A fingerprint that likely belonged to world renowned artist and Renaissance man, Michelangelo, has just been discovered on a wax statue he built approximately 500 years ago. Art historians and researchers at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum believe Michelangelo may have pressed his thumb into it, leaving behind a mark.
The wax sculpture entitled, “A Slave,” was an early draft of a final marble sculpture that was set to be part of Pope Julius II’s embellished tomb in Rome. Art scholars, archaeologists, and historians believe the piece was likely created around 1516. The fingerprint is an important and rare find because Michelangelo was known to sabotage and eradicate all of his preliminary sketches and drafts. Researchers believe he dismantled these in an effort to make his final pieces seem the product of effortless genius unlike the average artist.
Pete Motture, one of the museum’s senior directors stated “such marks would suggest the physical presence of the creative process of an artist.” If this fingerprint truly belongs to Michelangelo, it would provide an unequivocal association to his early life and works. This would give meaningful insight to museum patrons today who are learning about and appreciating all that his beautiful art has to offer.
Being able to see a literal human touch from one of the most important and prominent historical artists in the world is a key factor in being able to see the man behind the legend and what he has created. It gives us a brand new insight into his creative process so many have wondered about for so many years.
The BBC documentary series entitled, “Secrets of the Museum,” just released an episode that featured the minutiae of this incredible discovery. It is available to watch now.