Exhibition Archive

Michelangelo's Dream

18 February – 16 May 2010

Michelangelo: The Dream (detail), The Courtauld GalleryMichelangelo: Bacchanal. Royal Collection. Copyright: 2010, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth IIMichelangelo The Punishment of Tityus, c.1532. Royal Collection. Copyright: 2010, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

"... a sensational exhibition in more ways than one." The Guardian

"This show works like a trumpet blast, reawakening the viewer to [Michelangelo's] inspirational powers." The Times

"... one of the greatest ... shows you will ever see." The Observer

"A curatorial and scholarly triumph." Rating: **** The Daily Telegraph

"... far and away the most accomplished study of the subject yet." Evening Standard

"A breathtaking collection of drawings..." Rating: Outstanding The Independent

"These are drawings of the most arcane refinement, unearthly beautiful." The New York Times

"... an unforgettable exhibition." Oxford Times

Michelangelo’s masterpiece The Dream is one of the greatest of all Renaissance

drawings. This complex work shows a nude youth being roused by a winged spirit

from the vices that surround him.

The Dream was probably part of the celebrated group of drawings which Michelangelo made as gifts for Tommaso de' Cavalieri, a young Roman nobleman with whom he had fallen passionately in love. With loans from international collections, the exhibition unites The Dream for the first time with these extraordinary drawings.

Michelangelo’s Dream also includes a selection of previously unexhibited handwritten

poems which the artist composed for Cavalieri. Further closely related drawings by

Michelangelo as well as works by Albrecht Dürer and others will shed light on the meaning of Michelangelo’s enigmatic masterpiece.

This unique opportunity to see some of Michelangelo’s finest and most beautiful drawings promises to be one of the exhibition highlights of the year. More

A special event series accompanies this exhibition. More about the exhibition events

Watch three films about the exhibition

Listen to podcasts of Michelangelo's poems

Visit our Online Shop for special Michelangelo's Dream gifts and catalogue.

Exhibition Supporters:

Apax logoKlein Solicitors logo

The Friends of The Courtauld

Vermeer Associates Limited
The Samuel H. Kress Foundation
Tavolozza - Katrin Bellinger

The Doris Pacey Charitable Foundation
Mrs Elke von Brentano


Looking At Michelangelo

18 February – 16 May 2010

Michelangelo: Aneas and Cupid, The Courtauld GalleryMichelangelo: Christ on the Cross, The Courtauld GalleryItalian School: Study of a Torso, The Courtauld Gallery

This related display offers a chance to enjoy further works by Michelangelo from The Courtauld’s collection as well as drawings by artists directly influenced by the master.

Highlights of this rich group are three autograph drawings by Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), ranging from his early period in Florence to his very last years in Rome and covering both religious and pagan subjects. The display includes the powerful late Christ on the Cross, drawn in the final years of the artist’s life.

Michelangelo never had an organised workshop, preferring to work alone with just a few pupils and assistants.  Nevertheless, his work was immensely influential in his own lifetime. The display explores how contemporary artists such as Jacopo Tintoretto and Jacopo Pontormo responded to Michelangelo’s creations.

The display also includes a remarkable large composite print of Michelangelo’s Last Judgement. Composed of ten separate numbered sheets of paper, the print is reassembled and displayed here for the first time.