Michelangelo: the last decades

Michelangelo: the last decades

Art, Art History
Hardback Published on: 02/05/2024
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Tracing the final 30 years of Michelangelo’s career, this book examines how the great master used art and faith to explore the common human experience of ageing in a rapidly changing world.

‘This fascinating and beautifully illustrated catalogue demonstrates the creativity of Michelangelo’s late years in a way that is both accessible and scholarly.’ – Jill Burke, author of How to be a Renaissance Woman and The Italian Renaissance Nude

Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475–1564) was one of the greatest artists of the Renaissance. He was not the isolated, tortured genius of artistic myth, but a man who maintained a close circle of friends and associates into old age. He developed collaborative working relationships with younger artists, thereby maintaining his fame and reputation even as he aged, relinquishing the hardest physical work to others. His late drawings offer a powerful insight into his psychology, reflecting his Catholic faith, his commanding intellectual engagement and his hope for eternal life.

Michelangelo reimagined the iconography of religious art to create hugely influential compositions of key moments in Christian faith, such as the Crucifixion, the Last Judgment and the Pietà (or Lamentation). He was involved in designing several significant sites in Rome at this time – including his key architectural project, the immense challenge of rebuilding St Peter’s, at the very heart of Christianity. His role as an architect is explored through beautiful drawings, highlighting his range as a designer. Alongside his major commissions he created deeply personal drawings – revisiting earlier compositions to explore intensely moving Crucifixions that served as spiritual meditations on Christ’s death and offered the hope of salvation for an elderly man facing the end of his own long life.

Built on the British Museum’s extraordinary collection of drawings, this book explores Michelangelo’s relationships and late creativity to go beyond the towering Renaissance master known today.

  • Publisher: British Museum Press
  • ISBN: 9780714126982
  • Number of pages: 256
  • Weight: 1440g
  • Dimensions: 250 x 230 mm

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