Drawings related to Christ's life (Crucifixion, Pietà, Entombment)

Michelangelo produced several drawings related to Christ's sufferings (Crucifixion, Descent from the Cross, Lamentation, Pietà) during his long career. The final decades of his life were characterized by a heightened religious feeling. His thinking was influenced by the leading personalities in the church reform movement, but the most important influence was that of the poetess Vittoria Colonna (c. 1491-1547), who had been linked to Michelangelo by a close platonic friendship since around 1534. In 1538 Colonna presented Michelangelo with a copy of her poems, which had just been published, and the artist gave her a number of religious drawings, including a Crucifixion.

After 1555, Michelangelo executed a series of impressive drawings depicting the crucified Christ in the presence of the Virgin Mary and St John. In these scenes Michelangelo refrained from any scenic elements, leaving the background completely neutral. Each of these drawings depicts fundamental human emotions in a very different manner; the sheets are among Michelangelo's most moving creations.

Preview Picture Data Info
The Crucifixion of Christ and the Two Thieves
Red chalk, 394 x 281 mm
British Museum, London

Studies for the Descent from the Cross (recto)
Red chalk over drawing in stylus, 271 x 191 mm
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Head Studies and a Female Figure Leaning Forward (verso)
Red and black chalk, 271 x 191 mm
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

The Lamentation of Christ
Red chalk, partially over a drawing in black chalk, 320 x 249 mm
Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Vienna

The Lamentation of Christ
Red chalk over black chalk, 411 x 234 mm
Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Vienna

Male Nude Surrounded by Several Figures
Black chalk on primed paper, 285 x 248 mm
Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt

Studies of the Crucified Christ (recto)
Black chalk, 330 x 229 mm
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Study for the Colonna Pietà
c. 1538
Black chalk, 295 x 195 mm
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston

Christ on the Cross
c. 1541
Black and white chalk, 368 x 268 mm
British Museum, London

Black chalk on paper, 2327 x 1656 mm
British Museum, London

Crucified Christ with Mary and John
c. 1550
Black chalk and white paint for corrections, 413 x 286 mm
British Museum, London

Christ on the Cross with the Virgin and St John
Black chalk, white heightening, 412 x 279 mm
British Museum, London

Christ on the Cross with the Virgin and St John (recto)
Black chalk, traces of red chalk, 405 x 218 mm
Royal Collection, Windsor

Christ on the Cross with the Virgin and St John
Black chalk and white heightening, 382 x 210 mm
Royal Collection, Windsor

Christ Crucified between the Virgin and St John
c. 1552-54
Black chalk, brown wash and white lead, 433 x 290 mm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Descent from the Cross
Red chalk on pale buff paper, 375 x 280 mm
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Summary of works by Michelangelo
Sculptures | Paintings | Sistine Chapel | Drawings | Architecture
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.