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Visualizing the Invisible in Michelangelo's Drawings at Casa Buonarroti

Stylus drawings: figures in movement

It was not easy to make out the stylus marks in the reproductions of sheet 38 F available until now and distinguish them from the equally indistinct traces of black chalk. We need only compare its legibility in the reproduction of the Corpus of Tolnay, where the chalk marks are more apparent with respect to our more recent shot where the ink stands out more. In order to obtain greater legibility of the stylus marks it was necessary to take a series of shots under grazing light. First we were able to isolate the stylus marks, then those in pencil and afterwards we superimposed them; finally we added those in pen and ink. What emerges is a layering of inventions in a rapid succession of rethinking and final ideas. The images obtained reveal a laboratory bubbling over with highly dynamic solutions and extraordinary creativity in the treatment of figures in rapid motion. The sheet, still of uncertain dating, was most certainly intended as inspiration for a painter friend, perhaps Sebastiano del Piombo, for his Transfiguration in the Cappella Borgherini in San Pietro in Montorio, Rome, painted subsequently around 1520, or possibly Giuliano Bugiardini for his Martyrdom of Saint Catherine in the Rucellai Chapel in Santa Maria Novella, Florence, painted around 1534.


Casa Buonarroti, inv. 38 F recto, Studies for figures in movement; from "Corpus" 83.

Casa Buonarroti, inv. 38 F recto, Studies for figures in movement; circa 1533; stylus, black chalk, pen and ink (178 x 209 mm); visible light.

Casa Buonarroti, inv. 38 F recto, Studies for figures in movement; four-colour view (multiplied cyan and black channels without yellow and magenta).

Casa Buonarroti, inv. 38 F recto, Studies for figures in movement; grazing light.

Casa Buonarroti, inv. 38 F recto, Studies for figures in movement; redrawing of just the stylus marks.

Casa Buonarroti, inv. 38 F recto, Studies for figures in movement; redrawing of the black chalk marks.

Casa Buonarroti, inv. 38 F recto, Studies for figures in movement; overlaying of the stylus and black chalk marks.

Casa Buonarroti, inv. 38 F recto, Studi per figure in movimento; sovrapposizione delle tracce a stilo, a pietra nera e a penna e inchiostro.

Casa Buonarroti, inv. 38 F recto; backlit.

Casa Buonarroti, inv. 38 F verso; visible light.




© KHI in Florence | 18.09.2019 00:42:27