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The Faun’s head incident is mentioned in the two volumes of Vasari’s Vite (1550 and 1568) as well as Ascanio Condivi’s biography (1553). An excited elderly faun, anxious to show off his amazing visit to the garden, had his head carved by Michelangelo from an old piece. Although Lorenzo was grateful for the effort, in an attempt to severely discourage the youngster, he told him that his work was unlikely since the teeth shown in the disk mouth were too perfect—like no ancient man had.

Then, as the Lord finished showing the young man the garden, he quickly removed a faun’s teeth with a drill bit and extracted the relative’s gum, making it appear as though he had removed the root. He then displayed his improved appearance as soon as Lorenzo drove by on the way back. The Duke chose to welcome the youngster and his family and placed him under guard in Palazzo Medici after being moved by the boy’s preparedness and goodness.

Although Benedetto Varchi (“A head of an ancient faun”) referenced the statue in 1564, neither he nor the other sources identify the work’s location at the time, implying that it had already been lost. In reality, during the second ejection of the physicians in 1494, the populace ransacked both the garden and the Palazzo Medici. It is not ruled out that any artwork influenced by Greek-Roman paganism was destroyed by Savonarola’s preaching.

Ottavio Vannini frescoed the scene in Palazzo Pitti depicting the young Michelangelo revealing his head to the Magnificent. Meanwhile, the boy who sculpts his head is the subject of an eighteenth-century statue of Cesare Zocchi, currently on display at Casa Buonarroti and the subject of numerous replicas created by the Romanelli shop.

A head of Faun that had been linked to the seventeenth-century Michelangelo sculpture was kept in the Bargello Museum’s collections until 1860, when its age was revised to between 1500 and 1600, if not later. The artwork, which was distributed in 1944 and is now only recognized by chalk-in-offs, features certain aspects that date back to the fourteenth century (such as the nose-cutting) and a prominent usage of the drill in the hair, which has been connected to the leopard skin that Bacchus displays.

The description of the apartment is very detailed: the model did not have the open mouth that Michelangelo had meticulously sculpted, but the bearded head with chattering teeth was visible. Vasari went on to say that he had a “fault” in his nose, was wrinkly (“grinzo”), and had his lips open to reveal his tongue. But they were recollections connected to the artist’s firsthand evidence gathered by Condivi and later publicly boasted by Vasari.

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