Texas Museum Lands Michelangelo’s Earliest Work

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When you were 12 or 13, you liked to draw monsters, didn't you? Michelangelo did, too! The Kimbell Museum, located in Fort Worth, has acquired a rather unique piece of painting history.  The painting, The Torment of St. Anthony, is considered the earliest painting by legendary Rennaisance master Michelangelo (1475-1564), done when he was around 12 or 13 years of age.  It is only one of four known to exist in the world, and the only such painting by the master to be exhibited in the United States.

Long held in private hands, apart from isolated showings during the 19th and 20th centuries, The Torment of St. Anthony has been hailed, by turns, as both a prototypical Michelangelo and as a work of questionable pedigree. The consensus today holds with Michelangelo.

A 2008 Sotheby’s auction in London offered the painting in a preliminary range of $200,000-$300,000. Once the acceptance of authenticity had spread, a bidding frenzy surged to approximately $2 million, paid by a New York-based dealer named Adam Williams. Williams cinched the authenticity further with a regimen of X-ray examinations, which revealed alterations that can only belong to a primary-source work-in-progress.

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From the Upcoming ueue, submitted by Geekazoid.


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