Michelangelo attributed sketch which may go uup for auction

Michelangelo attributed sketch may go up for auction

Culture News

The former owners of a villa near Florence, where Michelangelo once lived, are considering auctioning off a large-scale drawing. The Michelangelo attributed sketch divides critics on its authenticity.

The villa in the Settignano hills was sold by the Sernesi family last year excluding the drawing, a charcoal on plaster mural depicting a satyr or triton. The artwork was removed from the wall for restoration in 1979.

However, not all critics are in agreement regarding the author of the sketch, which adorned the wall of a former kitchen for years. The New York Times shed light on the matter in Friday’s publication.

Michelangelo attributed sketch has exhibited worldwide

Over the years, the drawing has been shown worldwide, appearing in exhibitions from Japan to Canada. Carmen C. Bambach, a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, confirmed the attribution, calling it “the only remaining evidence of Michelangelo’s abilities as a large-scale draftsman” in the catalogue for the 2017 exhibition Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer.

Rumours of the Florence auction have reignited the attribution debate, previously confined to a small circle of Michelangelo enthusiasts. While Bambach stands by the authenticity, other experts remain uncertain.

According to Cecile Hollberg, director of the Accademia Gallery, fresh investigations are needed. “It is very interesting and now it is certainly necessary to carry out fresh investigations”.

Some critics were also dubious over the authenticity of works attributed to Michelangelo in his secret hideout.

Masterworks of Michelangelo’s calibre in private hands are exceedingly rare, and prices soar when they enter the market. Two years ago, a Michelangelo sketch fetched €23 million at Christie’s in New York.

Italian prices are lower due to laws against exporting artworks, making it challenging to find buyers within Italy at such high prices.

No price set for work

The Sernesi family has not set a price for the drawing, which was insured for $24 million when it was exhibited at the MET show in New York.

“We believe it deserves to be seen and appreciated,” said Ilaria Sernesi, one of the owners. The drawing’s attribution to Michelangelo is based on assessments by Hungarian art historian Charles de Tolnay, who suggests the Sistine master sketched it as a teenager.

Comparisons between the Sernesi drawing and a study by Michelangelo in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford have led some experts to date the work to the artist’s early years.

However, some experts, like Paul Joannides of Cambridge, question its authenticity due to its “scant quality.” Francesco Caglioti of Normale University in Pisa also expresses doubt, suggesting that if it were by Michelangelo, “he wasn’t on great form that day.”

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