Saturday, December 30, 2006


There's obviously no such thing as the single greatest drawing in the history of the world. It would be foolish to think about rating art that way. However, if there was such a drawing...

...87.42% of the world would probably agree with me that it's this one by Michelangelo. It's a preparatory drawing for his fresco of the Libyan Sibyl  on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.


 I can't think of any object with more grace or beauty with which to end 2006. The Libyan Sibyl foretold "the coming of the day when that which is hidden shall be revealed." She had the power of prophecy because she was half divine and half mortal: "An immortal nymph was my mother, my father an eater of corn." 

 I'm just a lowly corn eater myself but I've enjoyed sharing these lovely images with you in 2006 and I wish all of you the happiest of new years.


Unknown said...

I have been a lowly corn-eating lurker here for many months. I wanted to come out and say thank you for what you do. I enjoy your posts very much. Wishing you all good things in 2007!

David Apatoff said...

Thanks very much, Bettsi. It's good to hear from you. Have a great new year!

Anonymous said...


I am quite familiar with the drawing. Its one of the best I've seen. One I like just as much is the one included in the last few pages of the Joseph Clement Coll book, "Legacy in Line", by John Fleskes.

Thanks for all your time and best wishes for the New Year!

Anonymous said...

I'll go along with you on that. There's something about that drawing (not the fresco, though, oddly enough) that affects me quite as much, and in the same way as Vermeer's "View of Delft". It's....hopeful.
Thanks for a wonderful blog, best wishes for the new year, now I'm going back to my corn-dog.

David Apatoff said...

Thanks, Diego. I appreciate it.

Brian, I'll have to check out that Coll drawing.

Nickej, I think that "hopeful" is a good word for it. I love being part of a species that could do such a thing. I love that Michelangelo used every square inch of that page to learn. I love that it was a first step, on humble chalk and paper, for what was to be perhaps the most grand and glorious accomplishment by a painter in the history of western civilization. Yes, in addition to the innate beauty of the object, this drawing gives me hope that our corn eating species can sometimes be half divine.

chris miller said...

And... it's a very difficult drawing to copy .. with those dynamic volumes upon volumes upon volumes.
I saw a 16th C. copy in an Art Institute exhibit about 10 years ago -- and on its own it was a good piece -- but it still missed that extra "oomph" of the original.

(and I'm so glad I've found your blog-- you have lots of nice pictures and plenty of fun stories)

Joss Paddock said...

what could be more truthfully called Art for Art's sake than a study. The study gives the artist the freedom to explore their interest more purely than a finished piece and can thereby be purified from tarnished ends of being anything but an expression of love and shared beauty.