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Michelangelo drawing to be auctioned in New York



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NEW YORK, Oct 14 (AFP) - One of only a handful of Michelangelo drawings still in private hands will be auctioned in New York in January, with experts estimating a purchase price of around four million dollars.

The sale will be handled by Christie's which heralded the event Friday as "an extremely rare opportunity" to own a work by such an icon of Western Art.

The black chalk depiction of a naked torso was last put on the market in 1976, when it was bought by the current owner, a private collector, for 178, 200 pounds sterling, setting what was then a new world auction record for an Old Master Drawing.

Male torso is one of a small number of very late drawings by Michelangelo which seem to relate to the figure of Christ for a larger composition.

Dating from the 1550s, while the artist was working on the completion of St. Peter's in Rome, the study survived Michelangelo's determined destruction of his own drawings.

"The searching and sensitive chalk strokes of this powerful drawing epitomize Michelangelos lifelong preoccupation with the expressive possibilities of the male nude," said Christie's chairman Noel Annesley.

The current world auction record for an Old Master Drawing is 12.3 million dollars paid for another Michelangelo study, The Risen Christ, in 2000.

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COPYRIGHT 2005 Agence France-Presse. All rights reserved.

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