ROME, Italy — Following the announcement of the discovery of the Gnome of St. Peter, the Vatican has recently uncovered a trove of unknown Renaissance sculptures deep within the vaults of St. Symian’s Cathedral.
“The popes from the past hid many things,” said art archivist Julian Angeline. “They never knew when greedy or desperate rulers might try to sack the Vatican.”
Among the statuary was a vellum scroll signed by none other than Pope Julius II and Michelangelo. Renaissance historian Herbert Chissel was given access to the find.
“This document is a contract between the two men,” said Chissel. “It is commonly known that the pope was frustrated by how long it took Michelangelo to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling. With this scroll, His Holiness bet that he could teach a monkey to create works of art more quickly than Michelangelo.”
There were three sculptures in the vault.
“The first one appears to be an attempt to recreate Michelangelo’s David,” said Chissel. “The figure is upright, with something slung over his shoulder. That’s where the similarity ends.
“There’s a big screaming hole of a mouth, the feet are the size of clown shoes, and the midsection is just a flabby mass of marble.”
The second work seemed to be a sculpture of Moses.
“The monkey didn’t bother sculpting the body, face or the horns that Michelangelo’s Moses has,” said Chisel. “Indeed, it is not even clear whether this Moses has a head. It’s just a lumpy slab with a beard.”
The third statue was the Pieta, a depiction of Mary holding Jesus in her lap.
“It’s difficult to tell where one figure ends and the other begins,” said Chissel. “It looks like a pyramid with feet sticking out and the top of a head from the side.
“While the monkey may have created the statues more quickly than Michelangelo, the poor workmanship — or rather, workchimpship — proved that Michelangelo’s method was superior,” Chissel said. “And though the wager is not explicit in the scroll, the outcome is not in doubt.”