The Prophet Balaam, Tommaso Porlezza della Porta, 1575 - 1577
This sculpted modello or bozzetto is a design for a statue of the prophet Balaam intended for the basilica of the pilgrimage site of Loreto in Central Italy. The church was built around the Santa Casa, the house where, according to legend, the Virgin was born. The statuette stands out for its virtuoso modelling, as in the figure’s right arm and hand. It was long thought to be by Michelangelo.