At the Accademia Gallery in Florence, the bust of Michelangelo by Daniele da Volterra rediscovers its original beauty – Florence

Daniele da Volterra, Bronze bust of Michelangelo Buonarroti (before restoration), Accademia Gallery of Florence

Florence – Right at the entrance of the Prison Gallery, the bust by Michelangelo Buonarroti, freshly restored, it seems to ideally welcome the public visiting the Accademia Gallery, the Museum which, in addition to David exhibits, together, the greatest number of sculptures by the master.
And here is the bronze made by Daniele da Volterra one of the artist's most loyal friends and collaborators, following the death of Buonarroti – in 1564 – on behalf of his nephew Leonardo.
The sculpture, with its intense gaze, had, subsequently, a considerable number of replicas which caused quite a few difficulties in distinguishing the autograph copies from the copies.

Initially the autograph versions were only three: two destined to Leonardo Buonarroti and one to Diomede Leoni, follower of Michelangelo and tireless collector. The third head, finished by a collaborator of Daniele da Volterra, first placed in Horti Leonini was later entered in the collections of Ferdinando I de 'Medici. For a long time his identification has remained uncertain, since there were at least two busts of medical origin, preserved at the Accademia Gallery in Florence and at the Bargello National Museum.

The current restoration, by Nicola Salvioli, he confirmed that the bust of the Accademia Gallery in Florence is the original sculpture by Daniele da Volterra also known as the Braghettone for his censorial intervention aimed at covering, following the decisions of the Council of Trent, with vestments and fig leaves, the nudity of Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel

On the surface of the bust the signs of prolonged outdoor exposure can be seen and even inventories have confirmed the presence of the work in the Medici collections until 1803, when it was first transferred to the Academy of Fine Arts and finally to its current location.

The intervention – aimed at recovering the correct readability of the work, as well as the search for original coatings, and which also involved the realization of a metal support for the anchorage of the bust's safety on the wall – allowed the removal of the various substances that covered the surface. An ancient cleaning operation with acidic substances would have removed the original coating residues, giving rise to localized corrosion processes and then over time.

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