Michelangelo Buonarroti called Michelangelo (copy by) - inv. 3502

Titolo: 
Cleopatra
Numero di Inventario: 
3502
Tipologia: 
paintings
Collezione: 

Painting

Classe iconografica: 
History and Literature
Parole chiave soggetto: 
Cleopatra
Motivo attribuzione: 
bibliography
Autore, ambito, luogo di produzione: 
Copy by Michelangelo Buonarroti
Specifiche attribuzione: 
copy after
Periodo: 
1550
1575
Datazione specifica: 
1550-1600
Pubblicazione: 
Si
Libri correlati: 
Materia e Tecnica: 
oil on wood
Data di Ingresso: 
1973
Acquisizione: 
Margherita Visconti Venosta
Tipo di acquisizione: 
donation
Tipo di collocazione: 
on display
Collocazione: 
Visconti Venosta Room

This panel is an oil copy after a famous painting, today in Casa Buonarroti in Florence, donated by Michelangelo to Tommaso de' Cavalieri, the young patrician Roman he had loved and praised in various poems. The two had met in Rome in 1532, and their friendship lasted all the artist’s life, to the extent that, according to his biographer Ascanio Condivi, Tommaso was even present at Michelangelo’s death in 1564.
Michelangelo’s graphic work was immediately successful and was collected even before his death. In fact, the grand duke Cosimo I de' Medici, had to insist strongly with de' Cavalieri before he was unwillingly ceded the Cleopatra by its owner, and this was probably the first Michelangelo drawing to enter the Medici collections in 1562. The great number of copies of drawings by Buonarroti confirms the high esteem they were held in.
The Poldi Pezzoli panel is quite faithful to the original in the details: the complex hairstyle is followed even in the curls, as are the snake’s coils and the plait falling down her shoulders. However, the drawing of the copy is rather more rigid compared to the original, detracting from the figure’s grace that characterised Michelangelo’s work. The more elongated facial features, half-open mouth and languid gaze emphasise the pathos of the figure, following Mannerist poetics that would date the work to the second half, if not the end, of the 16th century.