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Michelangelo Buonarroti (Caprese 1475-Rome 1564)

A children’s bacchanal 1533

RCIN 912777

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Like the Fall of Phaeton alongside, this ‘presentation drawing’ was executed by Michelangelo as a gift for Tommaso de’ Cavalieri. The level of finish is extraordinary, even by Michelangelo’s standards, and the sheet is almost perfectly preserved. The children represent the lowest state of humanity, devoid of reason (also denoted by the drunken slumber of the only adult human) and acting almost in an animal manner, made explicit by the satyress suckling at lower left. No. 20