A new exhibition opened at Rome’s Capitoline Museums Thursday, putting the great Italian Renaissance painters Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo face to face for the first time.
“Leonardo and Michelangelo: Masterpieces in graphics and Roman studies” exhibits 66 works from the two masters, focusing on both their drawings and Roman works.
Among the exhibition’s highlights are Michelangelo’s enigmatic “Cleopatra” and a selection of scientific sketches by Leonardo.
The exhibition is the result of a collaboration between the Ambrosian Library in Milan, which owns a large number of Leonardo drawings, and Florence’s Casa Buonarroti Foundation, where over 2,000 of Michelangelo’s drawings are stored.
Often considered as rivals, this exhibition shows that the painters actually admired each other.
“The two artists were often considered as rivals whereas in fact each regarded the work of the other with great respect,” said a statement from the exhibition organizers.
The exhibition also has an important scientific focus, say organisers, showing the passion of both artists for science and anatomy in High Renaissance painting.
Visitors to the Capitoline will however see clear differences between the Florentine masters in their depiction of architecture and of the human and divine figures, and in the relationship of their work to ancient art.
“Leonardo and Michelangelo: Masterpieces in graphics and Roman studies” runs until February 12. More information about the exhibition can be found online at www.museicapitolini.org.