The Bathers, late 18th century
Unknown (British - late 18th century, after Michelangelo)
oil on canvas
40.9 x 66.8 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 42302)
This unusual painting is a copy, slightly more than half size, of another celebrated copy by Aristotile da Sangallo after Michelangelo’s design for the "Battle of Cascina". Painted in a monochrome technique like Sangallo’s sixteenth-century replica surviving at Holkham Hall in Norfolk, England, it is a rare and faithful record of the panel, likely painted in situ before the original to judge by its accuracy. It is still not possible to identify even the nationality of the artist who presumably wanted a record of Michelangelo’s image, iconic in the history of art for its emphasis on the male nude in movement.