Never before and never again: Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (until 12 February 2018) is the cultural event of the year. The loan show is doubly overwhelming both in the quality of the works presented —133 drawings, three marble sculptures and the earliest painting by the artist, The Torment of St Anthony, made when he was just 13 years old—and its popularity. As of last weekend, attendance topped 500,000, meaning around 7,000 visitors have arrived to see it each day since the exhibition opened on 13 November, the museum recently reported.

Early in the show’s run, visitors hoping to beat the crowds lined up outside the Met an hour before it opened at 10am, and for 10 or 15 minutes, they could enjoy the show in relative comfort. On recent visits, however, no matter what time you go there are viewers two and three people deep craning their necks to get a peek of the masterpiece is in front of them. In times like this, one is grateful to have curator friends who can slip you in at 9am. There is only one morning of early viewing for members remaining on 27 January before the show closes, but hopefully for the final weekend (9-11 February) there will be special late-night hours, as there were for the Met’s similarly popular China: Through the Looking Glass exhibition in 2015. Read more