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Long lost Michelangelo sculpture rediscovered?

By Abdul Nisar
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Washington, July 7 (ANI): An Italian scholar may have rediscovered a long forgotten work by Michelangelo - a sandstone sculpture of a kneeling man sharpening a knife.

The powerful 3.65 feet high sculpture is a copy of a marble statue known as the "Arrotino" (the Blade-Sharpener) on display at the Uffizi gallery in Florence.

"The sandstone Arrotino lacks of the nose and two left fingers. At a first look, this made me suspicious: Nose-missing statues are often forgeries. This was a known expedient to give a statue an antique look," Discovery News quoted Flavia Zisa, archaeologist at the Kore University of Enna, Sicily, as saying.

Upon further investigation, "it became clear that the sandstone Arrotino, was not a copy at all. Many features make this a unique sculpture," Zisa said.

Zisa found the first reference to the sandstone statue in a 1751 book on Pisa's monuments that contained an account from author Pandolfo Titi.

The account indicates that Michelangelo "was working there at that beautiful statue of the Arrotino, which he copied from the ancient Greek one in the Tribuna of the Galleria dei Medici."

Completed 15 years after Michelangelo's death, the Palazzo Lanfranchi was sold by its owners - without the two sculptures - in 1827.

On display in Florence's Bargello museum until 1888, the sculptures were then moved to the Capannoli Villa near Pisa, and ultimately ended up on the antiquarian market. They currently belong to two separate owners.

It is known that Michelangelo may have copied classical statues. According to the artist and art historian Giorgio Vasari (1511 - 1574), the master carved a marble cupid, buried it for a time to make it seem older than it was, and sold it as an ancient sculpture to a dealer.

"The relationship between Michelangelo and the classical statuary is very interesting. Further studies are required on the Lanfranchi Arrotino. It certainly deserves to be reevaluated," said Alessandro Vezzosi, director of the Museo Ideale Leonardo Da Vinci and artistic director of the Swedish exhibition. (ANI)

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