Jerry Saltz at New York Magazine:
The Metropolitan Museum’s “Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer” is a stupendous metaphysical-visual exhalation. Somewhere amid the High Renaissance master’s drawings, time and mediums piled up for me, and art’s house was set on fire. The show burns, from Michelangelo’s time, into the past — with his rediscoveries and reinterpretations of Classical Greek and Roman art. It also simultaneously convulses forward, into sensibilities then unknown — breaching the exaggerations of Mannerism and the cinematic Baroque, into the cauldrons of brooding Romanticism, part-by-part Impressionism even into the shadows of our own existentialism. The tightly constructed survey, organized by the Met’s Dr. Carmen C. Bambach in 14 chronological galleries, is an exhibition in turns exhausting and exhilarating.
It is esoteric in its relentless focus on drawing, and you really have to get up close to these works to wholly imbibe them — which will be difficult given crowds; also Michelangelo’s are not works on paper that we love or covet like those of Seurat, van Gogh, Goya, Hiroshige, Wang Hui, Bill Traylor, or Rembrandt; Michelangelo leaves us thunderstruck, his work almost alien.