Sandro Bondi is a professional politician with a degree in philosophy. He started out in the Italian Communist Party (PCI), working as an insurance agent, then became mayor of Fivizzano and swiftly transformed the town council, and himself, into Christian Democrat lackeys. He left the PCI soon after. In 1994 Bondi met Berlusconi and was hired to deal with the great buffoon’s personal correspondence, a task he no doubt performed with dedication and alacrity, although it’s hard to imagine SB committing anything of importance to a medium as potentially damaging as paper. In 2001 he was the man behind the hagiographical Una Storia Italiana, a pack of half- and downright lies designed to hoodwink the Italian electorate into voting for the lecherous old crook. Unfortunately, it worked.
Prosecutors for Italy’s National Audit Office are now looking into the purchase to determine whether the state overpaid for the object, and Renaissance art experts will be asked whether it should be credited to Michelangelo.
Many have spoken out already.
“The attribution wrongs Michelangelo, as well as the history of 15th-century Florence,” where there were at least a dozen skilled artisans capable of making crucifixes like the one in question, said Francesco Caglioti, a specialist in Renaissance sculpture, who believes that the crucifix is typical of those made in such workshops, and is worth about 100,000 euros, or about $129,700.
“Unfortunately, my colleagues have forgotten that, and every time something beautiful emerges, they attribute it to a famous name,” Mr. Caglioti said. “It would seem like everything done in Renaissance Florence can be attributed to 10 people with a thousand hands.”