Oct 29, 2018
Feb 11, 2009
Oct 29, 2018
Oct 30, 2018

Figure Studies for the Sistine Ceiling (verso)

Figure Studies for the Sistine Ceiling (verso)


Part of a set. See all set records

Michelangelo Buonarroti

(Italian, 1475–1564)

Red chalk heightened with traces of white

Support: Beige(2) laid paper, perimeter mounted to gray laid paper

Sheet: 23.4 x 33.5 cm (9 3/16 x 13 3/16 in.); Secondary Support: 24.4 x 34.4 cm (9 5/8 x 13 9/16 in.)

Gift in memory of Henry G. Dalton by his nephews George S. Kendrick and Harry D. Kendrick 1940.465.b



Universally considered one of the greatest artists of the Italian Renaissance, Michelangelo devoted four years to painting the vast ceiling fresco in the Sistine Chapel. This preparatory study portrays one of the 20 athletic male nudes, known as ignudi, who serve as supporting figures at each corner of the Old Testament scenes painted down the center of the ceiling. Michelangelo worked out the positioning of the ignudi in red chalk drawings before beginning to paint each section of wet plaster. The energy and monumentality of the figure in red chalk, whose body extends beyond the sheet, suggests the heroic athleticism of Michelangelo’s sculpture.

See also

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@clevelandart.org.

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.