Michelangelo in architecture class

In 1516, Michelangelo succeeded in obtaining from Pope Leo X de’ Medici the commission to design a grandiose façade for the basilica of San Lorenzo in Florence, which was still without a covering from the time of its construction according to Filippo Brunelleschi’s design.
Thanks to his friendship with Giuliano da Sangallo, the most important Florentine architect in the late 15th and early 16th century and an interpreter of Lorenzo the Magnificent’s predilection for classical style, Michelangelo came into possession of a book of drawings from the most important monuments of ancient Rome and the Renaissance, made around 1514 in Giuliano’s circle – possibly by Bernardo della Volpaia, a specialist in the relief of monuments.
Michelangelo created his own notebook by folding large sheets of paper in half, and began to study the models by making copies in red chalk, rather than in pen as in the notebook he had borrowed. Michelangelo’s copies show little interest in the archaeological aspect (for example, he did not transcribe the indications of measurements or locations) and instead great attention to decorative elements, which he often reinterpreted in an original way.
In this selection, two famous sheets by Michelangelo are shown in comparison with some pages of Bernardo della Volpaia’s sketchbook, today kept at Sir John Soane’s Museum in London and called Codex Coner.