


The Fall of Phaethon
c. 1533
Black chalk, 313 x 217 mm
British Museum, London


Six Figures in Startled Postures (recto)
1532-34
Red chalk, 110 x 192 mm
Teylers Museum, Haarlem


Cleopatra (recto)
1533-34
Black chalk on paper, 225 x 170 mm
Casa Buonarroti, Florence


Study for Cleopatra (verso)
c. 1533
Black chalk on paper, 225 x 170 mm
Casa Buonarroti, Florence


Allegorical figure
c 1530
Chalk
Casa Buonarroti, Florence


Portrait of a Woman (recto)
1530s
Pen and brown ink, over black and red chalk, 320 x 256 mm
British Museum, London


Portrait of a Woman (verso)
1530s
Black chalk, 320 x 256 mm
British Museum, London



Summary of works by Michelangelo
Sculptures | Paintings | Sistine Chapel | Drawings | Architecture
Drawings
Early drawings | Studies for the Battle of Cascina | Studies for sculptures
Studies for the Sistine Chapel | Studies for the Medici tombs
Studies for Madonna and Child | Studies for Crucifixion scenes
Gifts to Cavalieri | Drafts for other painters | Various drawings



© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.