Almost 600 drawings by the great Michelangelo have survived to the present day but, given the fact that he had more than a 75-years career in which he was constantly producing artworks, that number should have been much higher.
The only reason why we don’t have more pieces of art from the Italian master is because he was… destroying them.
As it turns out, Michelangelo was sending letters back to his studio in Florence ordering the majority of his paintings to be burned. This was revealed in the 1568 edition of the Lives of the Artists by Giorgio Vasari (Get it from Amazon), written four years after his death. The author even speculates the reason of this weird habit but, of course, we can’t be 100% sure as Michelangelo himself left us with no explanation: (the article continues after the ad)
The motivation Chapman believes Michelangelo had in burning his drawings, was the fact that the great artist wanted people to look at him as a creative genius with all his works perfectly coming out of his head with little effort. By destroying the “behind-the-scenes” efforts that had gotten into the creation of his works, people looked at Michelangelo as an artist that created pure perfection with as little practice as possible.
Another explanation we also get from Chapman is that Michelangelo wanted to prevent other artists from seeing his artistic process so they didn’t steal his ideas and techniques. “Keeping things away from other artists is key to his make-up” Chapman explains.
Whatever the case, here are some of his drawings that survived:
If you like what you read, then you will definitely love this one: 7 Secrets Hidden Within Masterpieces
Main Article Photo: Prezi, Ago.net, PngPix
Photoshop: I’m A Useless Info Junkie
Sources: The drawings that Michelangelo did not want you to see | Michelangelo’s Drawings Burned