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Excerpt from Giorgio Vasari, Lives of the Artists:

Michelangelo BUONAROTTI of Florence, Painter, Sculptor and Architect

For primary documents concerning Michelangelo's career, samples of Michelangelo's poems, and Vasari's biography of Michelangelo see the pdf on the Columbia University Art and Humanities site.

WHILE industrious and choice spirits, aided by the light afforded by Giotto and his followers, strove to show the world the talent with which their happy stars and well-balanced humours had endowed them, and endeavoured to attain to the height of knowledge by imitating the greatness of Nature in all things, the great Ruler of Heaven looked down and, seeing these vain and fruitless efforts and the presumptuous opinion of man more removed from truth than light from darkness, resolved, in order to rid him of these errors, to send to earth a genius universal in each art, to show single-handed the perfection of line and shadow, and who should give relief to his paintings, show a sound judgment in sculpture, and in architecture should render habitations convenient, safe, healthy, pleasant, well-proportioned, and enriched with various ornaments. He further endowed him with true moral philosophy and a sweet poetic spirit, so that the world should marvel at the singular eminence of his life and works and all his actions, seeming rather divine than earthy.

In the arts of painting, sculpture and architecture the Tuscans have always been among the best, and Florence was the city in Italy most worthy to be the birthplace of such a citizen to crown her perfections. Thus in 1474 the true and noble wife of Ludovico di Lionardo Buonarotti Simone, said to be of the ancient and noble family of the Counts of Canossa, gave birth to a son in the Casentino, under a lucky star. The son was born on Sunday, 6 March, at eight in the evening, and was called Michelangelo, as being of a divine nature, for Mercury and Venus were in the house of Jove at his birth, showing that his works of art would be stupendous.

Ludovico at the time was podesta at Chiusi and Caprese near the Sasso della Vernia, where St. Francis received the stigmata, in the diocese of Arezzo. On laying down his office Ludovico returned to Florence, to the villa of Settignano, three miles from the city, where he had a property inherited from his ancestors, a place full of rocks and quarries of macigno which are constantly worked by stonecutters and sculptors who are mostly natives. There Michelangelo was put to nurse with a stonecutter's wife. Thus he once said jestingly to Vasari: "What good I have comes from the pure air of your native Arezzo, and also because I sucked in chisels and hammers with my nurse's milk." In time Ludovico had several children, and not being well off, he put them in the arts of wool and silk. Michelangelo, who was older, he placed with Maestro Francesco da Urbino to school. But the boy devoted all the time he could to drawing secretly, for which his father and seniors scolded and sometimes beat him, thinking that such things were base and unworthy of their noble house.

About this time Michelangelo made friends with Francesco Granacci, who though quite young had placed himself with Domenico del Ghirlandaio to learn painting. Granacci perceived Michelangelo's aptitude for design, and supplied him daily with drawings of Ghirlandaio, then reputed to be one of the best masters not only in Florence but throughout Italy. Michelangelo's desire to achieve thus increased daily, and Ludovico perceiving that he could not prevent the boy from studying design, resolved to derive some profit from it, and by the advice of friends put him with Domenico Ghirlandaio that he might learn the profession. At that time Michelangelo was fourteen years old. The author of his Life, written after 1550 when I first published this work, has stated that some through not knowing him have omitted things worthy of note and stated others that are not true, and in particular he taxes Domenico with envy, saying that he never assisted Michelangelo.

This is clearly false, as may be seen by a writing in the hand of Ludovico written in the books of Domenico now in the possession of his heirs. It runs thus: "1488. bow this 1st April that I Ludovico di Lionardo Buonarroto apprentice my son Michelangelo to Domenico and David di Tommaso di Currado for the next three years, with the following agreements: that the said Michelangelo shall remain‚ with them that time to learn to paint and practise that art and shall do what they bid him, and they shall give him 24 florins in the three years, 6 in the first, 8 in the second and 10 in the third, in all 96 lire". Below this Ludovico has written: "Michelangelo has received 2 gold florins this 16th April, and I Ludovico di Lionardo, his father, have received 12 lire 12 soldi." I have copied this from the book to show that I have written the truth, and I do not think that there is anyone who has seen more of Michelangelo, who has been a greater and more faithful friend to him, or who can show a larger number of autograph letters than I. I have made this digression in the interests of truth, and let this suffice for the rest of the life. We will now return to the story.

Michelangelo's progress amazed Domenico when he saw him doing things beyond a boy, for he seemed likely not only to surpass the other pupils, of whom there were a great number, but would also frequently equal the master's own works.- One of the youths happened one day to have made a pen sketch of draped women by his master, Michelangelo took the sheet, and with a thicker pen made a new outline for one of the women, representing her as she should be and making her perfect. The difference between the two styles is as marvellous as the audacity of the youth whose good judgment led him to correct his master. The sheet is now in my possession, treasured as a relic. I had it from Granaccio with others of Michelangelo, to place in the Book of Designs. In 1550, when Giorgio showed it to Michelangelo at Rome, he recognised it with pleasure, and modestly said that he knew more of that art when a child than later on in life [Compare this story to the attitudes expressed by Cenino Cennini. Imagine the craftsman trained by Cennini "correcting his master." Also notice how Vasari treats this drawing as a "relic." Understand the role of relics in the religious life of this period where these objects served as miraculous links to the spiritual realm. The attitude expressed by Vasari here anticipates the reverence shown to works of art in the modern museum where we see the works as links to the "Great Masters."]

One day, while Domenico was engaged upon the large chapel of S. Maria Novella, Michelangelo drew the scaffolding and all the materials with some of the apprentices at work. When Domenico returned and saw it, he said, "He knows more than I do," and remained amazed at the new style produced by the judgment of so young a boy, which was equal to that of an artist of many years' experience. To this Michelangelo added study and diligence so that he made progress daily, as we see by a copy of a print engraved by Martin the German [Martin Schongauer], which brought him great renown. When a copper engraving by Martin of St. Anthony beaten by the devils reached Florence, Michelangelo made a pen drawing and then painted it. To counterfeit some strange forms of devils he bought fish with curiously coloured scales, and showed such ability that he won much credit and reputation. He also made perfect copies of various old masks, making them look old with smoke and other things so that they could not be distinguished from the originals. He did this to obtain the originals in exchange for the copies, as he wanted the former and sought to surpass them, thereby acquiring a great name [Notice how Michelangelo does not just copy, but outdoes the original. Michelangelo has thus outdone his own master and by implication contemporary Florentine art but he has also outdone Northern European art as represented by the Schongauer story].

At this time Lorenzo de' Medici the Magnificent kept Bertoldo the sculptor in his garden on the piazza of S. Marco, not so much the custodian of the numerous collections of beautiful antiquities there, as because he wished to create a school of great painters and sculptors with Bertoldo as the head, who had been pupil of Donato [Donatello]. Although old and unable to work, he was a master of skill and repute, having diligently finished Donato's pulpits and cast many bronze reliefs of battles and other small things, so that no one then in Florence could surpass him in such things. Lorenzo, who loved painting and sculpture, was grieved that no famous sculptors lived in his day to equal the great painters who then flourished, and so he resolved to found a school.

Accordingly he asked Domenico Ghirlandaio that if he had any youths in his shop inclined to this he should send them to the garden, where he would have them instructed so as to do honour to him and to the city. Domenico elected among others Michelangelo and Francesco Granaccio as being the best. At the garden they found that Torrigiano was modelling clay figures given to him by Bertoldo. Seeing that in addition the boy had opened its mouth and made the tongue and all the teeth, Lorenzo jestingly said, for he was a pleasant man, "You ought to know that the old never have all their teeth, and always lack some." Michelangelo, who loved and respected his patron, took him seriously in his simplicity, and so soon as he was gone he broke out a tooth and made the gum look as if it had fallen out. He anxiously awaited the return of Lorenzo, who, when he saw Michelangelo's simplicity and excellence, laughed more than once, and related the matter to his friends as a marvel. He returned to help and favour the youth, and sending for his father, Ludovico, asked him to allow him to treat the boy as his own son, a request that was readily granted. Accordingly Lorenzo gave Michelangelo. a room in the palace, and he ate regularly at table with the family and other nobles staying there. This was the year after he had gone to Domenico, when he was fifteen or sixteen, and he remained in the house for four years until after the death of Lorenzo in 1492. I hear that he received a provision at this time from Lorenzo and five ducats a month to help his father. The Magnificent also gave him a violet mantle, and conferred an office in the customs upon his father. Indeed all the youths in the garden received a greater or less salary from that noble citizen, as well as rewards.

By the advice of Poliziano, the famous man of letters, Michelangelo did a fight between Hercules and the Centaurs on a piece of marble given him by that signor, of such beauty that it seems the work of a consummate master and not of a youth [compare to Late Antique Battle Sarcophagi like the Ludovisi]. It is now preserved in his house by his nephew Lionardo as a precious treasure, in memory of him. Not many years since this Lionardo had a Madonna in bas-relief by his uncle, more than a braccia high, in imitation of Donatello's style, so fine that it seems the world of that master, except that it possesses more grace and design. Lionardo gave it to Duke Cosimo, who values it highly, as he possesses no other bas-relief of the master.

To return to Lorenzo's garden. It was full of antiquities and excellent paintings, collected there for beauty, study and pleasure. Michelangelo had the keys, and was much more studious than the others in every direction, and always showed his proud spirit. For many months he drew Masaccio's paintings in the Carmine [this refers to the Brancacci Chapel frescos], showing such judgment that he amazed artists and others, and also roused envy. It is said that Torrigiano made friends with him, but moved by envy at seeing him more honoured and skilful than himself, struck him so hard on the nose that he broke it and disfigured him for life. For this Torrigiano was banished from Florence, as is related elsewhere.

On the death of Lorenzo Michelangelo returned home, much grieved at the loss of that great man and true friend of genius. Buying a large block of marble, he made a Hercules of four braccia, which stood for many years in the Strozzi palace, and was considered remarkable. In the year of the siege it was sent to King Francis of France by Giovambattista della Palla. It is said that Piero de' Medici, who had long associated with Michelangelo, often sent for him, wishing to buy antique cameos and other intaglios, and one snowy winter he got him to make a beautiful snow statue in the court of his palace. He so honoured Michelangelo for his ability that his father, seeing him in such favour with the great, clothed him much more sumptuously than before.

For S. Spirito in Florence Michelangelo made a wooden crucifix, put over the lunette above the high altar to please the prior, who gave him suitable rooms, where he was able, by frequently dissecting dead bodies, to study anatomy, and thereby he began to perfect his great design....

M. Jacopo Galli, an intelligent Roman noble, recognised Michelangelo's ability, and employed him to make a marble Cupid of life-size, and then to do a Bacchus of ten palms holding a cup in the right hand, and in the left a tiger's skin and a bunch of grapes with a satyr trying to eat them.a This figure shows that he intended a marvellous blending of limbs, uniting the slenderness of a youth with the fleshy roundness of the female, proving Michelangelo's superiority to all the moderns in statuary.

During his stay in Rome he made such progress in art that his conceptions were marvellous, and he executed difficulties with the utmost ease, frightening those who were not accustomed to see such things, for when they were done the works of others appeared as nothing beside them. Thus the cardinal of St. Denis, called Cardinal Rohan, a Frenchman, desired to leave a memorial of himself in the famous city by such a rare artist, and got him to do a marble Pieta, which was placed in the chapel of S. Maria della Febbre in the temple of Mars, in S. Pietro. The rarest artist could add nothing to its design and grace, or finish the marble with such polish and art, for it displays the utmost limits of sculpture. Among its beauties are the divine draperies, the foreshortening of the dead Christ and the beauty of the limbs with the muscles, veins, sinews, while no better presentation of a corpse was ever made. The sweet air of the head and the harmonious joining of the arms and legs to the torso, with the pulses and veins, are marvellous, and it is a miracle that a once shapeless stone should assume a form that Nature with difficulty produces in flesh. Michelangelo devoted so much love and pains on this work that he put his name on the girdle crossing the Virgin's breast, a thing he never did again. One morning he had gone to the place to where it stands and observed a number of Lombards who were praising it loudly. One of them asked another the name of the sculptor, and he replied, "Our Gobbo of Milan." Michelangelo said nothing, but he resented the injustice of having his work attributed to another, and that night he shut himself in the chapel with a light and his chisels and carved his name on it. It has been thus aptly described:

Bellezza ed onestate
E doglia e pieta on vivo marmo morte,
Deh, come voi pur fate
Nort piangete si forte
Che anzi tempo risveglisi da morte
E pur, mai grado suo
Nostro Signore e tuo
Sposo, figliuolo e padre
Unica sposa sua figliuola e madre.

It brought him great renown, and though some fools say that he has made the Virgin too young, they ought to know that spotless virgins keep their youth for a long time, while people afflicted like Christ do the reverse, so that should contribute more to increase the fame of his genius than all the things done before.

Some of Michelangelo's friends wrote from Florence urging him to return, as they did not want that block of marble on the opera to be spoiled which Piero Soderini, then gonfaloniere for life in the city, had frequently proposed to give to Leonardo da Vinci, and then to Andrea Contucci, an excellent sculptor, who wanted it. Michelangelo on returning tried to obtain it, although it was difficult to get an entire figure without pieces, and no other man except himself would have had the courage to make the attempt, but he had wanted it for many years, and on reaching Florence he made efforts to get it. It was nine braccia high, and unluckily one Simone da Fiesole had begun a giant, cutting between the legs and mauling it so badly that the wardens of S. Maria del Fiore had abandoned it without wishing to have it finished, and it had rested so for many years. Michelangelo examined it afresh, and decided that it could be hewn into something new while following the attitude sketched by Simone, and he decided to ask the wardens and Soderini for it. They gave it to him as worthless, thinking that anything he might do would be better than its present useless condition.

Accordingly Michelangelo made a wax model of a youthful David holding the sling to show that the city should be boldly defended and righteously governed, following David's example. He began it in the opera, making a screen between the wall and the tables, and finished it without anyone having seen him at work. The marble had been hacked and spoiled by Simone so that be could not do all that he wished with it, though he left some of Simone's work at the end of the marble, which may still be seen. This revival of a dead thing was a veritable miracle. When it was finished various disputes arose as to who should take it to the piazza of the Signori, so Giuliano da Sangallo and his brother Antonio made a strong wooden frame and hoisted the figure on to it with ropes; they then moved it forward by beams and windlasses and placed it in position. The knot of the rope which held the statue was made to slip so that it tightened as the weight increased, an ingenious device, the design for which is in our book, showing a very strong and safe method of suspending heavy weights. Piero Soderini came to see it, and expressed great pleasure to Michelangelo who was retouching it, though he said he thought the nose large. Michelangelo seeing the gonfaloniere below and knowing that he could not see properly, mounted the scaffolding and taking his chisel dexterously let a little marble dust fall on to the gonfaloniere, without, however, actually altering his work. Looking down he said, "Look now." "I like it better,"said the gonfaloniere, "you have given it life." Michelangelo therefore came down with feelings of pity for those who wish to seem to understand matters of which they know nothing. When the statue was finished and set up Michelangelo uncovered it. It certainly bears the palm among all modern and ancient works, whether Greek or Roman, and the Marforio of Rome, the Tiber and Nile of Belvedere, and the colossal statues of Montecavallo do not compare with it in proportion and beauty. The legs are finely turned, the slender flanks divine, and the graceful pose unequalled, while such feet, hands and head have never been excelled. After seeing this no one need wish to look at any other sculpture or the work of any other artist. Michelangelo received four hundred crowns from Piero Soderini, and it was set up in 15O4.

Owing to his reputation thus acquired, Michelangelo did a beautiful bronze David for the gonfaloniere, which he sent to France, and he‚ sketched out two marble medallions, one for Taddeo Taddei, and now in his house, the other for Bartolommeo Pitti, which was given by Fra Miniato Pitti of Monte Oliveto, a master of cosmography and many sciences, especially painting, to his intimate friend Luigi Guicciardini. These works were considered admirable. At the same time he sketched a marble statue of St. Matthew in the opera of S. Maria del Fiore, which showed his perfection and taught sculptors the way to make statues without spoiling them, by removing the marble so as to enable them to make such alterations as may be necessary. He also did a bronze Madonna in a circle, carved at the request of some Flemish merchants of the Moscheroni, noblemen in their country, who paid him one hundred crowns and sent it to Flanders. His friend, Agnolo Doni, citizen of Florence, and the lover of all beautiful works whether ancient or modern, desired to have something of his. Michelangelo therefore began a round painting of the Virgin kneeling and offering the Child to Joseph, where he shows his marvellous power in the head of the Mother fixedly regarding the beauty of the Child, and the emotion of Joseph in reverently and tenderly taking it, which is obvious without examining it closely. As this did not suffice to display his powers, he made seated, standing and reclining nude figures in the background, completing the work with such finish and polish that it is considered the finest of his few panel paintings. When finished he sent it wrapped up to Agnolo's house, by a messenger, with a note and a request for seventy ducats as payment. Agnolo being a careful man, thought this a large sum for one picture, though he knew it was worth more. So he gave the bearer forty ducats, saying that was enough. Michelangelo at once sent demanding one hundred ducats or the return of the picture. Andrea being delighted with the picture, then agreed to give seventy ducats, but Michelangelo being incensed by Agnolo's mistrust, demanded double what he had asked the first time, and Agnolo, who wanted the picture, was forced to send him one hundred and forty crowns.

When Leonardo da Vinci was painting in the Great Hall of the Council, as related in his Life, Piero Soderini, the gonfaloniere, his great genius, and the artist chose the war of Pisa as his subject. He was given a room in the dyers' hospital at S. Onofrio, and there began a large cartoon which he allowed no one to see. He filled it with nude figures bathing in the Arno owing to the heat, and running in this condition to their arms on being attacked by the enemy. He represented them hurrying out of the water to dress, and seizing their arms to go to assisttheir comrades, some buckling their cuirasses and many putting on other armour, while others on horseback are beginning the fight. Among other figures is an old man wearing a crown of ivy to shade his head trying to pull his stockings on to his wet feet, and hearing the cries of the soldiers and the beating of the drums he is struggling violently, all his muscles to the tips of his toes and his contorted mouth showing the effects of the exertion. It also contained drums and nude figures with twisted draperies running to the fray, foreshortened in extraordinary attitudes, some upright, some kneeling, some bent, and some lying. There were also many groups sketched in various ways, some merely outlined in carbon, some with features filled in, some hazy or with white lights, to show his knowledge of art. And indeed artists were amazed when they saw the lengths he had reached in this cartoon. Some in seeing his divine figures declared that it was impossible for any other spirit to attain to its divinity. When finished it was carried to the Pope's hall amid the excitement of artists and to the glory of Michelangelo, and all those who studied and drew from it, as foreigners and natives did for many years afterwards, became excellent artists, as we see by Aristotile da Sangallo, his friend, Ridolfo Ghirlandaio, Raphael Sanzio, Francesco Granaccio, Baccio Bandinelli, Alonso Berugetta a Spaniard, with Andrea del Sarto, Franciabigio, Jacopo Sansovino, Rosso, Maturino, Lorenzetto, Tribolo, then a child, Jacopo da Pontormo, and Perino del Vaga, all great Florentine masters. Having become a school for artists, this cartoon was taken to the great hall of the Medici palace, where it was entrusted too freely to artists, for during the illness of Duke Giuliano it was unexpectedly torn to pieces and scattered in many places, some fragments still being in the house of M. Uberto Strozzi, a Mantuan noble, where they are regarded with great reverence, indeed they are more divine than human.

Reconstruction of the 1505 plan of the Tomb of Julius II

The Pieta, the colossal statue and the cartoon gave Michelangelo such a name that when, in 1503, Julius II. succeeded Alexander VI., he sent for the artist, who was then about twenty nine, to make his tomb, paying him one hundred crowns for the journey. After reaching Rome, it was many months before he did anything. At last he settled on a design for the tomb, surpassing in beauty and richness of ornament all ancient and imperial tombs, affording the best evidence of his genius. Stimulated by this, Julius decided to rebuild S. Pietro in order to hold the tomb, as related elsewhere. Michelangelo set to work with spirit, and first went to Cartara to obtain all the marble, accompanied by two apprentices, receiving 1000 crowns for this from AIamanno Salviati at Florence. He spent eight months there without receiving any further provision, his mind being full of projects for making great statues there as a memorial to himself, as the ancients had done, for he felt the fascination of the blocks.

Having chosen his marble, he sent it by sea to Rome, where it filled half the piazza of S. Pietro towards S. Caterina, and the space between the church and the corridor leading to Castello. Here Michelangelo made his studio for producing his figures and the rest of the tomb. In order that the Pope might readily come to see him work, he made a drawbridge from the corridor to the studio. His intimacy with the Pope grew out of this, but it afterwards brought him great annoyance and persecution, giving rise to much envy among artists. Of this work, during Julius's life and after his death, Michelangelo did four complete statues and sketched eight, as I shall relate.

The work being devised with great invention, I will describe the ordering of it. Michelangelo wished it to stand isolated, in arranged a series of niches separated by terminal figures clothed order to make it appear larger, showing all four sides, from the middle upwards and bearing the first cornice on their heads, each one in a curious attitude and having a nude prisoner bound, standing on a projection from the basement. These prisoners were to represent the provinces subdued by the Pope and rendered obedient to the Church. Other statues, also bound, represented the sciences and fine arts doomed to death like the Pope who had protected them. At the corners of the first cornice were four large figures, Active and Contemplative Life, St. Paul and Moses. Above the cornice the work was on a smalier scale with a frieze of bronze bas-reliefs and other figures, infants and ornaments. As a completion there were two figures above, one a smiling Heaven, supporting the bier on her shoulders, with Cybele, goddess of the earth, who seems to grieve that the world has lost such a man, while the other rejoices that his soul has passed to celestial glory. There was an arrangement to enter at the top of the work between the niches, and an oval place to move about in the middle, like a church, in the midst of which the sarcophagus to contain the Pope's body was to be placed. In all it was to have forty marble statues without counting the reliefs, infants and ornaments, the carved cornices and other architectural parts. For greater convenience Michelangelo ordered that a part of the marble should be taken to Florence, where he proposed to spend the summer to escape from the malaria of Rome. There he completed one face of the work in several pieces, and at Rome divinely finished two prisoners and other statues which are unsurpassed. That they might not be otherwise employed, he gave the prisoners to Signor Ruberto Strozzi, in whose house Michelangelo had fallen sick. They were afterwards sent to King Francis as a gift, and are now at Ecouen in France. He sketched eight statues at Rome and five at Florence, and finished a Victory above a prisoner, now owned by Duke Cosimo, who had it from the artist's nephew Lionardo.The duke has placed it in the great hall of the palace painted by Vasari. Michelangelo finished the Moses in marble, a statue of five braccia, unequalled by any modern or ancient work. Seated in a serious attitude, he rests with one arm on the tables, and with the other holds his long glossy beard, the hairs, so difficult to render in sculpture, being so soft and downy that it seems as if the iron chisel must have become a brush. The beautiful face, like that of a saint and mighty prince, seems as one regards it to need the veil to cover it, so splendid and shining does it appear, and so well has the artist presented in the marble the divinity with which God had endowed that holy countenance. The draperies fall in graceful folds, the muscles of the arms and bones of the hands are of such beauty and perfection, as are tlie legs and knees, the feet being adorned with excellent shoes, that Moses may now be called the friend of God more than ever, since God has permitted his body to be prepared for the resurrection before the others by the hand of Michelangelo. The Jews still go every Saturday in troops to visit and adore it as a divine, not a human thing. At length he finished this part, which was afterwards set up in S. Pietro ad Vincola.

It is said that while Michelangelo was engaged upon it, the remainder of the marble from Carrara arrived at Ripa, and was taken with the rest to the piazza of S. Pietro. As it was necessary to pay those who brought it, Michelangelo went as usual to the Pope. But the Pope had that day received important news concerning Bologna, so Michelangelo returned home and paid for the marble himself, expecting to be soon repaid. He returned another day to speak to the Pope, and found difficulty in entering, as a porter told him to wait, saying he had orders to admit no one. A bishop said to the porter, "Perhaps you do not know this man." "I know him very well," said the porter, "but I am here to execute my orders." Unaccustomed to this treatment, Michelangelo told the man to inform the Pope he was away when next His Holiness inquired for him. Returning home, he set out post at two in the morning, leaving two servants with instructions to sell his things to the Jews, and to follow him to Florence. Reaching Poggibonsi, in Florentine territory, he felt safe, not being aware that five couriers had arrived with letters from the Pope with orders to bring him back. But neither prayers nor letters which demanded his return upon pain of disgrace moved him in the least. However, at the instance of the couriers, he at length wrote a few lines asking the Pope to excuse him, saying he would never return as he had been driven away like a rogue, that his faithful service merited better treatment, and that he should find someone else to serve him.

On reaching Florence, Michelangelo finished in three months the cartoon of the great hall which Piero Soderini the gonfaloniere desired him to finish. The Signoria received at that time three letters from the Pope demanding that Michelangelo should be sent back to Rome. On this account it is said that, fearing the Pope's wrath, he thought of going to Constantinople to serve the Turk by means of some Franciscan friars, from between Constantinople and Pera. However, Piero Soderini persuaded him, against his will, to go to the Pope, and sent him as ambassador of Florence, to secure his person, to Bologna whither the Pope had gone from Rome, with letters of recommendation to Cardinal Soderini, the gonfaloniere's brother, who was charged to introduce the Pope. There is another account of this departure from Rome: that the Pope was angry with Michelangelo, who would not allow him to see any of his things. The artist suspected his assistants of having received bribes from the Pope more than once to admit him to look at the chapel of his uncle Sixtus, which he was having painted, on certain occasions when Michelangelo was not at home, or at work. It happened once that Michelangelo hid himself, for he suspected the betrayal by his apprentices, and threw down some planks as the Pope entered the chapel, and not thinking who it was, caused him to be summarily ejected. At all events,whatever the cause, he was angry with the Pope and also afraid of him, and so he ran away.

Arrived at Bologna, he first approached the footmen and was taken to the palace of the Sixteen by a bishop sent by Cardinal Soderini, who was sick. He knelt before the Pope, who looked wrathfully at him, and said as if in anger:' "Instead of coming to us, you have waited for us to come and find you," inferring that Bologna is nearer Florence than Rome. Michelangelo spread his hands and humbly asked for pardon in a loud voice, saying he had acted in anger through being driven away, and that he hoped for forgiveness for his error. The bishop who presented him made excuses, saying that such men are ignorant of every- thing except their art. At this the Pope waxed wroth, and striking the bishop with a mace he was holding, said: "It is you who are ignorant, to reproach him when we say nothing." The bishop therefore was hustled out by the attendants, and the Pope's anger being appeased, he blessed Michelangelo, who was loaded with gifts and promises, and ordered to prepare a bronze statue of the Pope, five braccia high, in a striking attitude of majesty, habited in rich vestments, and with determination and courage displayed in his countenance. This was placed in a niche above the S. Petronio gate.

It is said that while Michelangelo was engaged upon it Francia the painter came to see it, having heard much of him and his works, but seen none. He obtained the permission, and was amazed at Michelangelo's art. When asked what he thought of the figure, he replied that it was a fine cast and good material. Michelangelo, thinking that he had praised the bronze rather than the art, said: "I am under the same obligation to Pope Julius, who gave it to me, as you are to those who provide your paints,'' and in the presence of the nobles he angrily called him a blockhead. Meeting one day a son of Francia, who was said to be a very handsome youth, he said: "Your father knows how to make living figures better than to paint them.'' One of the nobles asked him which was the larger, the Pope's statue or a pair of oxen, and he replied, "It depends upon the oxen, those of Bologna are certainly larger than our Florentine ones.'' Michelangelo finished the statue in clay before the Pope left for Rome; His Holiness went to see it, and the question was raised of what to put in the left hand, the right being held up with such a proud gesture that the Pope asked if it was giving a blessing or a curse. Michelangelo answered that he was admonishing the people of Bologna to be prudent. When he asked the Pope whether he should put a book in his left hand, the pontiff replied, "Give me a sword; I am not a man of letters." The Pope left 1000 crowns wherewith to finish it in the bank of M. Antonmaria da Lignano. After sixteen months of hard work it was placed in front of the church of S. Petronio, as already related It was destroyed by the Bentivogli, and the bronze sold to Duke Alfonso of Ferrara, who made a cannon of it, called the Julius, the head only being preserved, which is now in his wardrobe.

After the Pope had returned to Rome, and when Michelangelo had finished the statue, Bramante, the friend and relation of Raphael and therefore ill-disposed to Michelangelo, seeing the Pope's preference for sculpture, schemed to divert his attention, and told the Pope that it would be a bad omen to get Michelangelo to go on with his tomb, as it would seem to be an invitation to death. He persuaded the Pope to get Michelangelo, on his return, to paint the vaulting of the Sistine Chapel. In this way Bramante and his other rivals hoped to confound him, for by taking him from sculpture, in which he was perfect, and putting him to colouring in fresco, in which he had had no experience, they thought he would produce less admirable work than Raphael, and even if he succeeded he would become embroiled with the Pope, from whom they wished to separate him. Thus, when Michelangelo returned to Rome, the Pope was disposed not to have the tomb finished for the time being, and asked him to paint the vaulting of the chapel. Michelangelo tried every means to avoid it, and recommended Raphael, for he saw the difficulty of the work, knew his lack of skill in coloring, and wanted to finish the tomb.

But the more he excused himself, the more the impetuous Pope was determined he should do it, being stimulated by the artist's rivals, especially Bramante, and ready to become incensed against Michelangelo. At length, seeing that the Pope was resolute, Michelangelo decided to do it. The Pope commanded Bramante to make preparations for the painting, and he hung a scaffold on ropes, making holes in the vaulting. When Michelangelo asked why he had done this, as on the completion of the painting it would be necessary to fill up the holes again, Bramante declared there was no other way. Michelangelo thus recognised either that Bramante was incapable or else hostile, and he went to complain to the Pope that the scaffolding would not do, and that Bramante did not know how it should be constructed. The Pope answered, in Bramante's presence, that Michelangelo should design one for himself. Accordingly he erected one on poles not touching the wall, a method which guided Bramante and others in similar work. He gave so much rope to the poor carpenter who made it, that it sufficed, when sold, for the dower of the man's daughter, to whom Michelangelo presented it. He then got to work on the cartoons. The Pope wanted to destroy the work on the walls done by masters in the time of Sixtus, and he set aside 15,000 ducats as the cost, as valued by Giuliano da San Gallo. Impressed by the greatness of the work, Michelangelo sent to Florence for help, resolving to prove himself superior to those who had worked there before, and to show modern artists the true way to design and paint. The circumstances spurred him on in his quest of fame and his desire for the good of art. When he had completed the cartoons, he waited before beginning to colour them in fresco until some friends of his, who were painters, should arrive from Florence, as he hoped to obtain help from them, and learn their methods of fresco-painting, in which some of them were experienced, namely Granaccio, Giulian Dugiardini, Jacopo di Sandro, Indaco the elder, Agnolo di Donnino and Aristotile. He made them begin some things as a specimen, but perceiving their work to be very far from his expectations, he decided one morning to destroy everything which they had done, and shutting himself up in the chapel he refused to admit them, and would not let them see him in his house. This jest seemed to them to be carried too far, and so they took their departure, returning with shame and mortification to Florence.

Michelangelo then made arrangements to do the whole work singlehanded. His care and labour brought everything into excellent train, and he would see no one in order to avoid occasions for showing anything, so that the most lively curiosity was excited. Pope Julius was very anxious to see his plans, and the fact of their being hidden greatly excited his desire. But when he went one day he was not admitted. This led to the disturbance already referred to, when Michelangelo had to leave Rome. Michelangelo has himself told me that, when he had painted a third of the vault, a certain mouldiness began to appear one winter when the north wind was blowing. This was because the Roman lime, being white and made of travertine, does not dry quickly enough, and when mixed with pozzolana, which is of a tawny colour, it makes a dark mixture. If this mixture is liquid and watery, and the wall thoroughly wetted, it often effloresces in drying. This happened here, where the salt effloresced in many places, although in time the air consumed it. In despair at this, Michelangelo wished to abandon the work, and when he excused himself, telling the Pope that he was not succeeding, Julius sent Giuliano da San Gallo, who explained the difficulty and taught him how to obviate it. When he had finished half, the Pope, who sometimes went to see it by means of steps and scaffolds, wanted it to be thrown open, being an impatient man; unable to wait until it had received the finishing-touches. Immediately all Rome flocked to see it, the Pope being the first, arriving before the dust of the scaffolding had been removed. Raphael, who was excellent in imitating, at once changed his style after seeing it, and to show his skill did the prophets and sybils in the church of Santa Maria della Pace, while Bramante tried to have the other half of the chapel given to Raphael.

On hearing this Michelangelo became incensed against Bramante, and pointed out to the Pope without mincing matters many faults in his life and works, the latter of which he afterwards corrected in the building of S. Pietro. But the Pope daily became more convinced of Michelangelo's genius, and wished him to complete the work, judging that he would do the other half even better. Thus, singlehanded, he completed the work in twenty months, aided by his mixer of colours. He sometimes complained that owing to the impatience of the Pope he had not been able to finish it as be would have desired, as the Pope was always asking him when he would be done. On one occasion Michelangelo replied that he would be finished when he had satisfied his own artistic sense. "And we require you to satisfy us in getting it done quickly," replied the Pope, adding that if it was not done soon he would have the scaffolding down. Fearing the Pope's impetuosity. Michelangelo finished what he had to do without devoting enough time to it, and the scaffold being removed it was opened on All Saints day, when the Pope went there to sing Mass amid the enthusiasm of the whole city. Like the old masters who had worked below, Michelangelo wanted to retouch some things a secco, such as the backgrounds, draperies, the gold ornaments and things, to impart greater richness and a better appearance. When the Pope learned this he wished it to be done, for he heard what he had seen so highly praised, but as it would have taken too long to reconstruct the scaffold it remained as it was. The Pope often saw Michelangelo, and said, "Have the chapel enriched with colours and gold, in which it is poor." He would answer familiarly, "Holy Father, in those days they did not wear gold; they never became very rich, but were holy men who despised wealth." Altogether Michelangelo received 3000 crowns from the Pope for this work, and he must have spent twenty-five on the colours. The work was executed in great discomfort, as Michelangelo had to stand with his head thrown back, and he so injured his eyesight that for several months he could only read and look at designs in that posture. I suffered similarly when doing the vaulting of four large rooms in the palace of Duke Cosimo, and I should never have finished them had I not made a seat supporting the head, which enabled me to work lying down, but it so enfeebled my head and injured my sight that I feel the effects still, and I marvel that Michelangelo supported the discomfort. However, he became more eager every day to be doing and making progress, and so he felt no fatigue, and despised the discomfort.

The work had six corbels on each side and one at each end, containing sibyls and prophets, six braccia high, with the Creation of the World in the middle, down to the Flood and Noah's drunkenness, and tlie generations of Jesus Christ in the lunettes. He used no perspective or foreshortening, or any fixed point of view, devoting his energies rather to adapting the figures to the disposition than the disposition to the figures, contenting himself with the perfection of his nude and draped figures, which are of unsurpassed design and excellence. This work has been a veritable beacon to our art, illuminating all painting and the world which had remained in darkness for so any centuries. Indeed, painters no longer care about novelties, inventions, attitudes and draperies, methods of new expression or striking subjects painted in different ways, because this work contains every perfection that can be given. Men are stupefied by the excellence of the figures, the perfection of the foreshortening, the stupendous rotundity of the contours, the grace and slenderness and the charming proportions of the fine nudes showing every perfection; every age, expression and form being repre- sented in varied attitudes, such as sitting, turning, holding festoons of oak-leaves and laurel, the device of Pope Julius, showing that his was a golden age, for Italy had yet to experience her miseries. Some in the middle hold medals with, scenes, painted like bronze or gold, the subject being taken from the Book of Kings. To show the greatness of God and the perfection of art he represents the Dividing of Light from Darkness, showing with love and art the Almighty, self-supported, with extended arms. With fine discretion and ingenuity he then did God maknig the sun and moon, supported by numerous cherubs, with marvellous foreshortening of the arms and legs. The same scene contains the blessing of the earth and the Creation, God being foreshortened in the act of flying, the figure following you to whatever part of the chapel you turn. In another part he did God dividing the waters from the land, marvellous figures showing the highest intellect and worthy of being made by the divine hand of Michelangelo. He continued with the creation of Adam, God being borne by a group of little angels, wlio seem also to be supporting the whole weight of the world. The venerable majesty of God with the motion as He surrounds some of cherubs with one arm and stretches the other to an Adam of marvellous beauty of attitude and outline, seem a new creation of the Maker rather than one of the brush and design of such a man. He next did the creation of our mother Eve, showing two nudes, one in a heavy sleep like death, the other quickened by the blessing of God. The brush of this great artist has clearly marked the difference between sleeping and waking, and the firmness presented by the Divine Majesty, to speak humanly.

He then did Adam eating the apple, persuaded by a figure half woman and half serpent, and he and Eve expelled from Paradise, the angel executing the order of the incensed Deity with grandeur and nobility, Adam showing at once grief for his sin and the fear of death, while the woman displays shame, timidity and a desire to obtain pardon as she clasps her arms and hands over her breast, showing, in turning her head towards the angel, that she has more fear of the justice than hope of the Divine mercy. No less beautiful is the sacrifice of Cain and Abel, one bringing wood, one bending over the fire, and some killing the victim, certaiffly not executed with less thought and care than the others. He employed a like art and judgment in the story of the Flood, containing various forms of death, the terrified men trying every possible means to save their lives. Their heads show that they recognise the danger with their terror and utter despair. Some are humanely assisting each other to climb to the top of a rock; one of them is trying to remove a half-dead man in a very natural manner. It is impossible to describe the excellent treatment of Noah's drunkenness, showing incomparable and unsurpassable art. Encouraged by these he attacked the five sibyls and seven prophets, showing himself even greater. They are of five braccia and more, in varied attitudes, beautiful draperies and displaying miraculous judgment and invention, their expressions seeming divine to a discerning eye. Jeremiah, with crossed legs, holds his beard with his elbow on his knee, the other hand resting in his lap, and his head being bent in a melancholy and thoughtful manner, expressive of his grief, regrets, reflection, and the bitterness he feels concerning his people. Two boys behind him show similar power; and in the first sibyl nearer the door, in representing old age, in addition to the involved folds of her draperies, he wishes to show that her blood is frozen by time, and in reading she holds the book close to her eyes, her sight having failed. Next comes Ezekiel, an old man with fine grace and movement, in copious draperies, one hand holding a scroll of his prophecies, the other raised and his head turned as if he wished to declare things high and great. Behind him are two boys holding his books. Next comes a sibyl, who, unlike the Erethrian sibyl just mentioned, holds her book at a distance, and is about to turn the page; her legs are crossed, and she is reflecting what she shall write, while a boy behind her is lighting her lamp. This figure has an expression of extraordinary beauty, the hair and draperies are equally fine, and her arms are bare, and as perfect as the other parts. He did next the Joel earnestly reading a scroll, with the most natural expression of satisfaction at what he finds written, exactly like one who has devoted close attention to some subject. Over the door of the chapel Michelangelo placed the aged Zachariah, who is searching for something in a book, with one leg raised and the other down, though in his eager search he does not feel the discomfort. He is a fine figure of old age somewhat stout in person, his fine drapery falling in few folds. There is another sibyl turned towards the altar showing writings, not less admirable with her I" boys than the others. But for Nature herself one must see the Isaiah, a figure wrapped in thought, with his legs crossed, one hand on his book to keep the place, and the elbow of the other arm also on the volume, and his chin in his hand. Being called by one of the boys behind, he rapidly turns his head without moving the rest of his body. This figure, when well studied, is a liberal education in all the principles of painting.

Next to him is a beautiful aged sibyl who sits studying a book, with extraordinary grace, matched by the two boys beside her. It would not be possible to add to the excellence of the youthful Daniel, who is writing in a large book, copying with incredible eagerness from some writings, while a boy standing between his legs supports the weight as he writes. Equally beautiful is the Lybica, who, having written a large volume drawn from several books, remains in a feminine attitude ready to rise and shut the book, a difficult thing practically impossible for any other master. What can I say of the four scenes in the angles of the corbels of the vaulting? A David stands with his boyish strength triumphant over a giant, gripping him by the neck while soldiers about the camp marvel. Very wonderful are the attitudes in the story of Judith, in which we see the headless trunk of Holofernes, while Judith puts the head into a basket carried by her old attendant, who being tall bends down to permit Judith to do it, while she prepares to cover it, and turning towards the trunk shows her fear of the camp and of the body, a well-thoughtout painting. Finer than this and than all the rest is the story of the Brazen Serpent, over the left corner of the altar, showing the death of many, the biting of the serpents, and Moses raising the brazen serpent on a staff, with a variety in the manner of death and in those who being bitten have lost all hope. The keen poison causes the agony and death of many, who lie still with twisted legs and arms, while many fine heads are crying out in despair. Not less beautiful are those regarding the serpent, who feel their pains diminishing with returning life. Among them is a woman, supported by one whose aid is as finely shown as her need in her fear and distress. The scene of Ahasuerus in bed having the annals read to him is very fine. There are three figures eating at a table, showing the council held to liberate the Hebrews and impale Haaman, a wonderfully foreshortened figure, the stake supporting him and an arm stretched out seerifing real, not painted, as do his projecting leg and the parts of the body turned inward. It would take too long to enumerate all the beauties and various circumstances in the genealogy of the patriarchs, beginning with the sons of Noah, forming the generation of Christ, containing a great variety of draperies, expressions, extraordinary and novel fancies; nothing in fact but displays genius, all the figures being finely foreshortened, and everything being admirable and divine. But who can see without wonder and amazement the tremendous Jonah, the last figure of the chapel, for the vaulting which curves forward from the wall is made by a triumph of art to appear straight, through the posture of the figure, which by the mastery of the drawing and the light and shade, appears really to be bending backwards. O, happy age O, blessed artists who have been able to refresh your darkened eyes at the fount of such clearness, and see difficulties made plain by this marvellous artist! His labours have removed the bandage from your eyes, and he has separated the true from the false which clouded the mind. Thank Heaven, then, and try to imitate Michelangelo in all things.

When the work was uncovered everyone rushed to see it from every part and remained dumbfounded. The Pope, being thus encouraged to greater designs, richly rewarded Michelangelo, who sometimes said in speaking of the great favours showered upon him by the Pope that he fully recognised his powers, and if he sometimes used hard words, he healed them by signal gifts and favours. Thus, when Michelangelo once asked leave to go and spend the feast of St. John in Florence, and requested money for this, the Pope said, "When will this chapel be ready?" "When I can get it done, Holy Father." The Pope struck him with his mace, repeating, "When I can, when I can, I will make you finish it !" Michelangelo, however, returned to his house to prepare for his journey to Florence, when the Pope sent Cursio, his chamberlain, with five hundred crowns to appease him and excuse the Pope, who feared what Michelangelo might do. As Michelangelo knew the Pope, and was really devoted to him, he laughed, especially as such things always turned to this advantage, and the Pope did everything to retain his good-will.

On the completion of the chapel the Pope directed Cardinal Santiquattro and the Cardinal of Agen, his nephew, to have his tomb finished on a smaller scale than at first proposed. Michelangelo readily began it anew, hoping to complete it without the hindrance which afterwards caused him so much pain and trouble. It proved the bane of his life, and for some time made him appear ungrateful to the Pope who had so highly favoured him. On returning to the tomb he worked ceaselessly upon designs for the walls of the chapel; but envious Fortune would not allow him to complete the monument he had begun so superbly, for the death of Julius occurred then. It was abandoned at the election of Leo X., a Pope of no less worth and splendour, who, being the first Florentine Pope, desired to adorn his native city with some marvel executed by a great artist and worthy of his position. Accordingly he directed Michelangelo to prepare designs for the facade of S. Lorenzo, the church of the Medici at Florence, as he was to direct the work, and so the tomb of Julius was abandoned. When Michelangelo made every possible objection, saying that he was under obligation to Santiquattro and Agen, Leo replied that he had thought of this, and had induced them to release him, promising that Michelangelo should do the figure for the tomb at Florence he had already begun to do. But this caused great dissatisfaction to the cardinals and Michelangelo, who departed weeping.

Endless disputes now arose, because the facade should have been divided among several persons. Moreover, many artists flocked to Rome, and designs were prepared by Baccio d'Agnolo, Antonio da San Gallo, Andrea and Jacopo Sansovino, and the gracious Raphael of Urbino, who afterwards went to Florence with the Pope for the purpose: Michelangelo therefore determined to make a model, not acknowledging any superior or guide in architecture. But his resolve to do without help led to tlie inactivity of himself and the other masters, who in despair returned to their accustomed avocations. Michelangelo went to Carrara with a commission to receive 1000 crowns from Jacopo Salviati. But Jacopo being closeted in a room with some citizens on certain affairs, Michelangelo would not wait, but left at once for Carrara without a word. On hearing of Michelangelo's arrival, Jacopo, who could not find him in Florence, sent the 2000 crowns to Carrara. The messenger desired him to give a receipt, but Michelangelo said that he was working for the Pope and not for himself, and it was not In I5I7. take it with you for your requirements." Cristofano replied, I do not want money, take it for yourself. I shall be content to remain near you, and to live and die with you." "I am not in the habit of profiting by the labours of others," replied Vasari if you do not want it I will send it to your father Guido." Do not do that," said Cristofano, cc for he would be sure to put it to a bad use as he always does." At length he took it and went to Borgo, sick in body and troubled in mind. In a few days his grief at his brother's death, whom he had loved dearly, and a cruel disorder of the reins, caused his death. He received the sacraments, and distributed the money he had brought with him to the members of his house and the poor. It is said that his only cause of grief before his death was that he had left Vasari with too much on his hands in the duke's palace. Not long after the duke heard with sorrow of Cristofano's death, and ordered a marble bust, with the following epitaph, to be made and sent to the Borgo, where it as placed in S. Francesco:


At this time, in the year 1525, Giorgio Vasari was brought as a boy to Florence by the Cardinal of Cortona and put with Michelangelo to learn the art. But he being called by Pope Clement VII to Rome, determined that Vasari should go to Andrea del Sarto, and went himself to Andrea's workshop to recommend him to his care.

When Clement VII was made pope he sent for Michelangelo, and he agreed with the Pope to finish the sacristy and library of S. Lorenzo, and to make four tombs for the bodies of the fathers of the two Popes, Lorenzo and Giuliano, his brother, and for Giuliano, brother of Leo, and Duke Lorenzo, his nephew.

At this time befell the sack of Rome and the banishment of the Medici from Florence. Those who governed the city desired to refortify it, and made Michelangelo commissarygeneral of all the fortifications. He surrounded the hill of S. Miniato with bastions and fortified the city in many places, and he was sent to Ferrara to view the fortifications of Duke Alfonso, who received him with much courtesy, and prayed him at his leisure to make some work of art for him.

Returning to Florence, and engaged again upon the fortifications, he nevertheless found time both to make a painting of Leda in tempera for the duke, and to work upon the statues for the monument in S. Lorenzo. Of this monument, partly finished, there are seven statues. The first is Our Lady, and though it is not finished, the excellence of the work may be seen. Then there are the four statues of Night and Day, Dawn and Twilight, most beautiful, and sufficient of themselves, if art were lost, to restore it to light. The other statues are the two armed captains, the one the pensive Duke Lorenzo, and the other the proud Duke Giuliano.

Meanwhile the siege of Florence began, and the enemy closing round the city, and the hope of aid failing, Michelangelo determined to leave Florence and go to Venice. So he departed secretly without any one knowing of it, taking with him Antonio Mini his pupil, and his faithful friend Piloto the goldsmith, wearing each one their money in their quilted doublets. And they came to Ferrara and rested there. And it happened because of the war that Duke Alfonso had given orders that the names of those who were at the inns and of all strangers should be brought him every day. So it came about that Michelangelo's coming was made known to the duke. And he sent some of the chief men of his court to bring him to the palace, with his horses and all he had, and give him good lodging. So Michelangelo, finding himself in the power of another, was forced to obey and went to the duke. And the duke received him with great honour, and making him rich gifts, desired him to tarry in Ferrara. But he would not remain, though the duke, praying him not to depart while the war lasted, offered him all in his power. Then Michelangelo, not willing to be outdone in courtesy, thanked him much, and turning to his two companions, said that he had brought to Ferrara twelve thousand crowns, and that they were quite at his service.

And the duke took him through his palace and showed him all his treasures, especially his portrait by the hand of Titian, which Michelangelo commended much; but he would not stop at the palace, and returned to the inn, and the host where he lodged received from the duke an infinite number of things with which to do him honour, and command to take nothing from him for his lodging. He proceeded thence to Venice, but many desiring to make his acquaintance, for which he had no wish, he departed from the Giudecca where he had lodged. It is said that he made a design for the bridge of the Rialto at the request of the Doge Gritti, a design most rare for invention and ornament.

But Michelangelo was recalled by his native city, and earnestly implored not to abandon her, and they sent him a safe conduct. At last, overcome by his love for her, he returned, not without peril of his life. He restored the tower of S. Miniato, which did much injury to the enemy, so they battered it with great cannon, and would have overthrown it, but Michelangelo defended it, hanging bales of wool and mattresses to shield it.

When the peace was made, Baccio Valore was commissioned by the Pope to seize some of the ringleaders, and they sought for Michelangelo, but he had fled secretly to the house of a friend, where he lay hid many days. When his anger was passed, Pope Clement remembered his great worth, and bade them seek him, ordering them to say nothing to him, but that he should have his usual provision and should go on with his work at S. Lorenzo.

Then Duke Alfonso of Ferrara, having heard that he had completed a rare piece of work for him, sent one of his gentlemen to him that he might not lose such a jewel, and he came to Florence and presented his letters of credence. Then Michelangelo showed him the Leda, and Castor and Pollux coming out of the egg but the messenger of the duke thought he ought to have produced some great work, not understanding the skill and excellence of the thing, and he said to Michelangelo, "Oh, this is a little thing."

Then Michelangelo asked him what was his trade, for he knew that none are such good judges of a thing as those who have some skill in it themselves. He replied contemptuously, "I am a merchant," thinking that Michelangelo did not know he was a gentleman; and so, being rather offended by the question, he expressed some contempt for the industry of the Florentines. Michelangelo, who perfectly understood his meaning, answered, " You have shown yourself a bad merchant this time, and to your master's damage; take yourself off." Afterwards, Anton Mini, his pupil, having twc sisters about to be married, asked him for the picture, and he gave it to him willingly, together with the greater part of his drawings and cartoons, and also two chests of models. And when Mini went into France he took them with him there, and the Leda he sold to King Francis, but the cartoons and drawings were lost, for he died in a short time and they were stolen.

Afterwards the Pope desired Michelangelo to come to him in Rome and paint the walls of the Sistine Chapel. Clement wished that he should paint the Last Judgment and Lucifer driven out of heaven for his pride, for which many years before he had made sketches and designs.

However, in 1533 followed the death of Pope Clement, and Michelangelo again thought himself free to finish the tomb of Julius II But when Paul III was made pope, it was not long before he sent for him, and desired him to come into his service. Then Michelangelo refused, saying he was bound by contract to the Duke of Urbino to finish the tomb of Julius II. But the Pope in anger cried out, "I have desired this for thirty years, and now that I am Pope I will not give it up. I will destroy the contract, and am determined that you shall serve me." Michelangelo thought of departing from Rome, but fearing the greatness of the Pope, and seeing him so old, thought to satisfy him with words. And the Pope came one clay to his house with ten cardinals, and desired to see all the statues for the tomb of Julius, and they appeared to him miraculous, particularly the Moses; and the Cardinal of Mantua said this figure alone was enough to do honour to Pope Julius. And when he saw the cartoons and drawings for the chapel, the Pope urged him again to come into his service, promising to order matters so that the Duke of Urbino should be contented with three statues the others being made from his designs by good masters. The new contract, therefore, being confirmed by the duke, the work was completed and set up, a most excellent work, but very far from the first design; and Michelangelo since he could do no other, resolved to serve Pope Paul, who desired him to carry out the commands of Clement without altering anything. When Michelangelo had completed about three quarters of the work, Pope Paul went to see it, and Messer Biagio da Cesena, the master of the ceremonies, was with him, and when he was asked what he thought of it, he answered that he thought it not right to have so many naked figures in the Pope's chapel. This displeased Michelangelo, and to revenge himself, as soon as he was departed, he painted him in the character of Minos with a great serpent twisted round his legs. Nor did Messer Biagio's entreaties either to the Pope or to Michelangelo himself, avail to persuade him to take it away. At this time it happened that the master fell from the scaffold, from no little height, and hurt one of his legs, but would not be doctored for it. Thereupon Master Baccio Rontini, the Florentine, his friend and a clever doctor, feeling pity for him, went one day and knocked at his door, and receiving no answer, made his way to the room of Michelangelo, who had been given over, and would not leave him until he was cured.

When he was healed, returning to his painting, he worked at it continually, until in a few months it was brought to an end, and the words of Dante verified, "The dead seem dead and the living living." And when this Last Judgment was uncovered, he was seen to have vanquished not only all the painters who had worked there before, but even to have surpassed his own work on the ceiling. He laboured at this work eight years, and uncovered it in the year 1541, on Christmas Day, I think, to the marvel of all Rome, or rather all the world; and Iwho went that year to Rome was astounded.

Afterwards he painted for Pope Paul the Conversion of S. Paul and the Crucifixion of S. Peter. These were the last pictures he painted, at the age of seventyfive, and with great fatigue, as he told me; for painting, and especially working in fresco, is not an art for old men. But his spirit could not remain without doing something, and since he could not paint, he set to work upon a piece of marble, to bring out of it four figures larger than life, for his amusement and pastime, and as he said, because working with the hammer kept him healthy in body. It represented the dead Christ, and was left unfinished, although he had intended it to be placed over his grave.

It happened in 1546 that Antonio de Sangallo died, and one being wanted in his place to superintend the building of S. Peter's, his Holiness sent for Michelangelo and desired to put him in the office, but he refused, saying that architecture was not his proper art. Finally, entreaties availing nothing, the Pope commanded him to accept it, and so, to his great displeasure and against his will, he was obliged to enter upon this office. Then one day going to S. Peter's to see the model of wood which Sangallo had made, he found the whole Sangallo party there. They coming up to him said they were glad that the charge of the work was to be his, adding that the model was a field which would never fail to provide pasture. "You say the truth," answered Michelangelo, meaning to infer, as he told a friend, " for sheep and oxen, who do not understand art." And he used to say publicly that Sangallo held more to the German manner than to the good antique, and besides that fifty years' labour might be spared and 300,000 crowns' expense, and yet the building might be carried out with more grandeur and majesty. And he showed what he meant in a model which made every one acknowledge his words to be true. This model cost him twentyfive crowns, and was made in fifteen days. Sangallo's model cost more than four thousand, it is said, and took many years to make, for he seemed to think that this building was a way of making money, to be carried on with no intention of its being finished. This seemed to Michelangelo dishonest, and when the Pope was urging him to become the architect, he said one day openly to all those connected with the building, that they had better do everything to prevent him having the care of it, for he would have none of them in the building; but these words, as may be supposed, did him much harm, and made him many enemies, who were always seeking to hinder him. But at last the Pope issued his commands, and created him the head of the building with all authority. Then Michelangelo, seeing the Pope's trust in him, desired that it should be put into the agreement that he served for the love of God and without any reward. But when a new Pope was made, the set that was opposed to him in Rome began again to trouble him; therefore the Duke Cosimo desired that he should leave Rome and return to Florence, but he, being sick and infirm, could not travel. At that time Paul IV thought to have the Last Judgment amended which when Michelangelo heard he bade them tell the Pope that this was a little matter, and might easily be amended; let him amend the world, and then the pictures would soon amend themselves.

The same year befell the death of Urbino his servant, or rather, to speak more truly, his companion. He had come to him in Florence after the siege in 1530, and during twentysix years served him with such faithfulness that Michelangelo made him rich, and loved him so much that when he was ill he nursed him and lay all night in his clothes to watch him. After he was dead, Vasari wrote to him to comfort him, and he replied in these words:-

"MY DEAR MESSER GIORGIO,-It is hard for me to write; nevertheless, in reply to your letter, I will say something. You know that Urbino is dead, to my great loss and infinite grief, but in the great mercy of God. The mercy is that dying he has taught me how to die, not in sorrow, but with desire of death. I have had him twenty-six years, and have found him most rare and faithful; and now that I had made him rich, and hoped that he would have been the support of my old age, he has left me, and nothing remains but the hope of meeting him again in Paradise. And of this God gave me promise in the happy death he died, for he regretted, far more than death, leaving me in this treacherous world with so many infirmities, although the chief part of me is gone with him, and nothing remains but infinite misery."

Until this time Michelangelo worked almost every day at that stone of which we have spoken before, with the four figures, but now he broke it, either because the stone was hard or because his judgment was now so ripe that nothing he did contented him. His finished statues were chiefly made in his youth; most of the others were left unfinished, for if he discovered a mistake, however small, he gave up the work and applied himself to another piece of marble. He often said this was the reason why he had finished so few statues and pictures. This Pieta, broken as it was, he gave to Francesco Bandini. Tiberio Calcagni, the Florentine sculptor, had become a great friend of Michelangelo's through Bandini, and being one day in Michelangelo's house, and seeing this Pieta broken, he asked him why he had broken it, and spoilt so much marvellous work. He answered it was because of his servant Urbino's importunity, who was always urging him to finish it, and besides that, among other things, he had broken a piece off the Virgin's arm, and before that he had taken a dislike to it, having many misfortunes because of a crack there was in it; so at last, losing patience, he had broken it, and would have destroyed it altogether if his servant Antonio had not begged him to give it him as it was. Then Tiberio spoke to Bandini about it, for Bandini desired to have a work of Michelangelo's, and he prayed Michelangelo to allow Tiberio to finish it for him, promising that Antonio should have two hundred crowns of gold, and he being content, made them a present of it. So Tiberio took it away and joined it together, but it was left unfinished at his death. However, it was necessary for Michelangelo to get another piece of marble, that he might do a little carving every day.

The architect Pirro Ligorio had entered the service of Paul IV, and was the cause of renewed vexation to Michelangelo, for he went about everywhere saying that he was becoming childish. Indignant at this treatment, Michelangelo would willingly have returned to Florence, and Giorgio urged him to do so. But he felt he was getting old, having already reached the age of eighty-one, and he wrote to Vasari saying he knew he was at the end of his life, as it were in the twentyfourth hour, and that no thought arose in his mind on which death was not carved. He sent also a sonnet, by which it may be seen that his mind was turning more and more towards God, and away from the cares of his art. Duke Cosimo also commanded Vasari to encourage him to return to his native place; but though his will was ready, his infirmity of body kept him in Rome.

Many of his friends, seeing that the work at S. Peter's proceeded but slowly, urged him at least to leave a model behind him. He was for many months undecided about it, but at last he began, and little by little made a small clay model, from which, with the help of his plans and designs, Giovanni Franzese made a larger one of wood.

When Pius V became pope, he showed Michelangelo much favour, and employed him in many works, particularly in making the design of a monument for the Marquis Marignano, his brother. The work was entrusted by his Holiness to Lione Lioni, a great friend of Michelangelo's, and about the same time Lione portrayed Michelangelo on a medallion, putting at his wish on the reverse a blind man led by a dog, with the words, "Docebo iniquos vias tuas, et impii ad te convertentur," and because the thing pleased him much, Michelangelo gave him a model in wax of Hercules and Antaus. There are only two painted portraits of Michelangelo, the one by Bugiardini and the other by Jacopo del Conte, besides one in bronze by Daniello Ricciarelli, and this one of Lione's, of which there have been so many copies made that I have seen a great number in Italy and elsewhere.

About a year before his death, Vasari, seeing that Michelangelo was much shaken, prevailed upon the Pope to give orders concerning the care of him, and concerning his drawings and other things, in case anything should befall him. His nephew Lionardo desired to come to Rome that Lent, as if foreboding that Michelangelo was near his end, and when he fell sick of a slow fever, he wrote for him to come. But the sickness increasing, in the presence of his physician and other friends, in perfect consciousness, he made his will in three words, leaving his soul in the hands of God, his body to the earth, and his goods to his nearest relations, charging his friends when passing out of this life to remember the sufferings of Jesus Christ; and so, on the seventeenth day of February, at twentythree o'clock of the year 1563, according to the Florentine style, which after the Roman would be 1564, he expired to go to a better life.

Michelangelo's imagination was so perfect that, not being able to express with his hands his great and terrible conceptions, he often abandoned his works and destroyed many of them. I know that a little before his death he burnt a great number of drawings and sketches. It should appear strange to none that Michelangelo delighted in solitude, being as it were in love with art. Nevertheless he held dear the friendship of many great and learned persons, among whom were many cardinals and bishops. The great Cardinal Ippolito de' Medici loved him much, and once, having heard that Michelangelo was greatly pleased with a Turkish horse of his, he sent it to him as a gift with ten mules' burden of hay and a servant to keep it. He loved the society of artists, and held intercourse with them; and those who say he would not teach are wrong, for he was ready to give counsel to any one who asked. But he was unfortunate with those pupils who lived in his house; for Piero Urbano was a man of talent, but would never do anything to tire himself; Antonio Mini would have done anything, but he had not a brain capable of much, and when the wax is hard you cannot get a good impression; Ascanio dalla Ripa Transone worked very hard, but nothing came of it: he spent years over a picture of which Michelangelo had given him the drawing, but at last all the great expectations that had been formed of him went off into smoke, and I remember Michelangelo had so much compassion for his difficulty in painting that he helped him with his own hand.

He has often said to me that he would have written something for the help of artists, but feared not being able to express in writing what he wished. But he delighted much in reading the poets, particularly Dante and Petrarca, and in making madrigals and sonnets. And he sent much, both in rhyme and prose, to the illustrious Marchioness of Pescara, of whose virtues he was greatly enamoured, and she of his. Many times she went from Viterbo to Rome to visit him, and Michelangelo made many things for her. He delighted much in the sacred scriptures, like the good Christian he was, and held in veneration the works of Fr. Girolamo Savonarola, having heard him preach. In his manner of life he was most abstemious, being content when young with a little bread and wine while at his work, and until he had finished the Last Judgment he always waited for refreshment till the evening, when he had done his work. Though rich he lived poorly, never taking presents from any one. He took little sleep, but often at night he would rise to work, having made himself a paper cap, in the middle of which he could fix his candle, so that he could have the use of his hands. Vasari, who often saw this cap, noticed that he did not use wax candles, but candles made of goats' tallow, and so he sent him four bundles, which would be 40 lbs. His servant took them to him in the evening, and when Michelangelo refused to take them, he answered, "Sir, carrying them here has almost broken my arms, and I will not carry them back again; but there is some thick mud before your door in which they will stand straight enough, and I will set light to them all." Upon which Michelangelo answered, "Put them down here, then, for I will not have you playing tricks before my door." He told me that often in his youth he had slept in his clothes, too worn out with his labours to undress himself. Some have accused him of being avaricious, but they are mistaken, for he freely gave away his drawings and models and pictures, for which he might have obtained thousands of crowns.

And then, as for the money earned by the sweat of his brow, bv his own study and labour-can any one be cailed avaricious who remembered so many poor as he did, and secretly provided for the marriage of many girls, and enriched his servant Urbino? He had served him long, and once Michelangelo asked him, "If I die, what will you do?" He answered, "I shall serve another." "Oh, poor fellow!" answered Michelangelo, "I will mend your poverty." And he gave him at once two thousand crowns, a gift for a Caesar or a great pontiff.

He had a most tenacious memory; he could remember and make use of the works of others when he had only once seen them; while he never repeated anything of his own, because he remembered all he had done. In his youth, being one evening with some painters, his friends, it was proposed that they should try who could make a figure without any drawing in it, like those things that ignorant fellows draw on the walls, and the one that could make the best should have a supper given him. He remembered having seen one of these rude drawings on a wall, and drew it as if he had it in front of him, and so surpassed all the other painters-a difficult thing for a man to do who had such knowledge of drawing. He felt very strongly against those who had done him an injury, but he never had recourse to vengeance.

His conversation was full of wisdom and gravity, mixed with clever or humorous sayings. Many of these have been noted down, and I will give some. A friend of his was once talking to him about death, and saying that he must dread it very much because he was so continually labouring in his art; but he answered, "All that was nothing, and if life pleased us, death was a work from the hand of the same Master, and ought not to displease us." A citizen found him once at Orsanmichele in Florence, looking at the statue of S. Mark by Donatello, and asked him what he thought of it. He answered that he had never seen a more honest face, and that if S. Mark was like that, we might believe all that he had written. A painter had painted a picture in which the best thing was an ox, and some one asked why it was that the painter had made the ox more lifelike than anything else? Michelangelo answered, "Every painter can portray himself well."

He took pleasure in certain men like Il Menighella, a common painter, who would come to him and get him to make a drawing for a S. Rocco or a S. Antonio, which he was to paint for some peasant. And Michelangelo, who could hardly be persuaded to work for kings, would at once lay aside his work, and make simple designs suited to Il Menighella's wishes. He was also attached to Topolino, a stonecutter, who fancied himself a sculptor of worth. He resided for many years in the mountains of Carrara for the purpose of sending marble to Michelangelo, and he never sent a boatload without three or four roughly hewn figures of his own carving, which used to make Michelangelo die with laughing. After he came back from Carrara he set himself to finish a Mercury which he had begun in marble, and one day, when it was nearly completed, he asked Michelangelo to look at it and give him his opinion on it.

"You are a fool," said Michelangelo, "to try to make figures. Don't you see that this Mercury is the third part of a braccio too short from the knee to the foot-that you have made him a lame dwarf?" "Oh, that is nothing! If that is all, I will soon remedy that." Michelangelo laughed again at his simplicity, but when he was gone Topolino took a piece of marble, and having cut Mercury under the knees, inserted the marble, joining it neatly, and giving Mercury a pair of boots, the top of which hid the join. When he showed his work to Michelangelo he laughed again, but marvelled that ignorant fellows like him, when driven by necessity, should be capable of doing daring things which sculptors of real worth would not think of.

Michelangelo was a very healthy man, thin and muscular, although as a boy he was sickly. When grown up he had also two serious illnesses; nevertheless he could support any amount of fatigue. He was of middle height, wide across the shoulders, but the rest of his body in good proportion.

Certainly he was sent into the world to be an example to men of art, that they should learn from his life and from his works; and I, who have to thank God for felicity rare among men of our profession, count among my greatest blessings that I was born in the time when Michelangelo was alive, and was counted worthy to have him for my master, and to be treated by him as a familiar friend, as every one knows.