Michelangelo letter sold for 576,000 dollars

Translated from Dutch news agency ANP:

NEW YORK – A letter by Italian artist Michelangelo this Monday at an auction in New York City was sold for 576,000 dollars (434,000 euros) .

Auctioneers Sotheby’s say that is much more than expected.

The 1521 letter is about paying gold coins to two sculptors working at his sculpture of the Risen Christ in the Santa Maria Sopra Minerva church in Rome.

The letter is part of 31 rare documents owned by a US American collector sold now.

A letter from 1534 by Catharine of Aragon to her cousin Charles V was sold for 156,000 dollars (117,000 euros).

In the letter, she asks the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire to use his influence with the pope to save her marriage to the king of England, Henry VIII.

Queen Catharine, Charles V, and Henry VIII while alive, were used to much money, for being members of the ruling class (not for doing anything of artistic value).

Michelangelo, however, while certainly not poor, also certainly never got over half a million dollars for any of his works, let alone for a letter.

He lived in comfortable semi-serfdom to popes who ordered him to do painting and architecture while he prefered sculpture.

And, as with many other artists, today people who never contributed a drop of paint or cubic millimeter of marble get rich off them.

Somewhat similarly: Che Guevara, and Che portrait photographer Alberto Korda.

4 thoughts on “Michelangelo letter sold for 576,000 dollars

  1. 2009-06-16 17:02

    Henry VIII divorce plea reproduced

    Replica of ‘Causa Anglica’ to be presented in Rome

    (ANSA) – Vatican City, June 16 – An Italian publisher has produced a scaled-down replica of the massive petition written by English lords in 1530 to try to persuade the pope to let Henry VIII get a divorce.

    The Venice-based publisher, Scrinium, was given unprecedented access to the Causa Anglica letter which has been kept in the Vatican’s secret archive for almost 500 years.

    Scrinium’s replica will be unveiled at Rome’s Palazzo della Cancellertia, the former papal chancellery, on June 23 – the anniversary of the eve of Henry’s incoronation on June 24, 1509.

    The company used the skills of Venetian glass-workers to reproduce the 85 seals on the letter.

    It noted that the Vatican’s copy of the letter is better preserved than the original kept in the Royal Archives at Kew, which is damaged and has no seals.

    Pope Clement VII’s negative response to the Lords’ appeal led Henry to break from Rome so he could divorce Catherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn in the hope of having a male heir. The Anglican Schism led to the dissolution of the monasteries and hundreds of years of religious strife.

    During the presentation of the replica at the Palazzo della Cancelleria, the original parchment, two metres long and one metre wide, will be on view in its special glass case.


  2. Pingback: Michelangelo’s David sculpture abused by merchants of death | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Art, money, and resistance | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Michelangelo bronze sculpture discovery in England | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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