Fantasy and Invention (2013)

Vasari: Lorenzo de' Medici

Rosso Fiorentino and Sixteenth-Century Florentine Drawing

(The Morgan Library, New York, until 3 February 2013)

Current service has been temporarily interrupted by a business trip to New York, but even there I did my best to keep up the ‘idle’ spirit. On the afternoon of my arrival, I hotfooted it down Madison Avenue to the Morgan, hoping to keep the jetlag at bay by looking at some wonderful drawings. This January’s crop of exhibitions in New York aren’t as focused on the Old Masters as they were last year, and so the show at the Morgan was the one that bore the brunt of my expectations. I was a little disappointed to find that it took up only one room and there was no catalogue; but, nevertheless, that one room contained some beautiful things, many of which I hadn’t seen before. The purpose of the exhibition was to trace the development of Florentine drawing as it grew out of the Renaissance tradition into the full, eccentric bloom of Mannerism.

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