Michelangelo: Cleopatra, 1534


Sketch for Cleopatra, black chalk.  Michelangelo, 1475-1564, Italian 


In Act II, Scene II of William Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, Enobarbus  Mecaenas and Agrippa are talking about Anthony and Cleopatra.

Caesar, Antony and Lepidus have left the room.

Mecaenas says:

Now Anthony must leave her utterly.

Enobarbus responds: 

Never, he will not: 

Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale

Her infinite variety; other women cloy

The appetites they feed; but she makes hungry

Where most she satisfies; for vilest things

Become themselves in her, that the holy priests

Bless her when she is riggish.**



Cleopatra, 1534, in bust length, black chalk.  Michelangelo, 1475-1564, Italian.


Loaned by the Casa Buonarroti, Florence to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY,  in 2017 on the occasion of an exhibition until February 12, 2018 of Michelangelo’s drawings.


** riggish = lascivious, lecherous, libidinous, licentious, louche, lubricious, lustful