“When you put out something like this, there’s going to be a lot of naysayers,” Fahy said. “But the people who really have good eyes in this field that I’ve shown the painting to, they’ve all agreed with me. With attributions, it’s not the number of people who agree with you, it’s the quality of their judgments.”
Fahy has written a 65-page article about the painting, which will appear in the Italian scholarly journal Nuovi Studi. The title of the article is “An Overlooked Michelangelo?” “I put the question mark there so that I would not offend people,” Fahy said. “I thought it would be more diplomatic.”
The Met bought the painting at Sotheby’s London, along with a companion work attributed to Granacci, which depicts episodes in the life of the Baptist. “I think it’s ironic that the Met paid $200,000 for the Granacci and $150,000 for the painting I attribute to Michelangelo,” Fahy said.
Granacci (1469/70–1543), a pupil of Domenico Ghirlandaio, was five years older than Michelangelo (1475–1564) and played a formative role in his early life, Fahy said. They were so close that when Michelangelo went to Venice in 1529, Granacci remained in Florence and looked after his friend’s personal affairs.