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Secret Portrait of Michelangelo Found in One of his Sketches

Antonia R.Antonia R.
Michelangelo portrait

A self-portrait of Michelangelo Buonarroti has been found in a work that's nearly 500 years old. The sketch was of a close friend of his, in which the painter left a trace of his own self.

The sketch is on display at the British Museum in London, with Michelangelo's self-portrait evident in the form of a small figure in the stomach area of the woman posing for him.

Her name was Vittoria and while he was drawing the contours of her dress, Michelangelo included his own image in the details. This image has gone unnoticed for years, despite having been examined by numerous art experts.

It is believed the self-portrait was a way for the artist to sign his work, since at the time writing one's actual signature on the canvas was seen as a crude practice.

Michelangelo secret portrait

The church also decried artists signing their works because of the danger of them becoming too prideful, and pride is of course one of the seven deadly sins.

However, many artists were able to discreetly show who the author of a particular work was.

Head of the study, Dr. Deivish di Kampusch, from the Federal University of Health Sciences of Porto Alegre, reminds that Michelangelo used a similar self-portrait in another of his works.

In that one he illustrated a sonnet for his friend Giovanni Da Pistoia with his own image while working on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

The Vittoria Colonna sketch with Michelangelo's depiction can't really be called a drawing, it's more of a sketch of himself in the act of painting. The sketch was most likely drawn in 1509, although other experts believe it was done later - in 1525.