Michelangelo: Quest for Genius

Art Gallery of Ontario

October 18, 2014 – January 11, 2015


Michelangelo Buonarroti
Italian Renaissance Artist

Image: Daniele Da Volterra, Portrait of Michelangelo, 1550–1555. Teylers Museum, Haarlem, the Netherlands.

Over the centuries Michelangelo has been regarded as a god-like genius who created some of the most famous works of art of all time, including the statue of David and the Sistine Chapel ceiling. But there’s another, little-known Michelangelo.

This exhibition of 30 rare drawings invites you on a journey into the artist’s private world – the deep recesses of his imagination. What you’ll find there may be surprising. These drawings challenge the myth that geniuses produce works of art without effort or disappointment. The drawings reveal struggle, setbacks and rejection, but also a will to create and triumph. Throughout his career as a painter, architect and sculptor – which lasted an exceptional 77 years – Michelangelo drew daily. It was how he thought. On paper he worked tirelessly to perfect his skills and give free reign to his ideas and emotions.

French sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840–1917) regarded Michelangelo as his spiritual and artistic father. Like Michelangelo, Rodin suffered endless criticism and even defeat, yet the 10 sculptures of his on view reveal a relentless drive to explore and innovate in his search for powerful new forms of expression.

Casa Buonarroti

Michelangelo’s mansion in Florence, known as the Casa Buonarroti, was turned into a museum by his nephew. It houses the largest collection of Michelangelo drawings in the world. Since the artist’s famous paintings and sculptures are unable to travel, this exhibition affords us a unique opportunity to explore the genius in Michelangelo’s original drawings.

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The AGO gratefully acknowledges the support of its partners:

Lead Supporter

  • Hans and Susan

Technology Partner

Generously supported by

  • E. and G. Odette Foundation
  • Charles and Rose Tabachnick

Hotel Partner

Organized by the Associazione MetaMorfosi in collaboration with the Casa Buonarroti and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Our Supporters

Background image: Michelangelo, Study for the Porta Pia in Rome, c.1561. Black chalk, pen and ink with brown wash, white heightening. 47.0 x 28.0 cm Casa Buonarroti