Michelangelo from his adolescence to the cartoon for the “Battle of Cascina”

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The course is intended both for students of the two undergraduate programmes (regardless of their enrolment years) and PhD students.


The lectures, conceived as a more in-depth extension of the introductory ones on the Garden of San Marco, will lead the students of the two undergraduate courses, as well as those of the PhD course, to the study of the first fifteen years or so of Michelangelo’s documented career (1487-1503). The presentation will be conducted according to a tight interweaving of primary and secondary sources of historical research and narrative (artworks and archival papers), and of art history and historiography (from the sixteenth century to the present). It will also match Michelangelo with his masters, his colleagues, his patrons, and his intellectual and humanistic acquaintances.

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The aim of the course is to provide the students of the two undergraduate programmes as well as the PhD students with advanced critical tools to tackle the ‘mute’ language of works of art of the past, and in particular of sculpture, both by practising directly on the figurative corpus and by examining the different methods of reading and interpretation utilised in modern studies.

Riferimenti bibliografici

Il carteggio di Michelangelo. Edizione postuma di Giovanni Poggi, edited by Paola Barocchi and Renzo Ristori, 5 vols., Florence, Sansoni Editore, 1965-1983, vol. I [1496-1518], 1965; 

Giorgio Vasari, La Vita di Michelangelo nelle redazioni del 1550 e del 1568, curata e commentata da Paola Barocchi, 5 vols., Milan-Naples, Riccardo Ricciardi - Editore, MCMLXII;

Erwin Panofsky, Die Gestaltungsprincipien Michelangelos, besonders in ihrem Verhältnis zu denen Raffaels [1920], aus dem Nachlass herausgegeben von Gerda Panofsky, Berlin, De Gruyter,  2014 (English edition: Erwin Panofsky, Michelangelo’s Design Principles, Particularly in Relation to Those of Raphael [1920], Princeton - Oxford, Princeton University Press, 2020); 

Charles de Tolnay, The Youth of Michelangelo, Princeton University Press, Princeton MCMXLIII, 2nd edition MCMXLVII;

Michael Hirst, Michelangelo. I. The Achievement of Fame: 1475-1534, Yale University Press, New Haven - London 2011.

Other in-depth texts, mostly articles, will be indicated during the course.