Michelangelo doodle that started from an estimate of $6,000 sold for $200,000

No dice for those who thought they could take home a Michelangelo doodle on the cheap: the sketch of a marble block that went to auction at Christie's with an estimate of $6-8,000 was in fact purchased for over $200,000!

It didn’t go so well for those who had dreamed of taking home a Michelangelo drawing for a relatively low figure at Christie’ s auction in New York the day before yesterday: the sheet with a doodle by the great artist, which had been put up for sale with a very low estimate ($6-8,000), was in fact sold, in the end, for a figure of $201,600. The cost of a small apartment, in short, typical for Michelangelo’s drawings (which usually reach figures of five or six zeros, with records of 23 million for a drawing also sold at Christie’s), but decidedly high when one considers that the drawing in question is nothing more than a crooked square with a signature. And that is a block of marble with the inscription “Simile,” probably a note that Michelangelo had left with some of his suppliers, or with himself to remind himself of a measurement.

The drawing is attached to a letter written in 1836 by a descendant of Michelangelo, Cosimo Buonarroti, who that year gave the sheet to an English tourist named John Bowring, who later became governor of Hong Kong. The sheet first went to auction at Christie’s in 1986, attributed to Michelangelo’s circle. It was later recognized as authentic by Christie’s auction house, and evidently generated interest in the art world. Despite the small size of the paper and the fact that it is a simple note rather than a complete drawing, Michelangelo’s autograph authorship gives the sheet significant importance.

As we said when the auction was announced, it was predictable that the final price would reach higher figures, considering the rarity and prestige associated with Michelangelo’s name (there is in fact the precedent of another similar sketch, passed by Christie’s with an estimate of £10-15,000 and sold for £73,250). In short, there are those who, in order to have what is ultimately less than a signature of Michelangelo in their collection, are even willing to spend considerable sums!

The paper that goes up for auction
The paper going up for auction

Michelangelo doodle that started from an estimate of $6,000 sold for $200,000
Michelangelo doodle that started from an estimate of $6,000 sold for $200,000

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