Fascinating lost and found art stories

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Many great works of art have been found over the years in the most unlikely of places. Some have been recovered after being stolen from private collections or museums, while others are newly discovered masterpieces. What follows are five of the most fascinating art retrieval stories.

1. The Michelangelo Sculptures

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It was long suspected that the two sculptures housed in a British private collection were the work of the infamous Italian artist Michelangelo. But because the theory about these “bronze panther riders” was all but discounted in the nineteenth century, they were allowed to go largely unnoticed until recently. Cinching the attribution of these sculptures to Michelangelo was the discovery of a sketch by one of his apprentices – whose practice it was to copy the work of his teacher. Included in this sketch was a muscular youth riding a panther which was nearly identical to the panther riding form of the sculptures. The identification of these works of art is amazing because they are the only surviving bronze sculptures belonging to the Renaissance artist.

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