This drawing is “one of Michelangelo’s most celebrated works in the British Museum,” in the words of curator Hugo Chapman. But did Michelangelo draw it?

To answer this question it helps to consider, is the drawing:

  • similar to other works by Michelangelo?
  • something that plausibly could have been made by someone else?

This figure drawing is different from other surviving drawings by Michelangelo, although it is clearly related to one of his lost masterpieces. But because of the unique history of that lost work, many copies were made by artists in the 16th century. The British Museum drawing is likely one of those copies.

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