FORT WORTH — As the economy sputters, one investment continues to buck the trend.
The art market is on fire. So what better time for Fort Worth's Milan Gallery to reveal that it has bronze castings of two famous Michelangelo sculptures.
First, a quick history lesson.
The Battle of the Centaurs by Michelangelo depicts nude figures gripped in combat. It’s considered an early turning point in his young career.
For more than 500 years, you could see it only in Florence, Italy.
"They've pretty much been in one place for a long time, and to make a change is just historic," said the gallery's Tal Milan.
But now there are bronze casting of Centaurs and another early Michelangelo, Madonna of the Stairs. Both are hanging at the Milan Gallery in Fort Worth. They are copies made from decades-old molds of the original that Milan and a partner discovered unused in an Italian foundry.
"It's fantastic that it's happened in our lifetime,” he said.
The molds were basically made as an insurance policy — in case anything happened to the original, the Italians could make a copy.
But it took Texans to realize that this was a business opportunity.
Working with the Italian government and the Casa Buonarroti Museum, which was Michelangelo's house, Milan secured exclusive rights to cast a small number of bronze replicas of the originals.
Even though these are copies, Milan says they’re still worth millions.
But if that check is a little bigger than the balance in your account... and you can't even swing a trip to Italy... you can still visit the gallery in Sundance Square and see them for yourself.