Michelangelo last decades exhibition at British Museum this spring

Embark on a transcendent journey through the final captivating chapters of Michelangelo’s illustrious life and legacy with the groundbreaking exhibition, “Michelangelo: the last decades,” set to grace the halls of the British Museum from 2 May to 28 July 2024. Delving deep into the intricate tapestry of the Renaissance master’s late career, this immersive showcase promises a revelatory exploration of how art and faith intertwined in the twilight years of an iconic artist.

At the heart of the exhibition lies the monumental Epifania (about 1550–53), a towering masterpiece that stands as a testament to Michelangelo’s enduring genius. Following meticulous conservation efforts that began in 2018, this over-two-metres-high artwork emerges from its slumber to embody the pinnacle of Renaissance craftsmanship, offering spectators a rare glimpse into the artist’s profound creative process.

A striking highlight of the exhibition is the reunion of Epifania with the painting derived from it by Michelangelo’s biographer, Ascanio Condivi, loaned from Casa Buonarroti, Florence. This poignant juxtaposition illuminates the symbiotic relationship between drawing and painting, showcasing how Michelangelo’s visionary compositions transcended generations and genres.

As visitors traverse the halls of the British Museum, they will witness the evolution of Michelangelo’s artistic prowess as he navigated the complexities of aging and adaptation in a rapidly changing world. Departing from the popular narrative of his youthful masterpieces like the David and the Sistine Chapel ceiling, the exhibition sheds light on the lesser-known yet equally captivating works that defined Michelangelo’s later years.

Through a diverse array of drawings, preparatory sketches, and personal correspondence, “Michelangelo: the last decades” invites audiences to delve into the enigmatic persona of the artist. From fiery letters to tender poems, Michelangelo’s inner world unfolds, revealing a multifaceted individual whose passion, intellect, and introspection shaped his artistry and relationships.

Sarah Vowles, Curator of Italian & French Prints & Drawings, reflects on the profound impact of Michelangelo’s later works, stating, “This exhibition follows him through the next three decades, exploring his evolving creative practices and the profound spiritual undertones that permeate his late works. It presents Michelangelo not just as an artist but as a complex individual woven into a rich tapestry of friendships and fervent beliefs.”

Immerse yourself in the legacy of one of history’s greatest artists at “Michelangelo: the last decades,” a transformative experience that offers a rare glimpse into the soulful musings and immortal creations of a true visionary. Witness the convergence of art, faith, and mortality as Michelangelo’s profound meditations echo through the ages, inviting contemplation and connection with the essence of human existence.

Join us at the Joseph Hotung Great Court Gallery at the British Museum from 2 May to 28 July 2024, and embark on a profound odyssey through the final chapters of Michelangelo’s illustrious life and enduring legacy.

Organise your visit at the British Museum website