"Laocoon" is a sculpture, discovered in early 1506, thought to be from the Classical Period. A Columbia University Scholar notes that Michelangelo,
who was one of two people sent by Pope Julius II to see it after it was dug up, had actually carved it. She notes, amoung other things, sketches of
his that date to a time previous to the statue's discovery, that resemble part of the sculpture. Other authorities on the matter strongly
The "Laocoön" was placed at the Vatican Museums by Pope Julius II not long after it was discovered on Jan. 14, 1506, on the Esquiline Hill. Upon
hearing the news, the pope immediately dispatched the architect Giuliano da Sangallo to view it; Sangallo brought along his colleague Michelangelo
Buonarroti. The men identified the statue as that described by the first-century Roman encyclopedist Pliny the Elder in his "Natural History," who
called it "a work superior to any painting and any bronze," one "carved from a single block in accordance with an agreed plan by those eminent
craftsmen Hagesander, Polydorus and Athenodorus, all of Rhodes."
In a telephone interview, Dr. Catterson cited a pen study by Michelangelo dating from 1501 depicting the rear of a male torso that resembles the back
of the "Laocoön" - and Michelangelo's documented finesse at copying.
"That the Laocoön was carved by Michelangelo explains why then, and why now, its effect is mesmerizing," she said.
[Michelangelo] was an astute forger who earned his Bacchus commission after a carved sleeping Cupid that he had buried in the ground to "age" had
been sold to a wealthy cardinal in 1495.
Then there was recent scholarship on bank withdrawals and deposits between 1498 and 1501 that suggests that the sculptor was buying chunks of marble
while accumulating substantial income that could not be accounted for, Dr. Catterson said, and several letters from Michelangelo to his father that
spoke of some marbles but failed to explain how he was using the others.
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Very intruiging. The sculpture certainly is incredible. I personally can't possibly say if its from the Renaissance or any other time.
Carbon-dating, before anyone suggests it, is completely useless in this matter, and any radio-metric dating will only reveal the age of the marble,
which has nothing to do with when it was carved. I'd think
that if the statue suffers no signs of wear, that that would go in the 'supports
forgery' column. But I have no idea how much wear is on the statue, and the general pictures available aren't useful for that purpose.
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[edit on 22-4-2005 by Nygdan]