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Study for the Resurrection of Christ
16th Century
Born 1475 Italy, Died 1564
Study for the Resurrection of Christ
[Studio per un Cristo risorto 61 F]
black pencil on paper
38 x 25 cm  [HxW]
Casa Buonarroti, Firenze

This study of a nude, which is one of over two hundred sheets in the Casa Buonarroti collection of Michelangelo drawings in Florence (inv. 61F), is remarkable for its expressiveness. The autography of the work is now almost universally recognised by critics, and some illustrious negative views such as those of Popp (1922), Berenson (1938) and Dussler (1959) are now no more than history.

The drawing has been considered as an early idea for the Christ in the Last Judgement, which fills the wall behind the altar in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, and which was painted by Michelangelo between 1535 and 1541. In the distant past, during the Michelangelo centenary of 1875, both Fabbrichesi (1875), the author of a guide to the Galleria Buonarroti, which had been open to the public for no more than fifteen years, and Gotti (1875), whose Vita di Michelangelo had received considerable acclaim, indicated this sheet as a project for the Sistine wall. In 1938, Berenson still linked this drawing to the Last Judgement although, as we have seen, he denied the attribution to Michelangelo. This hypothesis, however, has lost credibility among more recent critics: on the basis of the studies carried out by Johannes Wilde (1953), this drawing is now included in the group of graphic studies for the Resurrection of Christ which, according to the scholar, occupied Michelangelo for a fairly long period of time between 1532 and 1533. In his in-depth examination, Wilde refers to no fewer than fourteen drawings which, in his view, refer to the subject of the Resurrection and are certainly autograph. To give an example, we might mention the undeniable and remarkable stylistic coincidences to be found between another item Wilde mentions in his list, the 691/b in the Louvre, and our figure of Christ resurrected.

Pina Ragionieri

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