New Michelangelo discovery! (ctd.)

October 28 2015

Image of New Michelangelo discovery! (ctd.)

Picture: PR Newswire

Further to the rather breathless - and somewhat optimistic - announcement by Swiss scientific analysts that they had discovered a pair of wooden putti by Michelangelo, blogging art historian Jamie Edwards has written a much more convincing take-down of their methodology. And it doesn't bode well for those number-crunching Swiss. For example:

The main thrust of the evidence concerns the date and likely place of origin of the sculptures; in their own words: “The study analyzes the plausibility of the object’s time of origin using technical and scientific methods.” What they’ve discovered is that the present layer of polychromy and bonding substances are original. Not only that, the technique and materials point to Italy as the place of manufacture and “the time of origin as circa 1494”. This approximate, but surprisingly precise (which is say, suspiciously engineered), date was then “confirmed” by scientific dating of the wood using Accelerator Mass Spectrometry, which “showed that the assumed age (1494) was in the calibrated time frame (dendrocorrected), with a 100% probability.” Having thus “established” that the putti were made in Italy in 1494, they embarked upon stylistic analysis, comparing the sculptures to authentic works by Michelangelo. This is all to say that somebody involved had from the get-go a hunch, however wishful, that these might be by Michelangelo and so having decided on the date and place of production by means of science, let’s actually think about this in terms of art and try and prove this basic proposition.

More here.

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