Michelangelo, Vasari, and Their Contemporaries: Drawings from the Uffizi

January 25 though April 20, 2008
Image of Bust of a Woman, Head of an Old Man and Bust of a Child

Seventy-nine masterpieces of Renaissance drawing, including a number of rarely seen works, are on view in an exhibition at the Morgan Library & Museum entitled Michelangelo, Vasari, and Their Contemporaries: Drawings from the Uffizi. The show focuses on artists who worked on the frescoes, paintings, tapestries, and other decorative work that embellished the magnificent Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, best known as the home of the Medici dukes. Included in the show are sheets by Michelangelo, Pontormo, and Vasari as well as mannerists such as Bronzino and Allori.

One of the most impressive buildings in Florence, the Palazzo Vecchio was the focal point of artistic activity throughout the sixteenth century, especially when Cosimo I de' Medici commissioned the artist-historian Vasari to design its expansion and decoration. The palace was more than doubled in size and included such masterpieces as the Studiolo of Francesco I de' Medici. The exhibition is divided into several sections highlighting the great masters who shaped Italian draftsmanship and the palace's decorations.

The first section showcases Michelangelo and Pontormo, followed by those who directly preceded Vasari's intervention in the Palazzo Vecchio, such as Salviati and Bronzino—the latter a rare draftsman here represented by four works. Vasari's own drawings, as well as those of his collaborators in the various apartments of the palace and the Salone dei Cinquecento, form a central section, followed lastly by the painters of the Studiolo, such as Alessandro Allori.

This exhibition has been organized by special arrangement with the Soprintendenza Speciale per il Polo Museale Fiorentino and the Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi. The Morgan is this exhibition's only venue.

This exhibition is made possible by The Alice Tully Foundation, with major support from the estate of Alex Gordon.

CastleRock Asset Management is corporate sponsor. Additional assistance is provided by the Joseph F. McCrindle Foundation and the Italian Cultural Institute of New York.

Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475–1564)
Bust of a Woman, Head of an Old Man and Bust of a Child (Detail)
Black chalk
357 x 252 mm
Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi; 18719F