18 February - 16 May 2010


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.

Michelangelo: The Dream (detail), The Courtauld Gallery Michelangelo: Bacchanal. Royal Collection. Copyright: 2010, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Italian School: Study of a Torso, The Courtauld Gallery


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 included 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 shed light on the meaning of Michelangelo’s enigmatic masterpiece.