Michelangelo’s Fingerprint May Be Pressed On The Butt Of Wax Statue In Rare Find


Michelangelo's Fingerprint May Be Pressed On The Butt Of Wax Statue In Rare FindPA Images

Michelangelo’s fingerprint has possibly been discovered on the butt of a 500-year-old wax statue. 

The famed Italian sculptor, considered one of the greatest artists of all time and best known for creating the frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, earlier crafted a wax figurine known as ‘A Slave’, now located in the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London.


It was originally intended to be part of a larger sculpture for St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, but was never fully completed.

The possible thumbprint of Michelangelo. (BBC Two)BBC Two

As revealed in BBC Two’s Secrets of the Museum, curators discovered a fingerprint on the statue’s butt they’d never seen before, and it’s believed it may belong to Michelangelo.

‘It is an exciting prospect that one of Michelangelo’s prints could have survived in the wax. Such marks would suggest the physical presence of the creative process of an artist. It is where mind and hand somehow come together… he destroyed a lot of [the wax models] himself.’


The potential thumbprint was clocked after the statue was moved from its colder storage area, which may have appeared due to the change in temperature or humidity.

‘A fingerprint would a direct connection with the artist,’ Senior Curator Peta Motture said, which would be incredible given that Michelangelo actually destroyed many of his wax models prior to his death, as well as his drawings and other work. While it’s not entirely known why, some experts say it’s because he wanted to prevent plagiarism or preserve the idea his work was perfect.

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Topics: News, Art, UK


BBC Media Centre
  1. BBC Media Centre

    Michelangelo's thumb print seen in BBC Two's Secrets of the Museum

Cameron Frew
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