New Video Shows What May Be Michelangelo’s Lost & Now Found Bronze Sculptures

We all know that Michelan­ge­lo sculpt­ed in mar­ble. What’s less well known is that he worked in bronze too. The his­tor­i­cal record shows that Michelan­ge­lo once made a David in bronze for a French aris­to­crat, and a bronze stat­ue of Pope Julius II. But the David dis­ap­peared dur­ing the French Rev­o­lu­tion, and the Julius was lat­er melt­ed down for mil­i­tary pur­pos­es in Italy. For years, schol­ars thought that Michelan­gelo’s bronze cre­ations were all irre­triev­ably lost to his­to­ry. And then came the big dis­cov­ery.

A team of inter­na­tion­al experts (from Cam­bridge, the Rijksmu­se­um and the Uni­ver­si­ty of War­wick) recent­ly gath­ered evi­dence sug­gest­ing that two bronze male nudes “are ear­ly works by Michelan­ge­lo, made just after he com­plet­ed the mar­ble David and as he was about to embark on the Sis­tine Chapel ceil­ing,” reports a Cam­bridge blog post. Although the stat­ues aren’t signed by Michelan­ge­lo, Prof Paul Joan­nides (Emer­i­tus Pro­fes­sor of Art His­to­ry at Cam­bridge) “con­nect­ed them to a draw­ing by one of Michelangelo’s appren­tices now in the Musée Fab­re, Mont­pel­li­er, France,” and it turns out that the draw­ing con­tains fig­ures that close­ly resem­ble the stat­ues. What’s more, Cam­bridge reports, the “bronzes were com­pared with oth­er works by Michelan­ge­lo and found to be very sim­i­lar in style and anato­my to his works of 1500–1510.” The Cam­bridge video above gives you a fur­ther intro­duc­tion to this impor­tant dis­cov­ery.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Michelangelo’s Hand­writ­ten 16th-Cen­tu­ry Gro­cery List

Take a 3D Vir­tu­al Tour of the Sis­tine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basil­i­ca and Oth­er Art-Adorned Vat­i­can Spaces

Leonar­do da Vinci’s Hand­writ­ten Resume (1482)

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