Interview with the author: Hermann Alexander Beyeler
Q: You own a gallery. You sell paintings. Why are you determined to give Michelangelo’s bozzetto away?
A: The bozzetto is “a painting like no other”. And let’s be real: would you really want a depiction of such an “inferno of despair” hanging in your living room?
Q: No, of course not. But this really is a valuable painting.
A: The material value of the bozzetto has never crossed my mind. That is not what this is all about. Whoever thinks that way has already lost and immediately becomes just a prisoner of their own greed. The bozzetto unleashes exactly this desire for “more and more”. It is difficult to withstand it when you see the millions beckoning. Greed is quite rightly a deadly sin.
Q: Of course, but why is the bozzetto so dangerous?
A: Because of what this image embodies and what entered into it when it was created: the incarnation of both Good and Evil. To be crude: the bozzetto shows Satan living next to God.
Q: Where did you learn all about the magic of the bozzetto?
A: Predominantly from others’ “experiences”, as well as my own. My friend Gerd, for instance, has already dedicated over a quarter of a century to the bozzetto! I have also been researching it for a number of years. On the whole it was a lengthy and very complicated puzzle. With a lot of luck and hard work we managed to find and put together some prominent pieces. The bozzetto’s long path through Europe’s history is full of incredible events. Even just looking at what we discovered about events after 1944 is quite impressive, though in a negative sense. The bozzetto has left a rather “bloody” trail, if you will.
Q: That really doesn’t sound good. Are you not scared of the bozzetto at all?
A: No (laughs). We are the “goodies” – but I would never touch the bozzetto.
Q: Why “we”?
A: Luckily I am not alone on this tricky mission. There are a couple of people with me who, like myself, are “in the know” and only want to eradicate the evil in the bozzetto.
Q: Do you actually know where the bozzetto is at the moment?
A: Of course. As ever, the bozzetto is using people’s greed to make trouble. They are living dangerously. We ultimately want to protect these poor devils; this is unfortunately quite complicated as they refuse to acknowledge that the bozzetto has driven many of its previous owners to ruin or insanity. Or death.
Q: That would be a terrible thing to discover!
A: But true, unfortunately.
Q: Who currently owns the bozzetto?
A: Ah, only those concerned know that, as is only right. In any case, the bozzetto is not where it belongs: the Vatican.
Q: Why are you so certain that the bozzetto would no longer pose a danger once it is back in the Vatican?
A: To put it simply: firstly, because it is its rightful place. From there it came and there it will return.
Q: And secondly?
A: Secondly, well, then I would have to reveal spoilers from the book.
Q: And you don’t want to do that?
A: Of course not. I can’t spoil the whole book! But I will tell you one thing: we know that the bozzetto was a pilgrimage site over 450 years ago in the Vatican and worked great miracles.
Q: And you are determined to return it to Rome?
A: Yes, to the Vatican. I want to do this and will do it as soon as I can.
Q: Does the fact that you are a legitimate descendant of the Russian Tsars play any role here?
A: Not in the slightest. Although some time ago this did open a door for me that might otherwise have remained permanently closed.
Q: The bozzetto is rumoured to harness the “power of black magic”. What do you know about this?
A: The bozzetto unquestionably has “that power which would the Good ever do, and ever does the Evil” – or was it the other way around? (laughs) But in all seriousness: yes, the battle for the bozzetto involves greedy as well as power-hungry people – in the worst sense!
Q: Are you referring to the events following the Nazis’ discovery of the bozzetto in Paris? The bozzetto didn’t help the Third Reich to claim ultimate victory!
A: No, luckily not – although it can always get worse.
Q: I don’t understand, what do you mean by that?
A: You have probably never heard about Himmler’s idea of a “Fourth Reich”, no? You saw the results of the European elections. Just wait and see what happens. Then it will become clear what I mean. If we are not vigilant, the ideological successors to the Nazis will have achieved exactly this goal faster than any of us would have liked.
Q: So we will see one another again then?
A: Gladly, if it hasn’t become too hot a topic for you by then!