Experts at a London museum believe they’ve found a fingerprint from famed Renaissance artist Michelangelo.
The 500-year-old thumbprint was discovered at the Victoria & Albert Museum on the buttocks of a small wax statue created by the Florentine artist, whose signature work, the fresco on the ceiling at the Sistine Chapel, features the finger of God touching the hand of man.
The find was revealed recently on the BBC show “Secrets of the Museum.”
“It is an exciting prospect that one of Michelangelo’s prints could have survived in the wax,” museum curator Peta Motture said in a BBC press release. “Such marks would suggest the physical presence of the creative process of an artist. It is where mind and hand somehow come together. A fingerprint would be a direct connection with the artist.”
The wax figure of a slave reportedly served as a model for a much larger marble statue intended for the tomb of Pope Julius II at St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican. The full-size slave statue is found today at the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence.
The wax model “was never intended to last, that’s what is quite charming and quite remarkable about it. The artist probably had no clue it would survive for several more centuries beyond him,” Victoria & Albert curator Victoria Oakley told the Telegraph of London.
Michelangelo was born in Tuscany in 1475 and died in Rome in 1564.