He has full lips, a prominent Adam’s apple and a profile that’s right out of 15th century Florence. He has his eyes gouged out, ominously corroborating tour guides’ claim that it’s the image of either a heckler or a man headed for execution. He also has a curly mop, possibly of a less fortunate pedigree than that of his neighbour David, but enough to suggest that this man, who has been addressed by Florentines as L’Importuno di Michelangelo (literally, ‘Nuisance’) for ages, is the covert job of Renaissance great Michelangelo himself.
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Art historian Adriano Marinazzo has established a fresh connection between an ignored work from the Renaissance master’s Louvre archive, believed to be created when he was 13 years old, and the stray point of interest carved on the historic town hall building, providing fresh fire to the contention that it was indeed made by Michelangelo. The development has rekindled the perennial excitement surrounding the work in the art world, and sent residents and travellers alike in a tizzy.
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A whole body of folklore goes around the historical city concerning the origin of the piece of art—some contend that Michelangelo did as part of a challenge where he was supposed to draw with his back to the wall, while others hold that it was a pilloried public offender that he etched here.