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Grotesque Mask - Item #31

$ 130.00



9 Inches High x 8 Inches Wide x 4 Inches Deep

As the legend goes, this piece is purportedly Michelangelo's first marble sculpture. According to his biographers Ascanio Condivi and Giorgio Vasari, Michelangelo was studying in the gardens of Lorenzo de Medici, "il Magnifico", at around the age of fifteen. He was intrigued by an ancient work of a faun's head, and decided to make a copy of it. He imagined the parts of the face that were missing from the ancient piece, such as the mouth. While he worked, Lorenzo noted that the old faun likely wouldn't have so many teeth, so Michelangelo changed the appearance of the open mouth. Lorenzo at that point became Michelangelo's patron. His sculpture has since been lost, as has a mask of the head that was once in the Bargello National Museum in Florence. A 19th century sculpture by Emilio Zocchi depicting Michelangelo sculpting the faun can also be found in our collection as Item #32.


Artist: Michelangelo

Museum/Location: Unknown 

Time Period: Renaissance, c. 1489

1911 Catalog ID # - 13537



Barolsky, Paul. “Michelangelo's Marble Faun Revisited.” Artibus Et Historiae, vol. 20, no. 40, 1999, pp. 113-116. JSTOR,

Crispino, Enrica. "The Meeting with Lorenzo de' Medici in the Garden of San Marco." Michelangelo. English edition. Giunti Editore, 2001, pp. 14. Google Books,

Goffen, Rona. "Michelangelo." Renaissance Rivals: Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael, Titian. Yale University Press, 2004, pp. 75. Google Books,