Please, Mind the Michelangelo

The artwork gracing the walls in Jesuit communities is often restricted to framed posters of famous paintings: Caravaggio's "Supper at Emmaus" presides over the dining room, perhaps a copy of Henry Ossawa Tanner's "The Annunciation" in the chapel.

It seems that may not be the case at Campion Hall, the Jesuit community at the University of Oxford. Italian art conservator Antonio Forcellino claims to have discovered a "Lost Michelangelo" that hung anonymously in the Jesuit residence for decades.  Originally thought to be the work of Marcello Venusti, Forcellino claims that "No-one but Michelangelo could have painted such a masterpiece."


The superior of Campion Hall, Brendan Callaghan, SJ, remarked to the BBC that "simply having it hanging on our wall wasn't a good idea."  If Forcellino is correct about the painting's origins, that may prove to be quite an understatement!

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
William Logan
6 years 8 months ago
For an engaging account of a similar story, I recommend the book The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr (2005). It recounts the discovery of Caravaggio's ''The Taking of Christ'' in a Jesuit rectory in Dublin. Perhaps there are more hidden masterpieces in other Jesuit communities!


Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Xavier High School students fill West 16th Street during the National School Walkout Day. (Credit: Shawna Gallagher Vega/Xavier High School)
Our student body generated dialogue around a topic that we did not all agree on.
Devin OnMarch 23, 2018
Protesters gather near the Manchester Central Fire Station in Manchester, N.H., Monday, March 19, 2018, where President Donald Trump madee an unscheduled visit. Trump is in New Hampshire to unveil more of his plan to combat the nation's opioid crisis. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
To suggest the use of the death penalty as a way to address the opioid epidemic ignores what we know already to be true: The death penalty is a flawed and broken tool in the practical pursuit of justice.
Karen CliftonMarch 23, 2018
(Images: Wikimedia Commons, iStock/Composite: America)
An angel whispered in my ear: “Fred, ‘Be not afraid.’”
Fred DaleyMarch 23, 2018
(photo: Music Box Films)
“Back to Burgundy” is about family tensions boiled up by both the financial and artistic challenges of the wine business.