Stolen Michelangelo archives held ransom to The Vatican


Sistine Chapel by Bren Buenaluz. Full photo credit at end of article.

The Vatican has been demanded a ransom of €100,000, addressed to the cardinal Angelo Comastri, in exchange of the return of two documents signed by Michelangelo, according to The Telegraph.

A document written by the hand of the Renaissance master is very rare, as Michelangelo used to dictate his letters to his assistants. Therefore, one of these two documents, a letter directly signed by Michelangelo, is priceless, especially as it is perhaps, according to Il Messaggero, the only existing example. The theft of the documents, which happened just under 20 years ago, had been kept secret by the Vatican. A spokesman of the Vatican, Father Federico Lombardi, made known that the ransom demand was refused and that the police have been told to investigate.

The two documents were part of the Vatican’s archives, which features numerous documents about the history, the planning, and the construction of the biggest church in the West, kept in a space next to St. Peter’s Basilica. According to Il Messaggero, the theft could have been committed by one of the Vatican’s former employees, who was in charge of the precious documents.

Photo courtesy of Bren Buenaluz under creative commons license.