The Portland Vase, £5.00
Height: 26.400 cm
Width: 18.800 cm
Prints and Drawings
Michelangelo, Studies for a double wall tomb and Studies for a double tomb, black chalk drawings
Michelangelo (1475-1564) made these dynamic designs for an unrealised double tomb for Lorenzo de'Medici and his brother Giuliano. Lorenzo had been ruler of Florence until his death in 1492, whereas Giuliano was killed during the Pazzi Conspiracy of 1478.
The tomb was to be built in the Medici chapel in Florence. Michelangelo rejected the idea of a free-standing monument in favour of wall tombs. He designed the structure to be rich with sculpture. He even ingeniously tucked a River God (symbol of the Medici's territory) below the left-hand tomb.
Studies for a double wall tomb provides one of the best examples of how Michelangelo's creativity was stimulated by the actual process of drawing. The rapid evolution of his thinking is demonstrated most clearly by the left-hand niche, which began as a small rectangle with a triangular pediment. However the verso of the sheet - as well as faint markings on the recto - shows the niche as twice as high with a segmental pediment.
H. Chapman, Michelangelo drawings: closer (London, British Museum Press, 2005)