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Michelangelo-inspired Cardboard Bridge Floats Above Rome's Tiber River

A view of an art installation by French artist Olivier Grossetete titled "The Farnese Bridge", in Rome. REUTERS/Yara Nardi

A view of an art installation by French artist Olivier Grossetete titled "The Farnese Bridge", in Rome. REUTERS/Yara Nardi

French ambassador Christian Masset said in a statement the bridge was a sign that Italy and France were intrinsically connected.

An illuminated 18-metre long cardboard bridge suspended by three large white helium balloons is floating above Rome’s Tiber river, bringing to life a project imagined but never realised by Michelangelo. Pope Paul III commissioned the artist to create a bridge connecting the Palazzo Farnese, a 16th Century family palace that now hosts the French embassy to Italy, with the gardens of a villa on the other side of the river.

It was never completed after Michelangelo’s death, but the “Farnese Bridge" installation by French artist Olivier Grossetete is a tribute to the Renaissance master.

The French embassy was among the promoters of the initiative, which culminated in an inauguration on the eve of France’s Bastille Day national celebration.

French ambassador Christian Masset said in a statement the bridge was a sign that Italy and France were intrinsically connected and their friendship was strong and unbreakable.

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The installation will remain in place until July 18. The cardboard will then be recycled.

The High Renaissance artist from Italy who exerted a all encompassing influence on the development of Western art was also said to be inspired by the Belvedere Torso, a fragmentary Greek marble statue more than 2,000 years old. It was studied by generations of artists, including Michelangelo, who would spend hours before it every day and used it as his inspiration.

Historians and scholars have often called Michelangelo as the greatest artist of his age and even as the greatest artist of all times.

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first published:July 15, 2021, 18:58 IST