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Michelangelo sketch of St. Peter's is uncovered

December 07, 2007|From the Associated Press

VATICAN CITY — A long-missing Michelangelo sketch for the dome of St. Peter's Basilica, possibly his last design before his death, has been found in the basilica's offices, the Vatican newspaper reported Thursday.

The sketch, drawn in blood-red chalk for stonecutters working on the construction of the basilica, was done by the Renaissance master in 1563, the year before his death, L'Osservatore Romano reported. It said the drawing would be presented at a news conference on Monday.

Michelangelo, who began working on the basilica in 1547, was in his late 80s when he did the sketch. The sketch is especially rare, the Vatican newspaper noted, because the artist ordered many of his designs destroyed in his later years.

The sketch was discovered in the Fabbrica of St. Peter's, which contains the basilica's offices.

L'Osservatore Roman said most sketches done by Michelangelo for the stonecutters were destroyed or lost, but this one survived because a supervisor used the back to make notes about problems linked to the stone's transport into Rome.

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