Michelangelo illustrated his grocery list and we still have one

By Abraham Piper


It’s not that surprising once you think about it, yet it is still intriguing to see that one of the greatest artists ever plied his craft for even the most mundane tasks. Michelangelo, the famous Renaissance artist of the 15th and 16th centuries, not only wrote grocery lists, he also drew pictures of the food he needed.

One of these lists still exists today and is a part of the exhibit “Michelangelo Public and Private: Drawings for the Sistine Chapel and Other Treasures from the Casa Buonarroti.” When this collection was at the Seattle Art Museum several years ago, Steve Duin wrote in a review for The Oregonian

Because the servant he was sending to market was illiterate, Michelangelo illustrated the shopping lists — a herring, tortelli, two fennel soups, four anchovies and “a small quarter of a rough wine” — with rushed (and all the more exquisite for it) caricatures in pen and ink.

Michelangelo's Grocery List