Anne Robinson, Karen Saxby
Taken as a group, these drawings demonstrate the full range of Michelangelo's skill, ranging from quick sketches (primi pensieri) to more polished final plans; they are executed in all media: pen and ink, pen and wash, charcoal, and both red and black chalk. The black chalk drawings in particular exhibit a subtly variegated range of tones; no wonder this medium was preferred in the later works. Above all, this book reveals the artist's remarkable consistency as a draftsman. Questions of attribution, normally a focus for scholars, are remarked upon only briefly as these drawings have an impeccable provenance, having been either in the estate of the artist or part of a sizable donation by Grand Duke Cosimo II (1590-1621). Notes and scholarly arguments are kept to a minimum in keeping with the purpose of the work, which was written for a general museum readership. Interspersed between the individual entries are chapters that briefly sketch out the chronological details of Michelangelo's life. The book is attractively bound in a sepia color that echoes the color of some of the artist's finest drawings.In an effort to control his reputation for posterity, Michelangelo cooperated with his pupil Asciano Condivi in writing an official biography of his life. Now with this fine catalog we learn how the Buonarroti family had a hand in preserving his towering legacy. Notes: Catalog of an exhibition at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta.