Michelangelo's scribbled thoughts reveal the tortured poet

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Michelangelo scribbled jokes, thoughts and mundane shopping lists in the margins of his artistic sketches, providing a fascinating insight into his moods and artistic genius, a new book reveals.

The Renaissance artist is best known for great works such as the statue of David and the Sistine Chapel ceiling but he also left behind around 600 cartoons and drawings.

The scraps of writing on about a third of the drawings include lines of poetry, memos to his assistants, explanatory notes to some of his greatest works and"achingly personal expressions of ambition and despair surely meant for nobody's eyes but his own", according to Leonard Barkan, a professor of comparative literature at Princeton University.

Prof Barkan spent five years studying Michelangelo's written words and has produced a book, Michelangelo: A Life on Paper, with 200 reproductions of the artist's private papers....

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