(Italian, c. 1510-1561)
Pen and brown ink
Support: Beige(1) laid paper, laid down on cream(3) laid(?) paper
Sheet: 11.6 x 23.8 cm (4 9/16 x 9 3/8 in.); Secondary Support: 11.6 x 23.8 cm (4 9/16 x 9 3/8 in.)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Claude Cassirer 1964.383
Michelangelo was among the first artists in Europe to attend a human dissection and to adopt anatomical knowledge as a necessity for depicting the human figure. These drawings by Battista Franco reflect the increased—and slightly macabre—interest in the interior workings of the human body inspired in part by Michelangelo’s example. Here, the groupings of rib cages, though rendered accurately, are placed into decorative piles. The odd assembly vacillates between scientific study and a symbolic memento mori, or reminder of death.
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