Awakening Prisoner (Michelangelo)

Awakening Prisoner (Michelangelo)

Artist Michelangelo

Date ca. 1525

Movement High Renaissance

Medium Marble

Dimensions height 8’11″

Housed at San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome


A number of other figures would have graced the original tomb of Pope Julius II, including this one. Though its significance in the overall program is unknown, it does give us an idea into Michelangelo’s craft and style; after receiving marble from a quarry, Michelangelo believed to see figures within the uncut stone, and used his chisel to revive those figures to life; he does just that here – it appears as if the prisoner truly is attempting to break from the stone that had holds him captive – his body and head twist and pull away from the remaining, excess marble, and while his face is incomplete, it does in fact convey animation.