Possible Michelangelo Thumbprint Found On Wax Sculpture’s Butt

Curators at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London noticed the thumbprint while moving the sculpture out of storage.

If you are a big fan of art or even if you just have a casual interest in it, you likely have marveled at the work of Michelangelo. Although his sculptures are now some 600 years old, they still have the ability to amaze us.

At the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, however, there was something that they discovered it took everyone by surprise. It was on a small sculpture, known as A Slave orWax model of a slave. What they found was a thumbprint and it is thought that it might belong to Michelangelo.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Now, I’ll be the first one to say that a thumbprint is unique to each individual and we have no way of knowing if this is actually Michelangelo’s thumbprint or not. What we do know is that the museum basement was used as storage for the art piece to keep it cool during the pandemic when the main building was not being used.

After being brought out onto the main floor, they noticed that there was evidence of a thumbprint on the sculpture. Is it Michelangelo’s thumbprint? We aren’t really sure but what we do know is that the thumbprint showed up on the butt of the statue.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

There is some theory that the changes in temperature from being moved from one location to another cause the chemical composition of the wax to shift, and the thumbprint could have been revealed.

The real key at this point is to determine if it is actually Michelangelo’s thumbprint or not. Curators are doing their best to make that determination.


According to BBC, the senior curator at the museum, Peta Motture, said: “It is an exciting prospect that one of Michelangelo’s prints could have survived in the wax. Such marks would suggest the physical presence of the creative process of an artist. It is where mind and hand somehow come together… he destroyed a lot of [the wax models] himself. A fingerprint would be a direct connection with the artist.”

If it is an authentic thumbprint, it is going to make the piece much more interesting as he left a signature that he had not intended on leaving.