The Michelangelo question:Propshop 3D prints the Rothschild bronzes

voxeljet and Propshop helps a team of experts in the task of identifying what might be the last known surviving bronze works of Michelangelo.

While everyone has heard of Michelangelo’s David, and knows that the sculptor, painter and architect created some of his greatest sculptures in marble, little is known of the fact that he also worked extensively in other materials, including bronze. Many of the resultant works either lost to the ravages of time or the lack of corroborating evidence made it impossible to declare surviving pieces as definitively belonging to the hand of the renowned Rennaissance artist.

This, until very recently, has been the story of the Rothschild Bronzes, a wonderful pair of privately owned sixteenth century sculptures recently exhibited at the University of Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum. Once owned by the Rothschild family, the sculptures of two naked and drunk figures riding panthers were originally exhibited in 1878 as the work of Michelangelo, but the attribution was disputed, and the Bronzes have since been variously and tentatively attributed to a whole host of Renaissance sculptors, including Aspetti, Sansovini, Cellini and, most recently, Fiammingo.

Printed on VX1000 printers, the Propshop 3D printed mock-up’s and models were necessary for the level of anatomical and surface accuracy they provided Lacey and co-collaborator Robert van Langh, Head of the Department of Conservation and Restoration at the Rijksmuseum, both of whom presented papers at the Michelangelo Discovery Symposium held at the Fitzwilliam in Cambridge earlier this month.

‘The Propshop models were vital to our findings,’ says Lacey.

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