Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi has confirmed a report saying they have received a ransom demand for Michelangelo’s documents said to have been stolen nearly 20 years ago. According to Il Messaggero, the Italian newspaper that first reported on the issue, a former Vatican employee asked for 100,000 euro or $100k in exchange for the art pieces.
Michelangelo’s Stolen Letters
The collections in ransom involve a letter bearing the signature of Michelangelo, who designed parts of St. Peter’s Basilica and sculpted the Pietà and the statue of David.
Lombardi said the person asking for the ransom had contacted a cardinal in charge of the basilica. However, the cardinal “naturally refused because these are stolen documents,” Lombardi said, as reported by The Guardian.
According to The Guardian’s report, Lombardi mentioned that a Vatican nun had previously informed the officials that the pieces were stolen back in 1997. Lombardi, however, did not elaborate why the Vatican had kept mum regarding the issue.
The Vatican police are now working on the case with their Italian counterparts.
Michelangelo Male Bronzes
The report came a month after UK art experts discovered two male bronzes attributed to Michelangelo. Experts from Fitzwilliam Museum and the University of Cambridge suggested the bronzes were made before Michelangelo began working on the Sistine Chapel.
“Stylistically, the bronzes compared most closely to the works that Michelangelo was producing in his first decade… but we feel that we have got a pretty strong case,” Dr Victoria Avery of the Fitzwilliam Museum told the Vatican Radio at the time.