Drawings and Attributions

6 March to 7 June 2009

From 6 March to 7 June 2009, the Städel Museum’s Department of Prints and Drawings presented an exhibition dedicated to the issue of the attribution of Old Master drawings in the particularly contentious case of Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475–1564). Besides his world-famous sculptures, frescoes, and buildings, Michelangelo made a large number of drawings, which compelled great admiration in his day. As he never signed his drawings and burnt a lot of them shortly before his death, it is difficult to determine whether many of the surviving sheets are actually autographs or copies or imitations by other artists.

The occasion for the exhibition was supplied by a drawing in the Städel Museum’s Department of Prints and Drawings whose attribution to Michelangelo was the subject of controversy in the past. The sheet has again been attributed to Michelangelo by several experts. Presenting a number of selected examples – amongst them precious loans from the collections of the British Museum in London, the Royal Collection in Windsor, and the Casa Buonarroti in Florence – the exhibition granted various possibilities for direct visual comparison, providing visitors with an opportunity for exploring the issue on their own in front of the original works.

CURATOR: Dr. Martin Sonnabend, Städel Museum
SPONSORED BY: Hannelore Krempa Stiftung