The Bronze Effigy of Michelangelo by Daniele da Volterra

Exhibition project by Cecilie Hollberg

This exhibition will be the first to display all of the early exemplars of bronze portraits of Michelangelo attributed to Daniele da Volterra, exploring the complex relationship between originals, replicas and derivations.

The problem of the authorship of the bronze portraits of Michelangelo has long vexed art historians: with the exception of the Casa Buonarroti bust in Florence, which remained in the hands of his heirs for centuries, there is significant uncertainty surrounding the authorship and provenance of the numerous exemplars found in different Italian and foreign collections. The recent restoration of the exemplar in the collection of the Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze made it possible to identify the second of the three originals cast by Daniele da Volterra in 1565 and to revise a few attributions that were considered secure until a few years ago.

The exhibition will offer a unique opportunity to compare the works close up and assess their respective aesthetic and technical merits, in part through technologically innovative research using 3D scanning: the digitisation of the forms and surfaces of the works will make it possible to create virtual models, useful for comparing the volumes of the different pieces, which we will be able to juxtapose and overlap on the screen, in search of possible casts or shared models and to distinguish originals from later replicas.

The main scope of the exhibition will be to produce the first scientific catalogue of the bronze busts attributable to Daniele da Volterra. The catalogue will include the research carried out thus far and the results of the diagnostic studies, providing an indispensable tool for research in this area and knowledge of Daniele da Volterra’s bronze casting techniques. We also hope to create a precise map of the “tradition” of busts of Michelangelo, identifying, insofar as possible, the author, provenance and features of the different reproductions.

This highly scientific initiative hopes to involve the leading experts in the field of 16th-century bronze sculpture and art, gathering them together for a study day organised in connection with the exhibition.



La mostra ha previsto un’importante giornata di studi, il 21 febbraio 2022; di seguito il programma:

ore 9.30 – 10.00
Michelangelo: L’effigie in bronzo di Daniele da Volterra, progetto e mostra
Cecilie Hollberg – Direttore della Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze e curatore della Mostra

ore 10.00 – 10.15
Indagini sui ritratti in bronzo di Michelangelo Buonarroti attraverso la Fluorescenza X portatile
Stefano Ridolfi- Ars Mensurae, Roma

ore 10.15 – 10.30
Studio mineralogico delle terre di fusione rinvenute all’interno dei ritratti in bronzo di Michelangelo
Giancarlo Della Ventura, Antonella Privitera, Armida Sodo – Università degli Studi Roma Tre

ore 10.30 – 10.45
Monitoring difference – online and offline analysis
Adam Lowe – Founder of Factum Foundation for Digital Technology in Conservation

ore 10.45 – 11.00
La Morfometria Geometrica applicata ai beni culturali: il caso dell’effigie in bronzo di Michelangelo ad opera di Daniele da Volterra
Voula Natsi – Factum Foundation for Digital Technology in Conservation
Paolo Piras – Paleontologo dei vertebrati
Valerio Varano – Università degli Studi Roma Tre

ore 11.45 – 12.05
Copper and tin: proposals for the bronze alloy used for the portrait heads of Michelangelo
Antonia Boström – Victoria & Albert Museum

ore 12.05 – 12.25
Daniele da Volterra e Leonardo Buonarroti, nipote ed erede di Michelangelo
Alessandro Cecchi – Fondazione Casa Buonarroti

ore 12.25 -12.45
Il busto di Michelangelo dei Musei Capitolini: quale modello?
Claudio Parisi Presicce – Direzione Musei archeologici e storico-artistici della Sovrintendenza Capitolina ai Beni Culturali

ore 12.45 – 13.05
Βίοι παράλληλοι. I ritratti bronzei di Michelangelo di provenienza medicea (Galleria dell’Accademia – Museo Nazionale del Bargello)
Dimitrios Zikos – Studioso del Rinascimento e della Scultura barocca

ore 14.30 –14.50
Osservazioni sui procedimenti metallurgici impiegati nei ritratti in bronzo di Michelangelo
Mario Micheli – Università degli Studi Roma Tre

ore 14.50 – 15.10
Il busto della Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze: conservazione e restauro
Eleonora Pucci – Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze

ore 15.10 – 15.30
Charles Fortnum and the nineteenth-century ‘rediscovery’ of the portrait busts of Michelangelo
Jeremy Warren – Ashmolean Museum

ore 15.30 – 15.45
Approfondimenti archivistici su Diomede Leoni e la sua eredità
Veronica Vestri – Archivista paleografa

Domande e osservazioni del pubblico ore 15.45 – 16.00

Salvatore Settis – Scuola Normale Superiore


The catalogue is published by Mandragora

Dimensions 21 × 27 cm
Pages 36
Binding Paperback with flaps
Language Italian/English
ISBN 978-88-7461-579-7
Year February 2022





February 15, 2022
July 31, 2022

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