The mything man

Imagine my delight when I read about “a major Michelangelo exhibition” opening next week in Syracuse, New York, with works from Florence, an exhibit that will move to New York City later in the year.

Imagine my disappointment when I went online and learned that the “major” exhibit, entitled “Michelangelo: The Man and the Myth,” has only fourteen items by the Man himself.

Nor did my excitement grow when I read that eight of the works (five drawings and three manuscript pages) have never before been seen in the United States. According to the hype, “the exhibition will explore multiple facets of Michelangelo’s life, art and reputation.” Seems like a lot of myth to be covered by such a small number of figural studies associated with the Sistine Chapel as well as sketches of ancient Roman monuments.

There are apparently fewer than a dozen drawings and no paintings or sculpture by Michelangelo in current American art collections. As a result, the drawings in this exhibition “will, temporarily, more than double the number of Michelangelo works in the United States.” That’s still not enough to entreat me to make the 500-mile round trip to Syracuse or fly to New York.

To be sure, we’ve been very lucky. Sandy and I have visited The Vatican and seen The Sistine Chapel. We’ve lived in Florence where we were awed by David in L’Accademia, admired Michelangelo’s statuary in the Bargello, and toured Casa Buonarroti, home to many of the master’s works including the Madonna of the Stairs and the Battle of the Centaurs.

Still, fourteen works does not a major exhibit make. I can call up that many in my mind.

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