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.