Michelangelo’s Autographed Letters Unveiled at Casa Buonarroti


A recently restored document written by Michelangelo

Three hundred and forty-two autographed letters by Michelangelo Buonarroti, restored by Antonella Brogi, can now be found in the Casa Buonarroti Archive. One of Italy’s most beloved artists, Michelangelo was a sculptor, painter, architect and poet.  Born in the small Tuscan town of Anghiari, he purchased a home in Florence, where generations of his descendants lived and is now a museum where the archive is housed (Casa Buonarroti, via Ghibellina 70).

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Over the years, historians have observed Michelangelo’s life so closely that many aspects of it are widely known: what he ate, how much he spent on clothing, just to name a few. It is also familiar how the famous artist expressed emotions of gratitude, anger and fear over the course of his life.

These curious details about the artist were only discovered through the enormous number of contracts, letters received, drafts of correspondences to be sent, sketches, outlines of poems and expense account information that he collected throughout his life, which were saved by his family and passed down carefully from generation to generation.

Moreover, descendants of Michelangelo began adding their own personal documents to his, which in turn created a massive family archive; comprising 169 volumes made of 25,000 papers.

The most notable pieces in the Michelangelo archive are his handwritten letters, which include letters sent to Pope Clement VII, the Queen of France Caterina de’ Medici and historian Benedetto Varchi, amongst many other prestigious figures of that time.

The 342 historically important and fragile papers, recently restored, makeup volumes IV and V of the Buonarroti Archive. The archive is composed of the Buonarroti family’s manuscripts, tracing all the way back to Michelangelo’s ancestors up until 1859. Two of Michelangelo’s letters are currently on display for the public to observe at Casa Buonarroti thanks to Cambiano bank, which contributed to the restoration of the documents.  The Casa Buonarroti also displays a portrait of Michelangelo by Marcello Venusti in addition to several marble reliefs by the Renaissance genius including the Madonna della Scala (Madonna of the Stairs) and the Battle of the Centaurs.

To view images of the letters and read more about Casa Buonarroti, visit https://www.casabuonarroti.it/ufficio-stampa/. (Parker Hurley)