Body and Soul: Italian Renaissance Sculpture from Donatello to Michelangelo


Castello Sforzesco
Piazza Castello


21 Jul 2021 - 24 Oct 2021




Editors’ Pick

Body and Soul: Italian Renaissance Sculpture from Donatello to Michelangelo

The exhibition, organised in collaboration with the Louvre Museum, seeks to bring to light the main themes and ideas developed in Italy during the second half of the Quattrocento.

In the first two decades of the 16th century, these elements would lead to a defining moment in the history of Renaissance sculpture, with the arrival on the art scene of one of the greatest creators of all time, Michelangelo. The exhibition will focus primarily on the art of sculpting, but will also explore a number of works from other fields (painting, printmaking, and drawing).

Sculptors were drawn to the interpretation of human beings; both in outward appearance and inner state. The portrayal of human figures in their range of movements took highly innovative forms at the time. These explorations of the expression and emotions of the human figure were at the heart of the approaches of the leading sculptors of the time, from Donatello to Michelangelo.

The exhibition discusses three major themes: “Fury and Grace” firstly reveals the interest for complex compositions and the intensification of bodily movements; next, “Affect and Persuasiveness” aims to highlight how emotional states were at the core of artistic practices, with the clear desire to have a powerful impact on viewers’ emotions; and lastly, “From Dionysos to Apollo” brings to light the inexhaustible contemplation of classical antiquity expressed in sculpture, developing the search for new harmony that transcended the naturalism of gestures and extreme emotions.

  • Above:

    Michelangelo Buonarroti, Cupid, ca. 1490. Part of the exhibition, on loan from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

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