In fact, the finger was considered irreparably lost. But in 2010, Aurélia Azéma, a French doctor. a student researching welding techniques used to make ancient large bronze artifacts suggested that the Louvre figure may have belonged to Constantine in the Capitol. The theory was confirmed eight years later when a French team of scientists and a curator from the Louvre reproduced a finger of three-dimensional resin and went to the Capitol to see if it was appropriate.
“It was perfect,” Ms. Azema said in an email. Like two pieces of a puzzle.
Mr Parisi Presiche said that at the time, Jean-Luc Martinez, president-director of the Louvre Museum, “immediately decided it was right”
The finger had found its way to the Louvre in 1863, where for a short time (1913-1915) it was cataloged as soil. He arrived through a large group of works of art that once belonged to Giampietro Campana, a Roman art collector and archaeologist who amassed one of the great collections of the 19th century.
He was accused of embezzlement in 1857, and his collection was confiscated and put up for sale in 1861. Napoleon III acquired a large lot, which is exhibited in the Louvre, and another lot was acquired by Emperor Alexander II for the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia.
The finger and hand were collected for the first time in 2018 for an exhibition featuring the Campana collection at the Louvre, which in 2019 travels to the Hermitage.
Finally, the Louvre’s finger arrived in the Capitol this week for a “renewable loan,” a statement from the French Museum said. It was attached to the arm, “although almost invisible, non-invasive and reversible,” said Mr Parisi Presiche.
The newly joined hand is exposed next to the other pieces that make up the original core of statues donated to the public by Sixtus IV, which includes The Wolf, the famous symbol of Rome.