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Michelangelo self-portrait said to be found in Vatican fresco

July 2, 2009 |  6:13 pm


Can we call it the Michelangelo Code?

The Vatican announced this week that restorations of frescoes by Michelangelo show that the artist incorporated what is believed to be a portrait of himself in one of the murals. The discovery was made in the Vatican's Pauline Chapel, which is used by the Pope and isn't open to tourists.

A figure riding horseback in a blue turban in the upper left corner of Michelangelo's "The Crucifixion of St. Peter" is a self-portrait, according to the Vatican. The mural was created between 1542 and 1549, when the artist was in his 70s. The chief restorer, Maurizio De Luca, said that the self-portrait resembles portraits of the artist made by Giuliano Bugiardini and Daniele da Volterra. 

The restorations began in 2004 and cost an estimated 3.2 million euros, or $4.5 million. The Pauline Chapel contains two important murals -- "The Crucifixion of St. Peter" and "The Conversion of St. Paul."

Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to bless the restored frescoes in a ceremony on Saturday.

Click through for a detail of the Michelangelo fresco...


-- David Ng

Photos: Michelangelo's "The Crucifixion of St. Peter." Credit: ANSA