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Michelangelo: The Man and the Myth Opens in the Art Galleries at Syracuse University
Michelangelo, Four epitaphs in honor of Cecchino Bracci sent to Luigi del Riccio, 1544 , pen, 216 x 230 mm. Florence, Archivio Buonarroti, XIII, 33.

SYRACUSE, NY.- An exhibition of original drawings and writings by Renaissance master Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475–1564), some never before seen in the United States, opens at the SUArt Galleries located in the Shaffer Art Building at Syracuse University. “Michelangelo: The Man and the Myth” runs through Oct. 19 and is free and open to the public.

“Michelangelo: The Man and the Myth” is organized by Dottoressa Pina Ragionieri, guest curator and director of the Casa Buonarroti, Florence, Italy, in association with Gary Radke, scholarly advisor and professor of fine arts in SU’s College of Arts and Sciences, and Domenic Iacono, director of the SUArt Galleries and the Louise and Bernard Palitz Gallery at SU’s Joseph I. Lubin House in New York City. Following its Syracuse showing, the exhibition opens Nov. 4 at the Palitz Gallery, where it will be on display through Jan. 4, 2009.

Sculptor of the “David” in Florence and painter of the Sistine Chapel ceiling and fresco of “The Last Judgment” at the Vatican, Michelangelo was a renowned poet, patriot, architect, anatomist, military engineer and entrepreneur—a true Renaissance man.

The exhibition explores multiple facets of Michelangelo’s life, art and reputation with more than 25 works by the master and artists contemporary to him, including 14 original works by Michelangelo chosen to illustrate the broad range of his interests and creative activities. Figural studies associated with the Sistine Chapel and other paintings appear alongside original architectural plans and sketches of ancient Roman monuments. Printed books complement autograph examples of the artist’s poetry. Eight of the Michelangelo works in the exhibition—five drawings, including “Study for a Gate” and “Christ in Limbo,” and three manuscript pages—have never been seen in this country.

By most accounts, there are fewer than a dozen drawings and no paintings or sculpture by Michelangelo in current American art collections. The drawings in the exhibition temporarily more than double the number of Michelangelo works in the United States, presenting a unique opportunity for audiences who have never seen his original work. Additional works by artists Leone Leoni, Marcello Venusti, Giorgio Ghisi and others illustrate the homage paid to the master during his lifetime.

Pope Pius IV asked Michelangelo to design a new city gate to be named the Porta Pia, after the Pope. The exhibition includes a life‐size replica of the historic archway, built and installed in the gallery to complement the artist’s drawing for a city gateway that will be on display. Michelangelo was 86 when he drew the gateway, yet his vigor hardly seems diminished. The drawing in the exhibition may be one of many designs Michelangelo made for the project. Sources claim that after the Pope responded favorably to Michelangelo’s designs for the Porta Pia, he took up the idea of restoring other gates of the city. The drawing in the exhibition includes two different ideas; Michelangelo first considers a round arched pediment before turning to a triangular one.

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