A missing finger from the ancient bronze statue of Constantine the Great was in the Louvre Museum all along. Now, it is has been reunited with the original.
The ancient bronze finger was located in the Louvre Museum for decades, having been miscategorized in 1913. It was one of the many relics that the Louvre acquired from the Italian bankercGiampietro Campana in 1913. Campana was a famous 19th-century art collector who was known across Europe for his Greek and Roman art collection. In 2018, the finger was noticed by Aurélia Azéma, a doctoral student. Azéma, who was studying ancient welding techniques, realized that the finger must come from a statue that was at least 39-feet tall.
The investigations led to the Capitoline Museum in Rome, which houses a colossal bronze statue of Constantine. Nicholas Melard, the chief archaeologist at Louvre, printed a 3-D model of the finger and brought it to the Capitoline. There, it was found to match perfectly with the rest of the statue. Now, the Italian newspaper Messaggero reported that the finger has been reunited with the rest of the statue. The finger was restored using a “non-invasive, reversible and invisible” technique which gives a natural continuity to the join.
Constantine was a Roman emperor of the 4th century who is widely credited for converting to Christianity and spreading it across Europe. The bronze statue was damaged in 1584 when the orb held by it was separated from the rest of the statue. Apart from the index finger, it is also missing the middle finger and most of the palm. The head, left forearm and sphere are some of the intact pieces of the original statue.