Vita Gazette

News from Italy

Michelangelo’s scribble sells for $200,000

Vita gazette – A square scribbled on a yellowed piece of paper by Renaissance genius Michelangelo sold for $201,600 auction house Christie’s explained.

The sheet with the great artist’s doodle, initially valued at a modest $6-8,000, was sold at Christie’s in New York for $201,600. Despite the lack of a signature, experts at Christie’s were able to confidently attribute the 1.8 by 2.6-inch piece of yellowed paper to the Italian Renaissance master. This was thanks to its well-documented provenance and a handwritten letter from Michelangelo’s last known descendent. The drawing, part of a larger sheet of corresponding diagrams, was eventually auctioned to an unknown private buyer after fierce bidding on April 17.

The small work depicts a block of marble with the word “simile” or “similar” in English. A Christie’s specialist told AFP in January that it is believed to have been drawn while Michelangelo worked on his famed Sistine Chapel ceiling. The drawing is coupled with a letter written by Cosimo Buonarroti in 1836, in which he offers the piece by his “illustrious forefather Michelangelo” to Sir John Bowring, the future governor of Hong Kong, whose signature appears at the bottom of the sheet.

Christie’s specialists found the letter and diagram attached to the back of a different drawing that had been in a private collection for decades, the auction house said in a media statement. Though unsigned by Michelangelo, Christie noted that research confirmed the great Italian artist was responsible for the small drawing. According to Christie’s, fewer than 10 of Michelangelo’s works are thought to be privately owned, with most housed in the Casa Buonarroti, a museum in Florence, Italy.

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