The Michelangelo Code

michelangelo-cristo11VATICAN CITY — Art buffs won’t want to miss the latest piece of work attributed to Renaissance master, Michelangelo Buonarroti.

Rome’s Pontifical Lateran University and its rector, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, will present the wooden statue of Christ to the public tomorrow afternoon.

Experts from Rome’s Tor Vergata University and the Pontifical Gregorian University will speak at the event, which also will feature Angelo Boccardelli — an art expert and president of the Ambassador Giacomo Maria Ugolini Foundation which has its headquarters in the tiny Republic of San Marino

The wooden statue is part of the foundation’s permanent art collection and will be in Rome only March 31. It has been on tour in the United States and will head back home to San Marino after tomorrow’s presentation at the Lateran.

Readers shouldn’t confuse this statue with  the tiny, limewood statue of Christ attributed to Michelangelo in 2004 and purchased by the Italian government for more than 4.3 million dollars in 2008.

According to Boccardelli, their collection’s “Il Cristo” figure was found in the 1970s in the ruins of a church bombed during Lebanon’s civil war. There is no surviving paper trail documenting how the statue made its way to Lebanon,  but Boccardelli says in an interview posted on YouTube, they believe a 19th-century secretary of a pope took it with him when he was named patriarch of the east.

Members of the Ugolini foundation’s scientific committee determined the art piece is by Michelangelo and several art experts have agreed.

Part of the reason Boccardelli is sure the statue is Michelangelo’s is that it fits in with what he calls “The Michelangelo Code” or rather a specific “language of marks and symbols” and methodolgy Michelangelo used in all his works.

So for example, like Leonardo da Vinci’s famous eight-limbed Vitruvian man, Michelangelo’s figures can be placed perfectly in the center of a circle or a sphere. This is because Michelangelo was one of just a few artists who was able to correctly apply the so-called Golden Ratio or divine proportion in art, he said.

The Lateran said it will display the statue in such a way that people will be able to view it from as many different perspectives as possible.

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