Michelangelo's First Training The First Drawings by Michelangelo Lorenzo the Magnificent's Garden The Battle of Centaurs by Michelangelo Bacchus Michelangelo from Florence to Rome Saint Peter's Pietà

back: Artists


Art itineraries  >  Artists

During Michelangelo 's first stay in Rome, Cardinal Riario asked him a statue of Bacchus. However, once finished, the statue ended up in the garden of Jacopo Galli, a banker and benefactor of the artist, who, according to a trend among the most influential families of Rome, collected statues and antique pieces in order to form a rich "antiquarium". A very precise idea of that impressive collection is offered to us through drawings from the 1500s, especially those by the Flemish artist Maarten van Heemskerk.

The 203 metres high (including the base) marble statue is currently housed at the National Museum of Bargello, in Florence.

At the beginning of July 1496, Michelangelo had already bought a Carrara marble block, and subsequently concluded the statue in one year's time.

The work not only reveals a mastery of the body's anatomy, technique, of composition values, harmony and classical balance, but also a surprising inventive capacity, since it was created from Michelangelo's own powerful imagination, without direct diversion. It shows a powerful imaginative freedom, supported nevertheless by a solid knowledge of the antique. The group depicts Bacchus, inebriated and unsteady, next to a Satyr boy who mischievously smiles and secretly eats the grapes. It represents the extraordinary result of the encounter of the twenty something sculptor with the majestic and omnipresent beauty of ancient Rome.

Michelangelo had already been able to get in contact with antique pieces in Florence, i.e. in the garden of San Marco and among the Medici's treasures, and in Pisa he had seen Camposanto's ancient sarcophagi. But in Rome the antique was offered before his eyes and study with variety and precision: so much so that Bacchus, when moving around the antique statuary, shows particular traces of the Hellenistic sculpture.

Made in order to be seen from both angles, the statuary group articulates a complex spatial connection between the God of Wine and his little companion, who gets furtively closer from behind.

While Bacchus swaggers with his corpulent soft body angled and stretched forward, almost chasing the wine chalice he raises to his wide eyes, the little satyr twists boldly rotating the top half of his body almost ninety degrees in relation to his caprine legs.

The dynamic effect evolves from this: the sense of oscillation, instability, suggesting the walk and the moves typical of a drunken person.

The carving of the surface varies in each part of the statue, with a coarse grain effect for the satyr, and a polished effect for the skin of the God, where a certain effeminate weakness can be noticed, a composition of male and female traces.

A. Cocchi

Trad. A. Sturmer





E. Bernini, R. Rota Figura 1 Editori Laterza, Bari 2002
G. Cricco, F. Di teodoro Itinerario nell'arte. Vol 2, 2000
G.C. Argan, B. Contardi in: Michelangelo Dossier Art n. 9 Giunti, Firenze
C. Alchidini Luchinat, E. Capretti, K. Weil-Garris Brandt Michelangelo. Gli anni giovanili. Dossier Art n. 150 Giunti, Firenze


Tags:Michelangelo, sculpture, Bacchus, Renaissance, Alessandra Cocchi, A. Sturmer, .


Per saperne di più sulla città di: Firenze


Per informazioni su questi dipinti clicca qui.


Michelangelo Buonarroti. Bacchus. 1497. Marble. Florence, Museum of Bargello


Questo sito utilizza i cookie. Accedendo a questo sito, accetti il fatto che potremmo memorizzare e accedere ai cookie sul tuo dispositivo. Clicca qui per maggiori informazioni. OK