Il Divino. Homage to Michelangelo

Raphael · Caravaggio · Rubens · Rodin · Cézanne · Struth

6 February to 25 May 2015

The exhibition explores the enormous influence Michelangelo had and continues to have on European art from the Renaissance to the present. It shows works by important artists of the last five centuries who engaged in a dialogue with Michelangelo’s work and his artistic principles. The potential and the continued relevance and immediacy of Michelangelo’s art is evident in the way artists such as, Raphael, Pontormo, Allori, Giambologna, Annibale Carracci, Caravaggio, Rubens, Fuseli, Rodin, Cézanne, Moore, Mapplethorpe or Lüpertz responded to it.

«Thank Heaven, then, and try to imitate Michelangelo in all things.»Giorgio Vasari, Life of Michelangelo

Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475–1564) was a legend in his own lifetime and celebrated as il divino, a divine artist. His works were admired, imitated and reinterpreted by numerous artists and played a central role in artists’ studios and academies as well as in the cabinets of collectors and grand tourists. Central to the influence of Michelangelo’s work is the eloquence of his rhetoric of the body and his unprecedented repertoire of near-archetypal formulations of human affects and fundamental inner states such as mourning, love, faith as well as the exquisite drama of agony and struggle. The wide dissemination of Michelangelo’s work through prints, paintings, sculptures and drawings ensured an unbroken history of artistic engagement, with interpretations ranging from emulation and homage to conceptual scrutiny and critical refutation.

The exhibition is thematically organised and starts with Michelangelo’s great themes and creations – such as the sculptural treatment of the nude or the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel – which are presented in the form of casts, artists’ copies and photographs. A wide range of works ‘after’ Michelangelo trace the impact of the Renaissance master who has been revered – occasionally with cult-like fervour – as ‘divinely gifted’ and as the first free artist.

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