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Visualizing the Invisible in Michelangelo's Drawings at Casa Buonarroti

Drawings by Michelangelo in historical photographs

The emergence of photography in art history practices in the second half of the 19th century represents a critical turning point for studies on Michelangelo too. As early as the 1860s photographers such as Ludwig Angerer, John Brampton Philpot, Adolphe Braun, Giacomo Brogi and even the Alinari brothers, began to carry out photographic campaigns in the drawings cabinets of the main museums. Braun was the only one to photograph, between 1867 and 1869, together with his collaborators, around 5000 drawings conserved in various European collections, including numerous works attributed to Michelangelo.
The photographic reproductions allow scholars to systematically expand their work methods, considering that, through photographs, they could now observe and comparatively analyse their study material, generally disseminated in different locations.
Traces of this new method of approaching the study material are also found on the card mounts of photographs in the photo library in the form of annotations and references added later.
These initial photos are already surprising in terms of the reproduction quality. Above all Braun's monochrome carbon prints have, so to speak, the character of a facsimile, as is clear from a comparison with the digital photograph of an original from the Uffizi.


Adolphe Braun & Cie.: „Michelangelo Buonarroti: Male nude. Drawing from the Royal Library in Windsor“, carbon print, before 1887, 34,3 x 23,9 cm (board), KHI, inv. nr. 4099.

Adolphe Braun & Cie.: „Michelangelo Buonarroti: Male nude. Drawing from the Louvre in Paris“, carbon print, before 1887, 48,5 x 33,8 cm (board), KHI, inv. nr. 3944.

Adolphe Braun & Cie.: „Michelangelo Buonarroti: Christ emerging from the tomb. Drawing from the Royal Library in Windsor“, carbon print, before 1887, 48,6 x 34 cm (board), KHI, inv. nr. 4088.

Adolphe Braun & Cie.: „Michelangelo Buonarroti: Design for a Wall Tomb with two Sarcophagi. Drawing from the Albertina in Vienna“, carbon print, before 1887, 48,6 x 33,9 cm (board), KHI, inv. nr. 3966.

Adolphe Braun & Cie.: „Michelangelo Buonarroti: The Descent from the Cross. Drawing from the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford“, carbon print, before 1887, 48,5 x 33,9 cm (board), KHI, inv. nr. 4029.

Adolphe Braun & Cie.: „Michelangelo Buonarroti: Crucifixion. Drawing from the British Museum in London“, carbon print, before 1887, 48,6 x 34 cm (board), KHI, inv. nr. 4003.

Stabilmento Brogi: “Michelangelo Buonarroti, Studi anatomici. Disegno dalla Casa Buonarroti a Firenze“, stampa alla gelatina d’argento, ante 1929, 26 x 19,5 cm (foto), KHI, nr. inv. 59778.

Adolphe Braun & Cie.: „Michelangelo Buonarroti: Allegoria della Prudenzia. Disegno dalla Ambrosiana a Milano“, stampa a carbone, before 1887, 33,8 x 48,5 cm (supporto), KHI, nr. inv. 4060.

Stabilmento Brogi: “Michelangelo Buonarroti, Studies of Anatomy. Drawing from the Casa Buonarroti in Florence“, silver-gelatin-print, before 1929, 20,1 x 25,1 cm (photograph), donation Erwin Panofsky, KHI, inv. nr. 54635.

Stabilmento Brogi: “Michelangelo Buonarroti, Figura nuda. Disegno della Casa Buonarroti a Firenze“, stampa alla gelatina d’argento, ante 1925, 22 x 28,8 cm (foto), dono di Heinrich Bodmer, KHI, inv. nr. 54635.

Adolphe Braun & Cie.: „Michelangelo Buonarroti: Study for the tomb of Julius II, drawing from the Uffizi in Florence“, carbon print, before 1902, 34 x 48,6 cm (board), KHI, inv. nr. 4064.

Roberto Palermo: “Michelangelo Buonarroti: Study for the tomb of Julius II. Drawing from the Uffizi in Florence, inventory no. 608 E (Gabinetto dei Disegni e delle Stampe)", digital photography, 2010.




© KHI in Florence | 16.10.2021 14:05:23