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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site

 

A battle-scene; two figures by Michelangelo, a pen and brown ink drawing


Michelangelo, A battle-scene


Width: 18.600 cm
Height: 18.300 cm

PD 1895-9-15-496


This sheet of paper, which bears sketches relating to two separate projects, reflects the complexity of Michelangelo's career after his return to Florence from Rome in 1501. He shifted between workshops in the city, his mind turning from one commission to another in rapid succession.

The battle scene is probably a preliminary idea for the background of the proposed Battle of Cascina fresco. This was designed for the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence but never actually executed. It was commissioned by Piero Soderini, who was sworn in as the lifetime head of the Florentine republic in 1502. Soderini also commissioned a work by Leonardo da Vinci for the same wall.

Michelangelo later turned the paper to draw two studies of a pensive figure on either side of the battle scene. These relate to an unfulfilled project to carve twelve Apostles for Florence cathedral, which were commissioned in 1503. The only one of the figures which Michelangelo actually began sculpting, the unfinished St Matthew, is very different in pose from the figure in the drawing. Michelangelo was not unusual in accepting but never completing artistic commissions.