April 23–June 30, 2013


Sacred and Profane, Master Drawings from the Casa Buonarroti

“Michelangelo: Sacred and Profane, Master Drawings from the Casa Buonarroti” features a rich and varied selection of 26 works from the master’s collection, preserved in the artist's family home, the Casa Buonarroti, in Florence. The exhibition includes many of Michelangelo’s (1475–1564) great renowned drawings, which illustrate how he alternated between interpretations of the divine and the worldly, or profane, throughout his career. 

His powers to evoke the sacred are fully displayed in his large drawing of the Virgin and Child—one of his most admired images. A worldlier image is the imaginary portrait of Cleopatra, a black chalk presentation drawing he made as a gift for his friend Tommaso de' Cavalieri that is considered one of the Renaissance genius’s most poetic conceptions. The works selected for “Michelangelo: Sacred and Profane” will be divided between figure and architectural studies and include several major sheets never previously exhibited in the US. 


Above: Michelangelo, Cleopatra (detail), no date. Black chalk. Florence, Casa Buonarroti, inv. 2 F.

  • Lee Gallery (Gallery 154)


Organized by the Muscarelle Museum of Art at The College of William & Mary in Virginia in partnership with Fondazione Casa Buonarroti and Associazione Culturale Metamorfosi.

Sponsored by Bank of America.

Presented under the auspices of the President of the Italian Republic’s “2013, Year of Italian Culture in the United States,” designed to enhance the close bonds between Italy and the United States.