A new analysis has revealed that a 500-year-old wax sculpture attributed to Michelangelo and preserved at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London may, according to Live Science, contain a fingerprint of this famous Renaissance artist. It is believed that Michelangelo created this wax figure as a study for a larger sculpture he was planning for St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. But the larger sculpture was never completed.
The wax statue, which watered the name “Slave,” had long been part of the museum exhibit, but last year, when the museum was temporarily closed because of a pandemic and the spring was unusually warm, it was moved to a cooler vault. A few months later, while checking the vault, museum curators noticed a fingerprint on it. According to art scientists, the change in temperature and humidity had affected the wax figurine and the fingerprint became more visible. And given the fact that its authorship is attributed to Michelangelo, there is a good chance that this is his fingerprint.
It is known that Michelangelo, shortly before his death at the age of 88 in Rome in 1564, destroyed many of his wax models and drawings. The reasons for this are unknown, but experts believe that perhaps Michelangelo did not want people to know the enormous effort he had put into his work, as he wanted to look like a genius whose work was perfect. According to another version, Michelangelo may have burned his work to prevent plagiarism.
The print is currently being examined by conservators and museum curators. To verify their assumption that the fingerprint on the Slave belongs to Michelangelo, scientists intend to compare it to another fingerprint belonging to him, which is on a terracotta statue from 1530 known as “The Two Wrestlers”.