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'Michelangelo: The Man and the Myth' opens Aug. 12 at SUArt Galleries; exhibition runs through Oct. 19 and includes works never before seen in the United States

July 27, 2008

Jaime Winne Alvarez

Jaime Winne Alvarez

Beginning Aug. 12, an exhibition of original drawings and writings by Renaissance master Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), some never before seen in the United States, opens at the SUArt Galleries located in the Shaffer Art Building at Syracuse University. "Michelangelo: The Man and the Myth" runs through Oct. 19 and is free and open to the public. Complete information is available by visiting the official exhibition website at

"Michelangelo: The Man and the Myth" is organized by Dottoressa Pina Ragionieri, guest curator and director of the Casa Buonarroti, Florence, Italy, in association with Gary Radke, scholarly advisor and professor of fine arts in SU's College of Arts and Sciences, and Domenic Iacono, director of the SUArt Galleries and the Louise and Bernard Palitz Gallery at SU's Joseph I. Lubin House in New York City. Following its Syracuse showing, the exhibition opens Nov. 4 at the Palitz Gallery, where it will be on display through Jan. 4, 2009.

Sculptor of the "David" in Florence and painter of the Sistine Chapel ceiling and fresco of "The Last Judgment" at the Vatican, Michelangelo was a renowned poet, patriot, architect, anatomist, military engineer and entrepreneur-a true Renaissance man.

The exhibition explores multiple facets of Michelangelo's life, art and reputation with more than 25 works by the master and artists contemporary to him, including 14 original works by Michelangelo chosen to illustrate the broad range of his interests and creative activities. Figural studies associated with the Sistine Chapel and other paintings appear alongside original architectural plans and sketches of ancient Roman monuments. Printed books complement autograph examples of the artist's poetry. Eight of the Michelangelo works in the exhibition-five drawings, including "Study for a Gate" and "Christ in Limbo," and three manuscript pages-have never been seen in this country.

By most accounts, there are fewer than a dozen drawings and no paintings or sculpture by Michelangelo in current American art collections. The drawings in the exhibition temporarily more than double the number of Michelangelo works in the United States, presenting a unique opportunity for audiences who have never seen his original work. Additional works by artists Leone Leoni, Marcello Venusti, Giorgio Ghisi and others illustrate the homage paid to the master during his lifetime.

Pope Pius IV asked Michelangelo to design a new city gate to be named the Porta Pia, after the Pope. The exhibition includes a life-size replica of the historic archway, built and installed in the gallery to complement the artist's drawing for a city gateway that will be on display. Michelangelo was 86 when he drew the gateway, yet his vigor hardly seems diminished. The drawing in the exhibition may be one of many designs Michelangelo made for the project. Sources claim that after the Pope responded favorably to Michelangelo's designs for the Porta Pia, he took up the idea of restoring other gates of the city. The drawing in the exhibition includes two different ideas; Michelangelo first considers a round arched pediment before turning to a triangular one.

A comprehensive and fully illustrated exhibition catalogue, written and edited by Ragionieri, will be published by the SUArt Galleries and distributed by the University of Pennsylvania Press. The catalogue-featuring essays by Iacono, Ragionieri and colleagues in Italy-will be available for purchase through the gallery store, the SU Bookstore and select bookstores nationwide. Complete information and a list of bookstores will be available on the exhibition website. For information on the catalogue, visit

Principal support for the exhibition has been provided by SU alumna Louise Beringer Palitz and her husband, Bernard G. Palitz. Significant funding has also been provided by TIAA-CREF, Susan and Washburn S. Oberwager '68, United Technologies Corp. and its business unit the Carrier Corp., the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation and the Italian Cultural Institute.

Special events, lectures and tours
The SUArt Galleries will host an opening night reception from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 12. The reception is free and open to the public; however, R.S.V.P.s are required; contact the gallery at (315) 443-4097. The gallery will also host a public lecture and guided tours of the exhibition on Thursday, Aug. 21, as part of Syracuse's citywide art open Third Thursday (Th3). Radke will present the lecture at 5 p.m. in Shemin Auditorium, located in the Shaffer Art Building. Tours will begin in the gallery at 6 p.m. Patrons are welcome to view the exhibition until the gallery closes at 8 p.m.

In addition, a series of lectures, concerts and special events, and a symposium, "Rethinking Michelangelo," will complement the Syracuse showing of the exhibition. Celebrated musicians and distinguished scholars will explore the life, works and fame of the Renaissance genius. Featured guests include award-winning soprano Anita Johnson, the Schola Cantorum of Syracuse and William Edward Wallace, the Barbara Murphy Bryant Distinguished Professor of Art History at Washington University, among others. For information on the symposium and a complete calendar of events, visit the exhibition website and click on "Rethinking Michelangelo" and "Calendar."

The gallery will offer one guided tour per day that is open to the public and free of charge. Trained docents will also be available to give guided tours of the exhibition. Advance booking for docent- guided tours is required, and some fees apply. Tour lengths vary depending on interest and specialization but generally last no longer than 45 minutes. Materials for self-guided tours, including MP3s with didactic information related to the exhibition, are available for download by clicking "Education" on the exhibition website. iPods and MP3 players will be permitted in the gallery to access and listen to this data.

All group visits must be scheduled in advance with the SUArt Galleries. Forms are available by clicking on "Tours and Groups" on the exhibition website. A gallery staff member will contact groups to discuss tour requests. All payments must be received at least two weeks in advance. Tour tickets are BOCES-aidable for school districts that subscribe to the Oswego BOCES Regional Arts- In-Education CoSer. See the exhibition website for further details.

Visitor information
Gallery hours for "Michelangelo: The Man and the Myth" are Tuesdays through Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Thursdays from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. The gallery is closed on Mondays. Additional hours are available by appointment and can be arranged by contacting the gallery at 443-4097. The gallery is universally accessible.

Paid parking is available for weekday visitors in any SU pay lot. Free parking for weekend and evening visitors is available in the Q4 lot located on College Place. Patrons should notify the attendant that they are visiting the SUArt Galleries. Evening and weekend parking is on a space available basis and may be restricted during events held at the Carrier Dome.

Patrons attending "Michelangelo: The Man and the Myth" are encouraged to ride Centro's Connective Corridor Shuttle Bus (Centro Route # 543) to visit the SUArt Galleries. The shuttle stops at all marked Centro bus stops along the Connective Corridor and is free. The Connective Corridor Shuttle will begin service for the Fall 2008 semester on Thursday, Aug. 14, and will run every Thursday from 5-11:40 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 9:40 a.m.-11:40 p.m. For more information and to view the shuttle schedule, visit

The SUArt Galleries strives to provide the best possible environment for art appreciation and scholarly development. No photography will be allowed in exhibition spaces. For approved, press- ready images, visit the exhibition website and click on "Press."

The SUArt Galleries enhances the cultural environment of SU and the Syracuse area through meaningful educational experiences and encounters with the University's permanent collection and traveling exhibitions. It is the main campus venue for the visual arts and home for the University's extensive permanent collection, and hosts a variety of temporary and permanent exhibitions in its nearly 10,000 square feet of exhibition space. The SUArt Galleries and the Palitz Gallery are members of SU's Coalition of Museum and Art Centers (CMAC).

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