Thursday, January 24, 2008


Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (March 6, 1475 – February 18, 1564),
Crucifixion (c. 1530s)
Drawing in black chalk
368.000 mm x 268.000 mm
The British Museum, London

Michelangelo made this devotional image for his friend Vittoria Colonna (April, 1490 - February, 1547). They wrote sonnets for each other and were in regular contact until she died.

The widow of Francesco Ferrante D'Avalos, son of the marquis of Pescara , an aristocratic poet and religious reformer, she became Michelangelo`s confidante around 1537 when he was in his sixties.

She was the friend of and esteemed by Cardinals Reginald Pole and Contarini. Pietro Bembo, Luigi Alamanni and Baldassare Castiglione were among her literary friends.

Colonna wrote the following letter to Michelangelo to thank him:

"Unique master Michelangelo and my most particular friend, I have received your letter and seen the Crucifix which has certainly crucified itself in my memory more than any other picture that I have ever seen.

No image better made, more alive, or finished could be seen.

Certainly, I could never explain how subtly and marvellously it is made, and for this reason I am resolved that I don't wish it to be in the hands of anyone else …

I've looked at it closely using a lamp, a magnifying glass and a mirror: never did I see anything more finely executed."