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“Experts in Italy: Help me solve the mystery of Michelangelo in Marcialla and the painting conserved in the church of Marcialla (suburb of Barberino Val d’Elsa). It is attributed to the grand maestro by some written sources and local tradition.”
The mayor of Barberino Val d’Elsa, Giacomo Trentanovi, has invited critics, art historians and experts, gathered in occasion of the G7 for Culture which is taking place in Florence in these days, to visit the Church of Santa Maria a Marcialla to verify the possible paternity of a young Michelangelo. For years, the community has preserved and passed on the proud knowledge of having a “Pietà” by Michelangelo “in casa”.
The image was most likely painted in 1495 by the young artist, during his brief stay at the convent of the Agostinians in Marcialla.
“I would like to clarify the presence of the possible “hand”of Michelangelo in the Church of Santa Maria,” says the mayor, Trentanovi. “We wouldn’t want to leave a page of Italian art history, possibly among the most important, unturned”.
“The prestigious Florentine event gives us the occasion to invite important members of world culture to give their opinion regarding the possible attribution of the affresco to the Florentine genius. The initials MBF behind an altar stone, under the affresco, give possible testimony”.
The township is available to greet experts interested in studying the iconography. The attribution of the painting to Michelangelo is born from an ancient local tradition, as reported on the record card of the painting, executed by the Superintendency in the 1980’s.
Many historians, from Weiss to Beck, have analized documents and archive notices of the Florentine Archbishopric to arrive at the conﬁrmation of the attribution.
“I would like to keep attention alive regarding study of the painting,” adds the mayor, “in order to understand if the hypothesis of a gift to the Agostinians from Michelangelo at the end of the 15th century, in exchange for their hospitality, can be conﬁrmed”.
“It seems that the work was created by several hands,” he continues. “In this lies the difﬁculty of attribution. The grand maestro possibly was helped by two friends, Granacci and Bugiardini. This would explain, also according to some critics, a different design and technique, more mature, on the lateral parts of the painting”.
The mayor refers in particular to the opinion of the art critic, Ettore Bagnoli, which emerges from an essay found thanks to research by Elsa Masi, a citizen of Barberino, who has dedicated years to the study of the fresco, allowing the community and town administration to come into possession of many unusual elements aimed at conﬁrming the attribution of the work to Michelangelo.
“For decades, we have heard of the close ties between Michelangelo and our area, “ he concludes. “Tales of the elderly are the main sources. Some tell about when they brought their children and grandchildren to the Church of Santa Maria to see the work of the great artist…”.