Michelangelo’s fingerprint has possibly been discovered on the butt of a 500-year-old wax statue.
The famed Italian sculptor, considered one of the greatest artists of all time and best known for creating the frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, earlier crafted a wax figurine known as ‘A Slave’, now located in the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London.
It was originally intended to be part of a larger sculpture for St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, but was never fully completed.
As revealed in BBC Two’s Secrets of the Museum, curators discovered a fingerprint on the statue’s butt they’d never seen before, and it’s believed it may belong to Michelangelo.
‘It is an exciting prospect that one of Michelangelo’s prints could have survived in the wax. Such marks would suggest the physical presence of the creative process of an artist. It is where mind and hand somehow come together… he destroyed a lot of the wax models himself.’
Have you caught up on #SecretsOfTheMuseum yet? Don’t miss the spellbinding moment when our curators discovered Michelangelo’s fingerprint on a wax work
— V&A (@V_and_A) July 22, 2021
The potential thumbprint was clocked after the statue was moved from its colder storage area, which may have appeared due to the change in temperature or humidity.
‘A fingerprint would a direct connection with the artist,’ Senior Curator Peta Motture said, which would be incredible given that Michelangelo actually destroyed many of his wax models prior to his death, as well as his drawings and other work. While it’s not entirely known why, some experts say it’s because he wanted to prevent plagiarism or preserve the idea his work was perfect.