Rome, May 26 (ANI): A wooden statue bought by the Italian government for 2.5 million pounds and attributed to Michelangelo is a fake, art historians have claimed. he 41cm long figure, named Cristo Ritrovato (Christ Refound) was bought late last year from a private collection and since then has been on a marathon tour of the country.
More than 60,000 people have seen the sculpture but there is a growing concern within the Italian art world that it was not created from the hand of the Renaissance master Michelangelo Buonarroti.
When it was presented last December among those to vouch for its authenticity were Italy's ambassador to the Holy See Antonio Zanardi Landi and Professor Antonio Paolucci, art historian and Vatican museum director.
At a press conference they described the "svelte form and the sweetness of the finishing touches as similar to those of Michelangelo's Pieta in the Basilica of St Peter's".
The experts, who also included Cristina Acidini, director of the Museums of Florence where many of Michelangelo's works are displayed, said the "animation of the torso with its vibrant profile was also an anticipation of the artist's later famous work, David".
However Tomaso Montanari, an art history professor from Naples University, believes the work is a fake and that there is a "political strategy behind the operation".
"There are at least another dozen or so crosses out there made in a similar fashion and this was a style common to the studios of Florence at the end of the 1400s. What is amazing is that the Italian government did not ask for a third party opinion on the work before buying it and proclaiming it as Michelangelo which it is clearly not," The Telegraph quoted Montanari, as saying. (ANI)