Michelangelo’s Hand-Drawn Diagram For Sale

In a groundbreaking revelation, Christie’s proudly announces the upcoming auction of a pen-and-brown-ink diagram of a marble block crafted by the legendary Michelangelo.

The esteemed auction house has set an estimated value of $6,000-8,000 for this extraordinary piece, which will be showcased on 17th April 2024, as part of the prestigious A Park Avenue Collection in New York.

This auction, featuring French Furniture, Old Master Paintings, Drawings, and Chinese Works of Art, marks the culmination of over four decades of passionate collecting.

The Rediscovery

Recently identified by Christie’s Old Master Drawings Department, this small yet significant work depicts a block of marble, embellished with the word ‘simile,’ meaning ‘similar’ in English.

Surprisingly attached to a letter by Michelangelo’s descendant, the diagram had been known in literature but overlooked until its discovery. Found affixed to the back of a different drawing in a private collection for decades, the drawing was sold in the 1986 Christie’s auction titled “A Battle of Giants.”

Attributed to an “Associate of Michelangelo Buonarroti,” the catalogue from 1986 mentioned a scrap of paper believed to be in Michelangelo’s hand.

Michelangelo's Hidden Legacy: Exclusive Pen-and-Ink Diagram Offered by Christie’s

Last year, Christie’s specialists, upon reviewing the drawing, identified the small sketch on the back as an authentic Michelangelo creation, a conclusion later confirmed by extensive research.

The Offering

The pen-and-ink diagram, along with the accompanying letter, will be presented as a single lot.

Currently on display at Christie’s Rockefeller Center until 31st January, alongside a diverse selection of Old Master paintings, sculptures, drawings, Antiquities, Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Christie’s Exceptional Sale, this offering is a rare opportunity for art enthusiasts to connect with Michelangelo’s genius.

Dr. Giada Damen, the Head of the Old Master Drawings Sale, expressed her excitement about this unique opportunity for collectors. She described the diagram as both functional and intimate, suggesting its likely use in communication with a quarry or shipping firm.

Damen believes the piece offers a glimpse into Michelangelo’s mind, showcasing the artist’s meticulous attention to the selection of marble blocks. She emphasized that this small sheet provides a direct link to Michelangelo’s daily life, highlighting the profound importance he attached to his role as a sculptor.

A Rarity in Private Hands

With less than 10 works by Michelangelo believed to remain in private hands, this diagram holds immense significance. The current piece belongs to a group of diagrams of marble blocks, most of which are housed in the Casa Buonarroti, a museum in Florence, Italy.

Established by Michelangelo’s last direct male descendant, Cosimo Buonarroti, the museum preserves the artist’s legacy. The last public sale of a Michelangelo diagram of a marble block occurred in 2008 at Christie’s London, fetching an astonishing £73,250 against an estimated £10,000-15,000.

Both the 2008 diagram and the upcoming one were once owned by Cosimo Buonarroti, accompanied by inscriptions detailing his generous gifts.

The present drawing, given in 1836 to Sir John Bowring, a distinguished English tourist who later became the governor of Hong Kong, stands as a testament to Michelangelo’s generosity and the enduring allure of his masterpieces.


As the art world eagerly anticipates the auction of Michelangelo’s pen-and-ink diagram, Christie’s has once again unveiled a hidden gem that provides a rare glimpse into the genius of one of art history’s towering figures.

This remarkable offering not only adds to the legacy of Michelangelo but also exemplifies Christie’s commitment to showcasing art that transcends time and captivates the hearts of collectors worldwide.

Art enthusiasts, historians, and collectors alike are encouraged to seize this unique opportunity to own a piece of Michelangelo’s legacy, enriching their appreciation for the artist’s profound impact on the world of art.

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