It would seem that a dreadful mistake was made.
Cellini once told the tale of how Michelangelo’s nose came to be broken, a tale he heard from the man who did it – Pietro Torrigiani. Alas, it seems he jumped to a large conclusion… When Torrigiani said he had to flee Florence afterwards for fear of what the ruler, Lorenzo de’ Medici might do to him, Cellini assumed he meant Lorenzo the Magnificent. Alas, no. He meant Lorenzo the Magnificent’s grandson, also called Lorenzo, and also ruler of Florence, but a generation later.
As a result, 500 years of art historians have assumed that the nose was flat from 1492 on, and never thought to look for perfect-nosed Michelangelos between the ages of 17 (his age in 1492), and 41 (his age in 1516, when it really happened). So we missed a great many treats… something that at last can be put right! Here is Michelangelo’s nose, then, in all its glory, both before and after, and both flattened – and flattered!!