Man Without Qualities

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

In The Room The Women Come and Go ...

Odd what turns up on upper Fifth Avenue.

The Associated Press and the New York Times both report that a chalk and wash drawing of a menorah found in a box in the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum is by Michelangelo. It has been unanimously authenticated by Italian Renaissance art scholars and is one of fewer than 10 Michelangelos known to be in the United States. The museum bought it for $60 in 1942 - and the implication from the articles is that the drawing has been in residence on Fifth Avenue since then (the Times says the drawing "languished unnoticed for decades right under the noses of swarms of art experts"). The Cooper-Hewitt is located at 2 East 91st Street (91st Street and Fifth Avenue) in New York City.

In 1976 another Michaelangelo drawing was discovered nine blocks south at the Met, 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street. The Met had bought that drawing in 1962, as the work of an anonymous artist.

Three blocks south of the Met, in the entrance hall of the Cultural Services of The French Embassy at 972 Fifth Avenue at 79th Street, you see The Marble Boy statue, which many experts believe is an early statue by Michaelangelo. The Marble Boy was also in residence on Fifth Avenue for years, but its possible Michelangelo origin was advanced only in 1996, and some scholars have expressed doubts.

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