Monday, October 26, 2009

Is this a Michelangelo? Or a Persuasive Nineteenth-century Fake?

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Young Archer is a marble Renaissance youth with an amazing backstory: Thirteen years ago, it was declared by NYU’s Kathleen Weil-Garris Brandt to be an early work of Michelangelo himself. Rival scholars howled, and art historians continue to pick over its anatomy and history for clues.
New York Mag reports:
The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Young Archer goes on long-term exhibit November 3; the arguments, pro and con, are on view here.

1. The Hair

Pro: “I saw passages in the carving of the hair that only Michelangelo does,” Brandt says. “He would begin by carving out … an undifferentiated cap of marble, and out of that he distinguishes the curls.”

Con: “This is kind of an impressionistic way of making hair,” wrote the late Columbia historian James Beck. “Even the hair of the David, which is very intellectualized, grows out of the head. It’s not applied to the head.” READ MORE