Michelangelo Sketch Discovered

1563 Drawing Thought to Be Instructions for Stone Carvers

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 10, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See announced the discovery of a design for the cupola of the Basilica of St. Peter's presumed to have been drawn by Michelangelo.

A statement sent Friday reported that the design would be presented today to Cardinal Angelo Comastri, president of the Fabbrica di San Pietro, the office in charge of construction matters related to St. Peter's.

"In turn, on a date yet to be established, the design will be officially presented to the information organizations and made public in the Press Office of the Holy See," the communiqué stated.

The announcement of the discovery among the papers archived at the Fabbrica di San Pietro was made in the Friday Italian edition of L'Osservatore Romano.

The sketch is dated 1563, the year before Michelangelo's death, and experts who have analyzed it think it deals with instructions the artist sent to the carvers who were cutting the stone blocks of the basilica.

The specialists do not doubt the authorship of Michelangelo due to the stroke and presentation of the sketch.

The sketch was drawn on a clipping of paper. For unknown reasons, it remained hidden among other administration documents at the Fabbrica di San Pietro until its recent discovery.

The current St. Peter's basilica was begun in 1506, following a plan by Bramante. It was finished in 1626. Michelangelo worked on it as the architect from 1546 until the end of his life in 1564.