A wooden crucifix sculpture by Michelangelo has been restored and placed in the church of Santo Spirito in Florence.

The sculpture was made by the Renaissance master when he was 18 years old for a community of Augustine monks, who let him stay them for a year after his benefactor Lorenzo de Medici died in 1492. Michelangelo studied anatomy in the hospital run by the monks and he created the sculpture for their high altar as a thank you present.

The sculpture depicts a nude Jesus Christ on the cross, it is carved in wood and is 1.4 metres high.

It was thought to have been lost for decades until it was discovered in a convent corridor. It had been overpainted and experts could hardly recognise it as the work by the master. After restoration it was shown in Florence’s Casa Buonarrotti Museum.

The item was taken for restoration, and now that works have been completed it has returned to its original place. It has been suspended above the Santo Spirito’s old sacristy so that it is directly visible from inside the church and visitors can see it from all angles.

Restoration and cleaning work was performed thanks to a donation by The Friends of Florence non-profit group, who helped organise the return of the piece to the basilica it was originally created for.