The J. Paul Getty Museum

Study of a Mourning Woman

Object Details

Title:

Study of a Mourning Woman

Artist/Maker:

Michelangelo Buonarroti (Italian, 1475 - 1564)

Culture:

Italian

Place:

Italy (Place Created)

Date:

about 1500–1505

Medium:

Pen and brown ink, heightened with white lead opaque watercolor

Object Number:

2017.78

Dimensions:

26 × 16.5 cm (10 1/4 × 6 1/2 in.)

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Object Description

This powerful study of a mourning woman encapsulates Michelangelo’s extraordinary talent for monumental figural conceptions. It is characterized by dense crosshatching in pen and brown ink (a technique he learned from his time in the studio of Domenico Ghirlandaio), creating a solid form that is sculptural in effect; indeed the hatched penwork recalls Michelangelo’s use of the claw chisel to model the surfaces of his marble sculptures. Combining elements of both his early copies and his more dynamic original preparatory studies datable to the early 1500s, the Mourning Woman documents Michelangelo’s shift from his youthful studies to his iconic independent works, notably the Florentine Battle of Cascina mural project of c. 1504. The figure appears to be dressed in a peplum, a full-length robe worn by women of antiquity as depicted in Renaissance painting. The pose and attitude of the woman is one that would typically have been found in a composition of the Deposition from the Cross or a Lamentation. No such project is known to have been undertaken by Michelangelo at this stage of his career yet early copies of this drawing indicate such a possibility. Michelangelo’s Mourning Woman was discovered in 1995 by Sotheby’s specialist Julien Stock within an album of otherwise nondescript drawings in the library of Castle Howard, Yorkshire, England. Its sale at auction in July 2001 was widely reported and as a result this drawing achieved international fame.

Provenance
Provenance
-

Jonathan Richardson the Elder, British, 1667 - 1745

-

probably Henry Howard, fourth earl of Carlisle, English, 1694 - 1758, by inheritance within Howard family.

1984-2011

Trustees of Baron Howard of Henderskelfe George Anthony Geoffrey Howard, British, 1920 - 1984 [sold, "The Property of the Trustees of the Will of Lord Howard," Sotheby's, London, July 11, 2001, lot 81, to Jean-Luc Baroni]

2011

Jean-Luc Baroni, Ltd., sold to private collector.

2017

Private Collection, St. Peter Port, Guernsey, sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 2017.

Exhibitions
Exhibitions
Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer (November 6, 2017 to February 12, 2018)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), November 6, 2017 to February 12, 2018
Michelangelo to Degas: Major New Acquisitions (January 17 to April 22, 2018)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), January 17 to April 22, 2018
Spectacular Mysteries: Renaissance Drawings Revealed (December 11, 2018 to April 28, 2019)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), December 11, 2018 to April 28, 2019
Bibliography
Bibliography

Joannides, Paul. "Salviati e Michelangelo." In Francesco Salviati (1510 - 1563) o la Bella Maniera, exh. cat. Catherine Monbeig Goguel, ed. (Paris: Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 1998), p. 54, p. 55, n.4.

Stock, Julien. "Michelangelo." Fmr (2000): 20-24.

Ongpin, Stephen. Michelangelo: Study of a Mourning Woman; a Masterpiece Rediscovered (Florence: Baroni, 2001).

Bower, Peter. "Examining Western Papers: A Workshop with Peter Bower." In Looking at Paper: Evidence and Interpretation; Symposium Proceedings, Toronto 1999. John Slavin et al., eds. (Ottawa: Canadian Conservation Institute, 2001), 205-242, fig. 1.

Baskcomb, Camilla, Peter Bower, and Julien Stock. "Michelangelo's Mourning Woman: The Rediscovery and Investigation of a Forgotten Drawing." Paper Conservator 25 (2001): 151-165.

Bindman, Catherine. "The Lady is a Michelangelo." Art on Paper 5 (2001), 22-23.

Bagnoli, Alessandro. "Il piacere del colorire": Artistic Itinerary of Alessandro Casolani, 1552/53-1607, exh. cat. (Florence: Centro Di: 2002), p. 8.

Joannides, Paul. Raphael and His Age: Drawings from the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Lille, exh. cat. (Paris: Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 2002), p. 62.

Joannides, Paul. "Salviati and Michelangelo." In Reactions to the Master: Michelangelo's Effect on Art and Artists in the Sixteenth Century. Francis Ames-Lewis and Paul Joannides, eds. (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003), p. 79.

Turner, Nicholas. "Breve storia del collezionismo di Old Master Drawings in Inghilterra e negli Stati Uniti." In Disegno e Disegni: per un rilevamento delle collezioni dei disegni italiani.  Anna Forlani Tempesti and Simonetta Prosperi Valenti Rodino, eds. (Florence: Olschki, 2003), p. 140, fig. 3.

Joannides, Paul. Michel-ange, Élèves et Copistes (Paris: Réunion des Musées nationaux, 2003), pp. 246-247.

Joannides, Paul. Michelangelo, exh. cat. (Milan: 5 Continents, 2003), p. 8.

Prat, Louis-Antoine. “Trente ans et des poussières: une cavalière du marché du dessin.” Revue de l’art 143, no. 1 (2004), p. 94, fig. 8.

Chapman, Hugo. Michelangelo Drawings: Closer to the Master, exh. cat. (London: British Museum Press, 2005), p. 23.

Echinger-Maurach, Claudia. "'Stravaganti e bellissimi': Zu Stil Und Technik Einiger Architekturzeichnungen in Florenz Und Rom." Römisches Jahrbuch Der Bibliotheca Hertziana 37 (2008), pp. 113-114, pl. 25.

Hall, James. Michelangelo and the Reinvention of the Human Body (London: Pimlico, 2006), pp. 24-25, pl. 3.

Zöllner, Frank, Christof  Thoenes,and Frank Popper. Michelangelo, 1475-1564: Complete Works (Cologne: Taschen, 2007), p. 752.

Schumacher, Andreas. Michelangelos teste divine: Idealbildnisse als Exempla der Zeichenkunst (Münster: Rhema, 2007), p. 39, n.1, pp. 47, 752, fig. 30.

Gnann, Achim. Michelangelo: The Drawings of a Genius, exh. cat. (Vienna:  Albertina, 2010), pp. 42-44, no. 5.

Bambach, Carmen. "Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer." In Carmen Bambach et al. Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer, exh. cat. (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2017), pp. 53-55, 292, no. 26, pl. 26.