Even at 18 years old, famed Renaissance artist Michelangelo Buonarroti was well on his way to becoming one of the most celebrated artists in Europe. Arguably his first masterpiece — a wooden crucifix — was recently found, restored, and unveiled at a new home.
Those who visit Florence, Italy’s Santo Spirito Church will now be treated to something extra special: the newly restored wooden crucifix by Michelangelo — said to have been created when he was just 18 years old.
As has been well documented, Michelangelo lived for some time during his adolescence with benefactor Lorenzo de Medici. After Lorenzo’s death, Michelangelo lived for about a year with a community of Augustinian monks at Santo Spirito. It was here that Michelangelo received intimate training in human anatomy in the hospital the monks ran. Significantly, Michelangelo sculpted a stunning wooden crucifix as a thank you for their welcome.
For many decades in the late 19th century, it was believed the sculpture had been destroyed or lost forever, but it was eventually rediscovered in a convent — apparently barely recognizable due to the number of overpaint layers.
After massive restoration and a tour around Italy, the famed crucifix will now remain in the church it was originally intended for: suspended above Santo Spirito’s old sacristy.
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