Although Michelangelo (1475–1564) defined himself as a sculptor, this concisely annotated exhibition of his drawings also showcases some printed editions of his many poems, including an epitaph for a 15-year-old boy: “Only this stone delights in possessing him/While the rest of the world all now weeps.” Also on view is Michelangelo’s hand-scrawled notice admonishing his foreman that unsolicited assistants hanging around the workshop “will not be paid for the day’s work.” Most compelling, though, among the portraits of the master by other artists and six of Michelangelo’s own architectural plans, are the half-dozen of his figure drawings. Christ in Limbo portrays Jesus in red pencil, his body twisting dramatically as he strides among faintly drawn supplicants. On another of these fragile, centuries-old sheets, faded pencil sketches surround three brawny nudes in ink whose supple muscles heave a tremendous, unseen weight. Study for the Head of Leda (1529-30), probably done of a male assistant, presents handsome beauty in surpassingly delicate pencil strokes. Records from 1699 note that Michelangelo’s subsequent painting of Leda and her swan lover was executed “in a manner so vivid and lascivious with passionate love that M. des Noyers, a minister of state under Louis XIII, had it burned.”

Wednesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m. Starts: Nov. 5. Continues through Jan. 4, 2008