The Torment of Saint Anthony believed to be Michelangelo’s first painting has been rediscovered and acquired by Kimbell Art Museum, Texas. It will be on public display at Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York from June 15th onwards.
The rare painting dates back to 1487 or 88 and was made by young 12 or 13 year old Michelangelo. The painting was with British private collector since 1905. It was then auctioned to a New York art dealer and was restored by Metropolitan Museum of Art and finally bought by Kimbell Art Museum for undisclosed price.
The journey of the painting from the work shop of Domenico Ghirlandaio, Florence where Michelangelo apprenticed as a young boy in 15th century to America in 21 st century is intriguing indeed. It seems this original painting had been assumed to be studio copy in Britain all these years. Britain thus missed the masterpiece which was lying with them for nearly whole of 20th century. This could be first Michelangelo masterpiece ever finding place in America.
The masterpiece depicts St. Anthony being tormented by monsters. It is known that young Michelangelo had copied the engraving of St. Anthony from German artist Schongauer and used it in this stunning piece of art. What is truly remarkable is the fantastic imagination of the young boy which truly became his signature and style in later works.
Michelangelo liked to be known as ‘stone cutter’ – sculpting muscular human figures in marble stones rather than a painter. Yet he was to create magnificent ceiling of Sistine Chapel which took him almost two years to paint. Michelangelo was also a remarkable poet.
Michelangelo is truly remarkable complete artist belonging to 15th century Renaissance. He literally put in such immense physical labor to create magnificent sculptures such as David, Pieta’ and many more and also overwhelmingly beautiful ceiling at Sistine Chapel. He even gave new images and imagery to Gods and Biblical tales. It is indeed remarkable that he will come alive again through his rare first painting again in 21st century.