At the British Museum

Peter Campbell

Michelangelo’s red-chalk study from life for the Sistine Chapel Creation of Adam is one of ninety or so sheets to be seen at the British Museum until 25 June. This drawing triumphantly illustrates Vasari’s claim that God had ‘decided to send into the world an artist who could be skilled in each and every craft, whose work alone would teach us how to attain perfection in design by correct drawing and by the use of contour and light and shadows, so as to obtain relief in painting’. If perfection and correctness were the end of art, Michelangelo could indeed be said to have found a route to at least one version of it.

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[*] British Museum, 320 pp., £25, March, 0 7141 2648 9.