By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Michelangelo
Author: Rolland, Romain, 1866-1944
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Michelangelo" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



Capitoline Museum, Rome.]



_Author of "Beethoven," "Jean Christophe," etc._





Copyright, 1915 by


This life of Michelangelo is published in France in the series called
"Les Maîtres de l'Art," and is here translated into English for the
first time. It is entirely distinct from a study of Michelangelo by
Romain Rolland which appeared some time ago.



INTRODUCTION                                                          xi

CHAPTER I--CHILDHOOD AND YOUTH (1475-1505)                             1

CHAPTER II--MICHELANGELO AND JULIUS II (1505-1512)                    26

CHAPTER III--THE FAILURE OF THE GREAT PLANS (1513-1534)               45

CHAPTER IV--VITTORIA COLONNA (1535-1547)                              80

CHAPTER V--OLD AGE AND DEATH (1547-1564)                             108

ITALIAN ART                                                          142

CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE                                                  169

COLLECTIONS                                                          175

NOTE ON THE DRAWINGS                                                 179

BIBLIOGRAPHY                                                         181

INDEX                                                                185


Portrait of Michelangelo by Marcello Venusti.
(Capitoline Museum, Rome.)                                 _Frontispiece_

                                                             FACING PAGE

Pietà. (St. Peter's, Rome.)                                           14

David. (Accademia delle Belle Arti, Florence.)                        18

The Holy Family. Painted for Agnolo Doni.
(National Gallery, London.)                                           22

The Almighty Creating the Sun and the Moon.
(Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.)                                      30

The Creation of Man. (Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.)                 36

The Prophet Ezekiel. (Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.)                 40

The Libyan Sibyl. (Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.)                    46

The Prophet Jeremiah. (Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.)                50

The Erythrean Sibyl. (Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.)                 58

Jesse. A Figure in the Series of the "Ancestors of Christ."
(Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.)                                      64

Decorative Figure. (Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.)                   70

Decorative Figure. (Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.)                   76

Sketch for the Tomb of Julius II. Drawing. (Uffizi, Florence.)        84

Slave. Figure for the Tomb of Julius II. (Louvre.)                    94

Moses. Figure for the Tomb of Julius II.
(San Pietro-in-Vinculi, Rome.)                                       104

Tomb of Giuliano de Medici.
(Chapel of the Medici in San Lorenzo, Florence.)                     114

Dawn. Figure from the Tomb of Lorenzo de' Medici.
(Chapel of the Medici in San Lorenzo, Florence.)                     122

Twilight.   Figure from the Tomb of Lorenzo de' Medici.
(Chapel of the Medici in San Lorenzo, Florence.)                     130

Christ and the Saints. Detail from The Last Judgment.
(Sistine Chapel.)                                                    138

Charon's Boat. Detail from The Last Judgment. (Sistine Chapel.)      146

The Resurrection. Drawing. (Louvre.)                                 152

The Dome of St. Peter's. From the Original Model in Wood.
(Preserved in the Vatican.)                                          158

The Descent from the Cross. (Duomo, Florence.)                       164


The life of Michelangelo offers one of the most striking examples of the
influence that a great man can have on his time. At the moment of his
birth in the second half of the fifteenth century the serenity of
Ghirlandajo and of Bramante illuminated Italian art. Florentine
sculpture seemed about to languish away from an excess of grace in the
delicate and meticulous art of Rossellino, Disiderio, Mino da Fiesole,
Agostino di Duccio, Benedetto da Maiano and Andrea Sansovino.
Michelangelo burst like a thunder-storm into the heavy, overcharged sky
of Florence. This storm had undoubtedly been gathering for a long time
in the extraordinary intellectual and emotional tension of Italy which
was to cause the Savonarolist upheaval. Nothing like Michelangelo had
ever appeared before. He passed like a whirlwind, and after he had
passed the brilliant and sensual Florence of Lorenzo de' Medici and
Botticelli, of Verocchio and Lionardo, was ended forever. All that
harmonious living and dreaming, that spirit of analysis, that
aristocratic and courtly poetry, the whole elegant and subtle art of the
"Quattrocento," was swept away at one blow. Even after he had been gone
for a long time, the world of art was still whirled along in the eddies
of his wild spirit. Not the most remote corner was sheltered from the
tempest; it drew in its wake all the arts together. Michelangelo
captured painting, sculpture, architecture and poetry, all at once; he
breathed into them the frenzy of his vigour and of his overwhelming
idealism. No one understood him, yet all imitated him. Every one of his
great works, the David, the cartoon for the war against Pisa, the vault
of the Sistine Chapel, the Last Judgment, St. Peter's, dominated
generations of artists and enslaved them. From every one of these
creations radiated despotic power, a power that came above all from
Michelangelo's personality and from that tremendous life which covered
almost a century.

No one work can be detached from that life and studied separately. They
are all fragments of one monument, and the mistake that most historians
make is to mutilate this genius by dividing it into different pieces. We
must try to follow the entire course of the torrent from its beginning
to its end if we are to have any comprehension of its formidable unity.





Michelangelo was born on the sixth of March, 1475, at Caprese, in
Casentino, of the ancient family of the Buonarroti-Simoni, who are
mentioned in the Florentine chronicles from the twelfth century. His
father, Lodovico di Lionardo Buonarroti-Simoni, was then Podesta of
Caprese and Chiusi. His mother, Francesca di Neri di Miniato del Sera,
died when he was only six years old, and some years later his father
married Lucrezia Ubaldini. Michelangelo had four brothers: Lionardo, who
was two years his senior; Buonarroto, born in 1477; Giovan Simoni, born
in 1479; and Sigismondo, born in 1481. His foster-mother was the wife of
a stone-cutter of Settignano and in later years he used to jokingly
attribute his vocation to the milk upon which he had been nourished. He
was sent to school in Florence under Francesco da Urbino, but he busied
himself only in drawing and neglected everything else. "Because of this
he greatly irritated his father and his uncles, and they often beat him
cruelly, for they hated the profession of an artist, and, in their
ignorance of the nobility of art, it seemed a disgrace to have one in
the house."[1]

The elder Buonarroti, however, was, like his son, more violent than
obstinate, and he soon allowed the boy to follow his vocation. In April,
1488, Michelangelo, by the advice of Francesco Granacci, entered the
studio of Domenico and David Ghirlandajo.

That was the most famous studio in Florence. Domenico was an
indefatigable worker who "longed to cover with stories the entire
circuit of the walls of Florence" and possessed of a calm, simple and
serene spirit, satisfied merely to exist without tormenting itself over
subtleties. This fortunate being, who died at forty-four, leaving an
immense mass of completed work in which the magnificence and the moral
force of Florence still live, was the best guide that could have been
given to the young Michelangelo. Domenico was then, from 1486 to 1490,
in the fulness of his power, and at work on his masterpiece, the
paintings in the Tornabuoni Chapel in S. Maria Novella.

It has been said that his influence on Michelangelo amounted to nothing,
and it is true that we find no direct trace of it except in two drawings
in the Louvre and the Albertina. Still, exact imitation is very rare
with Michelangelo. He was made of too stubborn stuff ever to be much
affected by masters or surroundings. He felt contempt for Raphael
because he was impressionable, "and drew his superiority not from
nature, but from study." I do not believe, however, that the time he
spent in the school of Ghirlandajo had no effect upon him. Even if it
did not influence his style or his method of working, he must have
gained from the master of S. Maria Novella and from his wholesome work a
healthy point of view and a physical and moral vigour which could have
been given him by no other artist in Florence--not even the two great
sculptors, Pollajuolo and Verrocchio, who were indeed not there at that
time--and which acted as a powerful balance to the neuroticism of the
Botticellian school. I do not doubt that Ghirlandajo helped to lay the
foundations from which arose the art of the young Michelangelo devoted
to the expression of force and so contemptuous of morbid sentiment.

Ghirlandajo's school was enthusiastically open-minded toward everything
interesting in art. It was eclectic and encouraged intellectual
curiosity. Michelangelo while he was there studied passionately both the
old and the new Florentine painters and sculptors: Giotto,[2]
Masaccio,[3] Donatello, Ghiberti, Benedetto da Majano, Mino da Fiesole,
Antonio Rossellino and possibly, even at that time, Jacopo della Quercia
and also the Flemish and the German artists, then very much in vogue in
Italy, especially at the court of the Medici.[4] He made a copy in
colour of Martin Schongauer's Temptation of St. Anthony and went to the
Florentine fish-market to take notes for it. Later on he contemptuously
disowned Flemish realism, but a trace of it was left in him always and
in many of his drawings there appears a certain taste, extraordinary in
an idealist, for types of marked naturalism which are sometimes trivial
or almost caricature. Condivi asserts that these first attempts of
Michelangelo met with such success that Ghirlandajo grew jealous.

"To take from him the credit of this copy (of the Schongauer)
Ghirlandajo used to say that it came out of his atelier, as if he had
had a part in it. This jealousy showed very clearly when Michelangelo
asked him for the book of drawings wherein he had sketched shepherds
with their flocks and dogs, landscapes, monuments, ruins, etc., and he
refused to lend it to him. As a matter of fact, he always had the
reputation of being rather jealous, because of his disagreeable
treatment not only of Michelangelo, but also of his own brother, for
when he saw the latter making good progress and showing great promise,
he sent him to France, not so much for his benefit, as has been alleged,
as that he himself might remain first in his art at Florence. I have
mentioned this," adds Condivi, "because it has been said to me that
Domenico's son was in the habit of attributing the divine excellence of
Michelangelo to the training given by his father, who really did not
help him in any way. It is true that Michelangelo never complained of
him, but on the contrary praised him as much for his art as for his

It is very difficult to say how much is true in this story. I am
reluctant to ascribe so contemptible a jealousy to Ghirlandajo, and
repeat it only because of the last line where Condivi is constrained to
remark on the esteem which Michelangelo, when he was an old man,
expressed for his former master. Such admiration for other artists is
too rare with him not to have especial weight in this case.

There is no doubt that a disagreement did arise between the master and
the scholar, for though Michelangelo had in 1488 signed a contract of
apprenticeship which stipulated that he should remain three years with
Ghirlandajo,[5] the very next year he went with his friend Granacci into
the school of Bertoldo.

Bertoldo, a pupil of Donatello, was director of the School of Sculpture
and of the Museum of Antiquities maintained by Lorenzo de' Medici in the
gardens of S. Marco. I think that the real reason why Michelangelo
separated himself from Ghirlandajo was that after a year of feeling his
way he had just discovered the essence of his genius and was drawn
toward sculpture with irresistible force. It was really from painting
that he was separating himself and never afterward did he consider it as
his art. We might almost say that if painting has immortalised him it is
in spite of himself. He never wished to be considered as anything but a

Two things drew him to Bertoldo: the hope of finding the tradition of
Donatello and the fascination of the antique. He found something even
more valuable there in the friendship of the prince and of the élite of
the Florentine thinkers. Lorenzo took an interest in him, lodged him in
the palace and admitted him to his son's table, and in this way
Michelangelo found himself at the very heart of the Renaissance, in the
midst of the humanists and the poets and in intimate relation with all
whom Italy counted most noble; with Pico della Mirandola, with Pulci,
Benevieni and especially with Poliziano, "who loved him greatly and
urged him to study, although that was hardly necessary."[7]

Surrounded by this atmosphere of lofty paganism he became intoxicated
with the classic idea and became himself a pagan; he made the heroic
forms of Greece live again while putting into them his own savage
vigour. Following the suggestions of Poliziano he wrought the
bas-relief of the Combat of the Centaurs and the Lapithæ of the Casa
Buonarroti, in which the figures are athletic and struggling and the
faces impassive and proud. He carved the bestial face of the Laughing
Satyr with its violent and strained expression as of one who was not
used to laughter, and a little later the relief of Apollo and Marsyas.

Nevertheless this paganism did not touch his Christian faith at all. The
struggle that was to endure almost all his life had already begun within
him between those two hostile worlds which he vainly tried to reconcile.
In 1489 and 1490 Savonarola began in Florence his fiery sermons on the
Apocalypse and Michelangelo went to hear them with all the rest of
Lorenzo's circle. He had been brought up very religiously by his father,
a kind, God-fearing man of the old style, and his brother Lionardo in
1491, under the influence of Savonarola, entered the Monastery of the
Dominicans at Pisa.

He could not remain indifferent to the burning words of a prophet who
was like an elder brother of the prophets of the Sistine and whose
sombre visions and fiery purity must have pierced the heart of the youth
who listened to the preaching in S. Marco or the Duomo. I am convinced,
nevertheless, that historians have very much exaggerated the effect of
this influence on Michelangelo. In the beginning he certainly did not
feel very strongly the heroic grandeur of the frail little preacher who
from his high pulpit launched his lightnings against pope and princes.
His first impression seems to have been almost entirely one of terror;
he did not escape from the contagion of fear which seized the entire
city at the thunder of the gloomy prophecies which held the bloody sword
of God suspended over Italy and which filled the streets of Florence
with people weeping madly. When at last there came the new Cyrus,
foretold by the monk of S. Marco, Charles VIII, King of France,
Michelangelo was seized with panic and fled to Venice (1494).

These superstitious terrors, irrational and uncontrollable, which
reappeared more than once in Michelangelo's life do not prove anything
in favour of his Savonarolaism. It might be supposed on the contrary
that a true disciple of Savonarola would have remained beside his master
rather than have abandoned him in the hour of danger. These panics which
he could not control prove nothing but the unhealthy over-excitement of
his nerves, which his reason fought against in vain all his life. It
would be hard to find in his work at that period any appreciable effect
of the ideas of Savonarola. The impassive Virgin with the robust
child--the bas-relief in bronze of the Casa Buonarroti--is far more a
school piece by a pupil of Donatello than a religious work. What we know
of the little wooden crucifix, carved in 1494 for the prior of the
Convent of S. Spirito, shows us the artist without mysticism and with a
passion for the observation of nature, who was eagerly studying anatomy
from corpses until their putrefaction made him ill and forced him to
stop. At Bologna, where he lived in 1449 after his flight from Florence,
and where he heard of the results of Savonarola's preachings--the
expulsion of the Medici, the death of Pico della Mirandola and of
Poliziano and the scattering of the little circle of Florentine poets
and philosophers--he spent his time in reading Petrarch, Boccaccio and
Dante to his protector, the noble Gianfrancesco Aldovrandi, and when he
worked at the Arca (tabernacle) of S. Domenico it was to carve that
athletic angel, superb and expressionless, which contrasts so strikingly
with the pious figure of Niccolo dell'Arca to which it is the pendant.
He was evidently much more occupied in studying and assimilating the
imposing manner of Jacopo della Quercia, his indolent and heavy but
powerful Siennese precursor, than in meditating on the prophecies of

He returned to Florence in 1495, and arrived in the midst of the
struggle of the two parties, the "Arrabtiati" and the "Piagnoni," at
the very height of the carnival. He was consulted about the construction
of the hall of the Grand Council in the Palace of the Signory. The
Virgin of Manchester which suggests the school of Ghirlandajo may be
attributed to this period, and also the Entombment of the National
Gallery, which with all its sad grandeur is proud and cold.

Michelangelo left Florence in June, 1496. He went to Rome and in that
town so full of classic memories he absorbed himself in classic works.
It is fair to say that he was never so pagan as from 1492 to 1497, the
years during which the tragedy of Savonarola was enacted. This is the
period of the colossal Hercules[8] in marble (1492), of the famous
sleeping Cupid, wrought in the very heart of mystical Florence--and sold
as an antique to Cardinal Riaro (1496)--of the large Cupid of the South
Kensington, of the Dying Adonis of the Museo Nazionale and of the
Drunken Bacchus which E. Guillaume calls the nearest to the antique of
all modern works. These last statues, made in Rome the very year of the
_Bruciamento delle Vanità_, when the Florentine "Piagnoni" danced in
fanatic zeal around bonfires of works of art, seem almost like a
defiance launched against the puritanism of Savonarola. His older
brother, Lionardo, a monk at Viterbo, who was forced to flee from his
monastery because of his Savonarolaist convictions, joined him in Rome
and Michelangelo gave him some money with which to return to Florence,
but he did not go with him. The ever-growing danger which threatened the
prophet and his followers did not draw him back to his country and
Savonarola's death--he was burnt in May, 1498--has not left a trace in
any of his letters.[9]

I do not mean to say that he was entirely untouched by that grand and
tragic drama. He was by nature silent and never spoke of what he felt
most deeply, and he was also prudent and afraid of compromising himself.
If Savonarola's ideas did have some influence on him it was at a later
time when, in his advanced age, under the influence of strong and deep
friendships, the disillusions of life and the fear of the hereafter,
religious preoccupations gained with him the place of first importance.
He was not among those who, like Botticelli, in 1498, consented to the
dethronement of the pagan pride of the Renaissance. Religious he
certainly was and a Christian as always, but his proud Christianity was
not that of the rest of the world. He was never understood by his own
time. Even when he was painting the Last Judgment, and his faith was
most ardent, he must have scandalised the devout. He was altogether a
Platonist. He could have said with Lorenzo de' Medici and his
illustrious friends of the gardens of S. Marco that "without studying
Plato one could neither be a good citizen nor an enlightened Christian."
Savonarola undoubtedly admired and loved Plato. Still he felt the object
of art to be religious edification and showed that ideal to artists in
"the face of a pious woman when she is praying, illuminated by a ray of
divine beauty."[10] Michelangelo despised that art made for the devout
and left it to the Flemings.[11] He had a horror of sentimentality and
almost of sentiment. "True painting," he said, "never will make any one
shed a tear."[12]

It should contain no expression of religion or worship, for "good
painting is religious and devout in itself. Among the wise nothing more
elevates the soul or better raises it to adoration than the difficulty
of attaining the perfection which approaches God and unites itself to
Him."[13] He believed himself to be more religious in creating
beautiful, harmonious human bodies than in searching for a psychological
or moral expression intended "for women, especially for the old or the
very young, or for monks, nuns and those who are deaf to true
harmony."[14] The Pietà of St. Peter's, undertaken the year of
Savonarola's death, has a more Christian character than the earlier
works of Michelangelo, but this Christianity is still far from
conforming to the expressive and pathetic ideal of the artists of the
fifteenth century, or from the tragic expression and agony of suffering
of the virgins of Donatello, Signorelli or Mantegna. Very different
indeed is the noble harmony of this group and the calm beauty of the
young Virgin on whose knees rests the supple body of Christ relaxed like
that of a sleeping child. Even though Michelangelo explained the eternal
youth of the Virgin[15] by an idea of chivalric mysticism it is
evident that at that time the desire for beauty was as strong in his
heart as any regard for faith and that there was a certain relationship
between these beautiful Gods of Calvary and those of Olympus whose charm
had intoxicated him.

[Illustration: PIETÀ

St. Peter's, Rome (1498-1500).]

Michelangelo spent two years on the Pietà.[16] In the spring of 1501 he
returned to Florence and there met Cardinal Piccolomini, with whom he
signed a contract to deliver in three years' time, for the sum of five
hundred ducats, fifteen figures of apostles and saints for the
Piccolomini altar in the Cathedral of Sienna. This was the first of
those overpowering commissions which Michelangelo never hesitated to
undertake in the first intoxication of his imagination without any just
estimate of his powers and which weighed on him all his life, like
remorse. In 1504 he had delivered only four of the figures and sixty
years later in 1561 he was still tormented by the thought of this
unfulfilled contract.

Another undertaking, more tempting to him by its very difficulty, took
entire possession of him a few months after he had made the agreement
with Cardinal Piccolomini.

A gigantic block of marble had been delivered in 1464 to Agostino di
Duccio by the Board of Works of S. Maria del Fiore to be used for the
statue of a prophet. The work had been interrupted at this point. The
Gonfalonier Soderini wanted to entrust the completion of it to Lionardo
da Vinci, but in August, 1502, it was given to Michelangelo and he set
to work on it at once. From that block of marble came forth the colossal
David. By January 25, 1504, the work was completed and a commission of
artists among whom were Botticelli, Filippino Lippi, Lionardo da Vinci
and Perugino was considering where it should be placed. They hesitated
between the Loggia dei Lanzi and the entrance of the Palace of the
Signory. The latter position was decided upon at the expressed
preference of Michelangelo. The architects of the Duomo, Simone del
Pollajuolo (Cronaca), Antonio da San Gallo, Baccio d'Agnolo and Bernardo
della Cecca were charged with the transportation of the enormous mass
of stone which was placed in position on the eighth of June, 1504, on
the left of the entrance to the Palazzo Vecchio where until then the
Judith of Donatello had stood.

To-day the David is in the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Florence. There
it is in too confined a space. That colossus needs the open air, he
stifles under the roof of a Palace and his disproportion to everything
around him is shocking. We can perhaps judge better what he really is
from the reproduction in bronze, which on the hill of San Miniato raises
its inspiring silhouette above the town. There the irregularity of the
details disappears in the impression of the whole. Incredible energy
emanates from that gigantic force in repose--from that great face in the
small head, and from that huge body with the slender waist, thin arms
and the enormous hands with swollen veins and heavy fingers.

All of Michelangelo is there in that mixture of proud nobility and
almost barbarous vulgarity. He is all there, and he only, entirely
regardless of his subject. The head of the David with its wrinkled
forehead, thick eyebrows and scornful lips--a type that he often used
afterward--is, like the heads of Lorenzo and of Giuliano de' Medici, a
lyric work into which Michelangelo poured his own sadness, disdain and

Michelangelo had not waited to finish this work before accepting other
commissions which he was to abandon along the way. In 1502 a David[17]
in bronze for Pierre de Rohan, Maréchal de Gié, the favorite of Louis
XII, which in the end was finished by Benedetto da Rovezzano in 1507 and
sent, after the disgrace of Rohan, to the new royal favourite, Florimond
Robertet, Secretary of Finance.

In 1503 he undertook twelve statues for the Cathedral of Florence, but
began only one, a St. Matthew, which was never finished and is now in
the Accademia delle Belle Arti. His vacillating, uncertain genius,
wherein discouragement succeeded to enthusiasm, drove him into planning
works with fierce energy and then almost immediately so diverted his
attention that he could not force himself to finish them.

[Illustration: DAVID

Accademia delle Belle Arti, Florence.]

In 1504 the Florentine Signory brought him into competition with another
great irresolute, Lionardo da Vinci, whose universal intellectual
curiosity was, no less than the temperament of Michelangelo, an eternal
obstacle to the achievement of his great undertakings. The two men seem
to have met about 1495. They could not have understood each other very
well, for they both stood alone, each in his own way. Lionardo was now
fifty-two years old. When he was thirty he had left Florence, where the
bitterness of the political and religious passions was unbearable to his
delicate and slightly timid nature and to his serene and sceptical
intelligence which was interested in everything but refused to take
sides. Driven back to Florence by the death or ruin of his protectors,
the Duke of Milan and Cæsar Borgia, he came into contact there from the
very first with Michelangelo entirely absorbed in his own faith and
passions, however changing they might be, and who, while he hated the
enemies of his party and of his faith, hated still more those who had
neither party nor faith. Brutally and publicly, on many occasions,
Michelangelo made Lionardo feel his aversion for him.

When the Gonfalonier Soderini put the two in direct competition in a
common work, the decoration of the Council Hall in the Palace of the
Signory, the rivalry was intense. In May, 1504, Lionardo began the
cartoon of the Battle of Anghiari. In August, 1504, Michelangelo
received the order for the cartoon for the Battle of Cascine. Florence
was divided into two camps keenly enthusiastic for one or the other of
the rivals. Time has made them equal, for both pictures have
disappeared. Michelangelo's cartoon, finished in March, 1505, was
apparently destroyed about 1512, during the disturbances in Florence
which resulted from the return of the Medici, and even the fragments
which in 1575 were still preserved by the Strozzi in Mantua have been

As for Lionardo's fresco, he succeeded in destroying it himself. He took
it into his head to try to perfect the technique of fresco and he gave
himself up once more to his evil spirit of invention and once more
everything was lost. He tried a glaze of oil which did not hold, and the
painting which he abandoned in 1506 in discouragement by 1550 no longer

The two cartoons of Lionardo and Michelangelo had time, nevertheless, to
exert a blinding fascination over all Italian painting. They formed the
style and influenced the thought of artists from 1506 on but without
being able to transmit their own grandeur. Lionardo, who had a cavalry
combat to represent, reasoned out coldly, as nearly as we can tell,[19]
all the circumstances of a battle and then reproduced them with his
marvellous lucidity which was perhaps a little too analytic to interpret
the excitement of passion.

Michelangelo, who was given an episode of the war of 1364 against the
Pisans under the leadership of the condottiere John Hawkwood (Giovanni
Acuto) had intentionally turned his back on history and the real subject
and painted naked men bathing, noble in form and free in movement, in
the classic manner.[20]

The two masterpieces contained each of them the germ of a different
danger; in Lionardo's the excess of analysis, in Michelangelo's the
excess of abstraction. This last was the most dangerous of the two but
both were of the intellect and agreed in substituting for the charm of
life and of real and spontaneous movement the formula of types and of
logical action.

[Illustration: THE HOLY FAMILY

Painted for Agnolo Doni (between 1501-1505)

National Gallery, London.]

The influence of this work became at once universal and tyrannical.
Benvenuto Cellini says in 1559: "The cartoon of Michelangelo was placed
in the palace of the Medici, that of Lionardo in the Hall of the Pope.
As long as they remained there they were the school of the world."
Raphael copied them many times from October, 1504, until July, 1505. Fra
Bartolommeo was inspired by them and Andrea del Sarto, when he was very
young, spent whole days in studying them. Among the artists who taught
themselves in that school are Perino del Vaga, Rosso, Battista Franco,
Salviati, Vasari, Bronzino, Ridolfo Ghirlandajo, Cellini, Pontormo,
Jacopo Sansovino, Franciabigio, Aristotele da San Gallo, F. Granacci,
Bandinelli, Morto da Feltro, Lorenzetto--almost all the famous men of
the period. This influence was certainly more dangerous than useful. The
first fruits of it were the sudden unpopularity--almost like a decree of
exile of all the charming primitive painters, like Pinturicchio[21]
and Signorelli[22] at Rome (1508) just after their masterpieces at
Sienna and Orvieto and Perugino at Florence (1504) four years after the
exquisite decoration of the _Cambio_ of Perugia--and the loss of so much
grace, elegance and vigour sacrificed to a form of beauty undoubtedly
superior, but to which everyone can not attain. Instead of giving them a
broader point of view, the admiration for Lionardo and Michelangelo
narrowed and limited their followers. During 1508-1509 Pope Julius II
had the frescoes of Sodoma, Perugino, Signorelli and Piero della
Francesca put aside to leave space for Raphael. Thenceforth everyone was
governed by the same ideal, and whoever felt in himself fancy,
imagination and youth gave them up in favour of an attempt at breadth
and power which were not for him. Filippino Lippi renounced his serious
simplicity for pedantic dilettanteism and affected gestures. Instead of
being the first in the second rank Lorenzo di Credi, Ridolfo
Ghirlandajo, Raffaellino del Garbo and Piero di Cosimo preferred to be
the last of the first rank.

The same rivalry which had brought about the competition between
Michelangelo and Lionardo in the Council Hall appears again in a series
of works which belong to this Florentine period (1501-1505). These are
representations of the "Holy Family" in which Michelangelo attempts to
solve the same problem of composition as Lionardo and Fra Bartolommeo in
placing the figures in a circle. Such are the two circular bas-reliefs,
the Madonna and Child of the Museo Nazionale made for Taddeo Taddei and
the Holy Family of the Academy of Fine Arts in London made for
Bartolommeo Pitti. Chief of them all is the great picture in distemper
of the Holy Family of the Uffizi painted for Agnolo Doni--a heroic work
filled with the lofty serene life of Olympus and the Parthenon. The
painting is the most carefully executed of all Michelangelo's. The
colouring, blue, rose, orange and golden brown, has an effect that is
rather inharmonious, but young and fresh. The aerial perspective is
mediocre and the composition shows as usual Michelangelo's supreme
contempt for the sentiment of the subject. He has filled the background
with graceful nude figures simply because he considered them to be
beautiful--"per mostrare maggiormente l'arte sua essere grandissima,"
says Vasari, and except for the type of face used for St. Joseph there
is nothing religious about the group of the Holy Family. The impression
is religious, nevertheless, through its grace, sweetness and proud
strength. We feel that Michelangelo desired to contrast the puritan and
virile sobriety of this work with the voluptuous languor of the art of

The calm Madonna of Bruges belongs also to this period. This was bought
in 1506 by two Flemish merchants, John and Alexander Mouscron, who
placed it in their chapel where Dürer had already seen it during his
travels in Belgium in 1521.




In March, 1505, Michelangelo was called to Rome by Pope Julius II. Then
began the heroic period of his life and the "tragedy" of the monument of
Julius II which was not to end until forty years later. The pope and the
artist, both of them proud and violent, were well fitted to work
together--so long as their ideas did not conflict. Their brains seethed
with tremendous ideas. The first years of their friendship were a
feverish delirium of plans. Julius II was on fire with enthusiasm for
the plan for his tomb which Michelangelo submitted to him. It was to be
a mountain of architecture with more than forty statues, some of them of
colossal size, and with many bronze reliefs. "Michelangelo's design
pleased the pope so much," says Condivi, "that he sent him at once to
Carrara (April, 1505) with an order to cut as much marble as he
needed.... Michelangelo stayed more than eight months in the mountains
with two servants and a horse." He was the victim of superhuman
exaltation and in his enthusiasm dreamt of carving a whole mountain. In
December, 1505, he returned to Rome, where the blocks of marble which he
had chosen had already begun to arrive from Carrara. They were unloaded
at La Ripa and then transported to the Piazza di San Pietro behind S.
Caterina, where Michelangelo lived. "The mass of the stones was so great
that they aroused the wonder and joy of the pope." Michelangelo set to
work. "The pope in his impatience came constantly to see him and
conferred with him over the monument and other works, with as much
familiarity as if he had been his brother. In order that he might visit
him the more easily he had a drawbridge thrown across from the gallery
of the Vatican to Michelangelo's house which gave him a secret passage."

But this favour did not last. The character of Julius II was as
passionate and as changeable as that of Michelangelo. His mind, always
in a ferment, took up in rapid succession and ever with the same
eagerness the most varied projects. Another idea drove the plan for the
tomb from his mind. In order that he might gain immortal glory by one
gigantic work he decided to reconstruct St. Peter's. He was encouraged
in this by enemies of Michelangelo, who himself writes in 1542:[23]

"All the difficulties which arose between the pope and myself were the
work of Bramante and of Raphael. It was their jealousy that kept him
from having his tomb made while he was still alive. They tried to ruin
me. Raphael had good reason for doing this, since all that he knew of
art he learnt from me."

It is not easy to say how far Raphael was carried along by the party of
Bramante, who was his friend and fellow-countryman, but there is no
doubt that Bramante was chiefly responsible for the check to
Michelangelo's great undertaking and that he profited by his absence in
Carrara to destroy his influence over the pope.

"The marks of his favour which Julius II had showered on Michelangelo,"
says Condivi, "resulted, as often happens at courts, in exciting
jealousy against him, and, following the jealousy, endless persecution.
Bramante, the architect, who was dear to the pope, made him change his
plans. He reminded him of the popular superstition that it was of bad
augury to build your tomb while you were still alive, and other stories
of the same kind. Bramante was driven to do this, not only through
jealousy, but from fear that Michelangelo's knowledge would reveal his
own mistakes. For Bramante, as everyone knows, was much given to
pleasure and very dissipated. The salary he received from the pope,
though it was great, was not nearly enough for him, so that he tried to
make more out of his work by constructing walls of bad material and
neither solid nor strong enough for their height and thrust. Anyone can
prove this by the construction of St. Peter's, or the Belvedere gallery,
or the cloister of S. Pietro in Vinculi and other buildings which he
erected and which it has been necessary to support all over again and to
strengthen with buttresses,[24] either because they have fallen down or
because they very soon would have done so. Bramante realised that
Michelangelo would have discovered his mistakes, and so he always tried
to keep him away from Rome and to deprive him of the pope's favour and
of the influence which he had gained over the pope by his works. For it
is clear that if the tomb of Julius II had been actually undertaken
Michelangelo would have stood out supreme over all other artists,
however famous they might be, for he would then have had a vast field
in which to show what he could do."

Bramante succeeded. In January, 1506, Julius II ordered the
reconstruction of St. Peter's. The tomb was abandoned and Michelangelo
was not only humiliated and disappointed, but in debt, according to what
he says himself:

"When the pope changed his mind and the boats arrived with the marble
from Carrara I had to pay the charge of transport myself. And as at this
same time the stone-cutters who had come from Florence for the tomb also
arrived at Rome and I had had the house which Julius had given me behind
S. Caterina prepared for them, I found myself without money and greatly
embarrassed. I urged the pope as strongly as I could to continue the
construction of the tomb and then one morning when I wished to talk with
him about it he had me put out by a groom."

Then it was that the famous flight to Florence took place. Michelangelo,
outraged by this affront, took horse and fled from Rome and refused to
return in spite of the messengers which the pope sent after him. The
indignity of the affront was not, by his own account, the only reason
for his flight. In a letter to Giuliano da San Gallo he implies that his
life was in danger from Bramante's threats.


Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (1508-1512).]

"That was not the only reason for my leaving. There was still another
which I would rather not speak about. It is enough to say that it made
me think that if I stayed in Rome that town would more likely be my tomb
than that of the pope. And that was the reason for my sudden departure."

Nothing justifies us in believing that Bramante had thought of having
recourse to a crime, but it was enough that Michelangelo believed him to
be capable of it and, in one of those accesses of sudden terror which
contrast so strangely with the stubborn boldness of his genius, he ran
away. Moreover, Bramante understood perfectly how to terrorise his
rivals and to make life near him impossible for them. Only a little
while after Michelangelo Giuliano da San Gallo, who was Bramante's last
rival at St. Peter's, also had to flee.

There was, however, still another reason for the sudden departure of
Michelangelo, and though he himself has taken good care to say nothing
about it, I am surprised that the historians have not brought it out
more clearly. Michelangelo fled on the seventeenth of April, 1506. On
the eighteenth of April there took place the solemn ceremony of the
laying of the first stone of St. Peter's. This is the true reason for
his sudden withdrawal; he did not want to be present at the triumph of
his enemy.

He had hardly left before Bramante so arranged matters that he could not
come back. He ruined his work and his fortunes.

"That affair," writes Michelangelo, "caused me a loss of more than a
thousand ducats. When I left Rome there arose a great riot because of
the shame put upon the pope, and almost all the blocks of marble which I
had on the square of St. Peter's were taken from me, especially the
smaller pieces, which made it necessary for me later on to begin the
whole work over again."

Nevertheless Julius II was furious at the revolt of his sculptor and
sent letter after letter to the Signory of Florence where Michelangelo
had betaken himself. The Signory, anxious not to compromise themselves,
tried to persuade Michelangelo to take once more the road to Rome, but
he would do nothing of the kind. He had tranquilly taken up his work on
the cartoon of The Battle, the Twelve Apostles for the cathedral and the
Madonna of Bruges, and he stubbornly persisted in his unwillingness to
return. He proposed his own terms and pretended to be working on the
tomb of Julius II at Florence. When, toward the end of August, 1506,
Julius II went to war with Perugia and Bologna and grew more importunate
in his demands Michelangelo had the idea of expatriating himself. He
thought of going to Turkey, where the Sultan, through the Franciscans,
invited him to come to Constantinople and build a bridge at Pera.[25]

In the end he had to give in, and in the latter part of November, 1506,
he went, much against his will, to Bologna, where Julius II had just
entered the town as a conqueror. There took place that famous interview
when the pope, angry and scolding, divided between the desire of
punishing the rebel and the fear of losing the artist whom he valued,
poured out his wrath on an unlucky bishop who was present, and forgave

Unfortunately, Michelangelo in order to make his peace with the pope,
had to submit to his caprices and to that all-powerful will which had
now turned in a new direction. It was no longer a question of the tomb,
but of a colossal bronze statue which Julius wished to have raised to
himself in Bologna.

In vain Michelangelo protested that he understood nothing about the
casting of bronze. He had two assistants, Lopo and Lodovico, come from
Florence, and a foundryman, Bernadino d'Antonio dal Ponte. But he could
never get along with any assistant. He fell out with Lodovico and Lopo,
who stole from him; then the foundryman turned out to be incapable and
in June, 1507, the casting failed.

"The figure came out only as far down as the waist. Everything had to be
done over again."

Fifteen months were spent in the midst of all kinds of troubles and
mortifications. Michelangelo was busy with his work until February,
1508. He nearly ruined his health over it, and he wrote to his brother
that he would never be in condition to make such an effort again during
his life. For so great a struggle, the result was miserable. The statue
of Julius II, raised on February 21, 1508, in front of the façade of S.
Petronio remained there only four years.[26] In December, 1511, it was
destroyed on the return of the Bentivogli, and Alphonso d'Este had his
bombardier Quirino cast a cannon from its fragments.

Michelangelo returned to Rome and Julius II laid upon him another task
not less unexpected and not less hazardous. He ordered the sculptor, who
never painted except with reluctance and who knew nothing of the
technique of fresco, to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. He had
already talked with him about it before the rupture in 1506 and the
disinclination of Michelangelo for this work had something to do with
his flight to Florence. This may be inferred from the letter of a friend
of Michelangelo written in May, 1506, which shows that Bramante,
satisfied by the withdrawal of his rival, justified him for refusing the
burden of this heavy undertaking.

"Last Saturday evening," writes Pietro Rosselli, "when the pope was
supping, he called Bramante and said, 'San Gallo is going tomorrow to
Florence and he will bring back Michelangelo.' Bramante answered, 'Holy
Father, Michelangelo will do nothing of the kind. I have talked a great
deal with him and he has often said to me that he would not undertake
the chapel which you wished to entrust to him. He asks to be allowed
with your permission to devote himself entirely to sculpture, for he
wants to have nothing to do with painting.' He added, 'Holy Father, I do
not think he has the courage to undertake the work, for he has had
little experience in the painting of figures, and these must be painted
on the ceiling and foreshortened, which is very different from painting
on the ground.' The pope answered, 'If he does not come he will be
treating me badly, and for that reason I think he will return.' I threw
myself into the conversation and there in the pope's presence replied
properly to that fellow and spoke for you as you would surely have
spoken for me. Bramante remained silent, realising that he had made a
mistake in saying what he had. I went on in these words: 'Holy Father,
that man has never exchanged a word with Michelangelo, and if what he
says is true you can cut my head off. He has never talked with him, and
I am sure that Michelangelo will come back if Your Holiness wishes it.'"
When Michelangelo returned Bramante changed his tactics. As
Michelangelo's friends had imprudently asserted that he could accomplish
this task for which, as Bramante knew better than any one else, he was
entirely unprepared, Bramante pretended to believe this and forced his
rival into a position where he had to accept the commission. A failure
would have been particularly serious to Michelangelo just then since in
that same year, 1508, Raphael began his incomparable painting of the
Stanze and Michelangelo had either to surpass him or be entirely
eclipsed. This at least is what Condivi asserts.

[Illustration: THE CREATION OF MAN

Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (1508-1512).]

Bramante and his other rivals suggested to the pope to make Michelangelo
paint the ceiling of the chapel of Pope Sixtus IV by persuading him that
he would do marvels there. They did him this service maliciously to
distract the pope from any plan for sculpture and because they thought
that Michelangelo would either refuse the commission and quarrel with
the pope or that he would accept it and be less successful than Raphael,
for they considered that Michelangelo's talent was for sculpture, which
indeed was true. Michelangelo, who until then had not worked in colours
and who knew how difficult it is to paint a ceiling, tried in every way
to extricate himself. He proposed Raphael in his place and gave as an
excuse that this was not his art and that he could not succeed in it,
and went so far in his attempts at refusal that the pope began to grow
angry and showed such obstinate determination that Michelangelo decided
to undertake the work.

The tremendous task began on May 10, 1508. The first plan was simply to
represent the figures of the twelve apostles in the lunettes and to fill
the rest of the space with an ornamental decoration. Bramante raised a
scaffolding in the chapel and several painters who had had practical
experience in fresco painting were brought from Florence. We have
already said that Michelangelo could only work alone. He began by
declaring that Bramante's scaffolding was of no use and replaced it with
one of his own invention. As for the Florentine painters who Francesco
Granacci had recruited for him, Giuliano Bugiardini, Jacopo di Sandro,
the elder Indaco, and Agnolo di Donnino, he took a dislike like to them
and sent them away. He remained alone, shut up in the chapel with a few
workmen, like Giovanni Michi, and far from allowing the great difficulty
of the undertaking to dampen his courage he enlarged his plan and
decided to paint not only the ceiling, but the walls of the chapel down
to the old frescoes.

It is dangerous to attempt to describe the "Last Judgment"; it is indeed
impossible. Analyses and commentaries have been multiplied, but they
kill the spirit by taking it in detail. We must face the vision squarely
and lose ourselves in the abyss of that spirit. It is terrifying and, if
regarded calmly, incomprehensible--it must be hated or adored. It
stifles and excites; there is no nature, no landscape, no atmosphere, no
tenderness, almost nothing human; the symbolism of a primitive and the
science of a decadent; an architecture of naked convulsed bodies; a
barren, savage and devouring thought, like a south wind over a sandy
desert. There is no corner of shade, no spring to slake the thirst; it
is a whirling spout of fire, the vertigo of a delirious emotion, with no
goal except the God in which it loses itself. The whole calls on God,
fears Him and proclaims Him. A whirlwind blows across this throng of
giants--the same whirlwind which sweeps through space the God who has
created the sun and hurled it like a ball of fire into the ether. There
is no escape from the groaning of the tempest which surrounds and
deafens you. Either you must hate this brutal force or abandon yourself
to it without resistance like those souls of Dante whirled along by an
eternal cyclone. When we realise that that hell was for four years the
very soul of Michelangelo we understand why his life was burnt out by it
and why for a long time afterward he remained like a soil exhausted by
too much use and no longer productive. Above that ceiling and those
vaults built up of huge bodies, where tumultuous confusion and powerful
unity combine to evoke the monstrous dream of a Hindu and the imperious
logic and iron will of ancient Rome, there blooms a beauty that is
natural and pure. There has never been anything like it. It is at once
both bestial and divine, the exquisite perfume of Hellenic grace mingles
with the savage odour of primitive humanity. These giants with their
Olympian shoulders and huge thighs and loins wherein we feel, as the
sculptor Guillaume said, "the weight of heavy entrails" are as yet
hardly free from their double origin, their two progenitors, the beast
and the god. A series of drawings at Oxford University shows in what
springs of realism the genius of Michelangelo bathed itself and of what
common clay his heroes are moulded.


Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.]

On the flat part of the vault, in the centre, are the nine scenes from
Genesis, Æschylean visions:[27] the divine solitude, the dreadful moment
of the creation, the athletic god carried by clouds of spirits, man just
rousing from the sleep of earth and regarding as an equal, face to face,
the God who awakes him--both in silent readiness for the struggle--the
calm and powerful woman in whom sleeps humanity--those human frames like
temples of flesh and blood, torsos like trunks of trees, arms like
columns and great thighs; those beings great with power and passion and
crime and the results and punishments of their crimes--the Temptation,
Cain and the Deluge.

At the angles of the cornice which frames these scenes are the twenty
savage Ignudi, living statues, either struggling in convulsions of fear
and fury or falling back, overwhelmed and exhausted--a symphony of mad
force which sweeps in every direction and beats against the walls.

As gigantic supporters of the ceilings are seated in the pendentives
twelve prophets and sibyls who suffer and dream; disdainful Lybica;
Persica, purblind and restless; Cumæa, with huge arms and pendent
breasts; the beautiful Erythræa, strong, calm and scornful; Delphica,
the virgin with the lovely body and fierce eyes; Daniel, his lips
compressed, his eyes fixed; Isaiah, bitter and contemptuous; Ezekiel, at
war with himself and with a Genius of sombre beauty who seems to be
pointing out to him the one who is to come; Jeremiah, plunged in the
depths of silence, and Jonah, panting and breathless, cast out from the
jaws of death--all those tragic torches of thought which burned in the
night of the pagan and Jewish world; all the human knowledge which
awaited the Saviour.

Above the twelve windows the Precursors and Ancestors of Christ also
wait and dream in the midst of the storm. The night is long and full of
evil visions. They try to sleep, they try to forget how long they must
wait; they are silent and they ponder, anxious and overwhelmed. A seated
woman alone dares to look squarely in the face of the menacing future.
In her fixed and dilated eyes I can see that secret feeling which weighs
on all these beings, a burden they dare not acknowledge--fear. At the
four angles of the ceiling are displayed the sinister acts which saved
the people of God--David slaying Goliath, Judith bearing the head of
Holofernes, the Hebrews writhing under the bites of the serpents of
Moses, and Haman crucified. Fierce barbaric stories of murderous
fanaticism--a roundhead in Cromwell's time would have chosen no other

Fear, sadness, suspense. We who know how thirty years later Michelangelo
completed with the Last Judgment the cycle of his idea, we know what
they awaited--the Christ who comes to destroy.

Michelangelo had suffered terribly during this gigantic labour. His
letters show intense discouragement which even his wonderful visions
could not help. "This is not my profession," he complained. "I waste my
time without any results. God help me."[28]

These were years of desperate efforts in the midst of enemies who spied
upon him and hoped for his failure. He nearly gave up the work and fled
again. Just as he began to paint the Deluge the whole ceiling began to
grow mouldy so that the figures could hardly be distinguished.
Michelangelo seized that as an excuse for giving up, but San Gallo
discovered that the trouble came from the lime, which had too much water
in it, and the pope ordered the artist to go on with his work.

Julius II was irritated by Michelangelo's slowness and by the fact that
he persisted in hiding his work from him. There was constant friction
between them.

"One day," says Condivi, "the pope asked him when he would finish and
Michelangelo answered, according to his custom, 'When I can.' The pope,
who was irritable, struck him with his staff, saying, 'When I can, when
I can!' Michelangelo rushed home and began to make his preparations to
leave Rome. Luckily the pope sent hurriedly after him an amiable young
man named Accursio, who gave him five hundred ducats, soothed him as
well as he could and apologised for Julius II and Michelangelo accepted
the excuses. The next day, however, they began again and when the pope
threatened to have him thrown from his scaffolding Michelangelo had to
give way. He had the scaffolding removed and uncovered the ceiling
sooner than he had intended. 'That is why,' he said, 'that that work was
not carried on as far as I would have wished. The pope's impatience

The first part of the paintings was finished on September 1st, 1510, and
the pope was able to see the four chief compositions of the ceiling
before his departure for Bologna. In January and February, 1511,
Michelangelo drew the cartoons for the "teste e faccie attorno di ditta
capella," the pictures for the corners and the lunettes, and the second
period of the work began. On August, 1511, Julius II celebrated mass in
the Sistine Chapel, "ut picturas novas ibidem noviter detectas videret";
and the entire work was finished in October, 1512. On October 31, 1512,
the Sistine Chapel was opened to the public.

Soon after, on February 21, 1513, Julius II died.




Michelangelo, freed from the Sistine Chapel, returned to sculpture and
to the great project which he had most at heart, the tomb of Julius

Julius II in his will had charged Cardinal d'Agen, Lionardo Grossi della
Rovere and the Prothonotary Lorenzo Pucci (later on Cardinal de Santi
Quatro) to continue the enterprise. He had stipulated that the monument
should not be executed in the colossal proportions which were originally
determined on. But it does not appear that his executors complied with
this request. Michelangelo writes in 1524 "at the death of Pope Julius
and the beginning of Leo's reign Aginensis (Cardinal d'Agen) wished to
enlarge the monument and to make the work more considerable than was my
first design and a contract was made."

The sixth of March, 1513, Michelangelo signed what was in effect a new
contract by which he pledged himself to execute the monument in seven
years and not to undertake any other work of importance till it was
finished. He was to receive sixteen thousand five hundred ducats, from
which were deducted the three thousand five hundred which had been paid
during the life of Julius II.[30] The new plan included thirty-two large
statues, and the monument was to be built against the wall of the
church. "At each of the three sides were two tabernacles, both
containing a group of two figures; in front of each of the pilasters
flanking the tabernacles was to be a statue. Between the tabernacles
were reliefs in bronze, on the platform above was the statue of the pope
supported by four figures and surrounded by six others on pedestals.
Finally from the platform was to rise a little sanctuary thirty-four
palms high[31] and containing five statues larger in size than the

[Illustration: THE LIBYAN SIBYL

Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (1508-1512).]

For three years Michelangelo devoted himself almost exclusively to this
work and from that period of vigour and maturity, of relative calm and
satisfying accomplishment, came his most perfect piece of sculpture, the
Moses. This statue, originally intended for one of the six colossal
figures crowning the upper story of the tomb, in the end was itself the
complete expression of the whole monument. The Moses is the older
brother of the Prophets of the Sistine, sprung from the same vehement
and passionate inspiration, but more commanding, more sure and more
master of himself (we shall come upon him again at the completion of the
work thirty years later, for Michelangelo was never tired of returning
to him). The two Slaves[33] now in the Louvre, who were to be placed
against the pilasters of the lower story, immortal symbols of the
weariness of living and of the revolt against life,--the voluptuous hero
with his beautiful body overcome by deadly torpor and the athlete,
vanquished but unsubdued, who writhes in his bonds, "bent like a
spring," gathering himself together and hurling his scorn into the face
of heaven--both belong to this period. Probably the Caryatid of the
Hermitage at St. Petersburg, which was certainly meant for one of the
groups of conquerors in the niches, was made at this time as well as the
models for many statues.

The general subject of the monument according to Condivi and to Vasari
who preserved the sayings of Michelangelo himself, was an allegory cold,
abstruse and courtier-like, as we must admit the subjects of his
undertakings very often were. His nature was timid and lacked
independence, but fortunately the force of his passionate feeling
carried everything before it. Vainly did he bind himself to lifeless and
commonplace programs, vainly attempt to force himself to glorify the
established order and the powers that be. At the very first step he took
all false pretenses fell away and a furious cry of revolt against the
baseness of the world and the bondage of life broke forth. So the
statues of this monument which was to express with stale flattery that
"all the virtues were prisoners of death now that the pope was dead"
became, unconsciously perhaps to their creator, hymns of heroic scorn
and expressions of moral grandeur crushed by force yet rising

But the peculiar quality of these figures compared with the work which
was to follow is that they preserve in all their passionate agony a
balance and a certain melancholy serenity which the artist of the tombs
of the Medici no longer possessed.[34]

In that serene and fruitful period, while the excitement of his work in
the Sistine Chapel quieted little by little, like the calming of a
stormy sea, Michelangelo seems to have accepted only one other
commission, that for the Christ of the Minerva which came from three
Romans, Bernardo Cencio, Mario Scapucci and Metello Varj. Yet beginning
with the summer of 1515 his letters show that he feared and foresaw the
interruption of his work.

"I must make a great effort this summer," he writes on June 16 to his
brother Buonarroto, "to bring my work rapidly to an end, for I think
that I shall soon have to enter the service of the pope."

The new pope, Leo X (Giovanni Medici), at first left Michelangelo
entirely free. He was so anxious to gain the hearts of his former
adversaries that he took very good care not to seem to put any obstacle
in the way of the glorification of his predecessor. He soon found,
however, that the tomb absorbed Michelangelo's energies completely and
he decided to draw him away from it in order to devote him to the
service of his own house. He planned to build the façade of S. Lorenzo,
the church of the Medici in Florence. Several artists, Baccio d'Agnolo,
Antonio da San Gallo, Andrea and Jacopo Sansovino and Raphael himself
brought their plans to him during his stay in Florence in November and
December, 1515. But whether because Raphael was kept in Rome by his post
of superintendent of the construction of St. Peter's in which he had
lately succeeded the old Giuliano da San Gallo in August, 1515, or
whether Leo X wished to attach to himself Michelangelo--whose family
pride he had already flattered by naming his brother Buonarroto _Comes
Palatinus_ and by giving the Buonarroti the right to place in their arms
the "palla" of the Medici with their lilies and the monogram of the
pope--at any rate it was to him that Leo X turned. Michelangelo,
stirred by the growing fame of Raphael, allowed himself to be drawn into
this new task which it was physically impossible for him to accomplish
without neglecting the old one and which was to cause him endless worry
and vexation. His correspondence with Domenico Buoninsegni shows plainly
that he tried to deceive himself into thinking that he could carry on
the two undertakings simultaneously.


Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (1508-1512).]

The heirs of Julius II, however, were more clear-sighted and in order to
fight fire with fire they tried to bind him by a third contract on July
8, 1516. By this agreement the monument of the pope was to be diminished
by one-half and the number of the statues reduced from thirty-two to
twenty. They gave Michelangelo nine years more in which to complete the
work, with full liberty to execute it in Florence, Pisa or Carrara. In
return they forced from him the formal agreement that he would not
undertake any other important work "opus saltim magni momenti." That
clause was aimed directly at the plans of Leo X. Michelangelo signed
this in good faith, for he thought that it would not prevent his making
some statues for the façade of S. Lorenzo. His imagination carried him
away. He was more and more attracted by Leo's project and he let himself
go so far as to write that he would undertake the work and he sent a
design for the façade. Then, almost at once, he was seized with
scruples and wanted to rid himself of the greater part of the task by
turning it over to the architect Baccio d'Agnolo and only reserving for
himself the principal statues. The pope agreed to everything, sure of
what would happen, for it was no secret that Michelangelo was incapable
of collaborating with anyone, no matter who he might be. As a matter of
fact Michelangelo was not satisfied with the model of the façade which
Baccio made according to his plan. He made another one, and in the end
grew irritated with Baccio, whom he accused of having an understanding
with his enemies. Little by little his enthusiasm for the work grew.

He wrote restlessly to Domenico Buoninsegni in July, 1517: "I wish to
make of this façade of S. Lorenzo a work which shall be a mirror of
architecture and of sculpture for all Italy. The pope and the
cardinal[35] must make up their minds quickly whether they want me to do
it or not. If they want me to do it they must sign a contract and give
me full powers. I will finish it in six years. Messer Domenico, give me
an exact answer as to the intentions of the pope and the cardinal. That
would afford me the greatest satisfaction."

Here it is Michelangelo himself who begs Leo X to give him this heavy
burden, who trembles for fear of not getting it, and is consumed with
the desire to bind himself to a new servitude! January 19, 1518, he
signed a contract with Leo X by which he agreed to erect the façade of
S. Lorenzo in eight years.

It was to be composed of:

First: An inferior order of eight fluted columns, eleven brasses[36]
high, three portals with four statues five brasses high and seven
bas-reliefs; and around the sides on each lateral face two columns, and
between them a figure in high relief.

Second: A superior order of eight pilasters from six to seven brasses
high; on the façade four seated bronze statues; and on each side two
pilasters and a statue.

Third: The upper cornice carrying an entablature of eight pilasters in
front and two on the side, with four niches in the façade, and one on
each side intended for six marble statues five and a half brasses high.

There were besides on the façade, undoubtedly in the lower story, seven
bas-reliefs of marble with life-size subjects, five squares and two
round plaques. In the centre a pediment with the arms of the Medici.

Michelangelo had the choice of executing the work himself or of having
it done after his models. The heirs of Julius II were obliged to give
way to the order of Leo X and to be satisfied with the permission which
he gave to Michelangelo still to go on with the work on the monument of
Julius in Florence. Even that permission was very soon withdrawn,
according to Michelangelo. "Pope Leo," he writes, "does not want me to
do the monument of Julius." When he began to work on it again in his
atelier in Florence he says: "The Medici, who later on became Pope
Clement and who was then in Florence, saw that I was working at the tomb
and he would no longer permit it. For that reason I was prevented from
doing anything until the Medici became pope."

Michelangelo always sought excuses for not finishing his undertakings.
The real culprit was his eager and changeable genius, uncontrollable and
constantly seized with enthusiasm for some new idea. He no more
succeeded in raising the façade of S. Lorenzo than in finishing the

His terrible mania for doing everything himself drove him--instead of
staying and working in Florence--into going to Carrara to oversee the
quarrying of the blocks of marble. There he found himself in all sorts
of difficulties. The Medici wanted to use the quarries of Pietra Santa,
which had been lately bought by Florence, instead of those of Carrara
and Michelangelo, because he took sides with the Carrarese, found
himself suspected by the Cardinal Giulio de' Medici of having been
bought by them; and because he was forced in the end to obey the strict
orders of the pope he was persecuted by the people of Carrara, who made
an arrangement with the Genoese boatmen at Pisa so that he could not
secure any barge to transport his marble. He had to build a road several
miles in length across the mountains with pick and shovel. The ill-will
of the people of Pietra Santa and the stupidity of the workmen who did
not understand their work so upset him that he fell ill at Seravezza
from over-strain and worry. He felt that his vigour, his health and his
ideas were being wasted in this life of an engineer and contractor. He
was dying with impatience to begin the façade, but the blocks of marble
did not reach Florence because the barges were stopped or the Arno was
dry. They arrived at last and the marble was unloaded, but instead of
setting to work Michelangelo returned to Seravezza and Pietra Santa. He
was obstinately determined not to begin until he had gathered in
Florence, just as he had done before in Rome for the tomb of Julius II,
all the material which would be necessary for the entire undertaking, a
veritable mountain of marble. He kept putting off the moment of
beginning. Was it not the truth--though he did not admit it even to
himself--that he was really afraid of the great architectural
undertaking into which he had imprudently plunged and for which he had
so little training? How, indeed, could he have acquired this new art
which he had had no chance of practising? Had he not promised too much
and did he not feel himself in a blind alley with no way out, where he
no longer dared either to advance or retreat?

All his efforts were unsuccessful, even those for the transportation of
the marble. He was cheated by his workmen, and four of the six
monolithic columns sent to Florence were shattered on the way, one of
them at Florence itself. At last the pope and Cardinal de' Medici grew
impatient at this useless loss of so much precious time in the marshes
and quarries of Pietra Santa and on March 10, 1520, an order of the pope
clearly and completely released Michelangelo from the agreement of 1518
concerning the façade of S. Lorenzo and from all obligations in regard
to it. Michelangelo only knew of this through the arrival at Seravezza
of the gangs of workmen sent by Cardinal Giulio to take his place. He
was cruelly hurt.

"I do not begrudge the cardinal," he says, "the three years which I
have lost here. I do not blame him because I am exhausted by this work
for S. Lorenzo. I do not blame him for the great affront of having
ordered me to do this work and then of taking it away from me--I do not
even know for what reason. I do not count against him all that I have
spent, which amounts to this: Pope Leo takes back the quarry with the
blocks already cut; I have left the money that I have in hand--500
ducats--and I am given my liberty."

He could not hold his patrons responsible. The fault was his own, as he
well knew, and that was his worst punishment. Justi has said, not
unreasonably, that he committed the sin against the Holy Ghost in
wasting so many years in such unimportant work. What did he accomplish
from 1515 to 1520 in the fulness of his vigour? Plans which he could
never carry out, plans for the façade of S. Lorenzo, plans for the tomb
of Julius II, plans for the tomb of Dante, whose remains the
Academicians of Florence wanted to bring back from Ravenna to his own
country[37]--for in October, 1519, in the midst of the very worst of his
difficulties he had not hesitated to offer his services to Leo X to
"raise to the divine poet a monument worthy of him."

One single work was realised amidst all these dreams: the Christ of the
Minerva, and it is the coldest and dullest thing he ever did--a work of
Michelangelo (and this is almost unbelievable) which is commonplace and
uninspiring. It can hardly even be called his, for he did not finish it
himself, but gave it over to the neglect of his assistant, Pietro
Urbano, a bungler without talent and incurably lazy, who, when he was
ordered to accompany the statue to Rome and to finish it, ruined it by
his awkwardness and left it there hopelessly marred.[38]


Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (1508-1512).]

Cardinal Giulio de' Medici, when he had extricated Michelangelo from
this hopeless enterprise, determined to turn his genius in a new
direction and one in which he could direct him more closely. He
entrusted him with the construction of the new sacristy of S. Lorenzo
and the tombs of the Medici. In November, 1520, Michelangelo submitted
to him a drawing which met with his approval. This original plan was for
four tombs: those of Lorenzo the Magnificent, Giuliano his brother, his
son Giuliano, Duke of Nemours, and his grandson Lorenzo, Duke of Urbino.
The work was begun before April, 1521, but was not pushed vigorously
until after the nomination on November 19, 1522, of Cardinal Giulio de'
Medici to the pontifical throne under the name of Clement VII.[39]

In May, 1524, Clement VII accepted the idea, suggested to him by the
flattering Salviati, of adding to the four sarcophagi already planned
tombs for Leo X and for himself and of giving them the place of honour.
In June Michelangelo sent him a new plan as well as the drawings for the
Library of S. Lorenzo, the building of which had also been entrusted to

Clement VII wished to monopolise Michelangelo's services, and he
suggested to him in January, 1524, that he should join the order of the
Franciscans so that he might be given a benefice. Michelangelo refused
to do this, but the pope decided, nevertheless, to allow him a monthly
pension of three times the amount for which he had asked[40] and a house
in the neighbourhood of S. Lorenzo. Everything seemed to be going well
and the work on the chapel was progressing when Michelangelo suddenly
left the house which had been given to him and refused to accept Clement
VII's pension. He was going through another crisis of discouragement and
doubt. The heirs of Julius II could not forgive him for having abandoned
the work that he had undertaken. They accused him of unfaithfulness and
threatened him with the law. He was terrified at the idea of a lawsuit,
for his conscience told him that his adversaries were in the right, and
he was tormented by the thought that he had not kept his word. He felt
that he could not accept the money of Clement VII as long as he had not
yet either given back that of Julius II or carried out his promises. But
struggle as he would he lacked strength to free himself from the ties
which bound him to the pope, and necessity forced him to take the
pension which he had refused. He continued to protest while he worked.
By the end of October, 1525, he had only blocked out four figures, the
allegories of the seasons. He was always thinking of the monument of
Julius II and he tried to simplify his plan by changing it to a tomb
built against the wall, like those of Pius II and Pius III at St.
Peter's. He felt that he could finish the figures within a stated time
and then give to Pope Clement all the rest of his powers, "and in truth
they are feeble, for I am old and ought not to have all these worries,
for they affect me greatly. You can not work while your hands are doing
one thing and your head another, especially in sculpture."[41]

Clement VII seemed at times to be touched by Michelangelo's troubles and
expressed an affectionate interest in him and his work. He sent him a
letter on December 23, 1525, in which he said:

"You know that popes do not have long lives and we could not long more
ardently than we do to see the chapel with the tombs of our family and
to know that it is finished and also the Library. We recommend them both
to your zeal. Nevertheless we are trying to possess ourselves in
salutary patience and we pray God that He may inspire you to carry on
all these works at once. Do not fear that you will ever lack either work
or rewards as long as we live. Go on with God and our blessing."

But the incurable frivolity of the Medici regained the upper hand, and
instead of relieving Michelangelo of part of his work he laid new
burdens on him; a Ciborium for S. Lorenzo and a ridiculous Colossus
which it was proposed to put up outside the Medici gardens, the
fantastic plans for which took up much of Michelangelo's time.[42]

It is sad to see this poor great man trying so hard to understand the
absurd whims of his Mæcenas that he ends by almost becoming interested
in them.

"I have thought about the Colossus," he writes to Fattucci in the autumn
of 1525; "I have indeed thought a great deal about it. It seems to me
that it would not be well placed outside the Medici gardens because it
would take up too much room in the street. A better place, I think,
would be where the barber's shop is. There it would not be so much in
the way. As for the expenses of expropriation, I think to reduce them we
could make the figure seated, and as it could be hollow, the shop could
be placed inside so the rent would not be lost. It seems to me a good
idea to put in the hand of the Colossus a horn of abundance, and this
could be hollow and would serve as a chimney. The head could also be
made use of, I should think, for the poultryman, my very good friend who
lives on the square, said to me secretly that it would make a wonderful
dovecote. I have another and still better idea--but in that case the
statue must be made very much larger, which would not be impossible, for
towers are made with stone--and that is that the head should serve as a
bell-tower to S. Lorenzo, which now has none. By placing the bell so
that the sound would come out of the mouth it would seem as if the
giant cried for mercy, especially on holidays when they use the big

Michelangelo had constant trouble with his workmen, and to these worries
and his pangs of conscience were added domestic difficulties which never
ceased to embitter his life. During the period of the Sistine frescoes
it was his relations with his brothers that gave him most trouble, for
they tried to make use of him and he had to watch them sharply. Then it
was his father whom he adored with almost religious reverence and who
undoubtedly loved him, but who, irritable like himself, and peevish and
suspicious, picked unfair quarrels and spread odious calumnies about

In the midst of all these difficulties the work did not progress at all.
A letter of June, 1526, says that one statue of a captain had been
begun, as well as four allegories and the Madonna, but as a matter of
fact not one of these was ready in 1527. As for the Library and the
Medici Chapel they were hardly begun.

At this moment the revolution broke out in Florence (April, 1527).

[Illustration: JESSE

A Figure in the Series of the "Ancestors of Christ."

Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (1508-1512).]

Michelangelo had until then shown in politics the same indecision from
which he had suffered so much in his own affairs and even in his art. He
never succeeded in reconciling his love of liberty with his
obligations to the Medici. It must be admitted that this violent genius
was always timid in action; he never incurred any risk through
struggling against the powers of this world on political or religious
grounds. He was afraid of compromising himself. He was afraid of
everything. He was always afraid. If in spite of his natural timidity he
let himself be drawn into the Florentine Revolution of 1527 he must have
been driven by deep despair and the belief that his life was practically
lost. That extremity of suffering brought to the surface and into action
his fundamental beliefs.

His timid introspective soul was secretly ardently republican. We can
see this in the violent discussions which he had in 1545 with intimate
friends, Luigi del Riccio, Antonio Petreo and Donato Giannotti, who made
note of them in his "Dialogues on Dante's Divine Comedy." In these talks
he defends tyrannicide with enthusiasm.

He found himself in the front ranks of the Florentine revolutionists in
those days of national and republican revival which, in Florence,
followed the news of the taking of Rome by the Imperialists (May 6,
1527) and the driving out of Ippolito and Alessandro de' Medici (May
17th). At first the Republic seems only to have given him artistic
commissions. He was ordered to cut from a block of marble a colossal
group of two figures as a companion-piece to the David. He obeyed, and
began a Hercules and Cacus;[43] then changed his plan and made a sketch
for a Samson slaying the Philistines. But the situation grew tragic and
he was called to more pressing tasks. In October, 1528, at San Miniato
he took part in a council presided over by the Gonfalonier Niccolo
Capponi to discuss the question of the fortification of the town.
Florence had summoned the architect Sebastiano Serlio and the engineer
Pierfrancesco d'Urbino and had sent Francesco da San Gallo and Amadio
d'Alberto to examine the fortifications of Prato, Pistoia, Pisa and
Livorno. Michelangelo was chosen in his turn on January 10, 1529, in the
_Collegium_ of the _Nove di Milizzia_ to direct the works of defense. He
was named on April 6th for one year _Governatore Generale_ and
_Procuratore_ of the fortifications of Florence, and was given a salary
of one golden ducat a day.[44] He realised that the important point of
defense was San Miniato for, "if the enemy gained possession of that
hill they would be master of the city." He determined, therefore, to
strengthen that position with bastions, but he encountered the ill-will
of the Gonfalonier Capponi, who tried to send him away from Florence on
various missions.

In June, 1529, he was ordered to inspect the citadel of Pisa and the
fortifications of Arezzo and Livorno. In July and August he was sent to
Ferrara to examine the celebrated defensive works there and to consult
with the Duke, a great expert in fortifications. The Duke received him
with great honour and took him over the fortifications himself, showed
him his art collection and asked him for one of his works.[45] But
Michelangelo suspected Capponi and the party of the Medici of taking
advantage of his absence to delay the fortification of the town and his
suspicions were confirmed by the neglected condition in which he found
the work on his return. To block these intrigues he installed himself at
San Miniato and would not stir from there again. His restless spirit
felt the least breath of the rumours of treason which, as always,
circulated in a besieged town and which unhappily, as the future showed,
were only too well founded.

Capponi, under suspicion, had been replaced as Gonfalonier by Francesco
Carducci, but the untrustworthy Malatesta Baglioni, who later on was to
give up the town, was named _Condottiere_ and governor-general of the
Florentine troops. Michelangelo foresaw his treason and confided his
suspicions to Carducci. Malatesta did not fail to hear of this
denunciation. He was all-powerful at Florence as Generalissimo, and
since a man of his type would stop at nothing when it was a question of
revenge or of the removal of a dangerous adversary, Michelangelo
believed himself lost. "I had resolved, however, to await without fear
the end of the war," he writes on September 25, 1529, to Battista della
Palla. "But on Tuesday morning the twenty-first of September a certain
man came to me outside of the Porta San Niccolo, where I was on the
bastions, and whispered in my ear that if I wished to save my life I
must not stay any longer in Florence. He went with me to my house,
brought me some horses, and did not leave me again until he had put me
outside of Florence."

Varchi, filling in the details, gives the name of the Councellor Rinaldo
Corsini[46] and adds that Michelangelo had sewed twelve thousand golden
florins into three quilted shirts, and that it was not without
difficulty that he escaped from Florence with Rinaldo and his pupil
Antonio Mini by the gate of Justice, which was the least guarded. That
was on the morning of September 21st. He went through Ferrara without
stopping there and arrived at Venice on September 25th. The Signory at
once sent two gentlemen to do anything for him which he might need (a
proof of the fame which he enjoyed already throughout the whole of
Italy). Michelangelo, however, refused everything and withdrew to the
Giudecca. He thought of going to France and spoke of this intention to
Battista della Palla, the agent of Francis I in Italy for the purchase
of works of art. Lazare de Baïf, the ambassador of France at Venice, was
told of this and wrote immediately to Francis I and to the Constable de
Montmorency, urging them to profit by this chance to secure
Michelangelo. The King at once offered Michelangelo a pension and a
house, but by the time the letter arrived at Venice he had already
returned to Florence.

His flight had caused a great sensation there. The Signory on September
30th decreed that all those who had deserted should be declared rebel
and banished if they did not return by October 7th. On the date fixed
Michelangelo had not returned. A decree declared the fugitives rebels
and their goods confiscated, but the name of Michelangelo did not
figure on the list. They gave him another chance. A few days later the
Florentine envoy at Ferrara, Galeotto Guigni, informed the Signory that
Michelangelo had heard of the decree too late and that he was ready to
return if he would be pardoned. The Signory promised to forgive him and
had a safe conduct sent to him in Venice by the stone-cutter, Bastiano
di Francesco, who brought him at the same time letters from ten of his
friends all beseeching him to return to Florence. He had had time to
reflect on what he had done and was ashamed of his pitiful panic. He
went back to Florence on November 20, 1529, and on the 23rd the decree
of banishment was removed by the Signory, but the Grand Council was
closed to him for three years. According to a letter of Sebastiano del
Piombo, Michelangelo also had to pay to the city a fine of fifteen
hundred ducats.

From that time on he did his duty bravely. He took his place again at
San Miniato, which the enemy had been bombarding for a month. He had the
hill fortified all over again, and it is said that he saved the
campanile by covering it with bales of wool and mattresses hung on
cords. The last record of his activity during the siege is a note of
February 22, 1530, which shows him climbing the dome of the cathedral,
doubtless to watch the movements of the enemy or to examine into the
condition of the dome itself, strained by the bombardment.


Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (1508-1512).]

The misfortune which he had foreseen took place on August 2, 1530, when
Malatesta Baglioni turned traitor. On the 12th Florence capitulated, and
the Emperor turned the town over to the representative of the pope,
Baccio Valori. Then the executions began. During the first few days
nothing checked the vengeance of the conquerors and some of
Michelangelo's best friends were among the victims. Michelangelo hid
himself, it is said, in the tower of S. Niccolò oltr'Arno. He had
especial reason to fear because the report had been spread that he had
wished to tear down the palace of the Medici. "When the wrath of Clement
VII had subsided," says Condivi, "he wrote to Florence that Michelangelo
should be searched for. He added that if he was found and was willing to
go on working at the tombs of the Medici he should be treated with all
the consideration he deserved," Michelangelo came out of his
hiding-place and in September or October, 1530, again undertook his work
for the glory of those against whom he had fought.

It was not the glory of the Medici he wrought, but his own sorrow and
wrath. The same thing happened here as with the tomb of Julius II.
Michelangelo did not have the force to refuse a task unworthy of him:
his genius was heroic, his will not so at all. He accepted the order, he
even outlined a program whose sychophantic affectation arouses a feeling
of sadness and of pity for the humiliation of so great a man, forced to
lie. A note in his own hand at the Casa Buonarroti explains one of the
monuments in the following way.

"Day and Night talk together and say: In our rapid flight we have
brought Duke Giuliano to death. It is therefore just that he should
avenge himself. His vengeance, now that we have killed him, is to snatch
away the light from us; by closing his eyes, he has closed ours, which
will no longer illumine the earth. What would he have done with us if he
had remained alive?"

Is not that insipid interpretation the veil of prudence which he wrapped
about his rebel spirit? How much of this is really left in the work? Who
can find it there? Who thinks only of the Medici before this tragic
expression of a lonely and despairing soul? The burning and mighty
spirit of the Sistine breathes again, and austere forms rise from the
shade. Yet here everything is sadder; a funereal silence reigns. It is
no longer the tragic struggle of the Son of Man. It is the void which
weighs on these giants who groan and complain and on those two sombre,
pondering heroes. The superb imperfection of some of these colossal
figures, from which the sculptor has only torn aside with his chisel
part of the veil of marble that covers them, adds still more to the
impression of mysterious terror expressed by these classic divinities,
half released from chaos and soon to exhaust themselves in a vain
struggle against the forces of destruction. Action, resigned and
powerless, turns his head aside. At his feet Day in fierce contempt for
all things, shows for a moment over his shoulder, his face wrapped in
clouds. He turns his back on life and plunges into passionate isolation.
Night, overcome by leaden sleep and burning with fever, sinks into the
midst of a stifling nightmare, like a stone into a gulf.

Thought, self-divining, bends toward the tomb his austere face bathed in
shadow and considers the succession of his days. Dawn, so beautiful and
pure, wakened against her will, weary of living and exhausted, stirs in
mortal pain; Twilight, with bended brow, bitter and disabused, remembers
the past without regret. The dolorous and resigned Virgin looks on at
this threnody of negation while the child God, famished, gnaws her
breast in anger.[47]

It was in this outburst of despair that Michelangelo drowned his shame
at raising this monument of slavery.[48] He fell ill from
over-excitement and Clement VII attempted in vain to soothe him. He sent
affectionate messages to him by his secretary, Pier Paolo Marzo, urging
him not to overexert himself, to work reasonably and at his leisure, to
take a walk occasionally, and "not to reduce himself to the condition of
a drudge." In the autumn of 1534 his life was in danger. Giovanni
Battista di Paolo Mini wrote on September 29th to Valori, "Michelangelo
is worn and emaciated. I have spoken of it to Bugiardino and Antonio
Mini; we agreed that he had not long to live unless someone looks out
for him."

Clement VII was disturbed and on November 21, 1531, by a special letter
he forbade Michelangelo under pain of excommunication "to work in any
way whatever, except on the tomb of Julius II and the undertaking which
we have entrusted to you (ne aliquo modo laborare debeas nisi in
sepulture et opera nostra quam tibi comisimus) so that you may still
bring glory to Rome, your family and yourself."

He protected Michelangelo against the importunities of those who came to
beg for works of art, and he reprimanded him paternally for accepting
these orders. "When anyone asks you for a painting," he said, "you
should fasten a brush to your foot, make four strokes and say, 'The
picture is done.'" He promised also to arrange Michelangelo's
difficulties with the heirs of Julius II.

On April 29, 1532, by his mediation a fourth contract was agreed upon
between the representative of the heir to Julius II, the Duke of Urbino,
Francesco Maria della Rovere and Michelangelo. Michelangelo promised to
make a new model of the tomb, to deliver the six statues already begun
and still unfinished, as well as everything else that was ready; to
complete it in the course of three years at S. Pietro in Vinculi and to
pay all the expenses as well as two thousand ducats in compensation for
the sums which he had already received. The pope gave him permission to
come for two months every year to Rome for this work. Michelangelo was
agreeing to the ruin of the greatest undertaking of his life and he had
besides to pay so much that he was forced to sell houses and goods.

Like the plans for Julius II, the plans for the Medici collapsed.
Clement VII died on September 28, 1538. Michelangelo was at that time
away from Florence and he never went back there. Duke Alessandro de'
Medici hated him, and only his fear of the pope prevented the tyrant
from assassinating him. Michelangelo therefore left Florence (where his
brother Buonarroto died in January, 1534) just after he had lost his
father, Lodovico, in June of that same year. Nothing bound him any
longer to his own country, and he was never to see it again.


Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (1508-1512).]

That was the end of the chapel of the Medici. It was never
completed.[49] What we know of it to-day is only a very far-away
suggestion of what he had dreamed. Barely the lifeless skeleton of the
architectural decoration is left. Michelangelo had only made (partially)
seven statues--Lorenzo da Urbino, Giuliano de Nemours, the four
allegorical figures and the Madonna--and he had barely begun some of the
others which were planned; he had abandoned to Raffaelo da Montelupo and
Giovanni Montorsoli the figures of S. Cosmo and S. Damien for the tomb
of Lorenzo the Magnificent and to Tribolo the figures for the tomb of
Giuliano the brother of Lorenzo, which were to represent the Earth
crowned with cypress, her head bowed, weeping, and Heaven with lifted
arms, radiant with joy. When these statues were ready to be placed no
one knew where they should go. Vasari inquired in vain of Michelangelo
in 1562 what statues he had intended for the empty niches beside the
captains, above the doors and in the pavilions at the corners and "what
sort of painting he had planned for the walls." Evidently the Medici
Chapel, so bare and cold to-day, was to have had a complete decoration
of painting and sculpture of which it is impossible for us to form any

Almost the same thing is true of the Laurentian Library. Michelangelo
never took any interest in it except in 1525-1526, when the pope wanted
him to write about it almost every week. When he left Florence he had
only completed the construction of the vestibule and the ceiling of the
chief structure. The staircase had not been begun. When the Grand Duke
Cosmo wished to have it finished by Tribolo in 1558 no model of
Michelangelo's could be found. Vasari begged him to say what his plan
had been and Michelangelo answered that he would tell him willingly if
he could remember it, but he had only a vague idea, as if in a dream, of
a certain staircase, but he did not think it could be the one he had
planned, because it was absurd.[50]

He had so completely given up all these undertakings that he had wiped
them from his memory, or rather his memory had disappeared with them.

"Memory and mind have gone on ahead," he wrote, "to wait for me in the
other world."




Michelangelo, worn out and discouraged, returned definitely to Rome on
September 23, 1534, and there he remained until his death. He was in a
condition of great mental unrest, his heart hungry for love. This was
the period of those strange violent and mystical passions for beautiful
young men like Gherardo Perini, Febo di Poggio and, most loved of all
and most worthily so, Tommaso dei Cavalieri. These attachments, about
which most historians have preferred to be silent, were an almost
religious delirium of love for the divinity of beauty and hold an
important place in the work of Michelangelo. It is to their inspiration
that most of his love-poems are due. For a long time this was either not
known or a stupid and unfortunate attempt was made to conceal it. Even
in 1623 Michelangelo's grandnephew in his first edition of the "Rime"
did not dare publish the poems to Tommaso dei Cavalieri with their real
titles, but dedicated them to a woman. This error persisted until Cæsare
Guasti, in his edition of 1863, re-established the exact text, but
nevertheless did not dare admit that Tommaso dei Cavalieri was a real
person and forced himself to believe that Vittoria Colonna was concealed
under the fictitious name. Mezières in his "L'Œuvre et la Vie de
Michelange," published in 1876, repeated this same mistake, which was
only finally denounced and corrected by Scheffler and Symonds in 1878.

Tommaso dei Cavalieri, according to Vasari and Varchi, was "a young
Roman gentleman, devoted to art and of incomparable personal beauty,"
whom Michelangelo met in the autumn of 1532. It is in 1533-1534 that
this friendship reached its height and inspired his most ardent poems
and letters. Cavalieri remained a faithful friend to Michelangelo to his
very last hour, at which indeed he was present. He made use of this
friendship only for the good of his friend. Not only did he take devoted
care of the old man in his last years, but he saw to the carrying out of
his wishes while he was alive and after his death. It was he who
persuaded him to complete the wooden model of the dome of St. Peter's
and who preserved his plans for the construction of the Capitol. Their
names would always be associated together even if his beauty had not
inspired some of Michelangelo's most perfect sonnets.[51]

All these attachments, however, were to be eclipsed by his friendship
with Vittoria Colonna. She was the daughter of Fabrizio Colonna, Lord of
Paliano, Prince of Tagliacozzo, and of Agnesena di Montefeltro, daughter
of the great Federigo, Duke of Urbino. She had married Ferrante
Francesco d'Avalos, Marquis di Pescara, the victor of Pavia, who treated
her badly, but whom she loved. A widow since 1525, she had turned for
consolation to religion and poetry. Her sonnets, in which she sang her
idealised love, had been well known throughout Italy since 1530 and had
won for her a fame unique among the women of her day. She was a friend
of all the great poets and great writers: Bembo, Castiglione who
entrusted to her the manuscript of his "Cortegiano," Ariosto who
celebrated her in his Orlando, Paul Jove, Bernardo Tasso and Ludovico
Dolce. But after 1534 religion absorbed her and she was carried away by
the movement for the reform and regeneration of the Catholic Church.
Although she was a friend of all the men who personified in Italy this
spirit of religious freedom, Cardinal Contarini and Cardinal Pole,
Giberti, Sadolet, Bernadino Ochino, Pietro Carnesecchi, and in touch
with Renée of Ferrara and Marguerite of Navarre, yet she could not, like
many of her friends, break away from the church of Rome, and later she
sacrificed her sympathies to her faith.

Michelangelo knew her about 1535, but their friendship did not really
begin until the end of 1538. She was then forty-six years old and he was

It was a serious and devout friendship. They met on Sundays in the
church of S. Silvestro at Monte Cavallo, and there they had those noble
discussions which the Portuguese painter, Francis of Holland, has
preserved for us in his four "Dialogues sur la Peinture," which took
place in Rome in 1538-1539 and were written in 1548.

Then Vittoria, driven by her religious doubts, left Rome in 1541, to
retire first to Orvieto to the cloister of S. Paolo and later to Viterbo
to the cloister of S. Caterina near Cardinal Pole, her friend and
spiritual guide. She returned to Rome from time to time to see
Michelangelo and she wrote to him. We have only a very few of these
letters which Michelangelo sacredly preserved. They are affectionate,
but cold, and we feel that she was much more detached from him than he
was from her. He often complains that she does not answer him. She wrote

"Magnificent Messer Michelangelo--I did not reply earlier to your letter
because it was, as one might say, an answer to my last; for I thought
that if you and I were to go on writing without intermission according
to my obligation and your courtesy, I should have to neglect the Chapel
of S. Catherine here, and be absent at the appointed hours for company
with my sisterhood, while you would have to leave the Chapel of S. Paul,
and be absent from morning through the day from your sweet usual
colloquy with painted forms, the which with their natural accents do not
speak to you less clearly than the living persons around me speak to me.
Thus we should both of us fail in our duty, I to the brides, you to the
vicar of Christ. For these reasons, inasmuch as I am well assured of our
steadfast friendship and affection, bound by knots of Christian
kindness, I do not think it necessary to obtain the proof of your
good-will in letters by writing on my side, but rather to await with
well-prepared mind some substantial occasion for serving you. Meanwhile
I address my prayers to that Lord of whom you spoke to me with so
fervent and humble a heart when I left Rome, that when I return thither
I may find you with His image renewed and enlivened by true faith in
your soul, in like measure as you have painted it with perfect art in my
Samaritan.[52] Believe me to remain always yours and your Urbino's."


Drawing. Uffizi, Florence.]

In this way she merely made use of her powers to soothe her friend's
spirit and to stimulate him to work. Most of all she relit that light of
faith which had never ceased to burn in his soul, although enveloped in
a night of doubt and despair. Besides "The Samaritan Woman at the Well,"
which is spoken of in the letter from Vittoria, Michelangelo made for
her a drawing of a descent from the cross with these words of Dante,
"Non vi si pensa, quaneo sangue costa," and a tragic crucifixion in
which Jesus writhes as he implores Heaven. Perhaps the two admirable
drawings of the Resurrection in the Louvre and the British Museum are of
this same period.

Vittoria, in sending him, after 1539, her Sonetti Spirituali, also
opened before his poetical genius another path to immortality.

Ever since his childhood he had made verses from an impelling need of
expression. He covered his drawings, his letters and loose sheets of
paper with thoughts in verse which he took up again and again, corrected
and worked over ceaselessly. We have only a very few of these poems of
his youth, for he burned many of them in 1518 with some drawings. He did
not think them of value until he met the banker Luigi del Riccio and
Donato Giannotti, who advised him to publish a collection of them.
Donato took the matter up seriously about 1545. Michelangelo made a
selection from his poems and his friends recopied them. But the death of
Riccio in 1546 and perhaps also that of Vittoria in 1547 distracted him
from this thought of worldly fame, and the poems remained unpublished
until his death. Nevertheless they were passed from hand to hand and the
most famous composers of the time, G. Archadelt, Bartolommeo
Tromboncino, Costanzo Festa, Consilium--Italians, Frenchmen and
Flemings--set his madrigals to music. Cultured people admired them, and
Varchi, reading and commenting on one of these sonnets in 1546 before
the Academy of Florence, declared that it had the clarity of the
classic and the richness of the thought of Dante.

Michelangelo was in fact nourished on Dante. "No one understood him
better or knew his works more perfectly," says Donato Giannotti, who
placed him as arbiter in his dialogues on Dante in 1545.[53]

Michelangelo dedicated to Dante one of his most beautiful sonnets in
which he envied his exile and his glory:

    Fuss'io pur lui! c'a tal fortuna nato,
    Per l'aspro esilio suo con la virtute
    Dare' del mundo il più felice stato.[54]

He knew equally well all the other classics of Italian lyric poetry,
Cavalcanti, Cino da Pistoia and Petrarch. His style is wrought from
theirs, but his thought is entirely his own.

"You speak words only, but he speaks in deeds," wrote Francesco Berni to
the poets of his time.

    Tacete umquanco pallide viole
    Et liquidi cristalli et fere snelli:
    Et dice cose, e voi dite parole.[55]

It is true that this was not achieved without a great obscurity of
thought, remarked even by his contemporaries and which to us often makes
their reading very difficult.

"He writes what Phœbus, Euterpe and the divine fury dictate to him, and
afterward he hardly understands what he has written," says Lodovico

The sonnet form cramped him, and characteristically he loved that form
because of its difficulty. He always delighted in doing violence to his
genius and in making himself suffer. His poetry has often been compared
to his sculpture. We can almost see him, as in Mariette's account,[57]
making the chips of marble fly under his chisel or tearing from the
block of his thought the idea that is haunting him, leaving it scarcely
freed from the matrix. Frey, in his admirable edition, which is the only
exact one of the "Rime" of Michelangelo, reveals the heroic fury with
which he composed. He strikes only the main chord on his instrument,
nothing more--no development, no variations. His dominant emotion once
expressed, there is nothing more to say, the idea is exhausted. Most of
his poems have remained in the condition of blocked-out torsos.

The most beautiful of these verses were written under the inspiration
of Vittoria Colonna and the religious ideas which she revived in him.
Separated from each other, they exchanged sonnets; she sent him forty
from Viterbo[58] and he answered her in verse.[59]

In 1544 Vittoria returned to Rome to live in the cloister of S. Anna and
remained there until her death on February 25, 1547. Her death
prostrated Michelangelo. "He remained for a long time stupefied and out
of his senses," says Condivi. But the faith which she had given back to
him never again left him. The death of his friend only deepened it, and
the two strange and powerful sonnets which celebrate that death[60] are
a hymn of triumphant faith and love.

When Michelangelo finally left Florence in 1534 and went to settle in
Rome he expected to be at last free and able to discharge his debt to
the memory of Julius II. But no sooner was the new pope elected than he
hastened to attach Michelangelo to himself. He was Paulo III Farnese, "a
choleric man, ambitious, daring, full of intelligence and cunning,
ostentatious, one of the last great popes of the Renaissance and the one
who perhaps did the most to beautify Rome, the great builder among the
popes of the sixteenth century."[61]

He summoned Michelangelo, overwhelmed him with promises, and asked him
to work for him.

Michelangelo wanted to decline, alleging as excuse his old contracts
with the heirs of Julius II, but Paul III was furious and declared that
he would tear up all those contracts and that Michelangelo should work
for him in spite of everything. Michelangelo thought of taking flight to
Urbino or to Genoa to his friend, the bishop of Almeria, but he gave in
as usual, too weak to resist. The pope, who came with ten of his
cardinals to see the statues already completed for the monument of
Julius II, went into ecstasies over them, especially over the Moses, of
which the Cardinal of Mantua said that "that figure alone would be
enough to honour the memory of Pope Julius," and he was even more
determined than before to reserve Michelangelo exclusively for his own

On September 1, 1535, he appointed him by official letters
architect-in-chief, sculptor and painter to the Apostolic Palace with a
salary for life of twelve hundred golden crowns a year, of which six
hundred were the revenue (uncertain and at once contested) of a
toll-bridge on the Po near Placentia.[62]

Ever since April, 1535, Michelangelo had agreed to work on the Last
Judgment. The idea of completing the decoration of the Sistine Chapel
with that fresco originated with Clement VII, who had already talked to
Michelangelo about it in 1533. At that time the plan also included a
Fall of Lucifer[63] on the entrance wall of the Sistine.

The first thing to be done was to destroy the frescoes of Perugino which
covered the great wall below the altar.[64]

This did not, of course, trouble Michelangelo, who despised Perugino and
called him a "blockhead." He worked on the Last Judgment from 1536 to

While he was working at it probably in 1539 he fell from the scaffold
and injured himself seriously in the leg. Still he completed his immense
task by December 25, 1541, the day when the public was admitted to see

No one of his works has been more diversely judged. Before considering
it at all, we should remember that it was the work of an old man between
sixty and sixty-six. The vitality which this "terrible" man still
possessed after a life of exhausting labours and troubles is, whatever
we may think of the work, something superhuman. The first thing which
strikes us in that colossal fresco twenty metres high and ten wide and
swarming with hundreds of figures, is order, reason and imperious will,
controlled and almost cold. The innumerable human bodies, a throng which
produces at first a sense of stifling discomfort, are gathered in a
dozen groups which balance each other and are all drawn along in a
dizzying whirl from right to left around the Christ.

If we turn to the drama itself we are overwhelmed by an impression of
brutal force. Force alone rules. There is no soul; nothing but
unreasoning physical force and the terror of it. The moment chosen is
terrible. Through the thunder of the trumpets blown to bursting by the
angels, the herculean Christ curses.

"Now there is no longer any time for pity or room for pardon."[66]

Before that implacable gesture which launches eternal death all the army
of gigantic bodies swerves and bows, a prey to one feeling--that of
fear; crushing, horrible fear relieved by no reasoning thought, a fear
of blows like that of a dog under the whip. The tremendous vigour of
these trembling athletes throws more harshly into relief their abject
helplessness. The martyrs in order to recall to the Master their claims
on His mercy exhibit servilely the instruments of their martyrdom. St.
Laurence covers himself with his gridiron; St. Blaise waves his rack;
St. Bartholomew holds out his bloody skin and lifts his bare knife with
such ferocity that he appears rather to be the flayer than the flayed.
The Virgin withdraws into the background so as not to see. Abel hides
behind Adam, and one of his sisters throws herself, terrified, on Eve's
knees and buries her face in the arms of her mother. The tempest howls
above. The heavy flight of angels rolls through space, head over heels,
bearing with an exaggerated and forced violence the column, the cross
and the instruments of the Passion. Below at the right is a savage mêlée
of souls and angels in a hand-to-hand struggle. At the left the bodies
rise heavily from Purgatory like inflated balloons drawn up by the sun.
At the bottom is the monstrous harvest of the earth giving up its dead;
Hell, full of the atrocious horror of suffering and the still more
atrocious joy of creating suffering. "Charon with eyes like burning
coals, who smites with his oars." The maddened damned, crowded together
like a herd of sheep, demons grabbing shrieking souls who hide their
eyes and ears with horror, the falling of bodies which come down like
masses of lead, and in the extreme right-hand corner Minos, evil and

There is in such a work a mass of wrath, vengeance and hate which is
suffocating. If it was not purified by colossal and almost elementary
force it would be insupportable.

[Illustration: SLAVE

Figure for the tomb of Julius II (1513-1516). Louvre.]

This, then, is what the Prophets and the Sibyls are looking forward to,
this is what the convulsive agony of the paintings of the ceiling
predicts. This implacable conclusion of human history conformed
perfectly to the essence of Christian thought, but the expression of
it was so audacious and so stripped of all compromise that it revolted
the majority of Christians, whom Michelangelo, aristocratic in his faith
as in his whole spirit, never considered at all.

It was not only Biagio da Cesena,[67] Master of Ceremonies to Paul III,
who declared the painting to be "improper"--"opera da stufe o d'osterie"
(work fit only for a bagnio or an inn), but the majority of Catholic
opinion agreed. Aretino sounded the alarm. He might not seem to be very
well qualified to do this, but he wanted to revenge himself on
Michelangelo, who had not shown that regard for him which the Master
Singer knew how to exact even from kings.[68] The author of "The
Hypocrite,"[69] the prototype of Tartuffe, was also the model.

"Messire," he wrote in November, 1545, "as a baptised man I am ashamed
of the license which you have permitted yourself in expressing your
conception of that end toward which turn all the aspirations of our true
faith. Now behold that this Michelangelo, a man of such astounding fame
and universally admired, has exposed to the world as much impiety and
irreligion as perfection of painting. Is it possible that you, who,
being divine, do not condescend to have commerce with men, is it
possible that you have done this in the greatest temple of God, above
the highest altar of Christ, in the most sacred chapel in the world,
where the great hinges of the church, the venerable pontiffs, the Vicars
of Christ, by the Catholic ceremonies and holy prayers confess,
contemplate and adore His body and blood? In so lofty a representation
you draw saints and angels, the first without any terrestrial decency
and the others deprived of all celestial honours. Remember the Pagans,
who, when they made statues of Diana, clothed her and even made the
naked Venus cover with her hands those parts which should not be shown,
and behold here a Christian, who, placing art above faith, holds it a
royal spectacle not to observe equal decency toward the martyrs and the
virgins, and shows gestures so coarse that even women of the street
would shut their eyes so as not to see them. Such a style belongs only
in a voluptuous bagnio and not in the most holy chapel. It would be a
lesser crime not to believe than to attack in such a way the faith of
others. Already the excellence of these indiscreet wonders has been
punished, since they have accomplished the miracle of killing your
glory. Therefore regain your honour by placing flames of fire over the
shameful parts of the damned, and rays of sunlight over those of the
saved, or, still better, imitate the modesty of the Florentines, who hid
under golden leaves the belly of your beautiful colossal David, even
though that stood in a public square and not in a sacred place. May God
forgive you. I do not say this to you through resentment at not having
received what I asked you for, although you should have sent me what you
agreed, and you would have done well to have taken the greatest possible
trouble about it, for you would in that way put an end to the rumours
which say that no one can get anything from you but Gherardi and
Tomai.[70] But if the treasure which Julius II left you so that his
remains should be placed in a monument carved by you, has not been
enough to make you keep your promises, what could I expect? Anyway, it
is a fact that your failure to redeem that debt is considered as a
theft.... But since our souls have more need of faith than of
lifelikeness of drawing, may God inspire his Holiness, Paul III, as He
inspired the blessed Gregory who decided to strip Rome of the superb
statues of the idols rather than to do harm through them to the respect
due to the humble images of the saints! Finally, to sum up, if you had
taken counsel in your composition of the universe, the abyss and
paradise of the glorious and terrible sketch which I sent you and of my
instructions, and of the knowledge which the world has so praised in me,
I dare say that no one would have regretted it."[71]

This venomous letter was, unluckily, not a simple act of vengeance and
of blackmail. It was the hypocritical echo of many sincere
protestations. A Florentine in 1549 called Michelangelo "the creator of
that vileness, irreproachable in art but not in faith," and he added,
"All the modern painters and sculptors imitate such Lutheran
abominations.[72] They paint and carve even in the least important
churches only such figures as are calculated to destroy faith and
devotion; but I hope that some day God will send His saints to overthrow
such idolatries." The trial of Veronese in a certain measure justifies
these accusations. Brought before the Inquisition on July 18, 1573, for
the indecency of his Feast in the House of Simon, Veronese did not fail
to intrench himself behind the example of the Last Judgment.[73] It is
true that the Inquisition undertook nobly the defense of Michelangelo
against him.

"Do you not know that in representing the Last Judgment, in which we can
not imagine any clothing, there was no ground for painting any? But what
is there in those figures that is not inspired by the Holy Spirit? There
are neither buffoons nor dogs, nor arms or other mockeries...."

But Rome had not so lofty a spirit; the ideas of Biagio and Aretino made
their way. Neither the European glory of Michelangelo nor his favour
with the popes nor the respect inspired by the nobility of his life and
his well-known faith succeeded in protecting the Last Judgment from the
zeal of the bigots. Paul IV Caraffa had for a while the idea of
covering up the entire fresco. By his order Daniele da Volterra clothed
the nakedness which wounded Aretino's modesty (in 1559-1560) and gained
for this the surname of "Braghettone."

Under Pius V in 1566 Girolamo da Fano continued this holy work. This was
not enough to satisfy the wrath of the good people, for in 1596 Clement
VIII Aldobrandini again wanted to have the Judgment painted out. He was
prevented by a protest from the Academy of St. Luke.[74] Indeed, until
the eighteenth century the work of Michelangelo was shamelessly
redressed, retouched and repainted.[75] It is therefore impossible to
judge to-day exactly of the original appearance and especially of the
colour, the harmony of which has been outrageously destroyed.[76]
Michelangelo, unmoved, watched the mutilation of his work. He was asked
his opinion, and he answered without anger and with calm contempt: "Say
to his Holiness that this is a little thing which can easily be put in
order. Let him attend to putting the world in order; to reform a
painting is not much trouble."

In spite of everything the Last Judgment was the school of the world.
Men came from all over Italy and from abroad to be present at its
unveiling on December 25, 1541. Hosts of Italian, French, Flemish and
German artists followed each other without respite through the Sistine
Chapel, copying zealously the entire fresco, and the glory of
Michelangelo, far from being diminished as Aretino predicted, became
colossal on account of it.

"That sublime painting," writes Vasari, "should serve as a model in our
art. Divine Providence made this present to the world to show how much
intelligence she could bestow on certain men whom she sends to the
earth. The most learned draughtsman will tremble when he sees those bold
outlines and those marvellous foreshortenings. In the presence of that
celestial work our senses are paralysed and we ask ourselves what will
exist of the works which were made before this and the works that will
be made after it. One can call oneself happy when one has seen this
prodigy of art and of genius. O fortunate Paul III! Heaven has allowed
you to be the patron of that glory. Your name will live forever beside
that of Buonarroti whose fame fills the universe."

The fresco of the Sistine was hardly finished when the insatiable Paul
III insisted that Michelangelo, in spite of his extreme old age, should
paint the frescoes of the Pauline Chapel. With a great effort he
completed the conversion of St. Paul and the Crucifixion of St. Peter
which, begun in 1542, injured after 1545 by a fire, interrupted by two
severe illnesses in 1544 and 1546, were finally completed in 1549-1550.
"He complained," says Vasari, "that he had suffered greatly in executing
these works. Painting, and especially fresco, is not fitted for an old
man." He was, as a matter of fact, seventy-five years old. Both frescoes
to-day have almost disappeared. In spite of the exaggeration of the
attitudes and the abuse of virtuosity, Michelangelo had preserved in them
his rough vigour, and we can still see there a tumultuous force which
struggles in darkness.[77]

During this fifteen years' work the old man had lost all hope of ever
finishing the monument of Julius II, and had with great difficulty
prevented Paul III from taking some of the statues to serve as ornaments
of the Pauline Chapel. He had had to sign, on August 20, 1542, a fifth
and last contract with the heirs of Julius II. By this agreement he
relinquished for the time being three statues, which must have been the
Moses and the two Slaves.[78] Then he decided that the Slaves were not
any longer fitted to the tomb and he began two other figures, Active
Life and Contemplative Life.[79]

In addition, Michelangelo agreed to give fourteen hundred crowns[80] to
his pupil Urbino and to Raffaello da Montelupo for finishing the
monument, after which he was to be free from all obligation forever.

But he had not reached the end of his troubles, for the heirs of Julius
II continued persecuting the poor man with insulting demands for money
which they pretended to have previously disbursed to him. Michelangelo
went almost mad, as he had done in the time of Clement VII over the
Medici Chapel, and it was in vain that Paul III commanded him not to
think about it, but to give himself up entirely to his painting of the
Pauline Chapel.

He answered, "You paint with your head and not with your hands. Who does
not think for himself dishonours himself. That is why I can do nothing
good so long as I have these preoccupations. I have been chained to this
trouble all my life," he continued, bitterly, "I have lost my youth over
it; I have been ruined by my too great conscientiousness. It is my fate;
I see many people who live tranquilly on an income of two or three
thousand crowns and I have only succeeded after a terrible struggle in
being poor."[81]

To satisfy his creditors he finished with his own hands the statues of
Active Life and Contemplative Life,[82] although he was not obliged to
do so.

At last the monument of Julius II was finished and shown in the Church
of S. Pietro in Vinculi in February, 1545. What was left of the
beautiful original plan? Only the Moses which had become the central
figure after having been merely one of the details. Would the complete
work have been a prodigy analogous for sculpture to what the Sistine
Chapel is for painting? Certainly no prophet of the Sistine Chapel
attains to the sovereign perfection of the Moses.

[Illustration: MOSES

Figure for the Tomb of Julius II (1513-1516).

San Pietro-in-Vinculi, Rome.]

The Moses is a supernatural and savage apparition half beast, half god.
Pagan? Christian? No one knows. Two horns pierce the narrow skull, a
flowing beard descends from his face to his knees like a parasitical
vine attached to a great tree. He seems calm, but in his terrible jaw
with close-shut teeth and projecting lower lip is wrath which shatters
and crushes like the first chords of the overture to "Coriolanus." An
implacable and murderous force, a tumult of rage and contempt wars in
the silence of that arrogant being, with his huge bulk, his knotted
arms--less brutal than those of most of Michelangelo's heroes, and with
strong and beautiful hands--and left leg bent ready to rise. The dress
is a barbarous one. No other work of Michelangelo is as completely
finished. We feel that he had lived with it more than thirty years
without being willing to let it go. He could see himself in it as in a
superb mirror which gave him back the image that he had divined of his
own soul. For the Moses is not only the most perfect artistic expression
of his genius, but also its highest moral expression. Nowhere else has
he so completely realised the majestic balance of a violent and
passionate soul controlled by an iron will. Everywhere else passion is
let loose and the human being is given into its hands. Here the savage
elements are in suspense, ready to fuse. It is a thunder-cloud charged
with lightning.

Beside that superhuman creation rich with the whole life of
Michelangelo, the two gracious figures of Leah and Rachel, the work of
his old age, seem a little cold and affected.

"I seemed in a dream to see a lady, young and beautiful, going through a
meadow, gathering flowers, and singing she was saying, 'Let him know,
whoso asks my name, that I am Leah, and I go moving my fair hands around
to make myself a garland. To please me at the glass here I adorn me, but
my sister Rachel never withdraws from her mirror, and sits all day. She
is as fain to look with her fair eyes as I to adorn me with my hands.
Her seeing, and me doing, satisfies.'"[83]

The perfume of these lovely verses of Dante penetrates Michelangelo's
two statues, which are rather apart from the rest of his work. If it
were not for the largeness of their conception they would recall by
their "morbidezza" and their cold grace the style of Civitale and
Rossellino. Michelangelo seems here to be softened and a little tamed.

The symbolical meaning of these figures is obscure, as usual with him.
His intellectual quality was rarely strong enough or rather clear enough
to impose itself on his artistic conceptions. It is placed in
juxtaposition to them in a puerile and accessory way as in the
allegorical attributes of the Medici tombs, and we can take it away
without hurting the strength of the work.

As for the rest of the monument of Julius II, it is not worth
mentioning.[84] It is a caricature of the great project, but at least it
was finished. Michelangelo was delivered from the nightmare of his whole




Michelangelo cared no longer for his own glory. He thought only of the
glory of God, and art had become to him merely a means of service. He
wrote, "I understand now how great is the mistake, the passionate
delusion in which I made of art an idol and a king."

    L'affectuosa fantasia,
    Che l'arte mi fece idol'e monarca,
    Conosco or ben, com'era d'error carca....[85]

His soul "had turned to that divine love which welcomes us with arms
outspread upon the cross."

    L'anima, volta a quell'amor divino
    C'aperse a prender noi 'n croce le braccia.

He wished to consecrate all that remained of his life to the task of
building for his God the temple of temples, St. Peter's.

By a pontifical letter of Paul III, dated January 1, 1547, and renewed
by Julius III in 1552 he had been appointed governor and architect of
St. Peter's with full power to carry on the construction. He accepted
this heavy task as a sacred duty, and refused to take any pay for it. In
1557 he wrote to his nephew Lionardo, "many people believe, as I do
myself, that I have been placed at this post by God. I will not leave it
because I am serving for the love of God and put all my hope in

He at once found himself in trouble with the party of San Gallo. They
had always been his enemies and it must be acknowledged that he had done
his best to deserve their hostility.

When Raphael was directing the work on St. Peter's, Antonio da San Gallo
had been his assistant, and he therefore belonged to the party opposed
to Michelangelo. In 1537 San Gallo became architect-in-chief, succeeding
Baldassare Peruzzi, and he abandoned, as Raphael had done, Bramante's
great design for the main construction. Michelangelo, on the contrary,
went back to that plan, for whatever rancour he might feel against
Bramante personally, his genius bowed before that of the great
architect. He wrote in 1555 to Bartolommeo Ammanati, "It can not be
denied that in architecture Bramante was greater than any other man
since classic times. He conceived the first design for St. Peter's,
simple, clear and free from all confusion, and whoever like San Gallo
has turned aside from this plan has turned aside from the truth."

Before the disagreement over St. Peter's, Michelangelo had twice come
into sharp conflict with San Gallo over the fortifications of the Borgo
and the completion of the Farnese palace.

Paul III wished to reconstruct and complete the fortifications of Rome
which had been destroyed in 1527. San Gallo had been engaged on them
since 1534, but the work had only been actively pushed since 1542. In
February, 1545, meetings were held under the presidency of Pier Luigi
Farnese in the Castle of St. Angelo to discuss the subject of the
fortifications of the Borgo, and to these Michelangelo was summoned. He
expressed opinions absolutely opposed to those of San Gallo and
enumerated the faults already committed in the works. Hot words were
exchanged, and the pope was obliged to command both men to be silent.
Soon after this affair Michelangelo made a new design for the
fortifications involving the destruction of San Gallo's work, and this
was accepted.[87]

Michelangelo added to this defeat another more bitter still. San Gallo
had built the Farnese palace up to the second story, but his plans for
the third story and the cornice did not please the pope, who turned them
over to Michelangelo to be mercilessly criticised. A competition was
opened in 1546 for the cornice in which Perino del Vaga, Sebastiano del
Piombo, Vasari and Michelangelo took part. Michelangelo's design was
accepted, and when San Gallo died from this humiliation in October,
1546, the direction of the work on the palace passed at once into his
hands. Michelangelo set aside the original plan entirely and built the
third story on the court on the Corinthian order. He also built the
beautiful cornice, so broad and fine in conception, in which he had
possibly the assistance of Vignole or Guglielmo della Porta. Even San
Gallo's death did not disarm Michelangelo, who searched relentlessly for
the malpractices committed under his predecessor in the work on St.
Peter's and who raged against the guilty with a violence which Vasari
still echoes when he says, "Michelangelo delivered St. Peter's from
thieves and bandits."

It is easy to imagine what hatred these proceedings awakened in San
Gallo's party, supported by all the contractors and foremen whose faults
Michelangelo had denounced and prosecuted. The members of the committee
of administration themselves were accomplices.[88]

A coalition was formed against him which had for its chief Nanni di
Baccio Bigio, the rascally architect whom Vasari accuses of having
stolen Michelangelo's plans even before this trouble. From the very
beginning of Michelangelo's direction at St. Peter's Nanni spread the
rumour that he knew nothing of architecture, that his model was
childish, that he squandered the money and hid himself to work at night
for fear that his blunders would be seen. It was also rumoured that the
cornice of the Farnese palace was in danger of falling. Michelangelo
was exasperated. "Who are these rogues, these triple scoundrels," he
wrote to the committee of administration, "who, after they had spread
lies about my work on the Farnese palace, lied still more in the report
that they sent to the committee of St. Peter's?"

The committee, instead of defending him, joined in the chorus of his
calumniators. They sent a protest to the pope because, they said, he
kept them entirely ignorant of his plans, which he showed to no one,
while he destroyed the work of his predecessor. They wished to be freed
from any responsibility for such proceedings, especially for "the
destruction which had been and continued to be so great that all who
witnessed it were greatly disturbed."

They succeeded in bringing about in 1551 a meeting at St. Peter's under
the presidency of the pope, where all the builders and foremen,
supported by the Cardinals Salviati and Marcello Cervini (the future
pope, Marcellus II), testified against Michelangelo. Vasari describes
the scene for us. At this time Michelangelo had already finished the
main apse with the three chapels and the three windows above them, but
no one knew yet how he would vault the church, and all agreed in
prophesying that the lighting would be insufficient. Michelangelo, when
he was questioned by Cardinal Cervini, explained that besides the three
windows already built there would be three more in the vault, which was
to be built of travertine. "You never told us anything about that," said
the cardinal. "I am not obliged to tell your lordships or anyone else
what I intend to do," replied Michelangelo; "your business is to take
charge of the expenses and to see that no one steals. The building is my
affair." He then turned to the pope and said, "Holy Father, you see what
my pay is. If the miseries I endure do not help my soul it is all time
and trouble lost."

The pope, who loved him, placed his hands on his shoulders and said:
"You gain for both your soul and your body. Have no fear."[89]


Chapel of the Medici in San Lorenzo, Florence (1524-1526 and

Without the favour of the pope he could not have held out for a moment
against the enmity which his haughty and contemptuous ways roused
against him. Therefore when Paul III died and Marcellus II succeeded him
(April 9, 1555) Michelangelo was on the point of leaving Rome, but by
the twenty-third of May Marcellus had died and Paul IV took his place.
Michelangelo, again sure of the highest protection, went on with his
fight. He would have thought himself dishonoured and would have feared
for his salvation if he had given up the work. "Against my will," he
wrote in 1555, "I was entrusted with this task, and for eight years I
have exhausted myself in vain in the midst of all kinds of trouble and
weariness. Now that the construction is so far advanced that I can begin
to vault the dome, to leave Rome would be to ruin the whole work, a
great shame to me and for my soul a great sin."[90]

In 1557 Cosmo de' Medici begged him to come back to Florence "where
honour and rest awaited him," but he answered firmly, "I can not leave
here until I have carried the construction of St. Peter's so far that my
plan can not be changed or destroyed and there will no longer be any
possibility for thieves to begin their work again, as these scoundrels
are only waiting for a chance to do. This is my resolve."

That same year his friends, who were afraid that he would carry his
great designs with him into the grave, for none of them were written
down, urged and besought until they succeeded in persuading him to
execute a model in wood of the dome of St. Peter's.[91] He was still
working on this in 1560.

The building went on, but not without many difficulties. It was
necessary in 1557 to rebuild almost the entire vault of the Chapel of
the King of France because Michelangelo had been ill and unable to watch
the work closely enough.

The attacks on him began again with fresh vigour at each mistake, and
some of his best friends, like Cardinal Carpi, joined in them.
Michelangelo heard from Francesco Bandini that the cardinal said
everywhere that the work on St. Peter's could not be worse managed. Much
hurt, he wrote to him at once that, "although he felt sure that the work
was going on well, he feared that possibly his own enthusiasm and his
age had blinded him and were, without his knowing it, a source of harm
and danger to the building." In consequence he begged that they "would
be so kind as to relieve him of the load which he had carried without
pay for seventeen years under the orders of the popes." He offered his
resignation. "A greater favour than its acceptance," he said, "could not
be accorded him."[92]

His resignation was not accepted, and Pius IV in a pontifical letter
gave him full powers and forbade that his plans should be set aside.

But Nanni di Baccio Bigio, indefatigable in his hate, moved heaven and
earth to drive him away. In 1562 Nanni appealed to Cosmo de' Medici for
his aid in securing the appointment of architect of St. Peter's. Cosmo
answered that he would do nothing about it while Michelangelo lived.

In 1563 the struggle became a tragic one. The head of the work at St.
Peter's, Cesare de Casteldurante, was stabbed, and Pier Luigi Gaeta,
Michelangelo's friend and one of his best aids, was thrown into prison
on a false accusation of theft. Michelangelo responded to this by
appointing Gaeta in Cesare's place. The committee of administration
dismissed Gaeta and put Nanni in his place, and Michelangelo, beside
himself with rage, no longer went to St. Peter's. His enemies did not
lose this chance to spread the report that he was no longer willing to
take charge of the building, and Michelangelo denied this in vain. The
committee nominated a successor, and this successor was of course Nanni.
Nanni cut loose at once from his master and began to give orders, for he
thought that the old man of eighty-eight, weary at last of the struggle,
would be forced either to submit or to resign. He did not know his
antagonist. Michelangelo went at once to the pope and told him that if
justice was not done he would leave Rome and go to Florence. The pope
called the committee together and the members accused Michelangelo of
having committed errors which endangered the whole building.
Michelangelo asked for an investigation and summoned Nanni to show the
mistakes of which he accused him. Nanni could show nothing but his own
bad faith, and was dismissed in disgrace.[93]

This did not prevent Nanni from sending, five months later, just after
the death of Michelangelo, a letter by the Florentine ambassador to
Cosmo de' Medici, asking again to be appointed his successor.

Until his last hour Michelangelo met with this fierce opposition over
the work on St. Peter's, but his faith and his fighting spirit found in
this only another reason for persevering.

While Michelangelo had taken Bramante's design for the church and rested
on his authority, he had in the course of construction introduced many
important modifications into the plan, and stamped the whole monument
with the imprint of his own grandiose and heavy genius.

He kept the Greek cross with equal arms and four apses, at the same time
hiding the apse of the façade in a rectangular mass against which he
wished to put a portico with four gigantic columns. He suppressed the
salient angles and the towers which should have risen at the extremities
of the four arms of the cross. The beautiful clean-cut lines of the
curved ends of these arms, which in Bramante's plan stretched out in the
form of a semicircular tribune, were smothered in a massive, vigorous
envelope which gave the construction the effect of a fortified bastion.

The most beautiful part of the work was the famous dome, where the
influence of Brunelleschi combined with the conception of Bramante.
Michelangelo said once while he was working on S. Lorenzo in Florence
that "it was possible to do differently from Brunelleschi, but not to do

He did not fail to remember the masterly dome of S. Maria de Fiore, for
as soon as he was appointed to St. Peter's he had the exact measures of
this dome from the lantern to the ground, and also the height sent to
him. The dimensions that he chose for St. Peter's seem to have been
inspired by them.[94]

Bramante in his design as shown by Burckhardt and de Geymueller[95] gave
the principal importance to a circular colonnade crowned by statues on
which the dome seemed to rest. Michelangelo concentrated his attention
on the dome itself, subordinating, as ever, grace and harmony to majesty
and force. He accentuated the buttresses of the drum with pairs of
columns and raised the outer dome of the cupola, whose beautiful curve
possesses an impetuous quality which recalls, with less passion and more
freedom, the huge octagonal dome of Brunelleschi, crouching on its base
like a beast ready to spring.[96] The lofty serenity of the dome of St.
Peter's is almost unique in the work of Michelangelo. He had lived so
long with the thoughts of Raphael and Bramante that at last their smile
was reflected in his work.[97]

Besides this great masterpiece other architectural works filled the end
of his life--the rebuilding of the Capitol, the Porta Pia, S. Maria
degli Angeli and S. Giovanni dei Fiorentini.

It was in 1548 that Michelangelo presided over the erection of the
statue of Marcus Aurelius in the square before the Capitol, but his
first sketch for the palaces were no earlier than 1546, and when he died
the buildings were far from finished.

He never saw the stairway or the colonnades. An engraving of Pérac's
executed in 1559 after Michelangelo's own drawings, "ex ipso exemplari
Michaelis Bonaroti," and reproduced in the _Speculum Romanie
Magnificentiæ_ of Lafreri, show exactly what his plan was and take from
him all blame for the incoherencies and vulgarities put into the
execution after his death. The beautiful double staircase of the
Senatorial Palace and the fountain with the river gods is all his own;
but he had meant to put a colonnade crowned by pilasters at the top of
the stairway, the windows of the upper story should have been higher and
the campanile crenellated.[98] The Porta Pia was at the end of a long
street which ran from the Monte Cavallo.[99] Michelangelo made three
designs for it in 1561, of which Pius IV chose the most reasonable,
according to Vasari. This was more to the credit of the pope than the
artist, for the plan which was carried out shows, with a few remnants of
massive and imperious power, a complete lack of good taste.

He also worked in 1560-1561 at the transformation of the great hall in
the baths of Diocletian into the church of S. Maria degli Angeli, but it
is almost impossible to judge this now, for his work was entirely
changed and disfigured in 1746 by Vanvitelli.

He was no more fortunate with the Church of S. Giovanni dei Fiorentini
at Rome, which was another of his great projects, undertaken with
enthusiasm and ending in nothing. S. Giovanni had been begun under Leo X
by Jacopo Sansovino. Antonio da San Gallo had worked on it later and had
made a model of the church, and then the construction had been
abandoned. In 1550, at the suggestion of Bindo Altoviti, Michelangelo
determined to consecrate himself to this work and had almost persuaded
Julius III, but the money was lacking.[100] In 1559 the Florentines
took up the idea again and decided to put a church of a new plan on the
old foundations, and their procurators, Francesco Bandini, Uberto
Ubaldini and Tommaso de' Bardi, asked Michelangelo to take charge of it
in spite of his duties at St. Peter's. Cosmo de' Medici himself wrote a
most flattering letter begging him to accept, and Michelangelo answered
the duke that he "considered his wish an order" and had already shown
the Florentine deputies several drawings, of which they had chosen the
one which he considered the best.[101] "I am sorry," he added, "to be
now so old and so little alive that I can not do all I would or all that
is my duty to your lordship and the people. Nevertheless I will make the
effort by directing everything from my house to accomplish what your
lordship desires."[102]

In spite of his age he began with the same enthusiasm with which he had
undertaken the unlucky façade of S. Lorenzo. He told the commission that
if they carried out his plans "neither the Greeks nor the Romans would
have done anything like it." "Words," says Vasari, "of a kind that never
came from the mouth of Michelangelo before or after, for he was
extremely modest."

[Illustration: DAWN

Figure from the Tomb of Lorenzo de' Medici.

Chapel of the Medici in San Lorenzo, Florence (1524-1526 and 1530-1534)]

The Florentines accepted his plans without change and gave the execution
of them to Tiberio Calcagni.

"Michelangelo," says Vasari, "explained his project to Tiberio so that
he could make a clear and accurate drawing of it. He gave him the
profiles of the interior and exterior and made him a model in wax.
Tiberio in ten days finished a model two feet high, and as it pleased
all the people another model was made in wood which is now in the
Consulate. It is a work of such rare art that there never was seen a
church so beautiful, so rich and with such variety of fancy." The
building was commenced and five thousand crowns spent; then the money
gave out and the work stopped, to Michelangelo's most profound
disappointment. Not only was the church not built, but the model
disappeared with all the plans. This was the last artistic
disappointment of his life.[103]

He could no longer paint, but he still continued to work at his
sculpture from a sort of physical need. Vasari says that "his genius and
strength could not live without creation." He attacked a block of marble
to cut from it four figures larger than life, of which one was a dead
Christ.[104] He did this to amuse himself and to pass the time, and
because he said that work with a chisel kept him in health. He worked at
night[105] and slept very little, and had made himself a helmet of
cardboard to hold a lighted candle on his head so that with both hands
free he could light what he was doing. Even at that age he cut the
marble with such impetuosity and vigour that it seemed to fly in pieces.
He broke off in one blow great fragments four or five inches thick and
left a line so pure that if he had gone a hair's breadth further he
would have risked ruining the whole. This did happen to many of his
works, which remained merely blocked out like the figures in the Boboli
grotto, or half finished like the Madonna of the Medici chapel, or
destroyed, as all but happened to the admirable Descent from the Cross
in the cathedral at Florence.

"He would break a work in pieces," says Vasari, "either because the
block was hard and full of flaws and sparks shot out from under the
chisel, or because the uncompromising judgment of this man was never
contented with anything that he did, which is easily proved by the fact
that so few of the works of his maturity are complete; the only finished
ones dated from his youth."

The Florentine sculptor Tiberio Calcagni, who was a friend as well as
his assistant at S. Giovanni dei Fiorentini, found the debris of a Pietà
one day, and asked why he had destroyed "so admirable a work."
Michelangelo told him that it was partly the fault of his servant
Urbino, who urged him every day to finish it, when he was already
annoyed by a flaw in the marble so that he had lost patience and had
broken it. He would have destroyed it entirely but that his servant
Antonio "had begged for what remained." Tiberio bought the marble from
Antonio for two hundred gold crowns and asked Michelangelo's permission
to finish it for their mutual friend Francesco Bandini. Michelangelo was
entirely willing, and the group was restored by Tiberio, who completed
several parts of it, but Bandini, Michelangelo and Tiberio all died and
it was never finished.[106]

It is all the more moving for that reason. In the half-shadow behind the
high altar in Florence it stirs one with indescribable emotion. Perhaps
no other work of Michelangelo is so human or speaks so directly to the
soul. "From heart to heart," as Beethoven wrote at the end of his mass
in D. It is the expression of those long nights when he was alone face
to face with his sorrow and spoke only to himself. He represents himself
in the form of an old man, in a monk's cowl, bending with infinite
sadness and tenderness to support the sinking body of the dead Christ.

In this piece of stone hardly blocked out smoulders deep sorrow and an
agony of pain. But what great love is in that suffering, in the scarcely
modelled face of the mother with closed eyes and parted lips, and in the
tender movement of the hand which rests on the naked breast of her son,
whose head has sunk against her shoulder. How much Michelangelo has
softened since his early work, how far this feeling is from the
implacable heroism of his youth, how far it is indeed from the lovely
Pietà of St. Peter's, where serene beauty rises above the sorrow. Here
he suffers and abandons himself to the suffering. What matters a lack of
proportion and an uncertain composition?[107] The work is unique in its
intimacy. It is his whole soul laid bare.

Michelangelo never lacked illustrious friends. From the time of his
early youth, when he talked in the gardens of San Marco with Lorenzo de'
Medici and Poliziano, he was always in close touch with the best among
the nobles and princes, prelates and poets and artists of Italy.[108] He
had a peculiarly close friendship with Francesco Berni and Sebastiano
del Piombo[109] under Clement VII and with Luigi del Riccio, Donato
Giannotti and Benedetto Varchi[110] under Paul III, and at the close of
his life he was surrounded by the pious worship of pupils and admirers
like Benvenuto Cellini, Bronzino, Daniele da Volterra, Leone Leoni,
Vasari and his biographer, almost his hagiographer, Condivi, whose book
begins with these words:

"Since the hour when our Lord God by special mercy judged me worthy to
not only see Michelangelo, which I could hardly have dared to hope for,
but to enjoy his affection, his conversation and his confidence--grateful
for such a great blessing, I have made all possible effort not only to
collect and write down the instructions which he gave me on art, but all
his words, actions and habits and all things in his life which seemed to
me worthy of praise, admiration or emulation. This I do to pay back a
little of the infinite obligation which I owe to him no less than to be
useful to others by giving them the example of such a man."[111]

The artists were not the only ones who looked upon Michelangelo as a
supernatural being, for princes bowed before his fame and his great
virtue as Vasari calls it. Cosmo de' Medici, who tried in vain to recall
him to Florence, even offering to make him a senator,[112] treated
Michelangelo as an equal, Cosmo's son Don Francesco received him with
even greater respect (in October, 1561), his cap in his hand, "showing a
reverence without limit for so extraordinary a man."

In spite of all this adulation, or perhaps because of it, he had as
little intercourse as possible with the world. Popes and princes, men of
letters and artists, held but small place in his life, except a few
favourite pupils like Vasari, for whom he showed a fatherly affection,
especially in his last years, when, growing more feeble day by day, he
grew more demonstrative.

"I have been to see my great Michelangelo," Vasari wrote to Cosmo in
1560. "He did not expect me and showed as much feeling as a father who
has recovered a lost son. He threw his arms around my neck and kissed me
a thousand times, crying with pleasure" (lacrymando per dolcezza).[113]

[Illustration: TWILIGHT

Figure from the Tomb of Lorenzo de' Medici.

Chapel of the Medici in San Lorenzo, Florence (1524-1526 and 1530-1534).]

But the best of his heart was kept for his kin and for a few humble
friends. Of his two remaining brothers, Giovan Simone died in 1548, and
Gismondo, with whom he had never had much intercourse, in 1555. He
turned to Lionardo and Francesca, the children of his favourite brother
Buonarroto, for the family affection which he could not do without. He
charged himself with the education of Lionardo, who was nine years old
at his father's death, and the long correspondence between them which
has been preserved shows how seriously he took his responsibility as
guardian. The children grew up and after they had married he found
himself even more lonely than before.[114]

In his own house he had assistants who were devoted to him, but of no
great ability. "He had trouble with those in his service," says Vasari,
"for he never chanced to find men who could imitate him well." Pietro
Urbano de Pistoia was intelligent, but would take no trouble; Antonio
Mini was willing, but not intelligent; and Ascanio della Ripa Transone
tried hard, but never succeeded in doing anything. It is possible that
he deliberately chose mediocre assistants in order to have docile tools
instead of collaborators, which indeed would have been quite legitimate;
but Condivi says that it is not true that he refused to teach them, but,
on the contrary, he did so willingly. "I myself am the proof of that,
for he opened the secrets of his heart to me. The trouble was that he
met with pupils that had no ability, or with able ones who were not
persevering and who after a few months of his teaching thought
themselves already masters. And though he took a great deal of trouble
to help them he did not want to have this known, for he loved rather to
do good than to seem to do it."

His letters show what fatherly patience he had with these poor
creatures. He forgave them any folly if they only showed a little good
will and affection.

The one that he cared for the most was Francesco d'Amadore, called
Urbino, the son of Guido di Colonello de Castel Durante, who was in his
service from 1530 and had worked on the tomb of Julius II. Michelangelo
was worried about what would become of Urbino after his own death, and
one day, says Vasari, he asked him, "What will you do when I die?" When
Urbino answered, "I will have to serve some other master," Michelangelo
said, "Poor fellow, I am going to cure your poverty," and gave him two
thousand crowns on the spot, "a gift such as only emperors and popes

It was Urbino who died first in 1555, and the day after Michelangelo
wrote to his nephew Lionardo: "I must tell you that Urbino died
yesterday at ten o'clock. He has left me so sad and troubled because of
the love I had for him that it would have been easier to have died with
him. He was a worthy man, loyal and faithful. Since he has gone I do
not seem to be alive and I can not recover my peace of mind."[115]

Lionardo and his wife Cassandra, anxious on account of his great grief,
went to Rome and found him much weakened. But he drew new energy from
the charge which Urbino had left him in the guardianship of his sons,
one of whom was his godson and bore his name. He wrote to Cornelia,
Urbino's wife, that he would like to take the little Michelangelo to
live with him. He showed him more affection than even the children of
his nephew, and had him taught all that Urbino had wished him to

He showed the most touching affection for his old servants, and also for
those of his family whom he had taken in after his father's death, and
for the workmen who had helped him at Carrara and in the Sistine Chapel.

His enemies accused him of avarice,[117] but Vasari answers the charge
with indignation and a list of his royal gifts to all his friends: "To
Messer Tommaso dei Cavalieri, to Messer Bindo Altoviti, and Fra Bastiano
(del Piombo) drawings of great value. To Antonio Mini all the drawings,
cartoons and models in wax and clay and the painting of Leda; to
Gherardo Perini some divinely beautiful heads drawn in pencil which
passed later into the hands of Don Francesco, Prince of Florence, who
rightly esteemed them among his treasures; to Bartolommeo Bettini a
cartoon of Venus with Cupid kissing her, a divine work now in possession
of his heirs in Florence; to the Marchese del Vasto a cartoon of the
_noli me tangere_, a beautiful work from which Pontormo made a painting
as he did from the Venus and Cupid; to Roberto Strozzi the two Slaves in
marble; to his servant Antonio and to Francesco Bandini the Pietà in
marble which he broke. I do not understand how a man can be called
avaricious who gives away such works of art worth many thousands of

His generosity was not limited to his friends, for he gave much to the
poor, especially the disreputable poor. He particularly remembered poor
young girls and dowered them secretly, taking care that they should
never know the name of their benefactor.

He was always ailing in health, and several times very near death,
particularly in 1544, when he was nursed by his friend Riccio in the
house of the Strozzi, and in his later years he suffered cruelly from
gout and stone. His indomitable nervous energy supported him, and at
eighty-five he inspected the works of St. Peter's on horseback. In spite
of a severe attack of gout in August, 1561, he would let no one take
care of him and he still lived alone. His nephew Lionardo was least of
all allowed to interfere with these arrangements, for Michelangelo
attributed his anxiety to an interest in his inheritance and did not
hesitate to tell him so.

Both the Duke of Tuscany and the pope were anxious about the plans and
drawings of his public works, which Michelangelo kept in his own house,
for fear that they might be stolen after his death. So in June, 1563, at
the instigation of Vasari, who saw that Michelangelo was failing
rapidly, Cosmo de' Medici secretly directed his ambassador, Averado
Serristori, to keep a strict watch on the domestic life of Michelangelo
and on everyone who came to his house. In case of his sudden death an
inventory was to be taken of all his possessions, drawings, cartoons,
models, silver, etc., and a watch to be kept that nothing was taken in
the first confusion. All that had to do with the construction of St.
Peter's or the sacristy or the Laurentian library was to be put
carefully aside.

Weakened as he was, Michelangelo still worked. Since 1562 he had hardly
written at all himself, and Daniele da Volterra did most of his
correspondence, but he never relinquished his chisel. On February 12,
1564, he spent the whole day standing at work on his Pietà, and on the
fourteenth, although he was seized with fever, he rode out on horseback
into the country in the rain, and would not consent to stay in his bed
until the sixteenth.

On the eighteenth of February he died in full consciousness, with
Daniele da Volterra and his faithful friend Tommaso dei Cavalieri beside

    Giunto è già 'l corso della vita mia
    Con tempestoso mar per fragil barca
    Al comus porto....[118]

Cosmo de' Medici was at once notified by his ambassador, and the next
day the governor of Rome made an inventory of Michelangelo's property
in the presence of Pier Luigi Gaeta and Cavalieri. There was much less
than had been expected, for he had burned almost all his drawings. They
found a chest containing seven or eight thousand crowns and a trunk
closed and sealed and full of papers, and also three statues, the
unfinished Pietà,[119] a figure of Saint Peter just begun, and a little
unfinished figure of Christ bearing the cross in the style of that in
the Minerva, and yet different. There were besides ten cartoons as

1. The plan of St. Peter's.

2. The façade of a palace(a small cartoon).

3. A window of St. Peter's.

4. The old plan for St. Peter's, after a drawing of San Gallo's.

5. Three sketches of little figures.

6. Windows.

7. A Pietà, merely sketched. A composition of nine figures.

8. Three large figures and two _putti_.

9. Large figure (a study of an apostle for the figure of Saint Peter).

10. Farewell of Christ to his mother, drawn for Cardinal Morone.[120]

This last drawing was given to Cavalieri as Michelangelo had wished. The
rest went to Lionardo, who reached Rome three days after his uncle's
death, and who acquired also some little sketches which Michelangelo had
given to Michele Alberti and Jacopo del Duca--an annunciation and a
prayer at Gethsemane. These show how much the thought of the gospel
filled Michelangelo's mind.[121]

On February 19th Michelangelo's body was carried by the brotherhood to
which he belonged, the Confratelli di S. Giovanni Pecolla, to the church
of the SS. Apostoli for the funeral mass. The pope had meant to have the
body placed in St. Peter's, but Michelangelo had expressed a desire to
return to Florence dead, as he could not do so living,[122] and Lionardo
was determined to carry out his last wishes in accordance with the
orders of Cosmo de' Medici, who promised to erect a statue to him in the
Florentine cathedral. The Romans would not allow the body to be taken
away, so it was necessary to wrap it secretly in a roll of cloth and
to send it to Florence on the twenty-ninth as merchandise.


Detail from The Last Judgment (1536-1541). Sistine Chapel.]

Thus did Michelangelo return to his country on March 10, 1564. The next
day the artists of Florence carried his body by torchlight to the church
of Santa Croce. The crowd was so great that they could hardly force
their way through the church. In the sacristy Vincenzo Borghini,
Director of the Florentine Academy of Painters, had the coffin opened.
The body was intact and Michelangelo seemed asleep. He was dressed in
black velvet, a felt hat on his head, and on his feet boots and spurs,
just as while living he had had the habit of sleeping, dressed and ready
to rise and take up his work.[123]

The Academy of Florence had been preparing since March 2d for the solemn
obsequies. Varchi was given the funeral oration, Bronzino, Vasari,
Cellini and Ammanati the artistic arrangements. On the 14th of July,
1564, in the church of S. Lorenzo, a triumphant memorial service was
held in the presence of a hundred artists and an innumerable crowd of

Between the two side doors arose a huge catafalque. Daniele da Volterra
had wanted to use for the tomb the fine Victory and other sculptures of
the Via Mozza, but this most reverent and appropriate idea for the
glorification of the master was not accepted.[125] Instead, a huge
arrangement, disproportionate and swollen, was erected, a real tower of
Babel to which each sculptor of Florence brought his stone. It was
undoubtedly, however, a fine thought to associate all the world of
artists in a supreme homage to the man whom Italy considered the
incarnation of her genius and the God himself of art.[126] The result of
these combined efforts was only to prove more strikingly the contrast
between the man who was dead and the men who claimed the right to
succeed him. This agglomeration of sculpture recalls also that bitter
saying of Michelangelo shortly before his end that "art and death do not
go well together."

"L'arte e la morte non va bene insieme."

From 1564 to 1572 Vasari raised in Santa Croce, at the expense of
Lionardo Buonarroti, and with the collaboration of Borghini, Valerio
Cioli and Battista Lorenzi, the monument to Michelangelo. Thode has
proved that the so-called tomb of Michelangelo in the SS. Apostoli in
Rome has nothing whatever to do with him. It is really the monument of a
professor of medicine, Ferdinando Eustacio, and the false attribution
dates only from 1823.



"I have no friend of any kind," said Michelangelo in 1509, "and I do not
want any."[127]

Forty years later, in 1548, Michelangelo wrote again, "I am always alone
and I speak to no one."[128]

"From his youth," says Condivi, "Michelangelo had consecrated himself
not only to sculpture and painting, but to all the other arts with such
devouring energy that he had to separate himself almost entirely from
the society of men. For that reason many people considered him proud,
and others eccentric or mad. In reality it was his love of work alone,
his labour without respite, which made him solitary, for he was so
filled by the joy and rapture which his work gave him that the society
of men did not offer him any pleasure, but rather bored him by
distracting him from his own thoughts. Like the great Scipio, he was
never less lonely than when he was alone."

That passionate solitude was the very soul of the genius and of the work
of Michelangelo. He lived shut up in himself without any real connection
with the art of his time. He despised Raphael because he said, "All his
talent came from study and not from nature."[129] He himself declared
that he derived all his inspiration from within, and if in his pride he
underestimated what he was always studying with feverish and persistent
ardour, yet it is true that he never sought in the study of the works of
others a means of changing or of renewing his own personality, but only
of still further emphasising it. In a way he sought from others not
examples or lessons, but reasons for being still more himself. It is
true that from the beginning to the end he fed on his own soul. Who
knows the man, knows his work.

The most striking thing about this extraordinarily unified nature is
that it was composed of hostile worlds; a brutal materialism and serene
idealism, an infatuation with pagan strength and beauty and a Christian
mysticism; a mixture of physical violence and intellectual abstraction;
a platonic soul in an athlete's body. That indissoluble union of
opposing forces which undoubtedly caused part of his suffering was also
the cause of his unique greatness. We feel that the supreme balance of
his art is the result of a fierce struggle, and it is the sense of that
struggle which gives to the work its heroic character. All is passion
even to the abstract idea, so that idealism, which with many artists is
a cause of coldness and death, is here a hearth burning with love and

There is undoubtedly a danger in that mystic faith which loses itself in
inward visions of such charm that they often leave a feeling of only
disgust and contempt for reality.

    Non vider gli occhi mei cosa mortale

    * * *

    E se creata a Dio non fusse eguale
    Altro che 'l bel di fuor, ch'à gl'occhi piace,
    Più non vorria; ma perch'è si fallace,
    Tracende nella forma universale.[131]

Varchi was quite right in recognising in Michelangelo the Socratic
spirit.[132] Whether he gained these ideas from the teaching of the
great Platonists with whom he had talked as a youth in the gardens of
San Marco or whether that teaching had merely revealed to him his true
nature there is certainly a close relationship between the theories on
art of the school of Socrates and those of Michelangelo.

Parrhasius believed in representing only "the perspective, the light and
the shadow, the softness, hardness and surface of bodies." Socrates
taught him that the object of painting is to represent the soul and the
innermost being.[133] "The fields and trees can teach me nothing," he
says in the "Phædo"; "I only find what is useful to me among men in the
towns." These very men only interested him because there was something
eternal in them. The fugitive and changing side of their physiognomy,
which for us makes the delicate charm of life and the object of
painting, seemed to him an empty and wearisome illusion. Art creates
illusions. The objects which it represents are "the dreams of the human
imagination offered to people who can see. It is an image which one
shows in the distance to little children who can not reason, in order
to create illusions for them. These illusions of the senses distract the
soul from the only realities, eternal ideas."

Michelangelo reasoned thus in his disdain of all exact reproduction of
nature. He had studied it with passion but, in order to discover its
laws, he regarded it as an enemy which held the human spirit prisoner.
He wanted to free himself from it, he wanted to make of it an instrument
for his thought. That is why he sought for and discovered its machinery,
and when he could guide it at will he outraged it; he made it produce
unprecedented results. He constructed for himself out of his profound
knowledge of anatomy a general idea of man, and thereafter, without
having recourse to any observation of individuals, he recreated the
whole of nature in the image of his ideas and in the likeness of God,
source and originator of ideas.

    Come dal foco 'l cald' 'esser' diviso
    Nom puo 'l bel dall' eterno; e la mia stima
    Esalta che ne scende, e chi 'l somiglia.

"As heat can not be separated from fire, so beauty can not be from
eternity; and my thought extols what comes from it and what resembles

[Illustration: CHARON'S BOAT

Detail from The Last Judgment (1536-1541). Sistine Chapel.]

He wanted to express in his work only what was eternal, and he did not
believe he could do this with external objects. He tried, therefore, to
give to everything he did a character of compelling force. His Platonic
idealism was lined with Christian pessimism. Like Vittoria Colonna, he
was filled with the sense of the beauty of all human things, and he was
obsessed with the idea of death.

He lived in an exhausted epoch which no longer had any happy sense of
reality. In God was the only help, in the eternal and immutable
perfection. Michelangelo was filled with dislike for all realism. Like
Plato, he despised painting in comparison with sculpture.

"Painting seems to me the better the more it resembles sculpture, and
the sculpture worse the more it resembles painting. Sculpture is the
torch of painting, and between the two there is the same difference as
between the sun and the moon."[134]

If he was above all things a sculptor it was because he found in
sculpture the most appropriate expression of his abstract and
concentrated genius.

    Non ha l'ottimo artista alcun concetto,
    Ch'un marmo solo in se non circonscriva
    Col suo soverchio, et solo à quello arriva
    La man, che ubbidisce all'intelleto.[135]

Moreover he reduced sculpture to its most simple form, the isolated
statue. Michelangelo had little liking for bas-reliefs and groups, which
he hardly ever made, and where he always shows some awkwardness. What we
know, through Cellini and Vasari, of his manner of working would incline
us to feel to-day that the basis of his sculpture and of all his art was
drawing,[136] because that was most immaterial and closest to the form
of his thought.

No one has ever drawn as Michelangelo did, and Charles Blanc is right in
saying that "if he is unequal in his sculptures and his frescoes, never
does his drawing, even when apparently most careless and most summary,
betray any feebleness of hand or distraction or hesitancy of spirit."
Not only do we penetrate, then, into the mystery of his creativeness,
into the dreams and soliloquies of his lonely soul, but we discover
there also his most intimate and perfect expression. There he is
altogether himself, as Beethoven is in his quartets and in his short
pieces for the piano.[137]

I compare these two purposely; for the genius of each of them was
solitary, intellectual and passionate, only realising itself completely
in the most simple and abstract forms in which the senses had the least
part and the spirit the greatest. All the voluptuous charm of art was
not only foreign to Michelangelo, but antagonistic to him. The more art
was aimed at the senses the more he despised it.

    Voglia sfrenata el senso è, non amore,
    Che l'alma uccide....[138]

Painting, therefore, seemed to him, as it did to Plato, less virile and
less pure than sculpture, because of its seductive quality, its illusive
magic which imitates the appearance of things and merely creates
illusions. He disdained it inasmuch as it appealed through the
attraction of colours at the expense of the idea. He could not endure
painting in oils, which he said was only good for women.[139] He
rejected landscape, and like Plato only saw in it a vague and deceiving
illusion--a sport for children and ignorant people. He had a horror of
portraits. They seemed to him a form of flattery for the gratification
of vain curiosity and the imperfect illusion of the senses.[140] It is
curious to contrast with these principles which were adopted by a part
of the Italian school in the sixteenth century, the naïve confession of
faith of Dürer at almost the same period. "The art of painting is used
in the service of the Church to show the sufferings of Christ and of
many other models of virtue, and it also preserves the faces of men
after their death." (1513)

That pious and bourgeois realism of Germany and Flanders filled
Michelangelo with the same sort of contempt that many artists of to-day
feel for subject-painting. "It is," he says, "an anecdotal and
sentimental art, which aims only at success and obtains it easily, not
by its own value, but by the choice of its subjects. These are pious
figures for which tears are always ready, or else rags, ruins, very
green fields shaded by trees, rivers and bridges--what they call
landscapes--with many figures here and there. That sort of thing is
always popular; the least artistic spirit can find something there that
appeals to it; it is enough to be inquisitive and to have good eyes."
Again--"Flemish painting seems beautiful to women, especially to those
who are either old or very young, and to monks and nuns and to a few
people of quality who are deaf to true harmony. Although it makes a good
effect in the eyes of some people, in truth there is neither reason nor
art in it, no proportion, no symmetry, no selection, and no grandeur. In
fact, such painting is without body or vigour. The only real paintings
are those done in Italy. These are not, like the Flemish pictures, made
for the pious.[141] They will never cause anyone to shed a tear."[142]

We can well understand that disdainful confession of faith. What artist
is there who has not felt this same irritation at the success of
mediocre work exploited by the sentimentality of an uncritical public
and who will not understand Michelangelo's haughty refusal to share this
too easy success? This pride, ennobling as it is to the character, is
unfortunately perilous for art; it cuts it off from all simple souls, it
isolates it in the arrogant feeling of inner perfection and of a secret
ideal which very few can know or understand. As Michelangelo says:

"Good painting is noble and devout in itself, for among the wise nothing
tends more to elevate the soul or to raise it toward devotion than the
difficulty of that perfection which approaches God and becomes one with
him. Good painting is but a copy of this perfection, a shadow of his
pencil, a music, a melody, and only a very keen intelligence can feel
the difficulty of it. That is why it is so rare and why so few people
can attain to it or know how to produce it. Painting is the music of
God, the inner reflection of his luminous perfection."[143]


Drawing (about 1540). Louvre.]

If instead of Michelangelo with his ardent faith and that warmth of
enthusiasm which sweeps along his idealism and makes of the Divine Idea
as he conceives it a living being to whom he passionately desires to
unite himself we should take, I do not say a sceptic or an atheist, but
a sincere believer after the manner of the Council of Trent, a Vasari or
a Zucchero, then God will be to them not a source of love and ecstasy,
but the principle of reason. The reason of the wise--behold the
beginning and the end of art. A hundred years after Michelangelo,
Poussin was to bind all art in obedience to this principle. He applied
all its natural resources to the rendering of one idea. With him the
attention is confined to the idea of the work--that is the principal
thing. The abstract idea is more important than the form; thought alone
is spontaneous; all the rest--life, expression, colour--is determined by
the logic of reason. The subject regulates the composition and
determines the centre of interest and the groupings of the picture; it
indicates the character of the people, their moral aspect and,
consequently, their exterior, for the two are bound together. It
determines the character of the landscape, which must bear a logical
relationship to the scene; it presides even over the execution of the
work. The manner of painting is imposed by the subject to be treated; it
will be Phrygian or Dorian or Lydian, according to whether the idea is
gentle or serious or sad. In this way everything is logical and
calculated. Michelangelo's mystical ardour toward divine perfection at
least left him his impetuous liberty of feeling. Poussin no longer left
anything to chance. His reason commanded and his hand obeyed. If I name
him here it is because he was both the end and the climax of artistic
intellectualism. At least Poussin left on his work the impress of his
great intelligence. His system rests on this idea, and with him the idea
was clear and powerful. But what would it be in the hands of men of
mediocre talent? The number of artists who either think for themselves,
or express with new force the ideas of others, is infinitesimal.
Moreover, the ideal is ordinarily to them merely an emphatic rendering
of a vague conception of perfection which they have been taught. Under
pretext of an intellectual ideal they deform nature; they leave it
little by little, turning their backs, their eyes proudly closed,
looking only within themselves. "La bellezza," says Tomazzo, "e lontana
dala materia" (Beauty is far from matter).[144] The symbol of the period
which was to follow is that very Lomazzo,[145] painter,

Blind, more or less, were all who lived around Michelangelo. Their too
feeble eyes were dazzled by this sun which shone alone in that twilight
of art, the night which was falling on Italy of the Renaissance. A long
time after that sun had disappeared below the horizon the radiant glow
still remained in the sky. Michelangelo enthralled Italian art.

There is no comparison between the influence which he exerted and that
of the other masters of the sixteenth century, Corregio and Raphael.
However superior they may have been to their century, Corregio and
Raphael only reflected its thoughts with more charm and grandeur.
Michelangelo is outside of his time, alone, apart and colossal. He is
like a great mountain which inspires in those who dwell at the foot an
invincible desire to reach the top; and what men have ever existed who
were less capable of climbing those austere and sublime heights? All
those effeminate artists of the decadence, intoxicated by his
inspiration, attempted to express heroic ideas in their insipid works.
They lost the sense of proportion which alone could have saved them.
Instead of confining themselves to the little world of their own fancy
which, though cold, could have been redeemed by sincerity, they
attempted great subjects. A mass of forms, heroic figures and furious
gestures that they had learned, were whirled about in their mind,
uncontrolled either by greatness of intelligence or of heart.

We must remember that Michelangelo lived through more than fifty years
of the Golden Age of Italian art and, as happened in our own day to
Victor Hugo, admiration for his works increased in proportion as they
deserved it less. Even the factions that had been longest hostile to
him--the school of Raphael, for instance--recognised his triumph. Perino
del Vaga admits that all the painters worshipped him as their master,
their leader and the god of drawing.[146]

The independents, or those who boasted that they were, said as Cellini
did in his sonnets:

"Just a leaf from thy crown, O divine Michelangelo, who alone art rich,
who alone art immortal. That will suffice me and I shall have no desire
for anything else, since for me that only is good and beautiful."

Florence, his own country, more even than the rest of Italy gave him
blind admiration. The Academy of Drawing, founded by Vasari, was a
college of disciples and apostles. Since Michelangelo's great paintings
were at Rome the Florentines copied chiefly his statues, devoting
themselves principally, as Lanzi says, to ostentatiously showing "magna
ossa lacertosque."[147]

This was in accordance with the doctrine of the master, who declared
that sculpture should be the school of the painter and the ideal of
painting. Cellini, thinking to define the thought of Michelangelo,
absurdly declares and demonstrates that sculpture is seven times greater
than painting.

The painter formed himself from this time on by the study of statues,
and especially of those of Michelangelo. Colour was therefore regarded
as a secondary consideration,[148] and the only aim pursued was drawing
over-accentuated, full of unreasonable action, and of excessive
virtuosity. If he seemed to Cellini the greatest painter of all time, it
was only because all painting from Cellini's point of view was an
imitation of sculpture, and the artist who came nearest to him in
perfection is Bronzino.[149]

The danger of following a model is less if the model can be understood,
but the ideas of Michelangelo absolutely escaped his admirers. How could
it be otherwise when all his work is an act of revolt against his
century. We can but smile with pity when we see his contemporaries
expressing their enthusiasm for the formidable Night in precious and
carefully chosen phrases.[150]

[Illustration: THE DOME OF ST. PETER'S

From the Original Model in Wood. Preserved in the Vatican (1558).]

What supreme irony! The world only sees and admires the outer form of
those tremendous incarnations of contempt and weariness which are
called Moses or the Day, Victory subduing the Prisoner, the Dawn or the
Slaves. The world applauds the style of the imprecations launched
against it! It even repeats them without knowing the meaning.

Two drawings by Federigo Zucchero, which are in the Louvre, show a
number of artists installed in the chapel of S. Lorenzo zealously
copying Michelangelo's statues. How many artists of the sixteenth
century built their entire work on these notes without ever thinking
that such forms are only justified by the passions which animate them,
and that it is ridiculous to use them as aids to the learned virtuosity
of a cold and forced talent!

Battista Franco of Venice, _il Semolei_ distinguished himself above all
others by his zeal in copying Michelangelo. Vasari says that there was
not a sketch, not the roughest note, or any sort of fragment of his
which he had not devoutly drawn. He knew the whole Sistine by heart. In
1536 he came to Florence and drew once more all the statues of S.
Lorenzo. In 1541 he hurried to Rome for the "première" of the Last
Judgment, and he made a drawing of the whole thing "_con infinita
maraviglia il designo tutto_." We can understand that he had no time to
do any thinking for himself. For a long time he refrained from painting
anything of his own. When he decided to begin it was to reproduce in
his Battle of Montemurlo some fragments of the war against Pisa or of
the Rape of Ganymede.[151]

The independent Cellini writes in his memoirs: "I devoted myself
continually to trying to absorb thoroughly the beautiful style of
Michelangelo, and since then I have never departed from it."

A hundred years later still Bernini copied the Last Judgment for two
successive years before he began to draw from nature. Scivoli watched
him doing it and said: "Sei un furbo; no fai quel che vedi: questa è di
Michelangelo." ("You are a fool. You are not drawing what you see; this
is nothing but Michelangelo").[152]

Bernini, who tells of this, does not see that it is a criticism, for he
recommends this same system of education to young artists.

"It is necessary first for a young man to form an idea of the beautiful,
for this is of use to him all his life; it ruins young men to begin by
drawing from nature, which is almost always weak and mean, and which
then fills their imagination, so that they can never produce anything
beautiful or great, qualities which are never found in natural things.
Those who make use of nature should be already skilful enough to
recognise its faults and to correct them. A young man is not capable of
this until he has gained full knowledge of beauty."[153]

The essential idea of this teaching was that nature is evil; just what
Michelangelo thought. But we now see to what unexpected results his
pessimistic idealism led. It produced not only separation from nature,
but renunciation of personal feeling for formulas, "since it is not
possible for one individual to have light on all subjects nor to grasp
without assistance the difficulty of arts so profound and so little

What would Michelangelo have thought of these servile disciples, he who
said proudly that "whoever follows others will never go forward, and
whoever does not know how to create by his own abilities can gain no
profit from the works of other men."

But they had lost even the consciousness of their servility and took
more pride in living on Michelangelo's crumbs than he had in creating
the work which was to be the nourishment of two centuries. Some drew
tranquilly on their memory and their notes, others mimicked the
master's grandiose manner, and they were all entirely satisfied with
themselves, not one of them realising what their master and model had
suffered in giving birth to these works which were so easy for them to

Michelangelo's idealism had a powerful corrective in "the sense of the
beauty of struggle, and the holiness of suffering." "Nothing approaches
nearer to God," he wrote, "than the effort to produce a perfect work,
because God is perfection."

No one ever struggled more fiercely than this man, who ceaselessly
tormented himself and wept at "losing his time uselessly" while he was
working at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, who wrought with his blood
the beings whom he created and was dissatisfied with his sublime
creations at the moment of finishing them and left them incomplete, who
to his last day in agony and tears

    Piangendo, amando, ardendo, e sospirando,--
    Ch'affetto alcun mortal non mi è più nuovo,--[154]

"Weeping, loving, burning and sighing--for there was no human emotion
which he had not felt."

He was vainly seeking the visioned ideal, and in dying he regretted not
the joy of living, but his interrupted labours.[155]

Beside that virile modesty what can we think of the absurd vanity of all
those little masters who declared that they derived from the great
master and believed themselves to be Michelangelos?

Vasari dares to write:

"To-day art has been brought to such perfection that while our
predecessors produced a picture in six years we produce six in one year.
I can bear witness since I have seen this done and have done it myself,
and nevertheless our works are much more finished and more perfect than
those of the renowned painters who preceded us."[156]

Even the weakest ones had the same feeling. Perino del Vaga considered
himself very much superior to Masaccio, and in Cellini vanity ended by
touching madness. He felt that antiquity was only valuable as a
background to his works, and for his Jupiter he used the bronze
castings which Primataccio brought from Rome.[157]

When an artist is so sure of success he no longer takes any trouble to
deserve it. "Che cartoni o non cartoni," cries Giorlamo da Treviso, "io,
io, ho l'arte su la punta dell pennello" ("Have I need of studies, I who
have art on the point of my brush!").

The scruples that Michelangelo had felt no longer checked the artists.
They were not afraid to finish what they had begun. Pomeranci, Semino,
Calvi, painted four square yards a day. Cambiaso painted, at the age of
seventeen, the story of Niobe without studies or sketches. He produced
as many works as a dozen painters together, and his wife lighted the
fire with bundles of drawings which he tossed off every moment. His
contemporaries compare him to Michelangelo, and add that the latter does
not gain by the comparison. Santi di Tito made a portrait in less than
half an hour. He set up a factory in his house and turned them out in
enormous quantities. His pupil, Tempesti, did not succeed in finding
sufficient occupation for his talents in the great frescoes at Rome and,
as a relaxation from painting, made fifteen hundred engravings. In a
month Vasari, Tribolo and Andrea del Cosimo built and decorated a
palace. In a day Perino del Vaga painted the Passage of the Red Sea.


Duomo, Florence (1553-1555).]

The Venetians, thanks to their distance from Rome and Florence and to
their ardent communion with nature, which to the horror of Vasari they
dared to copy honestly,[158] were saved for a time, but in the end
caught the infection. The Florentine spirit won this last refuge of art,
and Tintoretto infused the spirit of Michelangelo into Venetian

The brain of Italy was a prey to fever.[160] Michelangelo had destroyed
the balance of mind of a period dried out by intellectualism and
weakened by the taste for pleasure. The shock of his dazzling light on
their eyes, too feeble to bear it, blinded them and inspired a delirium
of imagination without poetry, without thought and without life.

The Carracci were needed at the end of the century, if not to snatch
Italian art from inevitable death, at least to lend it, emerging from
its follies and delusions, an air of dignity and a cold distinction in
which it could veil itself to die.

The greatness of Michelangelo was thus fatal to Italian art. So it is
with everything that rises too far above its own time. Decadence can
only be averted or retarded by intelligent and moderate talents like the
Carracci, who, hardly separated from the average of their times, are
easily understood by it. They are the geniuses of common sense, and they
are, therefore, useful to the common man. The heroes of art are also its
tyrants; their glory kills, and the greater they are the more they are
to be feared, for they impose on all men the laws of a personality
which can exist but once. They are a devouring force; they illumine, but
they burn; they have the right to be unique in their being and in their
work. They seem to realise in themselves the whole aim of nature, and
there is nothing left for those who follow but to be absorbed and

It would be absurd to offer Michelangelo as a model to young artists.
Should great men ever be taken as models in art? Is not that one of the
errors of classical training? They are examples of energy, sources of
force and beauty. It is well to look for a moment on their radiance,
then tear ourselves from their contemplation and work.


    DATE              IMPORTANT EVENTS             PRINCIPAL WORKS

    1475    March 6.   Birth of Michelangelo
              at Caprese.

    1488    April 1.   He enters the school of
              Domenico and David Ghirlandajo.

    1489    He enters the school of Bertoldo
              and becomes the protégé of Lorenzo
              de' Medici.

    1490-1492                                    _Mask of a Faun._
                                                 _Madonna of the Stairs._
                                                 _Combat of the Centaurs._

    1492    April 8.   Death of Lorenzo de'

    1492-1494 In the service of Piero de'         Wooden crucifix.
              Medici.                              Statue of _Hercules_.

    1494    October. Flight to Venice            Angel for the Arca of
              and Bologna. He worked at            S. Domenico in Bologna.
              S. Petronio in Bologna.

    1495    Return to Florence.                  _Giovannino._
                                                 _Sleeping Love._

    1496    June 25.   Arrival in Rome.          _Bacchus._

    1498    May 23.   Savonarola is burned
              in Florence.

    1498-1500                                    Pietà of St. Peter's.

    1501    Return to Florence.                  Statues for the Piccolomini
                                                   altar in the cathedral
                                                   of Sienna.

    1501-1505                                    _David._
                                                 Cartoon for the battle
                                                   of Cascina.
                                                 _Holy Family of Agnolo_
                                                 _Virgin of Bruges._
                                                 Bas-reliefs of the Madonna
                                                   for Taddeo
                                                   Taddei and Bartolommeo

    1505    March. He is summoned to Rome        First plan for the tomb
              by Julius II.                        of Julius II

    1506    The Laocöon was discovered at

    1506    April 17.   Flight to Florence.

    1506    End of November. Reconciliation
              with Julius at Bologna.

    1506-1508                                    Bronze statue of Julius
                                                   II at Bologna.

    1508    Return to Rome.

    1508    May 10 to 1512, October.             Paintings on the ceiling
                                                   of the Sistine.

    1513    February 21.   Death of Julius II.

    1513    March 11.   Election of Leo X.

    1513    May 6.   Second contract for the
              tomb of Julius II.

    1513-1516   Michelangelo at Florence.        _The Slaves._

    1516    July. Third contract for the
              tomb of Julius II.

    1517    September. Serious illness of

    1518    January 19.   Contract in regard
              to the façade of S. Lorenzo in

    1518-1520   Michelangelo at the quarries
              of Carrara, Seravezza.

    1520    March 10. Michelangelo is released   _The Christ_ of the Minerva.
              from the contract for the
              façade of S. Lorenzo by an
              order from Leo X.

    1520    April 6. Death of Raphael.

    1521    Beginning of the work on the chapel   _The Madonna_   of   the
              of the Medici at S. Lorenzo.         chapel of the Medici.

    1521    At the end of the year serious illness
              of Michelangelo.                    _The Victory._

    1522 November 19.   Election of Clement VII.

    1524-1526                                     Work on the tomb of
                                                   the Medici   and the
                                                   Laurentian library.

    1527    May 6. Capture of Rome by the

    1529    April 6. Michelangelo is named         _Leda._
              Governatore Generale and Procuratore
              of the fortifications of
              Florence.   Mission to inspect
              the fortifications at Pisa, Livorno
              and Ferrara.

    1529    September 21.   Flight to Venice.
              Siege of Florence.

    1529    November 20.   Return to Florence.
              Defense of San Miniato.

    1530    August 12. Capitulation of Florence.   _Apollo._

    1531    June. Serious illness of Michelangelo.  Work   on   the   Medici

    1532    April 29.   Fourth contract for the
              monument of Julius II.

    1533    Beginning of the friendship with       First plan for the _Last_
              Tommaso dei Cavalieri in               _Judgment._

    1534    Death in Florence of Lodovico, the
              father of Michelangelo.

    1534  September 23. Michelangelo returns
          to Rome, where he remains until his

    1534  September 25. Death of Clement VII.

    1534  October 13. Election of Paul III.

    1535  September 1. Michelangelo is named
          by order of Paul III
          architect-in-chief, sculptor and
          painter of the Apostolic Palace.

    1536  Beginning of the friendship with
          Vittoria Colonna at Rome.

    1536  April to November, 1541                 _Last Judgment_ in the

    1538  The statue of Marcus Aurelius is        _Brutus._ Drawings of
          raised on the Capitoline                 Christ for Vittoria

    1542-1544                                      Frescoes of the Pauline

    1542  August 20. Last agreement for the
          monument of Julius II.

    1544  June. Serious illness of
          Michelangelo, who was cared for in
          the palace of the Strozzi.

    1545  February                                 Completion of the monument
                                                    of Julius II in S. Pietro
                                                    in Vinculi.

    1545-1546  Titian in Rome.

    1546  January. Serious illness of              Work on the cornice of the
          Michelangelo. He gives the Slaves         Farnese palace.
          to the Strozzi.

    1547  January 1. Michelangelo named by
          Paul III architect of St. Peter's.

    1547  February 25. Death of Vittoria           Work on the Capitol.

    1549  November 10. Death of Paul III.

    1550  February 8. Election of Julius III.      Work on the Vigna del Papa
                                                    Giulio and the
                                                    reconstruction of the
                                                    Belvedere stairway.

    1551  First edition of the "Vite" of

    1553  First edition of the life of             Work on St. Peter's.
          Michelangelo by Ascanio Condivi.

    1555  March 23. Death of Julius III.

    1555  May 23. Election of Paul IV.

    1555  December 3. Death of Urbino,             The group of the _Pietà_,
          Michelangelo's servant.                   broken by Michelangelo, is
                                                    continued and completed by
                                                    Tiberio Calcagni.

    1558                                           He works at the model of
                                                    the dome of St. Peter's.

    1559-1560  Daniele da Volterra, at the
          command of Paul IV, paints drapery
          on the figures of the Last

    1560  Catherine de' Medici requested           Work on the transformation
          Michelangelo to make the statue of        of the Baths of Diocletian
          Henri II.                                 into the church of S.
                                                    Maria degli Angeli.

    1561  August 29. Michelangelo was taken        Work on the Porta Pia.

    1563  January 31. Michelangelo made
          President of the Academy of

    1564  February.                                _The Rondanini Pietà._

    1564  February 18. Death of Michelangelo.

    1564  July 14. Funeral at S. Lorenzo in





    _Holy Family_, painted for Agnolo Doni (between 1501 and 1505).


    Paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine (1508-1512).
    _The Last Judgment_ (1536-1541).
    The frescoes of the Pauline chapel (1542-1549).



    _The Entombment_ (about 1495).
    _The Virgin of Manchester_ (about 1495).




    _Mask of a Faun_ (between 1490 and 1492).
    _Bacchus_ (1497).
    _The Dying Adonis_ (1497).
    _Virgin and Child_, a circular bas-relief made for
       Taddeo Taddei (between 1501 and 1505).
    _Victory_ (1522-1523).
    _Apollino_ (1530).
    _Brutus_ (1538).


    _David_ (between 1501 and 1504).


    _The Centaurs and Lapiths_, bas-relief in marble (between 1490 and 1492).
    _Virgin and Child_, bas-relief in bronze (between 1490 and 1492).


    The Medici tombs (1524-1527 and 1530-1534).


    _The descent from the cross_ (1553-1555).


    _Pietà_ (1498-1500).


    Tomb of Julius II: (_Moses_, 1513-1516).
    _Rachel_ and _Leah_ (1542-1545).



    _The Slaves_ (1513-1516).



    _Kneeling Cupid_ (1497).


    _Holy Family_, circular bas-relief made for Bart. Pitti
       (between 1501 and 1505).



    _Madonna_ (between 1501 and 1505).



    _Giovannino_ (1495).


The great European Museums--especially the Louvre, the Uffizi, the
Albertina in Vienna, the British Museum, Oxford University and
Windsor--contain very rich collections of Michelangelo's drawings. The
most beautiful of those in the Louvre came from the Jabach and Mariette

"You could not ask for anything more finished or showing a greater
knowledge of drawing," says Mariette; ... "they are almost too much
finished.... I do not know any other master who finished his studies
more completely. When he is looking for a certain pose he dashes off
impetuously on the paper what comes from his imagination. He draws with
large strokes.... But if he wants to study nature so that he may
reproduce it later on in sculpture or in painting he follows an entirely
different method.... His drawing is no longer a sketch, but a finished
fragment in which no detail is left out, it is the flesh itself; and
Michelangelo needed nothing more than this for his modelling. I have a
number of drawings where you can see the marks which Michelangelo made
on them, and which indicate that these designs were used by him as
guides in his modelling...."

Some of the drawings in the Louvre were for the tombs of the Medici and
for the bronze David for Florimond Robertet.

Another curious thing about these drawings is that we often find upon
them verses by Michelangelo, fragments of poems. Both verses and
drawings are often the repetitions or variations of certain ideas which
were in his mind for years and occupied his attention with the tenacity
of fixed ideas.

Michelangelo used indifferently red chalk, pen and ink, and charcoal or



_Le Lettere di Michel-Angelo Buonarroti_, publicate, coi _Ricordi ed i
Contratti artistici_, per cura di Gaetano MILANESI. Florence, 1875,
in-fol., IX, 721 pages. Lemonnier (495 letters, from 1497 to 1563).

_Rime di Michel-Angelo Buonarroti_, raccolte da Michelagnolo suo nipote.
Florence, 1623, Giunti (first complete edition, but full of errors).

_Rime di Michel-Angelo Buonarroti_, cavate dagli autografi e publicate
da Cesare GUASTI. Florence, 1863 (first really accurate edition).

_Die Dichtungen des Michel-Angelo Buonarroti_, herausgegeben und mit
kritischem Apparat versehen von Carl FREY. Berlin, 1897 (the finest and
most complete edition of the poems of Michelangelo which has been made
up to the present time).



Giorgio VASARI.--_Vite degli architetti, pittori e scultori_ (first
edition). Florence, 1550, in 4to;--(second edition). Florence, 1568, in
4to.--edition of MILANESI. Florence, 1856, Lemonnier.

Ascanio CONDIVI.--_Vita di Michel-Angelo Buonarroti_. Rome, 1553,
Antonio BLADO;--(second edition). Florence, 1746, with notes by

Paolo GIOVIO.--_Michaelis Angeli Vita_, published by TIRABOSCHI in his
_Storia della letteratura italiana_, Vol. IX, Modena, 1781.

_Sammlung ausgewaehlter Biographien Vasaris_, herausg. von Carl FREY (in
the second volume are gathered _le Vite de Michel-Angelo Buonnaroti_,
critical edition of all the biographies written by his contemporaries).

Vittoria COLONNA.--_Rime_ (first edition). Parma, 1538;--(second
edition), 1539;--(third edition), 1544;--edition SALTINI. Florence,
1860, Barbera.--_Carteggio_, published by Ermanno FERRERO and Giuseppe
MÜLLER. Turin, 1892, Loescher(Letters and documents).--_Lettere
inedite_, published by SALZA. Florence, 1898.--Codice delle _Rime di
Vittoria Colonna_, appartenente a Margherita, regina di Navarra scoperto
ed illustrato. Pistoia, 1900, ed. Tordi.

François DE HOLLANDE.--_Quatre Entretiens sur la Peinture_, held in Rome
1538 to 1539, written in 1548, published by Joachim DE VASCONCELLOS;--French
translation in _Les Arts en Portugal_, by Count RACZYNSKI. Paris, 1846,

Donato GIANNOTTI.--_De' giorni che Dante consumo nel cercare l'Inferno
e'l Purgatorio. Dialoghi_. Florence, 1859.

Benvenuto CELLINI.--_Vita_ (1559 to 1562), first edition. Naples,
1728.--_I Trattati dell'oreficeria e della scultura_. Florence, 1893,
edition C. Milanesi.

Benedetto VARCHI.--_Due lezioni di Benedetto Varchi_. Florence,
1549.--_Orazione funerale recitata nelle esequie di Michel-Angela
Buonarroti_. Florence, 1564, Giunti.

Francesco BERNI.--_Opere burlesche_. Florence, 1548. Giunti.

_Michelangelo's correspondents_: I. _Sebastiano del Piombo_, Ed.
Milanesi, French translation by A. LE PRIEUR. Paris, 1890, Librairie de

Blaise DE VIGENÈRE.--_Les Images de Philostrate_. Paris, 1629.


Richard DUPPA.--_The Life and Literary Works of Michel-Angelo
Buonarroti_. London, 1806, 1816 (translations in verse of the poetry of
Michel-Angelo by Southey and Wordsworth).

Quatremere DE QUINCY.--_Histoire de la vie et des ouvrages de
Michel-Ange Buonarroti_. Paris, 1835.

Giovanni GAYE.--_Carteggio inedito d'artisti dei secoli XIV, XV, XVI_.
Florence, 1839, three volumes.

Fr. AL RIO.--_Michel-Ange et Raphael_ (first edition). Hanover, 1860
(since then there have been seven editions; the last appeared in 1900
with illustrations).

Aurelio GOTTI.--_Vita di Michel-Angelo_. Florence, 1875, two volumes.

C. Heath WILSON.--_Life and Works of Michel-Angelo_. London, 1876.
_L'Œuvre et la Vie de Michel-Ange_, by Charles BLANC, Eug. GUILLAUME,
Paul MANTZ, Charles GARNIER, A. MEZIÈRES. Anatole de MONTAIGLON, Georges
DUPLESSIS and Louis GONSE. Paris, Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 1876.

Anton SPRINGER.--_Raffael und Michelangelo_, 1878.

John Addington SYMONDS.--_The Life of Michel-Angelo Buonarroti_. London,

Corrado RICCI.--_Michelangelo_. Florence, 1901.

Henry THODE.--_Michel-Angelo und das Ende der Renaissance_, 1e vol.
Berlin, 1902.--2e vol. Berlin, 1903.

Alfred VON REUMONT.--_Vittoria Colonna_. Fribourg, 1881.

Albert HAUCK.--_Vittoria Colonna_. Heidelberg, 1882.

GIOTTI.--_Catalogo delle opere d'arti e dei disegni di Michel-Angelo
Buonarroti_, 1875.

F. REISET.--_Notice des dessins du musée du Louvre_. Paris, 1866.

Baron H. GEYMULLER.--_Michelangelo als Architekt_.

Dr Ernst STEINMANN.--_Die Sixtinische Kapelle_.

Carl FREY.--_Studien zu Michelagnolo (Jahrb. der K. preuss.
Kunstssamml._) 1895-1896.

Luigi PASSERINI.--_La bibliografia di Michel-Angelo Buonarroti e gli
incisori delle sue opere_. Florence, 1875.



Academy of painters, Florence, 139.

Aldovrandi, 10.

Altoviti (Bindo), 122, 134.

Amadio d'Alberto, 66.

Ammanati (Bart.), 110, 139.

Annunciation, 136.

Apollo, 74.

Apollo and Marsyas, 11.

Arca of S. Domenico of Bologna, 10.

Archadelt, 86.

Aretino, 95-98.

Ariosto, 82.


Bacchus, 10.

Baccio d'Agnolo, 50, 52.

Baglioni (Malatesta), 68, 71.

Baïf (Lazare de), 69.

Bandinelli, 22, 66.

Bandini, 116, 123, 134.

Bartolommeo (Fra), 24.

Beethoven, 13, 127, 149.

Bembo, 82.

Berni (Francesco), 87, 128.

Bernin, 160.

Bertoldo, 6, 7.

Bettini (Bart.), 134.

Biagio da Cesena, 95.

Boboli (Figures in the grotto), 59.

Boccaccio, 10.

Borghini (Vincenzo), 139, 141.

Borgo (Fortifications of), 110.

Botticelli, 12, 16.

Bramante, 28-31, 35-37, 109, 119.

Bronzino, 22, 128, 139.

Brunelleschi, 77, 119.

Bugiardini (Giuliano), 7, 37, 128.

Buonarroti (Lodovico), 1, 76.

Buonarroti (Lionardo, son of Lodovico), 1, 12.

Buonarroti (Buonarroto), 1, 49, 76.

Buonarroti (Giovan Simone), 1, 130.

Buonarroti (Sigismondo), 1, 130.

Buonarroti (Lionardo, son of Buonarroto), 115, 130, 132, 135, 138, 140.

Buonarroti (Francesca), 130.

Buoninsegni (Domenico), 52, 61.


Calcagni (Tiberio), 124, 126.

Capitol, 120-121.

Capponi (Niccolo), 66, 67.

Carducci (Francesco), 67, 68.

Carnesecchi (Pietro), 83.

Carpi (Cardinal), 116.

Carracci, 166.

Carrara, 26, 27, 30, 51, 54, 55.

Caryatid in the Hermitage, 48.

Castiglione (Bald.), 82.

Cavalcanti, 87.

Cavalieri (Tommaso dei), 80, 81, 97, 134, 137, 138.

Cecchino dei Bracci, 128.

Cellini (Benvenuto), 22, 128, 139, 148, 158, 160, 163.

Christ of the Minerva, 49, 58.

Christ, incompleted.

Cino da Pistoia, 87.

Civitale, 107.

Clement VII, 54, 56, 59. 60, 61, 74-76, 128.

Clement VIII, 100.

Colonna (Vittoria), 82-86, 89, 93, 147.

Colossus of Florence, 62-64.

Combat of Centaurs and Lapiths, 8.

Condivi, 129.

Consilium, 86.

Contarini (Cardinal), 83.

Corregio, 155.

Credi (Lorenzo di), 7.

Cronaca, 16.

Crucifix in wood of the convent of S. Spirito, 10.

Crucifixion, 85.

Cupid sleeping, 11.


Dante, 10, 57, 87, 106-107.

David, colossal, 16-18, 97.

David in bronze, 17.

Descent from the cross (Duomo, Florence), 126, 127.

Descent from the cross, drawing, 85.

Dolce (Lodovico), 82.

Donatello, 6, 7, 10.

Doni (Agnolo), 24.

Duccio (Agostino di), 16.

Dürer (Albrecht), 25, 150.

Dying Adonis, 11.


Entombment, 11.


Farnese (Palace), 111.

Fattucci, 62, 63.

Febo di Poggio, 80.

Ferrara (Renée de), 83.

Festa (Constanzo), 86.

Francesca (Piero della), 23.

Franco (Battista), 159.

Francis I, 69.

Frizzi (Federigo), 58.


Gaeta (Pier Luigi), 117, 137.

Ghiberti, 4.

Ghirlandajo (Domenico), 2-6.

Ghirlandajo (Ridolfo), 23.

Giannotti (Donato), 65, 87, 115, 128.

Giberti, 83.

Giotto, 4.

Granacci (Francesco), 2, 7, 22, 37.


Hercules and Cacus, 66.

Hercules, colossal, 11.

Holland, Francis of, 13, 83.

Holy Family (Agnolo Doni), 24.

Holy Family (Bart. Pitti), 24.

Holy Family (Taddeo Taddei), 24.


Indaco, 37.


Jacopo di Sandro, 37.

Jove (Paul), 82.

Julius II, 26-36, 43-44.

Julius II (Tomb of), 26-36, 45-47, 48-50, 72, 89-96, 102, 103.

Julius II (Bronze statue of), 33-34.

Julius III, 109.


Last Judgment, 91-102.

Leah, 105-107.

Leda, 67, 74.

Le Noyer (Robert), 100.

Leo X, 50-54, 57, 59.

Leone Leoni, 128.

Lippi (Filipino), 23.

Lomazzo, 153, 155.


Madonna of Bruges, 25.

Madonna and child (bas-relief in bronze), 9.

Majano (Benedetto da), 4.

Mantegna, 14.

Marcellus II, 114.

Masaccio, 4.

Medici (Lorenzo de'), 6, 7, 13.

Medici (Alessandro de'), 65, 76.

Medici (Duke Cosmo de'), 78, 115-117, 129, 130, 138.

Medici (Don Francesco de'), 129, 134.

Medici (Tombs of the), 59-62, 71-74.

Michi (Giovanni), 38.

Minni (Antonio), 69, 75, 131, 134.

Mino da Fiesole, 4.

Mirandole (Pico della), 7, 10.

Montelupo (Raffaello da), 77, 103, 107.

Montmorency (Constable de), 47, 69.

Montorsoli (Giovanni da), 77.

Moses, 47, 104-106.

Moses (small), 138.


Nanni di Baccio Bigio, 112-118.

Navarre (Marguerite de), 83.

Noli me tangere, 134.


Ochino (Bernadino), 83.


Palla (Battista de la), 68.

Paul III, 89-112, 109, 114.

Paul IV, 99, 114, 118.

Pauline Chapel, Frescoes of, 102.

Perini (Gherado), 80, 97, 134.

Perino del Vaga, 22, 111, 156, 163.

Perugino, 22, 91.

Peruzzi (Baldi), 109.

Petrarch, 10, 87.

Petreo (Antonio), 65.

Pierfrancesco d'Urbino, 66.

Piero di Cosimo, 23.

Pietà of St. Peter's, 14, 15.

Pietà Rondanini, 137.

Pietà, drawing, 137.

Pietà, 13.

Pinturicchio, 23.

Pius IV, 122.

Poems of Michelangelo, 86-89.

Pole (Cardinal), 83.

Poliziano (Angelo), 7, 8, 10, 128.

Pollajuolo, 3.

Pontormo, 22, 134.

Porta (Guglielmo della), 111.

Porta Pia, 120-122.

Poussin, 153, 154.

Pulci, 7.


Quercia (Jacopo della), 4, 10.


Rachel, 105-107.

Raffaellino del Garbo, 23.

Raphael, 3, 22, 28, 36, 50, 109, 143, 155, 156.

Resurrection of Christ, 85.

Riccio (Luigi del), 65, 86, 128, 135.

Rossellino (Antonio), 4, 107.

Rosso, 22.

Rustici, 7.


Sadolet, 83.

St. Peter's (construction of), 27.

St. Peter (statue), 137.

St. Matthew, 18.

Salviati, 22.

Samaritan woman at the well, 85.

San Gallo (Antonio da), 16, 50, 109-111, 122.

San Gallo (Aristotele da), 22.

San Gallo (Francesco da), 66, 139.

San Gallo (Giuliano da), 31, 43, 50.

San Lorenzo (façade of), 50-57.

San Lorenzo (sacristy of), 59.

San Lorenzo (library of), 60, 78.

San Lorenzo (chapel of the Medici), 76-78.

Santa Maria degli Angeli, 120, 122.

San Miniato (defense of), 66-67, 70.

Sansovino (Jacopo), 22, 50, 112.

Sansovino (Andrea del Monte), 7, 50.

Sarto (Andrea del), 22.

Satyr (laughing), 8.

Savonarola, 8-14.

Schongauer (Martin), 4, 5.

Sebastiano del Piombo, 58, 70, 87, 111, 128, 134, 150.

Serlio (Sebastiano), 66.

Signorelli, 14, 23.

Sistine chapel (ceiling of), 36-42.

Slaves, 47, 49.

Soderini, 16, 19.

Sodoma, 23.

Strozzi (Roberto), 47, 134.


Tasso (Bernardo), 82.

Temptation of St. Anthony, 4.

Tintoretto, 151, 165.

Torrigiani, 7.

Tribolo, 78, 165.

Tromboncino, 86.


Urbano (Pietro), 58, 131.

Urbino, 103, 132, 133.


Valori (Baccio), 71, 75.

Varchi, 68, 86, 128.

Varj (Metello), 49, 58.

Vasari, 20, 78, 101, 111, 128, 139, 140, 153.

Venusti (Marcello), 100.

Veronese, 99.

Verrocchio, 3.

Victory, 138, 140.

Vignole, 128.

Vinci (Lionardo da), 18-22, 24.

Virgin of Manchester, 11.

Vitruvius, 77.

Volterra (Daniele da), 100, 128, 136, 140, 158.


War with Pisa (Cartoon), 18-23.


Zucchero, 153, 159.



[1] Condivi

[2] Drawings in the Louvre from the frescoes of Santa Croce.

[3] Munich. Drawings from the frescoes of the Carmine.

[4] In the collection of the Medici a St. Jerome by Van Eyck was valued
at forty ducats, the Giottos and Fra Angelicos at only ten ducats. The
Flemings were no less appreciated at Urbino where Justus of Ghent had
painted, whose frescoes were copied by Raphael when he was a child, and
at Rome where Jan Ruysch, twenty years later, was to work on the Stanze,
and throughout the kingdom of Naples--not to mention the great
collection of Flemish pictures in the north of Italy, like those of
Cardinal Grimani at Venice, and of Cardinal Bembo at Padua.

[5] Michelangelo was to receive six florins the first year, eight the
second and ten the third.

[6] "On the 10th of May, 1508," as he wrote at a later time, "I
Michelangelo, _sculptor_, began to work on the paintings of the Sistine

[7] He had for his companions at Bertoldo's, Granacci, the sculptors
Rustici, Baccio di Monte Lupo and Andrea del Monte-Sansovino, the
painters Niccolo Soggi, Lorenzo di Credi, Giuliano Bugiardini and the
brutal Torrigiano dei Torrigiani, whose blow left its mark on
Michelangelo's face for life.

[8] At first in the Strozzi Palace, then bought in 1529 by Francis I and
placed at Fontainebleau, it disappeared in the seventeenth century.

[9] I find it impossible to recognise, as Thode does, an allusion to the
death of Savonarola in a letter of 1508, when Michelangelo, hearing that
his father had been slandered by his brother, writes, "I have not
received worse news in ten years." Nothing justifies us in believing
that Michelangelo is not merely alluding to other family difficulties.

[10] Sermons on Amos and Zachariah.

[11] See the "Dialogues de la Peinture" of Francis of Holland, who
relates the conversations between Michelangelo and Vittoria Colonna in
Rome in 1538-39.

[12] Beethoven wrote in the same way to Bettina Brentano in 1810: "most
men are moved by beauty, but that is not the nature of artists. Artists
are fashioned of fire--they do not weep."

[13] Francis of Holland _ibid._

[14] _Ibid._ The passage applies to Flemish painting in general.

[15] "Do you know," said Michelangelo to Condivi, "that chaste women
remain much more fresh than those who are not chaste. How much more,
therefore, must this be true of the Virgin who never entertained the
least immodest thought which might have troubled her body. I would put
this even more strongly. I believe that this freshness and flower of
youth which she received in a natural manner was preserved for her in a
supernatural one, so that the virginity and the eternal purity of the
Mother of God could be demonstrated to the world. Such a miracle was not
necessary for the Son. Quite the contrary, for if it had to be shown
that the Son of God was made incarnate in man and that he had suffered
all that men suffer except sin, it was not necessary to make the human
disappear behind the divine, but it was better rather to let the human
follow its nature in such a way that he should appear to have the age
that he really had. Do not be surprised, therefore, if for these reasons
I have represented the Very Holy Virgin, the Mother of God, much younger
than her years would require and if I have given the Son his real age."

[16] Contract of August 26, 1498, with the French Cardinal, Jean de
Groslaye de Villiers, Abbot of S. Denis, Ambassador of Charles VIII, who
had ordered it for the chapel of the kings of France (Chapel of S.
Petronille) at St. Peter's.

[17] This David was placed in the centre of the court of the Château de
Bury and moved in the sixteenth century to the Château de Villeroy near
Mennecy from where it afterward disappeared. The figure was life-size,
with the head of Goliath at its feet; a pen-and-ink sketch in the Louvre
is all that is left of it.

[18] Carducho saw some fragments in 1633 in the possession of the
Viceroy of Naples. Marc-Antonio engraved in 1510 the celebrated episode
of the bathers, using for a background a landscape of Lucas van Leyden.
Agostino Veneziano made another engraving of it in 1523-24. Aristotele
da San Gallo made a drawing of the whole composition and in 1542 made
from the drawing an oil-painting (Holkham Castle, England). There exist
many fragmentary studies of the work in the Albertina Collection at
Vienna, the Accademia at Venice, the Louvre and Oxford University. They
can be put together by following a drawing of Daniele da Volterra in the
Uffizi. The battle included, besides the episode of the bathers, a
cavalry combat. "Si vedono infiniti combattendo di cavallo cominciare la
zuffa," says Vasari. The moment chosen was the one when a trumpet call
gave the alarm to the Florentines, surprised while bathing by the

[19] Especially from the notes where Lionardo described a battle in his
"Thatteto della Pittura," II, 145, a combination of photographic
exactness and academic rationalism.

[20] Never had so many nudes been seen in one composition except in the
Last Judgment at Orvieto. Michelangelo pushed so far his contempt not
only for any psychological analysis, but for all dramatic probability,
that he introduced into the midst of the composition a naked man lying
down and turning over lazily without seeming to take any notice of the
tumult around him. It was a classic bas-relief radiant with heroic
beauty and regardless alike of subject and feeling.

[21] Frescoes of Pinturicchio in the library of the Cathedral at Sienna,
finished in 1507.

[22] Frescoes of Signorelli in the chapel of the Cathedral of Orvieto,
finished in December, 1504. It is well known with what brutality
Michelangelo showed on many occasions his contempt for Signorelli and
for Perugino.

[23] At the end of a memorial in which he went over the whole history of
the monument of Julius II in order to clear himself from blame. (Lettere
di M. A.B., Ed. G. Milanesi, Florence, 1875, cdxxxv, p. 494.)

[24] Thode confirms this opinion, which was also held by Serlio in the
sixteenth century, in regard to the construction of St. Peter's.

[25] In 1519 we find traces of new correspondence between Michelangelo
and Turkey. A certain Tommaso di Tolfo of Adrianople begs him to come to
Turkey and to paint some pictures for the "Seigneur of Adrianople, who
is a connoisseur in art and has bought an antique."

[26] The statue was seven brasses (11.34 metres) high and the Pope was
represented as seated.

[27] The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is rectangular in form, measuring
forty metres in length by thirteen in width.

I. On the level part of the vault are nine scenes from Genesis; the
Eternal dividing light from darkness, the Eternal creating the sun and
moon, the Eternal dividing the waters, the Creation of man, the Creation
of woman, the Temptation, Cain and Abel, the Deluge, and the Drunkenness
of Noah.

II. In every angle of the imaginary frame surrounding these nine scenes
is a naked figure seated on a pedestal, twenty in all. Vasari calls
these the "Ignudi." Between them, and below each one of the five scenes
from Genesis, is a small medallion the colour of bronze.

III. At the springing of the arches of the vault, in the twelve
pendentives, twelve prophets and sibyls are seated between pilasters
crowned by naked children who act as caryatids and are each accompanied
by two little geniuses. The figures are Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Joel,
Zachariah, Isaiah, Daniel, Jonah, the Persian, Erythræan, Cumæan,
Delphian, and Libyan Sibyls.

IV. Between the prophets and sibyls, in the space above the twelve
arched windows, are the precursors and ancestors of Christ, groups of
two or three persons divided into two sections by an archivolt in the
midst of which are written on tablets the names of the precursors. Above
these triangles, on the ribs, are naked youths. Between the triangles
and under the thrones of the prophets and sibyls, whose names they carry
on tablets, are children's figures.

V. In the four pendentives formed by the angles of the ceiling are
David, Conqueror of Goliath; Judith and Holofernes; the Brazen Serpent,
and the Hanging of Haman.

[28] Letter to his father, January 27, 1509.

[29] Michelangelo abandoned painting for almost twenty years and did not
take it up again until 1529.

[30] "I did not want them to charge me with the 3,000 crowns which I had
already received, for I showed that they owed me much more than that.
But Aginensis said to me that I was a cheat." (Letter of Michelangelo,

[31] Twenty-six feet three inches.

[32] Contratti, 635 ff.

[33] The two Slaves were given in 1544 by Michelangelo to Robert
Strozzi, who was at that time banished from Florence and had taken
refuge in France. They finally reached the Constable de Montmorency's
Château of Ecouen, and Henri de Montmorency when he died in 1632 gave
them to Cardinal de Richelieu. From the Château de Richelieu they were
moved in the seventeenth century to the gardens of the Maréchal de
Richelieu in Paris. It is thanks to Lenoir that they were preserved to
France in 1793.

[34] Condivi wrote that according to Michelangelo the statues of the
bound men which were to be placed against the pilasters of the lower
part of the tomb "represented the liberal arts, painting, sculpture and
architecture each with its characteristic attributes, in such a way that
they could be easily recognised. At the same time they expressed the
idea that all the virtues were prisoners of death with Pope Julius and
that they would never find anyone to encourage them and to support them
as he had done."

Some sketches at Oxford show a number of these prisoners struggling
against their chains. The large statues of the upper story were to
personify St. Paul, Moses, Adam, Life and Contemplation; Julius II was
represented asleep on an open sarcophagus which was supported by two
angels, "one smiling to express the joy of heaven, and the other weeping
to represent the sorrow of earth."

A large pen-and-ink drawing in the Ufizzi partly shows the architecture
of the monument--that Charles Garnier called the architecture of a
goldsmith--and which is indeed a frame to group the sculptured figures
together as well as possible. I would like to believe that this drawing
refers not to the plan of 1513, but to the simplified plan of 1516.

[35] Cardinal Giulio Medici, future Clement VII.

[36] A brasse is 1.62 metres.

[37] Appeal of the Academicians of Florence to Leo X, signed by
Michelangelo. (Gotti, Vol. II, p. 84.)

[38] Michelangelo ended his work in April, 1520. The Christ was sent to
Rome in March, 1521. Pietro Urbano worked at it from June until the
middle of August when he suddenly left Rome.

Sebastiano del Piombo writes to Michelangelo in September, 1521: "Pietro
Urbano has mutilated everything. In particular he has shortened the
right foot and you can see clearly that he has cut off the toes: he has
even shortened the fingers, especially those of the right hand which
held the cross. Frizzi says that they look as if they had been made by a
'baker.' That hand does not even look like marble; you would think it
had been made by a pastry cook, so stiff are the fingers. You can see,
too, that he has worked at the beard and you would think he had modelled
it with a blunt knife. He has also mutilated one of the nostrils, and
almost spoilt the nose."

Michelangelo had to commission the sculptor, Federigo Frizzi, to finish
the work. With his customary honesty he offered to make an entirely new
statue for Metello Varj, who had ordered the work from him, but Varj
declined. Michelangelo was so ashamed of the Christ of the Minerva that
when the statue was unveiled in December, 1521, Lionardo Sellajo, one of
his friends in Rome, took great care that everyone should know that it
was not by Michelangelo, but that he had simply retouched it.

[39] After the death of Leo X on December 1, 1521, and during all the
pontificate of Adrian VI, who died on September 23, 1523, Cardinal
Giulio de' Medici had put a "mute" on all his undertakings. It is
probable that during that year's respite (1522-23) Michelangelo was able
to take up again the tomb of Julius II, and that he worked at the
admirable Victory of the Bargello and at the scarcely blocked-in figures
of the Boboli Grotto.

[40] Fifty crowns. Michelangelo only asked for fifteen.

[41] He was fifty years old. In 1517, when he was forty-two, in a letter
to Domenico Buoninsegni he called himself "old." In 1523 in a letter to
Cardinal Domenico Grimani, he emphasised the lessening of his strength
through age. "If I work a day," he says, "I must rest for four."

[42] Thode pretends that Michelangelo did not take this seriously and
that the letter which follows is "ironisch und humorvolle." Full of
humor, yes, but I do not think it ironical. If there is any trace of
irony it is rather on the side of the pope, who might have been making
fun of Michelangelo's naiveté and of his well-known tendency to grow
enthusiastic over any new undertaking, particularly the most fantastic
ones. In fact after frequent exchanges of letters in October and
November, 1525, Fattucci, a friend of Michelangelo, warned him secretly
in December that "the Colossus was only a joke." Michelangelo had not
suspected any malice in this scheme and had already pictured in his mind
the bizarre Colossus to which he gave a frankly popular character,
monstrous and comic, like one of Aristo's giants.

[43] The block of marble abandoned by Michelangelo was taken a little
while afterward by his jealous rival, Bandinelli, who made from it a
Hercules and Cacus which to-day still stands on the Piazza della

[44] Until then Michelangelo had given his services gratuitously to his

[45] It was for him that Michelangelo some time after this made his
painting of Leda, but he never sent it to him because of some
discourtesy on the part of the Ferrarese ambassador.

[46] Michelangelo does not name him, undoubtedly so as not to compromise

[47] In entering the chapel of S. Lorenzo the tomb of Giuliano, Duke of
Nemours, (Action) is on the right; and on the left that of Lorenzo, Duke
of Urbino (the Thinker); and opposite the altar, the Virgin nursing the
Child. Each of the two captains is placed in a rectangular niche flanked
by two other niches which are empty. Below each of them on the fluted
cover of a sarcophagus arc two allegorical figures half reclining (Day
and Night--Dawn and Twilight) with their backs turned. The sarcophagi
are designedly much too small; there is hardly room for the figures on
them. No doubt Michelangelo wished to emphasise the impression of heroic
and agonising effort produced by the sight of these athletic forms
turned back upon themselves in involved and constrained portions. The
two tombs were finished in 1531. We know the admirable verses which
Michelangelo wrote on his figure of Night and which undoubtedly date
from a dozen years later, March, 1544. See Frey CIX. pp, 16-17.

[48] At this same time by a savage and instinctive reaction of his
nature against the Christian pessimism by which it was stifled,
Michelangelo executed some works of daring paganism like the painting of
Leda caressed by the Swan (1529-1530) which, originally made for the
Duke of Ferrara, was given by Michelangelo to his pupil Antonio Mini,
who carried it to France, where it is said to have been destroyed about
1643 by Sublet des Noyers because of its licentiousness. A little later
Michelangelo painted for Bart. Bettini a cartoon of Venus caressed by
Love from which Pontormo made a picture now in the Uffizi. Other
drawings full of a grandiose and severe shamelessness are probably of
the same period. To the first months of the siege belongs also the
admirable unfinished statue of the Apollo of the Museo Nazionale which
he made for Baccio Valori in the autumn of 1530.

[49] In the plan of construction (a square crowned by a dome with fluted
pilasters and niches with pediments) Michelangelo was influenced by
Brunelleschi and Vitruvius, whom he was studying at that time. There was
very little ornamentation and the idea of the plan was clear, simple and
abstract. With Michelangelo, architecture is always a frame for his
statues. He even went so far as to write, in 1560, to Cardinal Carpi
that the divisions of architecture were the same as those of the human
frame, and no one who was not "un buon maestro di figure" and did not
understand anatomy could be an architect.

[50] He sent a model in 1559. It is from this model that Vasari executed
the much-criticised staircase of the Laurentian. In spite of faults it
shows the rugged genius of Michelangelo, who seemed to enjoy making
difficulties for himself. That breakneck staircase, conceived in such a
dry, hard and complicated way, but strong and violent, and which ever
seeks to accentuate the ascending lines, is certainly a product of the
same spirit which created the Medici tombs. Besides it is well to note
that the faults were emphasised by the manner in which Vasari carried it
out. Michelangelo had recommended that the staircase be made of wood,
but Cosmo held to the idea of building it in stone.

[51] See in the edition of Michelangelo's poems by Carl Frey, "Die
Dichtungen des Michelangelo Buonarroti," Berlin, 1897, the sonnets, CIX,
LXXVI, XLV, etc.

Vasari tells us that Michelangelo made a life-size drawing of Cavalieri,
the only portrait which he ever made, for he had a horror of copying a
living person unless they were of incomparable beauty.

He adds that he made him beautiful presents, "many astonishing drawings,
a Ganymede carried to Heaven by the eagle of Zeus, a Tityos with the
vulture feeding on his heart, the fall of Phaeton and the chariot of the
Sun into the Po, and a Bacchanale of children--all works of the rarest
beauty and of such perfection that their like has never been seen."

[52] From the monastery at Viterbo, July 20, 1542 or 1543. The letter
bears this address: "Al mio più che magnifico et più che carissimo M.
Michel Agnolo Buonarroti." (Carteggio de Vittoria Colonna. Published by
Ermanno Ferrero and Giuseppe Müller, Turin, 1892, pp. 268, 269.)

[53] Donate Giannotti, "De' giorni che Dante consumo nel cercare
l'Inferno e 'l Purgatorio. Dialoghi."


    Were I but he, born for like lingering pains
    Against his exile coupled with his good,
    I'd gladly change the world's best heritage.
    (Translation of J. A. Symonds.)

[55] Capitolo di Francesco Berni a fra Sebastiano del Piombo. (Rime. Ed.
Frey, p. 263.)

[56] Canzone in lode di Michelagnolo Bonarroto. (See Frey, p. 7.)

[57] A Frenchman who saw him at that time.

[58] Letters of Michelangelo to Fattucci, March 7, 1551.

[59] Rime. Ed. Frey, LXXXVIII, p. 93.

[60] _Ibid._, C and CL, pp. 105, 106.

[61] The work on the fortifications of Rome directed by Antonio da San
Gallo dates from his reign and also the construction of the Capitol, the
raising of the statue of Marcus Aurelius, the completion of the Farnese
Palace, the construction of the Via Paola, of the Sala Regia and the
Pauline Chapel at the Vatican, the Caffarelli and Spada palaces, the
Villa Medici, etc.

[62] As a matter of fact Michelangelo did not actually receive any
income from this source until 1538, and after many difficulties he lost
it in 1547.

[63] Later on the subject was treated after the sketches of Michelangelo
in the Chapel of S. Gregorio at Santa Trinità. (See Vasari.)

[64] Perugino had painted the Assumption with a portrait of Sextius IV
kneeling, Moses saved from the waters, and the Birth of Christ.

[65] Léon Dorez has found recently in the records of the private
accounts of Paul III the exact dates of the work, April-May, 1536, to
November 18, 1541.

[66] Thus Vittoria Colonna had herself described the Last Judgment to
Michelangelo: "Christ comes twice, the first time he is all gentleness;
he only shows his great kindness, his clemency and his pity; he comes
for the sinners and the sick, to give peace, light and forgiveness, all
glowing with charity, clothed in humanity.... The second time he comes
armed and shows his justice, his majesty, his grandeur and his almighty
power, and there is no longer any time for pity or room for pardon."
(Letter of Vittoria between 1535-1546, probably to Bernadino
Ochino,--Carteggio de Vittoria Colonna, p. 242.)

[67] We know that Michelangelo, to revenge himself, portrayed Biagio
from memory in the Hell of his Last Judgment under the form of Minos
with a huge serpent wound about his legs in the midst of a mountain of
devils. (Vasari.)

[68] We must not, however, imagine that Michelangelo any more than his
contemporaries had the courage to show openly to Aretino the contempt
which he must have felt for him. If he declined the offer of
collaboration in the Last Judgment which Aretino had baldly made him and
for which he had outlined a detailed program, it was only with many
compliments and much flattery. (Letter of September, 1537.) Even though
Aretino did not obtain from him the gift for which he asked, we find,
nevertheless, that he had received in September, 1535, through Vasari, a
head in wax and a sketch for a St. Catherine. But he did not consider
himself satisfied.

[69] The "Hypocrite," dedicated to Guidobaldo II, Duke of Urbino. (See
Pierre Gaultier, "L'Aretin," 1895.)

[70] Gherardo Perini and Tommaso dei Cavalieri--thus Aretino in passing
adds to the accusation of impiety an allusion to the evil reports about
the habits of Michelangelo. Two lines lower down he will accuse him of

[71] _In postscript:_ Now that I have a little discharged my anger
against the cruelty with which you have repaid my devotion, and have
made you see, I believe, that if you are "divino" I am not "d'acqua,"
tear up this letter as I do, and reflect. For I am a man to whom even
Kings and Emperors answer.

[72] Gaye Carteggio, Vol. II, p. 500.

[73] A. Baschet "P. Veronese devant le Saint Office," 1880.

[74] "Missirini: Memorie per servire alla storia della romana Accademia
di S. Luca." (Cited by E. Müntz, "Histoire de l'Art pendant la
Renaissance," Vol. III, p. 126.)

[75] In 1762 Stefano Pozzi was polishing it under Clement VIII. Abbé
Richard, in his "Voyage d'Italie," says that he saw "some very mediocre
artists occupied in covering with draperies the most beautiful nude
figures of the painting and of the ceiling."

[76] The only document which makes it possible for us to give an account
of the original work is a copy by Marcello Venusti in the Museum of
Naples, from which a painter of Orléans, Robert Le Noyer, seems to have
made in 1750 a reduced copy which is now in the Museum of Montpellier.
(See G. Lafenestre et E. Richtenberger, "La Peinture en Europe." Rome.)

[77] The British Museum and the University of Oxford have drawings which
are related to these frescoes. The Cartoon is in the Museum at Naples.

[78] March 6, 1542. (Gaye, Vol. II, p. 289.)

[79] July 20, 1542 (Petition of Michelangelo to Paul III), Michelangelo
added that the two figures were already so far advanced that they could
be easily completed by other artists. (Gaye, Vol. II, p. 297.)

[80] The fourteen hundred crowns had been deposited at the bank of
Silvestro da Montanto & Co. They were to be divided as follows: eight
hundred for the work of Urbino; five hundred and thirty for the statues
of Raffaello da Montelupo, whose Madonna was already finished; and fifty
for the transportation and placing of the statues by Urbino.

[81] October, 1542. Letter to an unknown person whom he calls

[82] 18 November, 1542. Letter of Michelangelo to Luigi del Riccio.


    Giovane e bella in sogno mi parea
    Donna vedere andar per una landa
    Cogliendo fiori; e cantando dicea:

    Sappia, qualunque il mio nome domanda
    Ch'io mi son Lia, e vo movendo intorno
    Le belle mani a farmi una ghirlanda.

    Per piacermi allo specchio qui m'adorno;
    Ma mia suora Rachel mai non si smaga
    Dal suo miraglio, e siede tutto giorno.

    Ell' è de' suoi begli occhi veder vaga,
    Com'io dell'adornami con la mani;
    Lei lo vedere, e mi l'oprare appaga.
    --(Purgatorio, XXVII.)
    (Translation of C. E. Norton.)

[84] A Prophet and a Sibyl are by Raffaello da Montelupo, and the absurd
statue of the Pope by Maso Boscoli da Fiesole.


    Now know I well how that fond phantasy
    Which made my soul the worshipper and thrall
    Of Earthly Art, is vain.
                        (Translation of J. A. Symonds.)

[86] July, 1557. Letter of Michelangelo to Lionardo Buonarroti.

[87] See Vasari. In October, 1546, Michelangelo with Jacopo Meleghino
was commissioned to direct the fortification of the Borgo. He was
undoubtedly subordinate to the orders of Pier Luigi Farnese, who was
replaced after his death in 1547 by Jacopo Pusto Castriotto d'Urbino.
Toward the end of 1547 they were at work on the bastion of the
Belvedere. (See Gotti.)

[88] Michelangelo wrote to the committee: "You know that I told
Balduccio not to send his lime unless it was good. He has sent bad lime
and won't admit that he can be forced to take it back, which proves that
he has an understanding with the person who accepted it. Such things
encourage the effrontery of those whom I have dismissed for similar
frauds. Whoever accepts bad materials or bribes corrupts justice. I beg
of you, in the name of the authority which I have received from the
pope, never more to accept anything which can not be used, even if it
came from Heaven. I do not want anyone to believe that I shut my eyes to
these irregularities."

[89] Vasari.

[90] Letter of Michelangelo to his nephew Lionardo, May 11, 1555.

[91] Particularly Cardinal Carpi, Tommaso dei Cavalieri, Donato
Giannotti, Francesco Bandini and Gio. Francesco Lottini.

[92] Letter of September 13, 1560.

[93] Vasari. See in the excellent work of Henry Thode, "Michelangelo und
das Ende der Renaissance," Vol. I, the detailed account of these
struggles of Michelangelo with the faction of San Gallo and Nanni di
Baccio Bigio.

[94] See Anatole de Montaiglon, "La Vie de Michel-Ange." ("L'Œuvre et la
Vie de Michel-Ange," p. 288.)

[95] H. de Geymueller, "Ursprüngliche Entwürfe zu S. Peter."

[96] The cupola of St. Peter's, like that of Florence, has two
concentric domes. It was to have had three according to Michelangelo's
model, but Guglielmo della Porta, who carried out the plans after his
death, left out the lower one.

[97] Michelangelo had also the rather unfortunate idea of flanking the
main cupola by four little domes (of which only two were made) instead
of the four towers which were to frame it in Bramante's plan.
Michelangelo did not have the happiness of seeing his work completed for
at his death the cupola was only finished as far as the drum. Guglielmo
della Porta finished the dome in a year.

[98] See "Michaelis, Zeitschrift für bildende kunst." 1891, Vol. III, p.
184 _et seq._; E. Müntz, "Histoire de l'art pendant la Renaissance,"
Vol. III, pp. 338-340. The palace of the Senate was built in 1546 to
1568, the two staircases in 1555. The façade of the Palazzo dei
Conservatori dates from after the death of Michelangelo; the campanile
is the work of Martino Lunghi, and dates from 1579. The groups of the
Dioscuri were installed in 1583. From 1592 to 1598 the façade of the
palace of the Senate was rebuilt and changed. The Capitoline Museum
dates from the seventeenth century under the pontificate of Innocent X.

We must be very careful not to blame Michelangelo for the faults of his
successors as Charles Garnier has done in a too severe article published
in "L'Œuvre et la Vie de Michel-Ange," in which he nevertheless
acknowledges that he was thinking of the Capitol when he built the
Loggia of the Opera House at Paris. He adds it is true that he had
"studied the proportions with great care and skill, and I can say
without blushing, with more talent."

[99] Michelangelo also made drawings for the other gates of Rome.

[100] Letters of Michelangelo to Vasari, August 1-October 13, 1550.

[101] Letter of Michelangelo to Cosmo, November, 1559.

[102] Letter of Michelangelo to Cosmo, November 1, 1559. The same,
November 1, 1559, and March 5, 1560.

[103] Michelangelo in the last period of his life, when he seemed
entirely devoted to architecture and poetry, had many other ambitious
plans, like that of continuing the arcade of the Loggia dei Lanzi around
the palace of the Signory at Florence, of connecting the Farnese palace
and the Farnesina by a bridge, of raising in the court of the Belvedere
a Moses striking water from the rock, etc. It was that taste for the
colossal, and what we might even dare to call the uselessly colossal,
which was handed down through his school as far as Bernini.

[104] In 1553. See Condivi. This is the famous Pietà of the cathedral of
Florence. Blaise de Vigenère in "Les Images de Philostrate," Paris,
1629, speaks of a Pietà on which Michelangelo was working in 1550 for
his own tomb.

[105] All his life he suffered from insomnia brought on by overwork, a
fever which continually consumed him and his ascetic sobriety.

[106] Two other unfinished Pietàs have been preserved. One is in the
court of the Rondanini palace in Rome, the other has just been found in

[107] The figures are not on the same scale, especially the figure of
the Magdalen, which is too small. She is colder than the rest of the
group and more finished, and we may suspect that it was upon her figure
that Calcagni worked.

[108] Among these artists he knew particularly well Francesco Granacci,
Giuliano Bugiardini, Jacopo Sansovino, Aristotele da San Gallo, Rosso,
Pontormo, Guglielmo della Porta, Vignole, and the musician Archadelt.

[109] Correspondence between Sebastiano del Piombo and Michelangelo has
been published by Gaetano Milanesi with a French translation by A.
LePileur and an introduction by E. Müntz in the Bibl. Internationale de
l'Art (Librairie de l'Art, 1890).

[110] Donato Giannotti has, as we have said, preserved the memory of
these relations in his "Dialoghi," 1545. Michelangelo was particularly
intimate with Luigi del Riccio through their mutual friendship with the
beautiful Cecchino dei Bracci, whose premature death in 1544 inspired
Michelangelo with a cycle of verses.

[111] "La Vita di Michelangelo," by Ascanio Condivi, appeared in July,
1553, in Rome, published by Antonio Blado and dedicated to Julius III.
The first edition of Vasari's "Vite" had already appeared in 1551 and
Vasari had sent it to Michelangelo, who had thanked him in the sonnet
"Se con lo stile."

[112] See Benvenuto Cellini.

[113] Letter of Vasari to Cosmo de' Medici, April 8, 1560. See also the
affectionate letter of Michelangelo to Sebastiano del Piombo in May,

[114] Francesca married, in 1538, Michele de Niccolo Guicciardini.
Lionardo married, in 1553, Cassandra, the daughter of Donato Ridolfi.

[115] A few days before Michelangelo had lost his last brother,
Gismondo. See also his admirable letter to Vasari, February 23, 1556.

[116] Letter of Michelangelo to Cornelia, March 28, 1557. He quarrelled
with Cornelia in 1559, when she married again, and wanted to take the
charge of the children from her, but their friendship was re-established
in 1561.

[117] He justified these accusations by his almost sordid manner of
living and constant complaints of poverty, although he was really rich.
A Denunzia de' beni, in 1534, before he had received anything from Paul
III, showed that he owned a house and three estates in Settignano, a
property at St. Stephano de Pozzolatico, two farms and a house at
Stradello, a farm at Rovezzano, three houses in the Via Ghibellina, one
house in the Via Mozza, etc. The inventory made after his death in Rome
showed seven or eight hundred gold crowns (worth about four to five
thousand francs) and Vasari tells us that he had twice given his nephew
Lionardo seven thousand crowns, beside two thousand to Urbino and sums
invested at Florence.


    Now hath my life across a stormy sea
    Like a frail bark reached that wide port where all
    Are bidden....
                         (J. A. Symonds' translation.)

[119] The Pietà Rondanini.

[120] Gotti, Vol. II, p. 358.

[121] Besides these there were in the atelier in Florence in the Via
Mozza a number of blocks of marble and the beautiful statue of Victory
intended for the tomb of Julius II, and which in 1565 was taken to the
Palazzo Vecchio. Also Antonio del Franzese, Michelangelo's servant, who
was with him at the time of his death, gave to the Duke of Urbino in
1570 a statuette of Moses which his master had given to him.

[122] Gaye, "Carteggio inedito d'artisti," 1839, Vol. III, p. 131.

[123] The Florentine Academy of Painters had just been founded in 1563,
and Michelangelo had been unanimously chosen as a president together
with Cosmo de' Medici, January 31, 1563.

[124] The Duke was not there, Cellini was ill and could not come and
Francesco da San Gallo did not appear.

[125] Daniele da Volterra had offered to make a sketch for the tomb with
his assistant, Jacopo del Duca, but Vasari's jealousy prevented it.
Daniele died April 4, 1566, after having made rough models for three
busts of Michelangelo which Jacopo del Duca or Michele Alberti finished
after him.

[126] See the detailed account of the obsequies; "Esequie del divino
Michelangelo," Florence, Giunti, 1564. Varchi wrote the "Orazione

[127] Letter of October, 1509.

[128] Letter of March, 1548, to Lionardo Buonarroto.

[129] Condivi.

[130] See the _Lezione_ of Benedetto Varchi on the sonnet of
Michelangelo, "Non ha l'ottimo Artista...."


    I saw no mortal beauty with these eyes
      When perfect peace in thy fair eyes I found;
      But far within, where all is holy ground,
    My soul felt love, her comrade of the skies;
    For she was born with God in Paradise;
      Else should we still to transient love be bound;
      But, finding these so false, we pass beyond,
    Unto the Love of loves that never dies.
                        (Translation of J. A. Symonds.)

[132] "_Tutti i componimenti di lui pieni d'amore Socratico, e di
concetti Platonici._"

[133] Xenophon, Memor, Vol. III, p. 10.

[134] He adds: "He who wrote that painting was nobler than sculpture, if
that idea is a sample of his intelligence, then my servant knows more
than he does."

This seems to be directed at Lionardo. See the first chapter of
"Trattato della Pittura."


    The best of artists hath no thought to show
      Which the rough stone in its superfluous shell
      Doth not include; to break the marble spell
    Is all the hand that serves the brain can do.
                         (Translation of J. A. Symonds.)

[136] If it is true that Michelangelo attacked the marble with the
greatest fury, it was only after he had prepared his drawings and his
models with the most minute care. Cellini in his "Trattati dell'
oreficeria" (Florence, 1557) says that for the statues in the Sacristy
of S. Lorenzo he saw him first make models of the same height as the
statue was to be and then draw with charcoal on the marble the general
appearance of his figure. Vasari says almost the same thing in regard to
the four statues of Captives sketched in the block and not yet cut from

[137] The science of design or drawing, said Michelangelo, according to
the Dialogues of Francis of Holland, is the source and the essence of
painting, of sculpture, of architecture and of all kinds of
representation as well as the soul of all the sciences (Third Part of
the "Dialogues sur la Peinture dans la Ville de Rome"). "Sculpture,"
says Francis of Holland, "is clearly bound to drawing; it comes out of
it and at bottom is nothing more than the drawing itself. The great
draughtsman, Michelangelo, said to me many times that he regarded it as
a greater thing to make a masterly stroke with the pen than with the
chisel." (_Ibid._, Second Part.)


    Sense is not love, but lawlessness accursed;
    This kills the soul....
                       (Translation of J. A. Symonds.)

[139] "Or for sluggards like Sebastiano del Piombo." He had a quarrel
because of this remark with Sebastiano, who tried to persuade him to
paint the Last Judgment in oils.

[140] "Aborriva il fare somigliare al vivo" (Vasari).--"Michelangelo
never would paint a portrait."--(Journal de Bernin, Gazette des Beaux
Arts, Vol. XVII, p. 358.) "His rule," says Vasari, "was never to make
any likeness of a living person unless he was of transcendent beauty."

[141] "Flemish painting generally is more pleasing to the devout than
Italian painting."

[142] Francis of Holland, "Quatre Entretiens sur la Peinture," held in
Rome in 1538-1539, written in 1548, published by Joachim de Vasconcellos
(translation into French in "Les Arts en Portugal," by Comte Raczynski,
Paris, Renouard, 1844). To prove the theory of Michelangelo, Vittoria
Colonna, who presided over this talk, undertook the defense of the
religious and consolatory art of the North.

[143] We find the same ideas, more exuberant and more confused, in the
writings of Lomazzo, "Idea del Tempio della Pittura" (1590).

[144] Idea del Tempio, etc.

[145] Lomazzo became blind when he was twenty-three, but that did not
prevent him from judging of painters and their works until his death
when over sixty.

[146] Perino del Vaga made this declaration when he refused to undertake
the drawings for the jewel-box of Cosmo de Medici, when he found that
they had addressed themselves first to Michelangelo. (Jay, "Receuil de
Lettres sur la Peinture." Claude Tolomei à Apoll. Philarète.)

[147] Luigi Lanzi; "Storia Pittorica d'Italia, Bassano, 1795-96," Vol.
I, p. 167.

[148] Tintoretto himself, under the influence of Michelangelo, says:
"The most beautiful colours are black and white because they give relief
to figures by light and shade," and at the end of his life, abandoning
the principles of the Venetian School, he gives the preference to
drawing, "Draw, draw now and always."

[149] Daniele da Volterra was also more a sculptor than a painter, and
ended by giving himself up to sculpture. He made casts of the statues of
the Medici and also some statues of his own. Some of his pictures, like
the David and Goliath in the Louvre, which is painted on both sides, are
only two faces of one of his statues. Rosso and Salviati were also

[150] The verses of Giovanni Strozzi (1545) are well known:

    La Notte, che tu vedi in si dolci atti
    Dormir, fu da un Angelo scolpita
    In questo sasso, e perche dorme, ha vita.
    Destala, se nol credi, e parleratti.

The night which you see sleeping so peacefully was carved by an angel in
this rock. Since she sleeps, she lives. If you do not believe it awake
her and she will speak to you.

[151] The same thing is true of Girolamo Muziano of Brescia. Even the
School of Milan was affected. Lomazzo makes of Michelangelo the ruler of
all painting. The imitation of Michelangelo spread especially in
sculpture, and there the decadence was dizzying.

[152] "Journal du Voyage du Cavalier Bernin en France," par M. de
Chantelou. ("Gazette des Beaux Arts," Vol. XXIX, p. 453.)

[153] _Ibid._, Vol. XXI, p. 383.

[154] Ed. Frey, XLIX.

Michelangelo said one day to Ammanati, "Nelle mie opere caco sangue."

Varchi said to him one day, "Signor Buonarroti, avete il cervello di
Giove." Michelangelo answered, "Si vuole il martello di Vulcano per
farne uscire qualche cosa." (Quoted by E. Delacroix in his Journal, Vol.
II, p. 429.)

[155] Michelangelo said to Cardinal Salviati, who was ministering to him
on his death-bed, that he only regretted two things: not to have done
all he should have for his salvation, and to be dying just as he was
learning the alphabet of his profession. (Journal de Bernin, Vol. XXI,
p. 388.)

[156] Vasari, "Vite," Preamble to the Third Part.

Lionardo spent six years in painting some hair, but Corregio only an
hour, and with four strokes of his brush gained just the same effect.
(Journal de Bernin, Vol. XX, p. 453.)

[157] He went so far as to canonise himself while he was still alive,
after a vision in which he saw a miraculous aureole around his own head.

Nothing shows more surely the gulf which separated Michelangelo from his
disciples than the comparison of his sombre poetry with the proudly
exultant sonnet which serves as preamble to the memoirs of Cellini.

[158] See what Vasari writes of the revolution of Giorgione in 1507 when
Giorgione began to "pose before him living and natural things, to
represent them as nearly as he could by painting directly with colour
without making any drawing." He adds that Giorgione did not perceive
that it is necessary, if you wish to arrange and balance a composition,
to put it first on paper. "In fact the mind can not very well see or
perfectly imagine its own creations, if it does not reveal and explain
its thought to the eyes of the body which will aid it in judging--we
must add that in drawing on paper one succeeds in filling the mind with
beautiful conceptions and learns to make natural objects from memory
without being obliged to have them always before you." (Vasari, Ed.
1811, Vol. III, pp. 427-428.) The whole point of view of Florentine art
of the sixteenth century is in this naïve avowal.

[159] Tintoretto had long studied Michelangelo. He had brought to him at
great expense casts of his statues which Ridolfo says he lighted by a
lamp and drew in bold relief. (Ridolfo; "Delle maraviglie dell' arte in
Venetia," 1648.)

[160] This fever attacked the art of other countries which were filled
with caricatures of Michelangelo, Maarten van Heemskerck, "the Dutch
Michelangelo," Frans Floris, "the Flemish Michelangelo," and their
innumerable followers, not to mention the French and Spanish imitators,
the Fréminets and the Cespedès.

The following have been corrected (note of ebook transcriber):




Raffaelle, Raffaelli=>Raffaello da Montelupo




*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Michelangelo" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.