- Museum number
Christ driving the money-changers from the temple. After 1550
Verso: Sketches for the same composition; figures with an arm raised
- Production date
Height: 137 millimetres
Width: 165 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Both W77 recto and verso contain studies in black chalk for the Gospel accounts of `Christ driving the money exchangers from the temple` (Matthew xxi. 12-13; John ii. 14-16), the second in a sequence of three sheets in the BM illustrating Michelangelo`s conception of this subject in preparation for the painting attributed to his follower Marcello Venusti in the National Gallery, London (1194; no. 100 in the 2005 exhibition).
Unfortunately, the legibility of W77 recto is impaired by the paper having been much rubbed. Although drawn with less attention to detail than W76 recto, with thick (rather than thickened) strokes, W77 recto would seem to have followed the former since the figure composition is closer to the final version seen on W78 recto. The figures are block-like as in W76 recto but with the added characteristic that the ensemble of figures also takes on a block form, with none of the radiating compositional lines of W76 and W78 rectos. The space above the figures is articulated by lightly drawn lines suggesting the enveloping temple architecture Michelangelo envisaged above the group: two thick pillars or columns with capitals are schematically indicated; from them rises a semi-circular vault framing Christ; in the more detailed architectural scheme on W76 verso, two arcades are seen.
Drawn on W77v - with the sheet turned ninety degrees in relation the recto - are four small studies for the figure of Christ, drawn after Michelangelo had taken the decision to orientate the figure to the right (see W76). In the two centre studies Christ is seen in dynamic contrapposto as in the final solution seen on W78r; in the two studies below, Christ is in almost complete profile, a solution seen in reverse on W76v but then discarded. Above these studies is what was perhaps a fifth, now indecipherable.
Lit.: J. Wilde, `Italian Drawings in the BM, Michelangelo and his Studio', London, 1953, no. 77, pp. 117-18; K.T. Parker, `Catalogue of the Collection of the Drawings in the Ashmolean Museum`, Oxford, 1956, II, under no. 328 (= Corpus 374), pp. 167-8; L. Dussler, `Die Zeichnungen des Michelangelo`, Berlin, 1959, no. 165, pp. 105-6; C. de Tolnay, `Michelangelo V`, Princeton, 1960, pp. 77-8, and, no. 232 (v), no. 233 (r), p. 211; F. Hartt, `The Drawings of Michelangelo`, London, 1971, no. 445 (r), no. 444 (v); J.A. Gere and N. Turner, in exhib. cat., London, BM, 'Drawings by Michelangelo', 1975, no.169; C. de Tolnay, `Corpus dei disegni di Michelangelo`, Novara, 1978, III, no. 386; J.A. Gere and N. Turner, in exhib. cat., New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, 'Drawings by Michelangelo from the BM', 1979, under no. 23 (= W 78), p. 103; A. Perrig, 'Michelangelo's drawings: the science of attribution', New Haven and London, 1991, pp. 103, 105-8, (as Daniele da Volterra); H. Chapman, exh. cat., BM, London, `Michelangelo Drawings: Closer to the Master`, 2005, no. 98, pp. 266-8.
This drawing was issued as a coloured facsimile by the British Museum in 'Reproductions of Drawings by Old Masters in the British Museum', Part I, Published by the Trustees, in 1888 where it was number XIII(a) and described there as 'Michelangelo Buonarroti, Christ Driving Out the Money-Changers from the Temple.'
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1964 BM, Michelangelo, no.77
1964 BM, Michelangelo, no.46
1975 BM, Drawings by Michelangelo, no.169
2005/6 Oct-Jan, Haarlem, Teylers Museum, 'Michelangelo Drawings: Closer to the Master'
2006 Mar-Jun, BM, 'Michelangelo Drawings: Closer to the Master'
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number