Subscribe to Art + Ideas:

“You have all these incredibly powerful people across Italy, all writing to Michelangelo and saying, ‘Please, please, pretty please, can I have one of your drawings?’ And, you know, Michelangelo never obliged them.”

Michelangelo is among the most influential and impressive artists of the Italian High Renaissance. His lifelike sculptures and powerful paintings are some of the most recognizable works in Western art history. He also drew prolifically, making sketch after sketch of figures in slightly varying poses, focusing on form and gesture. However, remarkably few of these drawings remain today, many of them burned by the artist himself, others lost or damaged over the centuries.

A recent exhibition at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Michelangelo: Mind of the Master, brought together more than two dozen of Michelangelo’s surviving drawings—including designs for the Sistine Chapel ceiling and The Last Judgment—to shed light on the artist’s creativity and working method. In this episode, co-curators of this exhibition, Julian Brooks and Edina Adam, discuss the master and what we can learn from his works on paper.

Figure of a woman in mourning wearing a full-length robe and arms wrapped around herself, concealing half of her face.

Study of a Mourning Woman, about 1500–1505, Michelangelo Buonarroti. Pen and brown ink, heightened with white lead opaque watercolor, 10 1/4 × 6 1/2 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2017.78. Digital image courtesy of Getty’s Open Content Program.

More to explore:

Michelangelo: Mind of the Master

JAMES CUNO: Hello, I’m Jim Cuno, President of the J. Paul Getty Trust. Welcome to Art and Ideas, a podcast in which I speak to artists, conservators, authors, and scholars about their work.
JULIAN BROOKS: You have all these incredibly powerful people across Italy, all writing to Michelang...

Music Credits

Logo for Art Plus Ideas podcast
This post is part of Art + Ideas, a podcast in which Getty president Jim Cuno talks with artists, writers, curators, and scholars about their work.
See all posts in this series »