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Giulio Clovio

Attributed to Giulio Clovio (Grisane, Croatia, 1498–1578 Rome)
The Dream of Human Life, after Michelangelo
Black chalk, some stumping, and some outlines indented for transfer
Inscribed at lower left, in pen and brown ink, Michel Angelo.
14 5/16 x 10 3/4 inches (364 x 272 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1910; IV, 7a
See CORSAIR catalog record for this item »

This carefully articulated study is one of numerous versions of a composition by Michelangelo. The subject has been interpreted as an allegory representing the struggle between the intellect and the passions or as the celebration of the purifying force of love. The nude youth at center is surrounded by vignettes illustrating the vices of gluttony, voluptuousness, greed, wrath, and sloth.

A prime version of this subject, generally considered to be Michelangelo's original, is in the Courtauld Institute, London. It belongs to a group of highly finished drawings called presentation drawings, three of which were known to have been made for the young Roman nobleman Tommaso Cavalieri, beloved by Michelangelo.

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.