Colnaghi Foundation Journal 02 - Page 154

MICHELANGELO / Two drawings
Fig. 4 / Unidentified
draughtsman (Tiberio
Calcagni?) after
Michelangelo, Study of a
Left Arm (verso of fig. 3),
ca. 1548-1560, Cambridge,
MA, The Fogg Museum
of Art.
Fig. 5 / Michelangelo,
Studies of a Left Arm, the
Drum of Saint Peter’s,
and Other Architectural
Sketches, (verso of fig. 1),
ca. 1548-1560, Oxford, The
Ashmolean Museum.
moreover, a figural composition that he subsequently reworked. This previously unknown drawing (fig. 6), whose
owner kindly allowed me to examine and reproduce
it, is made on paper bearing a watermark of a Fleur
de Lys in a double circle, reasonably close to, but
not identical with, Briquet 7125 (Vicenza 1577). It
represents Christ on the Cross Between Mary and Saint
John and is the same size as, and was obviously copied
from, a famous drawing in the Royal Collection, one
of those painful spiritual exercises that Michelangelo
undertook towards the end of his life (fig. 7).5 The
copy makes it clear that the Saviour’s form on the
Windsor Christ on the Cross was originally like that in
the new drawing, but that it was then erased and new
possibilities superimposed, never finally to be resolved.
This copy is similar to that in the Fogg in showing
the earlier state of a drawing that Michelangelo later
decided to rework.
MICHELANGELO / Two drawings
The new drawing bears two scales, not found on the
Windsor original, presumably geared to a projected
enlargement of the composition. One, comprising two
short horizontals about 5 cm apart, is at the left edge,
level with the Virgin’s knee; the other, on the left side
of the Cross’s upright, consists of two small crosses, in
which the horizontal is favoured, about 4.5 cm apart.
Between them is a faint inscription which can be read
either as 16 or as 1b. A simple number has no apparent
sense in this context, but if we read 1b or 1 braccia,
the size of the enlargement would be enormous. It is
more probable that 1b should be interpreted rather
as 1 balmo, a phonetic spelling of palmo found also on
a drawing of ca. 1560 by Michelangelo in Haarlem.6
Perhaps the copyist planned to execute an altarpiece to
this design: if so, it might lend credence to a suggestion
made by Alessandro Nova with reference to another
Crucifixion drawing by Michelangelo, that he was
Fig. 6 / Unidentified
draughtsman after
Michelangelo, Christ on
the Cross Between the
Virgin and Saint John, ca.
1555-1560, black chalk,
37.9 x 22 cm, Private


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