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The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition showcasing the drawings of Renaissance master Michelangelo has proven to be the blockbuster show of the season. On Monday, the Met announced that more than 500,000 people had seen the show since it opened in November (it continues through February 12). And this morning, it even brought a typically stealth visitor up from the sewers in broad daylight.
Yes, pizza connoisseur and crime-fighting vigilante Michelangelo of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles dropped into the museum this morning to see the exceptional gathering of drawings by his namesake. During his visit, documented by the Met on Twitter, the nunchuck-toting turtle posed among marble busts of Michelangelo and sized up the show’s biggest work, an eight-foot-tall drawing of soldiers. Photos obtained by Hyperallergic also show him comparing his reptilian digits to the refined hands drawn by Michelangeo and gazing intently at Daniele da Volterra’s bronze portrait of his famous contemporary.
After seeing Divine Draftsman & Designer, Michelangelo seemingly seized the opportunity to take an #EmptyMet spin around the museum before the public entered. In addition to perennial favorites like the Temple of Dendur and Emmanuel Leutze’s “Washington Crossing the Delaware” (1851), the very large turtle spent a quiet moment with some of the Met’s Hudson River School paintings before vanishing.
The unusual visitor was in fact an envoy of the NYC & Company, the group that markets New York City as a travel destination. Asked which of the works Michelangelo saw during his visit was his favorite, NYC & Company’s senior vice president for global communications, Christopher Heywood, told Hyperallergic: “Michelangelo is quite the art enthusiast and had a difficult time deciding.” The teenaged turtle reportedly especially enjoyed the Temple of Dendur, “Washington Crossing the Delaware,” and Michelangelo’s marble sculpture “Young Archer” (ca 1490).
In May of last year, NYC & Company designated the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — all named for Italian Renaissance masters Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo, and Donatello by their adoptive father, the mutant rat savant Splinter — as the city’s official Family Ambassadors for the second year in a row. Michelangelo’s visit to the Met today begs the question: did his brother Leonardo catch “Salvator Mundi” before it hit the auction block?
Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman & Designer continues at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 Fifth Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan) through February 12.