The Dream (Il Sogno)
Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475 - 1564)
Black chalk on laid paper
Width: 27.8 cm; Height: 39.8 cm;
Graphite, lower centre & recto, 126.
Purple crayon, lower centre & recto, Der Traum
Graphite, upper left corner & recto, 94
Acquisition (source, method, date)
HM Government (Acceptance in Lieu); allocation; 1978
About this work
Michelangelo’s highly complex allegory shows an idealised nude youth surrounded by worldly vices. A winged being approaches with a trumpet as if to awaken him to a new life. This exceptionally refined work epitomises the notion of a master drawing: executed with great skill by an artist whom contemporaries dubbed ‘The Divine’, it was produced as an independent work. Michelangelo may have presented it to his beloved friend, the beautiful young Roman nobleman Tommaso de’ Cavalieri. It immediately became famous among collectors and artists. Numerous copies were made and, unusually for a drawing, it acquired a title when the Renaissance biographer Giorgio Vasari named it il Sogno in 1568.
(Permanent collection label)
This work is not on display
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Copyright: © Accepted by HM Government in lieu of capital transfer tax and presented to the Samuel Courtauld Trust for The Courtauld Gallery in 1981.