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Michelangelo note brings $200,000

Michelangelo is considered one of the most famous artists in the world. Even the smallest legacies are worth a lot: a small piece of paper with a note on it fetched a good $200,000 at an auction.

A small note by the Italian Renaissance artist Michelangelo (1475-1564) has been auctioned in New York for more than $200,000 (around 190,000 euros). The approximately four by six centimeter piece of paper was originally estimated at only 6,000 to 8,000 dollars and has now fetched around 25 times as much, said the auction house Christie's. It was not revealed who paid the final price of $201,600.

The painter and sculptor had scribbled a square on the piece of paper that, according to experts, represents a block of marble. In the square is the Italian word “simile”, which means “similar” or “like”. He apparently wanted to communicate the proportions of a block of marble required for his work.

The note was found along with a letter from a later century.

Written while working on the Sistine Chapel

According to a Christie's expert, the sketch was probably created while Michelangelo was working on his famous ceiling painting in the Sistine Chapel in Rome. The paper was found on the back of a frame along with a letter from his descendant Cosimo Buonarroti from 1836. Buonarroti had written the letter to offer the sketch of his “famous ancestor Michelangelo” to Sir John Bowring, later governor of Hong Kong.

The sketch does not bear Michelangelo's signature, but research has shown that it was actually made by Michelangelo, according to Christie's. According to the auction house, fewer than ten Michelangelo works are in private hands. Most of the Renaissance artist's works are in the Casa Buonarroti, a museum in Florence.

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