Black Lines Lift Off From Grayish Space (Resurrection) (Michelangelo)


Put in conversation with the many lavish tombs that Michelangelo designed for Medici and other Italian patrons is the resurrection idea. Now showing at the Met, the drawn studies for the huge Last Judgement fresco at the Vatican come towards the end of the chronological exhibition of drawings. Caught in grayish black chalk, you can read them here at the blog from bottom to top. There at the bottom of this post is a single figure, arms and torso, crawling out of the tomb (he appears completed at the bottom right of the final composition), another single figure is viewed from behind, this one sitting up before his lift-off from the ground, and then the body muscle in flight (for the group of the saved) and what appears at the very top to be the vaporization of bodies. The colorful finished figures in the painting lack the more “vital” energy of material flesh and physical line in these blackish gray drawings.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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