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Michelangelo Sculptor in Bronze

The Art, Anatomy, Technology and Design of the Rothschild Bronzes Edited by Victoria Avery

Michelangelo (1475–1564) – Sculptor, Painter, Architect, Poet – was recognised as a genius from early in his career. Best known for his largescale marble statues, Michelangelo also produced sculpture in clay, stucco, wood and bronze. Until recently, it was thought that none of his work in bronze had survived. However, in 2015, after a year-long period of study and examination, an international team of experts led by academics from Cambridge University proposed that a stunning pair of unsigned and undocumented nude male figures astride fantastical panthers – known as the Rothschild bronzes – were by Michelangelo. Based on stylistic arguments, they dated the sculptures to c. 1506–8, around the time of Michelangelo’s colossal bronze portrait of Pope Julius II (now lost), so just after the marble David and before the Sistine Chapel ceiling, when Michelangelo was at his creative height. This attribution was subjected to unprecedented multi-disciplinary scrutiny, including anatomical investigation, scientific analysis (using neutron imaging and real-time X-ray videography) and archaeo-metallurgical reconstruction. As a result, the attribution is now widely accepted, making the Rothschild bronzes a vital new addition to Michelangelo’s œuvre, and our understanding of his work in this material. These enigmatic and visually-striking bronze masterpieces are the focal point of this multi-authored, interdisciplinary volume, which contains ground-breaking contributions by leading international experts in the field of art history, anatomy, conservation science and bronze-casting.

300 illustrations 280 × 230 mm · 320 pp · Hardback ISBN: 978-1-78130-063-3 May 2018 · £75.00 / $95.00

Victoria Avery has been Keeper of Applied Arts at the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, since 2010, prior to which she was Associate Professor in the History of Art Department, University of Warwick (2005−10). She has researched, lectured and published extensively on Italian Renaissance sculpture, most recently co-authoring with Paul Joannides, A Michelangelo Discovery (2015). She was awarded the Premio Salimbeni 2012 for her British Academyfunded monograph, Vulcan’s Forge in Venus’ City: The Story of Bronze in Venice, 1350−1650 (2011) and has also published on various aspects of the applied arts, including the co-authored Fitzwilliam Museum exhibition catalogue, Treasured Possessions from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment (PWP, 2015).

Published in association with the Fitzwilliam Museum This book is a game-changer. It provides a completely new – and indeed long overdue – integrated interdisciplinary approach to Michelangelo studies. It proves what can be achieved when there is genuine collaboration between internationally-regarded experts in fields as diverse as art history, conservation science, anatomy and technical archaeology. Eike Schmidt, Director of the Uffizi, Florence


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Philip Wilson Publishers - 2018  
Philip Wilson Publishers - 2018