Sunday, May 11, 2008

Michelangelo sketches of Sistine Chapel to be displayed in Italy

7 May 2008

ANSA - English Media Service

A drawing attributed to Michelangelo that shows sketches for the decoration of the Sistine Chapel will go on show for the first time this weekend after it was discovered in a private collection last year.

The work was found among the belongings of Giacomo Maria Ugolini, San Marino's ambassador to Egypt and Jordan, which Ugolini bequeathed to a foundation bearing his name when he died last year.

Measuring 2.90 by 3.77 metres, the drawing includes studies of a female figure with children, a seated male figure and a podgy winged baby, or 'putto', as well as various sketches of arms and a right hand.

"The drawing presents surprising similarities to two others already attributed to Michelangelo - one certainly authentic - kept at the British Museum in London and the Detroit Institute of Arts," said Heinrich Pfeiffer, professor of Christian Art History at the Gregorian University and the man who found the drawing last year, at the presentation of the work on Wednesday.

However, Pfeiffer admitted that the number of sketches attributed to Michelangelo has grown in the last few decades, often with little justification.

He said that it was possible that in this case the drawing is a copy rather than the genuine item, but if so it was made ''by an extremely able hand, perhaps even by a contemporary of Michelangelo''.

The drawing will go on show as part of an exhibition entitled Genesis - The Mystery of Origins in the town of Illegio, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, from May 11 until October 5

Around 60 biblically inspired works from between the fourth and the 20th centuries and from 15 European countries will be on display, including Russian and Byzantine icons and masterpices by Andrea Pisano, Tintoretto and Antonio Canova. Photo: A Michelangelo sketch.