Last Judgement of Geneva purported to be by Michelangelo

Michelangelo: Last Judgement in oil on canvas says scholar

Culture News

Art scholar Amel Olivares asserts that Michelangelo painted “A small Last Judgement with Christ the Judge and other figures from the famous fresco that can be admired in the Sistine Chapel” in oil on canvas.

Olivares conducted research spanning over 8 years, presenting findings to the Foreign Press in Rome. The subject of investigation was “The Last Judgement of Geneva,” lost for over a century.

Specialising in Renaissance art, Olivares collaborated with art historian and conservationist Monsignor José Manuel del Rio Carrasco. Their reconstruction reveals Michelangelo gifted the piece to painter Alessandro Allori. He in turn used it as a model for an Altarpiece in Florence’s Basilica Santissima Annunziata.

Measuring 96.52 x 81.28 cm, the painting on linen canvas notably portrays Christ the Judge without a beard, akin to the Sistine Chapel fresco. It also incorporates incomplete figures, employs dynamic movement, and includes wingless angels.

Last Judgement of Geneva by Michelangelo. Photo: ANSA

A presumed self-portrait of Michelangelo as a youth appears among the “saved.” Olivares contends this work exemplifies Michelangelo’s grasp of the oil-on-canvas technique, likely acquired from Sebastiano dal Piombo in Rome circa 1512. Detailed accounts of Geneva’s Last Judgement were found in 1792 Florence State Archives, cataloguing Marquis Donato Guadagni’s belongings.

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Changing hands over centuries, the painting underwent restoration in 2015 by Antonio Casciani, remaining in excellent condition. It has undergone stylistic, historical, and scientific scrutiny, including spectrophotometry and reflectography. Facial reconstructions and comparisons have been made with Michelangelo’s face.

Olivares suggests Allori, possibly the son of Agnolo Bronzino, interacted closely with Michelangelo during his Rome tenure (1554-1560), studying his works. Michelangelo’s ties with influential Florentine families, like the Bardi and Montauto, facilitated Allori’s commission for the Santissima Annunziata chapel. Allori’s inscription on the Altarpiece credits him as Michelangelo’s faithful pupil.

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