Michelangelo remained a devoted Catholic throughout his life, but by the end of his life his religious feelings were noticeably aggravated – an expression of this was his reference to the theme of the Passion of Christ. Interest in it can be traced both in the poems of Michelangelo, and in a series of drawings depicting the Crucifixion.
One of these drawings was intended as a gift to the poet Vittoria Colonna, the widow of Marquis Pescara, and the others, obviously, are etudes to the sculptural group of the same name. Some drawings bear traces of the artist’s reflections on Christianity; they are distinguished by the strength and depth of spiritual experiences. “Etude with three crosses”, made in red chalk.