Italy Today

Italian Renaissance Artist Michelangelo travels to Canada

The “Quest for a Genius” Exhibition in Toronto stresses the Canadian Heart for Italian Art

Italian Renaissance Artist Michelangelo travels to Canada

Claudia Astarita

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The Art Gallery of Ontario's upcoming special exhibition Michelangelo: Quest for Genius will give Toronto more than 25 drawings by the Renaissance sculptor, painter, poet and architect Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti. The opening was just celebrated on October 18th 2014. It will remain on view until January 11th 2015.

Revealed through a selection of rare drawings, Michelangelo: Quest for Genius tells the story of Master and the frustrations of his creative process. The exhibition centres on a loan of 29 drawings from the Casa Buonarroti (Florence) whose collection is formed from Michelangelo's own.

These drawings reveal the private world of the artist - his ideas, emotions and struggles to create and highlighting his unrivalled achievements. Dating from before and after the completion of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, the works on display include preliminary drawings ?" both architectural and figural sketches ?" as well as highly finished presentation drawings.

Half the Michelangelos here are figurative, the rest are architectural drawings for fortifications, libraries, façades and entrances. These include four famous works: the truly astonishing Madonna and Child, from 1524, the double-sided Cleopatra (1532-1533), Man's Face, a red-chalk study from 1510 for The Flood fresco on the ceiling of the Vatican's Sistine Chapel, and Studies for the head of Leda, the last prepared in red pencil circa 1530 for a painting subsequently destroyed because of its sexual explicitness.

Organized thematically, the exhibition takes a critical look at the notion of the genius at work, locating the creative search at the axis of ambition, exploration, frustration, defiance and unrealized dreams. Using 3D computer animation and technology provided by Technology Partner LG Electronics, the Quest for a Genius brings to life several of Michelangelo's great unfinished designs.

Finally, this exhibition highlights once more how remarkably Italian art and culture are appreciated even outside the national borders.

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