November 15, 2016

When a Master Forger is a Master Artist

"Michelangelo Buonarotti" 2016, by Charles Vincent Sabba
Fingerprint ink on Police criminal print card
In 1446, Michelangelo Buonarroti sculpted a sleeping cupid out of marble and buried it in "sour" earth. This acidic dirt made the sculpture appear much older than it really was. The cupid was sold as an antiquity through a dealer to Cardinal Raffaelle Riario di San Giorgio. Someone informed the cardinal that he had been duped and he demanded his money back; he gave up an original Michelangelo, which undoubtedly would be worth a fortune today. This cupid ended up in the d'Este collection in Mantua, but unfortunately, is lost today.