Michelangelo made small clay and wax models from which he carved his
statues. The "David" 18 feet high is said to have been carved from a
model 12 inches high. Most of his models have been lost to time.
The clay model for the David was given to Cosmo I (a Medici) by
Michelangelo. In 1690, it was lost after a fire in Cosmo's III palace.
While most sculptures look stiff, wooden, like they were pieced
together. Whereas, Michelangelo's sculptures look like they are alive. In
reality Michelangelo did a lot of piecing to make his sculptures.
This makes Michelangelo a even more amazing sculptor: he pieced
but made it lifelike.
The proof exists in the models that have survived. The right hand
appearing in the Lorenzo de Medici statue also is the left hand in reverse image.
The same hand also appears in his other sculptures and paintings.
The major objection to Michelangelo using small models is
the method used today to carve models today uses small models
not large models. Most modern sculptors sculpt by number.
Using a pointing machine thay take refrerce points on the model
than transfer those points to the block of marble. The using
the machine drill down to the desired depth in the model. Than
the sculptor chips away the pooints. The bigger the models the
easier it is to transfer the points. If you use a smaller model
mistakes could occur in the ezact measurements. Mt. Rushmore
statues were carved by unsilled labrors using a pointing
However, the pointing machines were not invented untill the late 1700's.
Michelangelo lived between 1475-1554). He free carved direclly
from the ckay model to the stone, Only, less skilleld scul;ptors
that Michelangelo hired to finish his projects required full sized
nideks ti work from.
Michelangelo is recorded to have destroyed his work two weeks before
he died so no one would know his methods. He is also known to have
sometimes cast the wax models into bronze and given them away to
admirers. He also gave away his clay models too. It is also recorded
that a thief broke into his studio and stole some of his models.
Then there are the models that Michelangelo gave to his student, Mini,
who took to France. Some of the models were returned to Italy but many
were not. It is probably where the 40 models in the Von Praun
This web page is dedicated to finding Michelangelo's lost models and
liberating from their private safe deposit boxes (the fat cats
probably have them prominently displayed in their homes so they can brag
what they got to their rich friends) and putting them in public
museums where everyone can enjoy their beauty. A secondary mission is
to get museums to attribute the models as by Michelangelo.
Specifically, I am loking for the models sold at the Christie's
auction in 1938. The provenrnce on these models is excellent.
There were 33 models sold. Today 12 of
those models locations are unaccounted for.Christie's knows
who the models were sold to in 1938. However, they do no reveal
This can be accomplished by getting their owners to donate them to
their local Museum or selling them to a fat cat who for a tax break
will then donate the models to a museums where everyone can view them.
A major problem is convincing the museums that they really are by
Michelangelo. The Santa Barbara, CA model, A terracotta plaque , is
unlabeled and displayed next to a sharks tooth. This is ridiculous
since it was part of the well documented Von Praun Collection and was
sold at the Christie's auction in 1938. The paper trail or provenance
There were SEVEN buyers. Percival Wolfe, was a Montreal mining
promoter, bought 18 odels at the auction. He bequeathed the models
to his twin sons, Peter and Paul LeBrooy, both of whom later moved
to Vancouver. The Vancouver museum (MoV) in Vancouver Canada
acuired them from the LeBrooy since sold them to the Rijksmuseum
in Holland in 2013 and 2016.
The remaining 15 models were sold to 6 different buyers. Ten of these models are now lost and these are the models I am looking for.
This may be a 100 year search. Realistically, at this point in time,
only two of the models may be locatable:
last seen in Vancouver, Canada in 1972 in the private collection of
Edward Halprin 1972.
Update(5/2012):The Halprin bronze day model is in a private collection in Canada.
Update(12/2018):The "Day foot" model is in a private collection in the USA.
said to have been resold to a museum in Australia. Any M lovers in Australia?