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Daniele da Volterra (Daniele Ricciarelli) (Italian, Volterra 1509–1566 Rome), Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475–1564), probably ca. 1544. Oil on wood, 34 3/4 x 25 1/4 in. (88.3 x 64.1 cm. Gift of Clarence Dillon, 1977. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1977.384.1© 2000–2016 The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This unfinished portrait of the Florentine sculptor, painter, and architect Michelangelo Buonarroti has most recently been attributed to his close follower Daniele da Volterra. An inventory taken at Daniele's death includes numerous portraits of Michelangelo in various media and this panel is almost certainly one of them. The artist has painted over another composition (visible in x-radiography, but also to the naked eye in certain lights) and has carefully drawn the full figure, including his sleeves and other areas not eventually painted. Only the head and left hand—natural areas of focus as they hold the keys to Michelangelo's achievements—are painted to any degree of completion. This painting became the basis for many copies, including some in which later artists attempted to imagine the completed torso.
This work is exhibited in the “Unfinished: Thoughts Left Invisible” exhibition, on view through September 4th, 2016. #MetBreuer