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Title page

7 GRAFTON ST. LONDON, W. 1912-14


Michelagnolo Buonarroti 1
Francesco Primaticcio 143
Tiziano da Cadore 157
Jacopo Sansovino 185
Leone Lioni of Arezzo 227
Don Giulio Clovio 243
Divers Italian Craftsmen still Living 255
Divers Flemings 263
Index of Names 273



Michelagnolo Buonarroti The Holy Family Florence: Uffizi, 1,239 4
Tiziano da Cadore The Madonna of the Cherries Vienna: Imperial Gallery, 180 158
Tiziano Da Cadore Sacred and Profane Love Rome: Borghese Gallery, 147 164
Tiziano da Cadore The Duke of Norfolk Florence: Pitti, 92 168
Tiziano da Cadore The Education of Cupid Rome: Borghese Gallery, 170 176
Paris Bordone The Venetian Lovers Milan: Brera, 105 178


Michelagnolo Buonarroti The Battle of the Centaurs Florence: Museo Buonarroti 8
Michelagnolo Buonarroti The Angel with the Candlestick Bologna: S. Domenico 10
Michelagnolo Buonarroti Bacchus Florence: Museo Nazionale 12
Michelagnolo Buonarroti Pietà Rome: S. Peter's 14
Michelagnolo Buonarroti Wax Models for the David Florence: Museo Buonarroti 16
Michelagnolo Buonarroti Madonna, Child, and S. John Florence: Museo Nazionale 18
Michelagnolo Buonarroti Young Captive Paris: Louvre 20
Michelagnolo Buonarroti Victory Florence: Museo Nazionale 22
Michelagnolo Buonarroti Moses Rome: S. Pietro in Vincoli 24
Michelagnolo Buonarroti Tomb of Pope Julius II Rome: S. Pietro in Vincoli 24
Michelagnolo Buonarroti God Dividing the Waters from the Earth Rome: Sistine Chapel 28
Michelagnolo Buonarroti The Creation of Eve Rome: Sistine Chapel 28
Michelagnolo Buonarroti The Creation of Adam Rome: Sistine Chapel 32
Michelagnolo Buonarroti The Fall and the Expulsion Rome: Sistine Chapel 32
Michelagnolo Buonarroti The Lybian Sibyl Rome: Sistine Chapel 36
Michelagnolo Buonarroti Decorative Figure Rome: Sistine Chapel 38
Michelagnolo Buonarroti The New Sacristy Florence: S. Lorenzo 40
Michelagnolo Buonarroti Madonna and Child Florence: S. Lorenzo 42
Michelagnolo Buonarroti Giuliano de' Medici Florence: S. Lorenzo 44
Michelagnolo Buonarroti Tomb of Giuliano de' Medici Florence: S. Lorenzo 44
Michelagnolo Buonarroti Apollo Florence: Museo Nazionale 50
Michelagnolo Buonarroti The Last Judgment Rome: Sistine Chapel 56
Michelagnolo Buonarroti Charon's Boat Rome: Sistine Chapel 58
Michelagnolo Buonarroti S. Sebastian Rome: Sistine Chapel 60
[Pg viii] Michelagnolo Buonarroti Pietà Florence: Duomo 62
Michelagnolo Buonarroti Stairs of the Palace of the Senators Rome: The Capitol 64
Michelagnolo Buonarroti Court of the Palazzo Farnese Rome 66
Michelagnolo Buonarroti Biblioteca Laurenziana Florence 78
Michelagnolo Buonarroti Pietà Rome: Palazzo Rondanini 84
Michelagnolo Buonarroti S. Peter's Rome 86
Michelagnolo Buonarroti S. Peter's Rome 88
Michelagnolo Buonarroti Porta Pia Rome 96
Michelagnolo Buonarroti S. Maria degli Angeli Rome 98
Michelagnolo Buonarroti Brutus Florence: Museo Nazionale 100
Michelagnolo Buonarroti Unfinished Figure Florence: Museo Nazionale 106
Francesco Primaticcio Galerie Henry IV Fontainebleau 146
Francesco Primaticcio Escalier du Roi Fontainebleau 148
Pellegrino Tibaldi The Adoration of the Shepherds Vienna: Collection of Prince Liechtenstein 152
Tiziano da Cadore Ariosto London: National Gallery, 1,944 160
Tiziano da Cadore Bacchanal Madrid: The Prado, 450 162
Tiziano da Cadore Madonna With Saints and Donor Ancona: S. Domenico 162
Tiziano da Cadore Charles V with Dog Madrid: The Prado, 453 166
Tiziano da Cadore Pope Paul III Naples: Museo Nazionale 168
Tiziano da Cadore Danaë Naples: Museo Nazionale 170
Tiziano da Cadore Perseus and Andromeda London: Wallace Collection, 11 172
Tiziano da Cadore Philip II Naples: Museo Nazionale 172
Tiziano da Cadore Mary Magdalene Naples: Museo Nazionale 174
Tiziano da Cadore The Entombment Madrid: The Prado, 464 176
Paris Bordone The Fisherman and the Doge Gradenigo Venice: Accademia, 320 180
Paris Bordone Portrait of a Woman London: National Gallery, 674 180
Zuccati Vision of the Apocalypse Venice: S. Marco 182
Jacopo Sansovino S. James Florence: Duomo 190
Jacopo Sansovino Bacchus Florence: Museo Nazionale 192
Jacopo Sansovino Mars and Neptune Venice: Ducal Palace 196
Jacopo Sansovino Library of S. Marco Venice 198
Jacopo Sansovino Loggetta Venice 200
Jacopo Sansovino Miracle of S. Anthony Padua: S. Antonio 202
Andrea Palladio Palazzo della Comunità Vicenza 210
Leone Leoni Tomb of Gian Jacopo Medici Milan: Duomo 230
Cristofano Solari (Il Gobbo) Eve Milan: Duomo 234
Guglielmo della Porta Tomb of Pope Paul III Rome: S. Peter's 236
Galeazzo Alessi Palazzo Grimaldi Genoa 240
Giulio Clovio Pietà Florence: Pitti, 241 246
Girolamo Sermoneta Martyrdom of S. Catherine Rome: S. Maria Maggiore 258
Johannes Calcar Portrait of a Man Paris: Louvre, 1,185 266



While the most noble and industrious spirits were striving, by the light of the famous Giotto and of his followers, to give to the world a proof of the ability that the benign influence of the stars and the proportionate admixture of humours had given to their intellects, and while, desirous to imitate with the excellence of their art the grandeur of Nature in order to approach as near as possible to that supreme knowledge that many call understanding, they were universally toiling, although in vain, the most benign Ruler of Heaven in His clemency turned His eyes to the earth, and, having perceived the infinite vanity of all those labours, the ardent studies without any fruit, and the presumptuous self-sufficiency of men, which is even further removed from truth than is darkness from light, and desiring to deliver us from such great errors, became minded to send down to earth a spirit with universal ability in every art and every profession, who might be able, working by himself alone, to show what manner of thing is the perfection of the art of design in executing the lines, contours, shadows, and high lights, so as to give relief to works of painting, and what it is to work with correct judgment in sculpture, and how in architecture it is possible to render habitations secure and commodious, healthy and cheerful, well-proportioned, and rich with varied ornaments. He was pleased, in addition, to endow him with the true moral philosophy and with the ornament of sweet poesy, to the end that the world might choose him and admire him as its highest exemplar in the life, works, saintliness of character, and every action of human creatures, and that he might be acclaimed by us as a being rather divine than human. And since He saw that in the practice of these rare exercises [Pg 4] and arts—namely, in painting, in sculpture, and in architecture—the Tuscan intellects have always been exalted and raised high above all others, from their being diligent in the labours and studies of every faculty beyond no matter what other people of Italy, He chose to give him Florence, as worthy beyond all other cities, for his country, in order to bring all the talents to their highest perfection in her, as was her due, in the person of one of her citizens.

Michelagnolo Buonarroti: The Holy Family.

(Florence: Uffizi, 1239. Panel)
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There was born a son, then, in the Casentino, in the year 1474, under a fateful and happy star, from an excellent and noble mother, to Lodovico di Leonardo Buonarroti Simoni, a descendant, so it is said, of the most noble and most ancient family of the Counts of Canossa. To that Lodovico, I say, who was in that year Podestà of the township of Chiusi and Caprese, near the Sasso della Vernia, where S. Francis received the Stigmata, in the Diocese of Arezzo, a son was born on the 6th of March, a Sunday, about the eighth hour of the night, to which son he gave the name Michelagnolo, because, inspired by some influence from above, and giving it no more thought, he wished to suggest that he was something celestial and divine beyond the use of mortals, as was afterwards seen from the figures of his horoscope, he having had Mercury and Venus in the second house of Jupiter, with happy augury, which showed that from the art of his brain and of his hand there would be seen to issue forth works marvellous and stupendous. Having finished his office as Podestà, Lodovico returned to Florence and settled in the village of Settignano, at a distance of three miles from the city, where he had a farm that had belonged to his forefathers; which place abounds with stone and is all full of quarries of grey-stone, which is constantly being worked by stone-cutters and sculptors, who for the most part are born in the place. Michelagnolo was put out to nurse by Lodovico in that village with the wife of a stone-cutter: wherefore the same Michelagnolo, discoursing once with Vasari, said to him jestingly, "Giorgio, if I have anything of the good in my brain, it has come from my being born in the pure air of your country of Arezzo, even as I also sucked in with my nurse's milk the chisels and hammer with which I make my figures." In time Lodovico's family increased, and, being in poor circumstances, [Pg 5] with slender revenues, he set about apprenticing his sons to the Guilds of Silk and Wool. Michelagnolo, who by that time was well grown, was placed to be schooled in grammar with Maestro Francesco da Urbino; but, since his genius drew him to delight in design, all the time that he could snatch he would spend in drawing in secret, being scolded for this by his father and his other elders, and at times beaten, they perchance considering that to give attention to that art, which was not known by them, was a mean thing and not worthy of their ancient house.

At this time Michelagnolo had formed a friendship with Francesco Granacci, who, likewise a lad, had placed himself with Domenico Ghirlandajo in order to learn the art of painting; wherefore Granacci, loving Michelagnolo, and perceiving that he was much inclined to design, supplied him daily with drawings by Ghirlandajo, who at that time was reputed to be one of the best masters that there were not only in Florence, but throughout all Italy. Whereupon, the desire to work at art growing greater every day in Michelagnolo, Lodovico, perceiving that he could not divert the boy from giving his attention to design, and that there was no help for it, and wishing to derive some advantage from it and to enable him to learn that art, resolved on the advice of friends to apprentice him with Domenico Ghirlandajo. Michelagnolo, when he was placed with Domenico Ghirlandajo, was fourteen years of age. Now he who wrote his life after the year 1550, when I wrote these Lives the first time, has said that some persons, through not having associated with him, have related things that never happened, and have left out many that are worthy to be recorded, and has touched on this circumstance in particular, taxing Domenico with jealousy and saying that he never offered any assistance to Michelagnolo; which is clearly false, as may be seen from an entry by the hand of Lodovico, the father of Michelagnolo, written in one of Domenico's books, which book is now in the possession of his heirs. That entry runs thus: "1488, I record, this first day of April, that I, Lodovico di Leonardo di Buonarrota, placed Michelagnolo my son with Domenico and David di Tommaso di Currado for the three years next to come, on these terms and conditions, that the said Michelagnolo shall remain with the above-named persons for the said period [Pg 6] of time, in order to learn to paint and to exercise that vocation; that the said persons shall have command over him; and that the same Domenico and David shall be bound to give him in those three years twenty-four florins of full weight, the first year six florins, the second year eight florins, and the third ten florins; in all, the sum of ninety-six lire." And next, below this, is another record, or rather, entry, also written in the hand of Lodovico: "The aforesaid Michelagnolo has received of that sum, this sixteenth day of April, two gold florins in gold. I, Lodovico di Leonardo, his father, have received twelve lire and twelve soldi as cash due to him." These entries I have copied from the book itself, in order to prove that all that was written at that time, as well as all that is about to be written, is the truth; nor do I know that anyone has been more associated with him than I have been, or has been a more faithful friend and servant to him, as can be proved even to one who knows not the facts, neither do I believe that there is anyone who can show a greater number of letters written by his own hand, or any written with greater affection than he has expressed to me. I have made this digression for the sake of truth, and it must suffice for all the rest of his Life. Let us now return to our story.

When the ability as well as the person of Michelagnolo had grown in such a manner, that Domenico, seeing him execute some works beyond the scope of a boy, was astonished, since it seemed to him that he not only surpassed the other disciples, of whom he had a great number, but very often equalled the things done by himself as master, it happened that one of the young men who were learning under Domenico copied with the pen some draped figures of women from works by Ghirlandajo; whereupon Michelagnolo took that drawing and with a thicker pen outlined one of those women with new lineaments, in the manner that it should have been in order to be perfect. And it is a marvellous thing to see the difference between the two manners, and the judgment and excellence of a mere lad who was so spirited and bold, that he had the courage to correct the work of his master. That sheet is now in my possession, treasured as a relic; and I received it from Granacci to put in my book of drawings together with others by the same hand, which [Pg 7] I received from Michelagnolo. In the year 1550, when Giorgio was in Rome, he showed it to Michelagnolo, who recognized it and was pleased to see it again, saying modestly that he knew more of the art when he was a boy than he did at that time, when he was an old man.

Now it happened that when Domenico was at work on the great chapel of S. Maria Novella, one day that he was out Michelagnolo set himself to draw the staging from the reality, with some desks and all the appliances of art, and some of the young men who were working there. Whereupon, when Domenico had returned and seen Michelagnolo's drawing, he said, "This boy knows more about it than I do;" and he was struck with amazement at the novel manner and the novel method of imitation that a mere boy of such tender age displayed by reason of the judgment bestowed upon him by Heaven, for these, in truth, were as marvellous as could have been looked for in the workmanship of a craftsman who had laboured for many years. And this was because all the power and knowledge of the gracious gifts of his nature were exercised by study and by the practice of art, wherefore these gifts produced every day fruits more divine in Michelagnolo, as began to be made clearly manifest in the copy that he executed of a printed sheet by the German Martino, which gave him a very great name. For there had come to Florence at that time a scene by the above-named Martino, of the Devils beating S. Anthony, engraved on copper, and Michelagnolo copied it with the pen in such a manner that it could not be detected, and then painted that same sheet in colours, going at times, in order to counterfeit certain strange forms of devils, to buy fishes that had scales bizarre in colouring; and in that work he showed so much ability, that he acquired thereby credit and fame. He also counterfeited sheets by the hands of various old masters, making them so similar that they could not be detected, for, tinting them and giving them the appearance of age with smoke and various other materials, he made them so dark that they looked old, and, when compared with the originals, one could not be distinguished from the other. Nor did he do this with any other purpose but to obtain the originals from the hands of their owners by giving them the copies, for he admired them for the excellence of their art and [Pg 8] sought to surpass them in his own practice; on which account he acquired a very great name.

The Battle of the Centaurs.

(After the relief by Michelangelo. Florence: Museo Buonarroti)
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At that time the Magnificent Lorenzo de' Medici kept the sculptor Bertoldo in his garden on the Piazza di S. Marco, not so much as custodian or guardian of the many beautiful antiques that he had collected and gathered together at great expense in that place, as because, desiring very earnestly to create a school of excellent painters and sculptors, he wished that these should have as their chief and guide the above-named Bertoldo, who was a disciple of Donato. Bertoldo, although he was so old that he was not able to work, was nevertheless a well-practised master and in much repute, not only because he had polished with great diligence the pulpits cast by his master Donato, but also on account of many castings in bronze that he had executed himself, of battles and certain other small works, in the execution of which there was no one to be found in Florence at that time who surpassed him. Now Lorenzo, who bore a very great love to painting and to sculpture, was grieved that there were not to be found in his time sculptors noble and famous enough to equal the many painters of the highest merit and reputation, and he determined, as I have said, to found a school. To this end he besought Domenico Ghirlandajo that, if he had among the young men in his workshop any that were inclined to sculpture, he might send them to his garden, where he wished to train and form them in such a manner as might do honour to himself, to Domenico, and to the whole city. Whereupon there were given to him by Domenico as the best of his young men, among others, Michelagnolo and Francesco Granacci; and they, going to the garden, found there that Torrigiano, a young man of the Torrigiani family, was executing in clay some figures in the round that had been given to him by Bertoldo. Michelagnolo, seeing this, made some out of emulation; wherefore Lorenzo, seeing his fine spirit, always regarded him with much expectation. And he, thus encouraged, after some days set himself to counterfeit from a piece of marble an antique head of a Faun that was there, old and wrinkled, which had the nose injured and the mouth laughing. Michelagnolo, who had never yet touched marble or chisels, succeeded so well in counterfeiting it, that the [Pg 9] Magnificent Lorenzo was astonished; and then, perceiving that, departing from the form of the antique head, he had opened out the mouth after his own fancy and had made a tongue, with all the teeth showing, that lord, jesting pleasantly, as was his wont, said to him, "Surely you should have known that old folks never have all their teeth, and that some are always wanting." It appeared to Michelagnolo, in his simplicity, both fearing and loving that lord, that he had spoken the truth; and no sooner had Lorenzo departed than he straightway broke one of the teeth and hollowed out the gum, in such a manner, that it seemed as if the tooth had dropped out. And then he awaited with eagerness the return of the Magnificent Lorenzo, who, when he had come and had seen the simplicity and excellence of Michelagnolo, laughed at it more than once, relating it as a miracle to his friends. Moreover, having made a resolve to assist and favour Michelagnolo, he sent for his father Lodovico and asked for the boy from him, saying that he wished to maintain him as one of his own children; and Lodovico gave him up willingly. Thereupon the Magnificent Lorenzo granted him a chamber in his own house and had him attended, and he ate always at his table with his own children and with other persons of quality and of noble blood who lived with that lord, by whom he was much honoured. This was in the year after he had been placed with Domenico, when Michelagnolo was about fifteen or sixteen years of age; and he lived in that house four years, which was until the death of the Magnificent Lorenzo in 1492. During that time, then, Michelagnolo had five ducats a month from that lord as an allowance and also to help his father; and for his particular gratification Lorenzo gave him a violet cloak, and to his father an office in the Customs. Truth to tell, all the young men in the garden were salaried, some little and some much, by the liberality of that magnificent and most noble citizen, and rewarded by him as long as he lived.

At this time, at the advice of Poliziano, a man eminent in letters, Michelagnolo executed from a piece of marble given to him by that lord the Battle of Hercules with the Centaurs, which was so beautiful that now, to those who study it from time to time, it appears as if by the hand not of a youth but of a master of repute, perfected by study and [Pg 10] well practised in that art. It is now in his house, treasured in memory of him by his nephew Leonardo as a rare thing, which indeed it is. That Leonardo, not many years since, had in his house in memory of his uncle a Madonna of marble in low-relief by the hand of Michelagnolo, little more than one braccio in height, in which when a lad, at this same time, wishing to counterfeit the manner of Donatello, he acquitted himself so well that it seems as if by Donatello's hand, save that there may be seen in it more grace and more design. That work Leonardo afterwards gave to Duke Cosimo de' Medici, who treasures it as a unique thing, for we have no other low-relief in sculpture by his hand save that one.

Now, returning to the garden of the Magnificent Lorenzo; that garden was full of antiques and richly adorned with excellent pictures, all gathered together in that place for their beauty, for study, and for pleasure. Michelagnolo always had the keys, and he was much more earnest than the others in his every action, and showed himself always alert, bold, and resolute. He drew for many months from the pictures of Masaccio in the Carmine, where he copied those works with so much judgment, that the craftsmen and all other men were astonished, in such sort that envy grew against him together with his fame. It is said that Torrigiano, after contracting a friendship with him, mocked him, being moved by envy at seeing him more honoured than himself and more able in art, and struck him a blow of the fist on the nose with such force, that he broke and crushed it very grievously and marked him for life; on which account Torrigiano was banished from Florence, as has been related in another place.

The Angel with the Candlestick.

(After Michelagnolo. Bologna: S. Domenico)
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When the Magnificent Lorenzo died, Michelagnolo returned to his father's house in infinite sorrow at the death of so great a man, the friend of every talent. There he bought a great piece of marble, and from it carved a Hercules of four braccia, which stood for many years in the Palace of the Strozzi; this was esteemed an admirable work, and afterwards, in the year of the siege, it was sent into France to King Francis by Giovan Battista della Palla. It is said that Piero de' Medici, who had been left heir to his father Lorenzo, having long been intimate with [Pg 11] Michelagnolo, used often to send for him when he wished to buy antiques, such as cameos and other carved stones. One winter, when much snow fell in Florence, he caused him to make in his courtyard a statue of snow, which was very beautiful; and he honoured Michelagnolo on account of his talents in such a manner, that his father, beginning to see that he was esteemed among the great, clothed him much more honourably than he had been wont to do.

For the Church of S. Spirito in the city of Florence Michelagnolo made a Crucifix of wood, which was placed, as it still is, above the lunette of the high-altar; doing this to please the Prior, who placed rooms at his disposal, in which he was constantly flaying dead bodies, in order to study the secrets of anatomy, thus beginning to give perfection to the great knowledge of design that he afterwards acquired. It came about that the Medici were driven out of Florence, and a few weeks before that Michelagnolo had gone to Bologna, and then to Venice, fearing, as he saw the insolence and bad government of Piero de' Medici, lest some evil thing might befall him from his being the servant of that family; but, not having found any means of living in Venice, he returned to Bologna. There he had the misfortune to neglect, through lack of thought, when entering by the gate, to learn the countersign for going out again, a command having been issued at that time, as a precaution, at the desire of Messer Giovanni Bentivogli, that all strangers who had not the countersign should be fined fifty Bolognese lire; and having fallen into such a predicament, nor having the means to pay, Michelagnolo by chance was seen by Messer Giovan Francesco Aldovrandi, one of the Sixteen of the Government, who had compassion on him, and, having made him tell his story, liberated him, and then kept him in his house for more than a year. One day Aldovrandi took him to see the tomb of S. Dominic, made, as has been related, by Giovanni Pisano and then by Maestro Niccolò dell'Arca, sculptors of olden days. In that work there were wanting a S. Petronio and an Angel holding a candelabrum, figures of about one braccio, and Aldovrandi asked him if he felt himself able to make them; and he answered Yes. Whereupon he had the marble given to him, and Michelagnolo executed them in such a manner, that [Pg 12] they are the best figures that are there; and Messer Francesco Aldovrandi caused thirty ducats to be given to him for the two. Michelagnolo stayed a little more than a year in Bologna, and he would have stayed there even longer, in order to repay the courtesy of Aldovrandi, who loved him both for his design and because, liking Michelagnolo's Tuscan pronunciation in reading, he was pleased to hear from his lips the works of Dante, Petrarca, Boccaccio, and other Tuscan poets. But, since he knew that he was wasting his time, he was glad to return to Florence.


(After Michelagnolo. Florence: Museo Nazionale)
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There he made for Lorenzo di Pier Francesco de' Medici a S. Giovannino of marble, and then set himself to make from another piece of marble a Cupid that was sleeping, of the size of life. This, when finished, was shown by means of Baldassarre del Milanese to Lorenzo di Pier Francesco as a beautiful thing, and he, having pronounced the same judgment, said to Michelagnolo: "If you were to bury it under ground and then sent it to Rome treated in such a manner as to make it look old, I am certain that it would pass for an antique, and you would thus obtain much more for it than by selling it here." It is said that Michelagnolo handled it in such a manner as to make it appear an antique; nor is there any reason to marvel at that, seeing that he had genius enough to do it, and even more. Others maintain that Milanese took it to Rome and buried it in a vineyard that he had there, and then sold it as an antique to Cardinal San Giorgio for two hundred ducats. Others, again, say that Milanese sold to the Cardinal one that Michelagnolo had made for him, and that he wrote to Lorenzo di Pier Francesco that he should cause thirty crowns to be given to Michelagnolo, saying that he had not received more for the Cupid, and thus deceiving the Cardinal, Lorenzo di Pier Francesco, and Michelagnolo; but afterwards, having received information from one who had seen that the boy was fashioned in Florence, the Cardinal contrived to learn the truth by means of a messenger, and so went to work that Milanese's agent had to restore the money and take back the Cupid. That work, having come into the possession of Duke Valentino, was presented by him to the Marchioness of Mantua, who took it to her own country, where it is still to be seen at the present day. [Pg 13] This affair did not happen without some censure attaching to Cardinal San Giorgio, in that he did not recognize the value of the work, which consisted in its perfection; for modern works, if only they be excellent, are as good as the ancient. What greater vanity is there than that of those who concern themselves more with the name than the fact? But of that kind of men, who pay more attention to the appearance than to the reality, there are some to be found at any time.

Now this event brought so much reputation to Michelagnolo, that he was straightway summoned to Rome and engaged by Cardinal San Giorgio, with whom he stayed nearly a year, although, as one little conversant with our arts, he did not commission Michelagnolo to do anything. At that time a barber of the Cardinal, who had been a painter, and could paint with great diligence in distemper-colours, but knew nothing of design, formed a friendship with Michelagnolo, who made for him a cartoon of S. Francis receiving the Stigmata. That cartoon was painted very carefully in colours by the barber on a little panel; and the picture is now to be seen in S. Pietro a Montorio in the first chapel on the left hand as one enters the church. The talent of Michelagnolo was then clearly recognized by a Roman gentleman named Messer Jacopo Galli, an ingenious person, who caused him to make a Cupid of marble as large as life, and then a figure of a Bacchus ten palms high, who has a cup in the right hand, and in the left hand the skin of a tiger, with a bunch of grapes at which a little satyr is trying to nibble. In that figure it may be seen that he sought to achieve a certain fusion in the members that is marvellous, and in particular that he gave it both the youthful slenderness of the male and the fullness and roundness of the female—a thing so admirable, that he proved himself excellent in statuary beyond any other modern that had worked up to that time. On which account, during his stay in Rome, he made so much proficience in the studies of art, that it was a thing incredible to see his exalted thoughts and the difficulties of the manner exercised by him with such supreme facility; to the amazement not only of those who were not accustomed to see such things, but also of those familiar with good work, for the reason that all the works executed up to that time appeared as nothing in comparison [Pg 14] with his. These things awakened in Cardinal di San Dionigi, called Cardinal de Rohan, a Frenchman, a desire to leave in a city so famous some worthy memorial of himself by the hand of so rare a craftsman; and he caused him to make a Pietà of marble in the round, which, when finished, was placed in the Chapel of the Vergine Maria della Febbre in S. Pietro, where the Temple of Mars used to be. To this work let no sculptor, however rare a craftsman, ever think to be able to approach in design or in grace, or ever to be able with all the pains in the world to attain to such delicacy and smoothness or to perforate the marble with such art as Michelagnolo did therein, for in it may be seen all the power and worth of art. Among the lovely things to be seen in the work, to say nothing of the divinely beautiful draperies, is the body of Christ; nor let anyone think to see greater beauty of members or more mastery of art in any body, or a nude with more detail in the muscles, veins, and nerves over the framework of the bones, nor yet a corpse more similar than this to a real corpse. Here is perfect sweetness in the expression of the head, harmony in the joints and attachments of the arms, legs, and trunk, and the pulses and veins so wrought, that in truth Wonder herself must marvel that the hand of a craftsman should have been able to execute so divinely and so perfectly, in so short a time, a work so admirable; and it is certainly a miracle that a stone without any shape at the beginning should ever have been reduced to such perfection as Nature is scarcely able to create in the flesh. Such were Michelagnolo's love and zeal together in this work, that he left his name—a thing that he never did again in any other work—written across a girdle that encircles the bosom of Our Lady. And the reason was that one day Michelagnolo, entering the place where it was set up, found there a great number of strangers from Lombardy, who were praising it highly, and one of them asked one of the others who had done it, and he answered, "Our Gobbo from Milan." Michelagnolo stood silent, but thought it something strange that his labours should be attributed to another; and one night he shut himself in there, and, having brought a little light and his chisels, carved his name upon it. And truly the work is such, that an exalted spirit has said, as to a real and living figure—

[Pg 15] Bellezza ed Onestate
E Doglia e Pietà in vivo marmo morte,
Deh, come voi pur fate,
Non piangete si forte,
Che anzi tempo risveglisi da morte;
E pur mal grado suo
Nostro Signore, e tuo
Sposo, Figliuolo, e Padre,
Unica Sposa sua, Figliuola, e Madre.

From this work he acquired very great fame, and although certain persons, rather fools than otherwise, say that he has made Our Lady too young, are these so ignorant as not to know that unspotted virgins maintain and preserve their freshness of countenance a long time without any mark, and that persons afflicted as Christ was do the contrary? That circumstance, therefore, won an even greater increase of glory and fame for his genius than all his previous works.


(After Michelagnolo. Rome: S. Peter's)
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Letters were written to him from Florence by some of his friends, saying that he should return, because it was not unlikely that he might obtain the spoiled block of marble lying in the Office of Works, which Piero Soderini, who at that time had been made Gonfalonier of the city for life, had very often talked of having executed by Leonardo da Vinci, and was then arranging to give to Maestro Andrea Contucci of Monte Sansovino, an excellent sculptor, who was seeking to obtain it. Now, however difficult it might be to carve a complete figure out of it without adding pieces (for which work of finishing it without adding pieces none of the others, save Buonarroti alone, had courage enough), Michelagnolo had felt a desire for it for many years back; and, having come to Florence, he sought to obtain it. This block of marble was nine braccia high, and from it, unluckily, one Maestro Simone da Fiesole had begun a giant, and he had managed to work so ill, that he had hacked a hole between the legs, and it was altogether misshapen and reduced to ruin, insomuch that the Wardens of Works of S. Maria del Fiore, who had the charge of the undertaking, had placed it on one side without troubling to have it finished; and so it had remained for many years past, and was likely to remain. Michelagnolo measured it all anew, considering [Pg 16] whether he might be able to carve a reasonable figure from that block by accommodating himself as to the attitude to the marble as it had been left all misshapen by Maestro Simone; and he resolved to ask for it from Soderini and the Wardens, by whom it was granted to him as a thing of no value, they thinking that whatever he might make of it would be better than the state in which it was at that time, seeing that neither in pieces nor in that condition could it be of any use to their building. Whereupon Michelagnolo made a model of wax, fashioning in it, as a device for the Palace, a young David with a sling in his hand, to the end that, even as he had defended his people and governed them with justice, so those governing that city might defend her valiantly and govern her justly. And he began it in the Office of Works of S. Maria del Fiore, in which he made an enclosure of planks and masonry, thus surrounding the marble; and, working at it continuously without anyone seeing it, he carried it to perfect completion. The marble had already been spoilt and distorted by Maestro Simone, and in some places it was not enough to satisfy the wishes of Michelagnolo for what he would have liked to do with it; and he therefore suffered certain of the first marks of Maestro Simone's chisel to remain on the extremity of the marble, some of which are still to be seen. And truly it was a miracle on the part of Michelagnolo to restore to life a thing that was dead.

This statue, when finished, was of such a kind that many disputes took place as to how to transport it to the Piazza della Signoria. Whereupon Giuliano da San Gallo and his brother Antonio made a very strong framework of wood and suspended the figure from it with ropes, to the end that it might not hit against the wood and break to pieces, but might rather keep rocking gently; and they drew it with windlasses over flat beams laid upon the ground, and then set it in place. On the rope which held the figure suspended he made a slip-knot which was very easy to undo but tightened as the weight increased, which is a most beautiful and ingenious thing; and I have in my book a drawing of it by his own hand—an admirable, secure, and strong contrivance for suspending weights.

Wax Models for the David.

(After Michelagnolo. Florence: Museo Buonarroti)
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It happened at this time that Piero Soderini, having seen it in [Pg 17] place, was well pleased with it, but said to Michelagnolo, at a moment when he was retouching it in certain parts, that it seemed to him that the nose of the figure was too thick. Michelagnolo noticed that the Gonfalonier was beneath the Giant, and that his point of view prevented him from seeing it properly; but in order to satisfy him he climbed upon the staging, which was against the shoulders, and quickly took up a chisel in his left hand, with a little of the marble-dust that lay upon the planks of the staging, and then, beginning to strike lightly with the chisel, let fall the dust little by little, nor changed the nose a whit from what it was before. Then, looking down at the Gonfalonier, who stood watching him, he said, "Look at it now." "I like it better," said the Gonfalonier, "you have given it life." And so Michelagnolo came down, laughing to himself at having satisfied that lord, for he had compassion on those who, in order to appear full of knowledge, talk about things of which they know nothing.

When it was built up, and all was finished, he uncovered it, and it cannot be denied that this work has carried off the palm from all other statues, modern or ancient, Greek or Latin; and it may be said that neither the Marforio at Rome, nor the Tiber and the Nile of the Belvedere, nor the Giants of Monte Cavallo, are equal to it in any respect, with such just proportion, beauty and excellence did Michelagnolo finish it. For in it may be seen most beautiful contours of legs, with attachments of limbs and slender outlines of flanks that are divine; nor has there ever been seen a pose so easy, or any grace to equal that in this work, or feet, hands and head so well in accord, one member with another, in harmony, design, and excellence of artistry. And, of a truth, whoever has seen this work need not trouble to see any other work executed in sculpture, either in our own or in other times, by no matter what craftsman. Michelagnolo received from Piero Soderini in payment for it four hundred crowns; and it was set in place in the year 1504. In consequence of the fame that he thereby won as a sculptor, he made for the above-named Gonfalonier a most beautiful David of bronze, which Soderini sent to France; and at this time, also, he began, but did not finish, two medallions of marble—one for Taddeo Taddei, which is now in his [Pg 18] house, and another that he began for Bartolommeo Pitti, which was presented by Fra Miniato Pitti of Monte Oliveto, a man with a rare knowledge in cosmography and many other sciences, and particularly in painting, to Luigi Guicciardini, who was much his friend. These works were held to be admirable in their excellence; and at this same time, also, he blocked out a statue of S. Matthew in marble in the Office of Works of S. Maria del Fiore, which statue, rough as it is, reveals its full perfection and teaches sculptors in what manner figures can be carved out of marble without their coming out misshapen, so that it may be possible to go on ever improving them by removing more of the marble with judgment, and also to draw back and change some part, according as the necessity may arise. He also made a medallion in bronze of a Madonna, which he cast in bronze at the request of certain Flemish merchants of the Moscheroni family, persons of high nobility in their own country, who paid him a hundred crowns for it, and intended to send it to Flanders.

Madonna, Child, and S. John.

(After the relief by Michelagnolo. Florence: Museo Nazionale)
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There came to Agnolo Doni, a Florentine citizen and a friend of Michelagnolo, who much delighted to have beautiful things both by ancient and by modern craftsmen, a desire to possess some work by Michelagnolo; wherefore that master began for him a round picture containing a Madonna, who, kneeling on both knees, has an Infant in her arms and presents Him to Joseph, who receives Him. Here Michelagnolo expresses in the turn of the head of the Mother of Christ and in the gaze of her eyes, which she keeps fixed on the supreme beauty of her Son, her marvellous contentment and her lovingness in sharing it with that saintly old man, who receives Him with equal affection, tenderness, and reverence, as may be seen very readily in his countenance, without considering it long. Nor was this enough for Michelagnolo, who, the better to show how great was his art, made in the background of his work a number of nudes, some leaning, some standing, and some seated; and with such diligence and finish he executed this work, that without a doubt, of his pictures on panel, which indeed are but few, it is held to be the most finished and the most beautiful work that there is to be found. When it was completed, he sent it covered up to Agnolo's house by a [Pg 19] messenger, with a note demanding seventy ducats in payment. It seemed strange to Agnolo, who was a careful person, to spend so much on a picture, although he knew that it was worth more, and he said to the messenger that forty was enough, which he gave to him. Thereupon Michelagnolo sent them back to him, with a message to say that he should send back either one hundred ducats or the picture. Then Agnolo, who liked the work, said, "I will give him these seventy," but he was not content; indeed, angered by Agnolo's breach of faith, he demanded the double of what he had asked the first time, so that, if Agnolo wanted the picture, he was forced to send him a hundred and forty.

It happened that while Leonardo da Vinci, that rare painter, was painting in the Great Council Hall, as has been related in his Life, Piero Soderini, who was then Gonfalonier, moved by the great ability that he saw in Michelagnolo, caused a part of that Hall to be allotted to him; which was the reason that he executed the other façade in competition with Leonardo, taking as his subject the War of Pisa. To this end Michelagnolo was given a room in the Hospital of the Dyers at S. Onofrio, and there he began a vast cartoon, but would never consent that anyone should see it. And this he filled with naked men that were bathing in the River Arno on account of the heat, when suddenly the alarm sounded in the camp, announcing that the enemy were attacking; and, as the soldiers were springing out of the water to dress themselves, there could be seen, depicted by the divine hands of Michelagnolo, some hastening to arm themselves in order to give assistance to their companions, others buckling on their cuirasses, many fastening other armour on their bodies, and a vast number beginning the fray and fighting on horseback. There was, among other figures, an old man who had a garland of ivy on his head to shade it, and he, having sat down in order to put on his hose, into which his legs would not go because they were wet with water, and hearing the cries and tumult of the soldiers and the uproar of the drummers, was struggling to draw on one stocking by force; and, besides that all the muscles and nerves of his figure could be perceived, his mouth was so distorted as to show clearly how he was straining and struggling even to the very tips of his toes. There were also drummers, and figures [Pg 20] with their clothes in their arms running to the combat; and there were to be seen the most extravagant attitudes, some standing, some kneeling or bent double, others stretched horizontally and struggling in mid-air, and all with masterly foreshortenings. There were also many figures in groups, all sketched in various manners, some outlined with charcoal, some drawn with strokes, others stumped in and heightened with lead-white, Michelagnolo desiring to show how much he knew in his profession. Wherefore the craftsmen were seized with admiration and astonishment, seeing the perfection of art revealed to them in that drawing by Michelagnolo; and some who saw them, after beholding figures so divine, declare that there has never been seen any work, either by his hand or by the hands of others, no matter how great their genius, that can equal it in divine beauty of art. And, in truth, it is likely enough, for the reason that since the time when it was finished and carried to the Sala del Papa with great acclamation from the world of art and extraordinary glory for Michelagnolo, all those who studied from that cartoon and drew those figures—as was afterwards the custom in Florence for many years both for strangers and for natives—became persons eminent in art, as we have since seen. For among those who studied the cartoon were Aristotile da San Gallo, the friend of Michelagnolo, Ridolfo Ghirlandajo, Raffaello Sanzio of Urbino, Francesco Granacci, Baccio Bandinelli, and the Spaniard Alonzo Berughetta, and then there followed Andrea del Sarto, Franciabigio, Jacopo Sansovino, Rosso, Maturino, Lorenzetto, Tribolo, who was then a boy, Jacopo da Pontormo, and Perino del Vaga; and all these became excellent Florentine masters. The cartoon having thus become a school for craftsmen, it was taken into the Great Upper Hall in the house of the Medici; and this was the reason that it was left with too little caution in the hands of the craftsmen, insomuch that during the illness of Duke Giuliano, while no one was expecting such a thing, it was torn up and divided into many pieces, as has been related elsewhere, and scattered over various places, to which some pieces bear witness that are still to be seen in Mantua, in the house of M. Uberto Strozzi, a gentleman of that city, where they are treasured with great reverence; and, indeed, they seem to the eye things rather divine than human.

Young Captive.

(After Michelagnolo. Paris: Louvre)
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[Pg 21] The name of Michelagnolo, by reason of the Pietà that he had made, the Giant in Florence, and the cartoon, had become so famous, that in the year 1503, Pope Alexander VI having died and Julius II having been elected, at which time Michelagnolo was about twenty-nine years of age, he was summoned with much graciousness by Julius II, who wished to set him to make his tomb; and for the expenses of the journey a hundred crowns were paid to him by the Pope's representatives. Having made his way to Rome, he spent many months there before he was made to set his hand to any work. But finally the Pope's choice fell on a design that he had made for that tomb, an excellent testimony to the genius of Michelagnolo, which in beauty and magnificence, abundance of ornamentation and richness of statuary, surpassed every ancient or imperial tomb. Whereupon Pope Julius took courage, and thus resolved to set his hand to make anew the Church of S. Pietro in Rome, in order to erect the tomb in it, as has been related in another place. And so Michelagnolo set to work with high hopes; and, in order to make a beginning, he went to Carrara to excavate all the marble, with two assistants, receiving a thousand crowns on that account from Alamanno Salviati in Florence. There, in those mountains, he spent eight months without other moneys or supplies; and he had many fantastic ideas of carving great statues in those quarries, in order to leave memorials of himself, as the ancients had done before him, being invited by those masses of stone. Then, having picked out the due quantity of marbles, he caused them to be loaded on board ship at the coast and then conveyed to Rome, where they filled half the Piazza di S. Pietro, round about S. Caterina, and between the church and the corridor that goes to the Castello. In that place Michelagnolo had prepared his room for executing the figures and the rest of the tomb; and, to the end that the Pope might be able to come at his convenience to see him at work, he had caused a drawbridge to be constructed between the corridor and that room, which led to a great intimacy between them. But in time these favours brought much annoyance and even persecution upon him, and stirred up much envy against him among his fellow-craftsmen.


(After Michelagnolo. Florence: Museo Nazionale)
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Of this work Michelagnolo executed during the lifetime and after [Pg 22] the death of Julius four statues completely finished and eight only blocked out, as will be related in the proper place; and since the work was designed with extraordinary invention, we will describe here below the plan that he adopted. In order to produce an effect of supreme grandeur, he decided that it should be wholly isolated, so as to be seen from all four sides, each side in one direction being twelve braccia and each in the other eighteen, so that the proportions were a square and a half. It had a range of niches running right round the outer side, which were divided one from another by terminal figures clothed from the middle upwards, which with their heads supported the first cornice, and each terminal figure had bound to it, in a strange and bizarre attitude, a naked captive, whose feet rested on a projection of the base. These captives were all provinces subjugated by that Pontiff and rendered obedient to the Apostolic Church; and there were various other statues, likewise bound, of all the noble arts and sciences, which were thus shown to be subject to death no less than was that Pontiff, who made such honourable use of them. On the corners of the first cornice were to go four large figures, the Active and the Contemplative Life, S. Paul, and Moses. The structure rose above the cornice in steps gradually diminishing, with a frieze of scenes in bronze, and with other figures, children and ornaments all around, and at the summit, as a crown to the work, were two figures, one of which was Heaven, who, smiling, was supporting a bier on her shoulder, together with Cybele, the Goddess of Earth, who appeared to be grieving that she was left in a world robbed of all virtue by the death of such a man; and Heaven appeared to be smiling with gladness that his soul had passed to celestial glory. The work was so arranged that one might enter and come out again by the ends of the quadrangular structure, between the niches, and the interior curved in the form of an oval after the manner of a temple, in the centre of which was the sarcophagus wherein was to be laid the dead body of that Pope. And, finally, there were to be in this whole work forty statues of marble, without counting the other scenes, children, and ornaments, the carvings covering the cornices, and the other architectural members of the work. Michelagnolo ordained, to expedite the labour, that a [Pg 23] part of the marbles should be conveyed to Florence, where he intended at times to spend the summer months in order to avoid the malaria of Rome; and there he executed one side of the work in many pieces, complete in every detail. In Rome he finished entirely with his own hand two of the captives, figures divinely beautiful, and other statues, than which none better have ever been seen; but in the end they were never placed in position, and those captives were presented by him to S. Ruberto Strozzi, when Michelagnolo happened to be lying ill in his house; which captives were afterwards sent as presents to King Francis, and they are now at Ecouen in France. Eight statues, likewise, he blocked out in Rome, and in Florence he blocked out five and finished a Victory with a captive beneath, which are now in the possession of Duke Cosimo, having been presented by Michelagnolo's nephew, Leonardo, to his Excellency, who has placed the Victory in the Great Hall of his Palace, which was painted by Vasari.

He finished the Moses, a statue in marble of five braccia, which no modern work will ever equal in beauty; and of the ancient statues, also, the same may be said. For, seated in an attitude of great dignity, he rests one arm on the Tables, which he holds with one hand, and with the other he holds his beard, which is long and waving, and carved in the marble in such sort, that the hairs—in which the sculptor finds such difficulty—are wrought with the greatest delicacy, soft, feathery, and detailed in such a manner, that one cannot but believe that his chisel was changed into a pencil. To say nothing of the beauty of the face, which has all the air of a true Saint and most dread Prince, you seem, while you gaze upon it, to wish to demand from him the veil wherewith to cover that face, so resplendent and so dazzling it appears to you, and so well has Michelagnolo expressed the divinity that God infused in that most holy countenance. In addition, there are draperies carved out and finished with most beautiful curves of the borders; while the arms with their muscles, and the hands with their bones and nerves, are carried to such a pitch of beauty and perfection, and the legs, knees, and feet are covered with buskins so beautifully fashioned, and every part of the work is so finished, that Moses may be called now more than ever the [Pg 24] friend of God, seeing that He has deigned to assemble together and prepare his body for the Resurrection before that of any other, by the hands of Michelagnolo. Well may the Hebrews continue to go there, as they do every Sabbath, both men and women, like flocks of starlings, to visit and adore that statue; for they will be adoring a thing not human but divine.


(After Michelagnolo. Rome: S. Pietro in Vincoli)
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Finally all the agreements for this work were made, and the end came into view; and of the four sides one of the smaller ones was afterwards erected in S. Pietro in Vincola. It is said that while Michelagnolo was executing the work, there came to the Ripa all the rest of the marbles for the tomb that had remained at Carrara, which were conveyed to the Piazza di S. Pietro, where the others were; and, since it was necessary to pay those who had conveyed them, Michelagnolo went, as was his custom, to the Pope. But, his Holiness having on his hands that day some important business concerning Bologna, he returned to his house and paid for those marbles out of his own purse, thinking to have the order for them straightway from his Holiness. He returned another day to speak of them to the Pope, but found difficulty in entering, for one of the grooms told him that he had orders not to admit him, and that he must have patience. A Bishop then said to the groom, "Perhaps you do not know this man?" "Only too well do I know him," answered the groom; "but I am here to do as I am commanded by my superiors and by the Pope." This action displeased Michelagnolo, and, considering that it was contrary to what he had experienced before, he said to the Pope's groom that he should tell his Holiness that from that time forward, when he should want him, it would be found that he had gone elsewhere; and then, having returned to his house, at the second hour of the night he set out on post-horses, leaving two servants to sell all the furniture of his house to the Jews and to follow him to Florence, whither he was bound. Having arrived at Poggibonzi, a place in the Florentine territory, and therefore safe, he stopped; and almost immediately five couriers arrived with letters from the Pope to bring him back. Despite their entreaties and also the letters, which ordered him to return to Rome under threat of punishment, he would not listen to a word; but finally [Pg 25] the prayers of the couriers induced him to write a few words in reply to his Holiness, asking for pardon, but saying that he would never again return to his presence, since he had caused him to be driven away like a criminal, that his faithful service had not deserved such treatment, and that his Holiness should look elsewhere for someone to serve him.

Tomb of Pope Julius II.

(After Michelagnolo. Rome: S. Pietro in Vincoli)
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After arriving at Florence, Michelagnolo devoted himself during the three months that he stayed there to finishing the cartoon for the Great Hall, which Piero Soderini, the Gonfalonier, desired that he should carry into execution. During that time there came to the Signoria three Briefs commanding them to send Michelagnolo back to Rome: wherefore he, perceiving this vehemence on the part of the Pope, and not trusting him, conceived the idea, so it is said, of going to Constantinople to serve the Grand Turk, who desired to secure him, by means of certain Friars of S. Francis, to build a bridge crossing from Constantinople to Pera. However, he was persuaded by Piero Soderini, although very unwilling, to go to meet the Pope as a person of public importance with the title of Ambassador of the city, to reassure him; and finally the Gonfalonier recommended him to his brother Cardinal Soderini for presentation to the Pope, and sent him off to Bologna, where his Holiness had already arrived from Rome. His departure from Rome is also explained in another way—namely, that the Pope became angered against Michelagnolo, who would not allow any of his works to be seen; that Michelagnolo suspected his own men, doubting (as happened more than once) that the Pope disguised himself and saw what he was doing on certain occasions when he himself was not at home or at work; and that on one occasion, when the Pope had bribed his assistants to admit him to see the chapel of his uncle Sixtus, which, as was related a little time back, he caused Buonarroti to paint, Michelagnolo, having waited in hiding because he suspected the treachery of his assistants, threw planks down at the Pope when he entered the chapel, not considering who it might be, and drove him forth in a fury. It is enough for us to know that in the one way or the other he fell out with the Pope and then became afraid, so that he had to fly from his presence.

Now, having arrived in Bologna, he had scarcely drawn off his [Pg 26] riding-boots when he was conducted by the Pope's servants to his Holiness, who was in the Palazzo de' Sedici; and he was accompanied by a Bishop sent by Cardinal Soderini, because the Cardinal, being ill, was not able to go himself. Having come into the presence of the Pope, Michelagnolo knelt down, but his Holiness looked askance at him, as if in anger, and said to him, "Instead of coming yourself to meet us, you have waited for us to come to meet you!" meaning to infer that Bologna is nearer to Florence than Rome. Michelagnolo, with a courtly gesture of the hands, but in a firm voice, humbly begged for pardon, saying in excuse that he had acted as he had done in anger, not being able to endure to be driven away so abruptly, but that, if he had erred, his Holiness should once more forgive him. The Bishop who had presented Michelagnolo to his Holiness, making excuse for him, said to the Pope that such men were ignorant creatures, that they were worth nothing save in their own art, and that he should freely pardon him. The Pope, seized with anger, belaboured the Bishop with a staff that he had in his hand, saying to him, "It is you that are ignorant, who level insults at him that we ourselves do not think of uttering;" and then the Bishop was driven out by the groom with fisticuffs. When he had gone, the Pope, having discharged his anger upon him, gave Michelagnolo his benediction; and the master was detained in Bologna with gifts and promises, until finally his Holiness commanded him that he should make a statue of bronze in the likeness of Pope Julius, five braccia in height. In this work he showed most beautiful art in the attitude, which had an effect of much majesty and grandeur, and displayed richness and magnificence in the draperies, and in the countenance, spirit, force, resolution, and stern dignity; and it was placed in a niche over the door of S. Petronio. It is said that while Michelagnolo was working at it, he received a visit from Francia, a most excellent goldsmith and painter, who wished to see it, having heard so much praise and fame of him and of his works, and not having seen any of them, so that agents had been set to work to enable him to see it, and he had obtained permission. Whereupon, seeing the artistry of Michelagnolo, he was amazed: and then, being asked by Michelagnolo what he thought of that figure, Francia answered that it was a most [Pg 27] beautiful casting and a fine material. Wherefore Michelagnolo, considering that he had praised the bronze rather than the workmanship, said to him, "I owe the same obligation to Pope Julius, who has given it to me, that you owe to the apothecaries who give you your colours for painting;" and in his anger, in the presence of all the gentlemen there, he declared that Francia was a fool. In the same connection, when a son of Francia's came before him and was announced as a very beautiful youth, Michelagnolo said to him, "Your father's living figures are finer than those that he paints." Among the same gentlemen was one, whose name I know not, who asked Michelagnolo which he thought was the larger, the statue of the Pope or a pair of oxen; and he answered, "That depends on the oxen. If they are these Bolognese oxen, then without a doubt our Florentine oxen are not so big."

Michelagnolo had the statue finished in clay before the Pope departed from Bologna for Rome, and his Holiness, having gone to see it, but not knowing what was to be placed in the left hand, and seeing the right hand raised in a proud gesture, asked whether it was pronouncing a benediction or a curse. Michelagnolo answered that it was admonishing the people of Bologna to mind their behaviour, and asked his Holiness to decide whether he should place a book in the left hand; and he said, "Put a sword there, for I know nothing of letters." The Pope left a thousand crowns in the bank of M. Anton Maria da Lignano for the completion of the statue, and at the end of the sixteen months that Michelagnolo toiled over the work it was placed on the frontispiece in the façade of the Church of S. Petronio, as has been related; and we have also spoken of its size. This statue was destroyed by the Bentivogli, and the bronze was sold to Duke Alfonso of Ferrara, who made with it a piece of artillery called La Giulia; saving only the head, which is to be found in his guardaroba.

God Dividing the Waters from the Earth.

(After the fresco by Michelagnolo. Rome: The Vatican, Sistine Chapel)
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When the Pope had returned to Rome and Michelagnolo was at work on the statue, Bramante, the friend and relative of Raffaello da Urbino, and for that reason little the friend of Michelagnolo, perceiving that the Pope held in great favour and estimation the works that he executed in sculpture, was constantly planning with Raffaello in Michelagnolo's absence to remove from the mind of his Holiness the idea of causing [Pg 28] Michelagnolo, after his return, to devote himself to finishing his tomb; saying that for a man to prepare himself a tomb during his own lifetime was an evil augury and a hurrying on of his death. And they persuaded his Holiness that on the return of Michelagnolo, he should cause him to paint in memory of his uncle Sixtus the vaulting of the chapel that he had built in the Palace. In this manner it seemed possible to Bramante and other rivals of Michelagnolo to draw him away from sculpture, in which they saw him to be perfect, and to plunge him into despair, they thinking that if they compelled him to paint, he would do work less worthy of praise, since he had no experience of colours in fresco, and that he would prove inferior to Raffaello, and, even if he did succeed in the work, in any case it would make him angry against the Pope; so that in either event they would achieve their object of getting rid of him. And so, when Michelagnolo returned to Rome, the Pope was not disposed at that time to finish his tomb, and requested him to paint the vaulting of the chapel. Michelagnolo, who desired to finish the tomb, believing the vaulting of that chapel to be a great and difficult labour, and considering his own want of practice in colours, sought by every means to shake such a burden from his shoulders, and proposed Raffaello for the work. But the more he refused, the greater grew the desire of the Pope, who was headstrong in his undertakings, and, in addition, was being spurred on anew by the rivals of Michelagnolo, and especially by Bramante; so that his Holiness, who was quick-tempered, was on the point of becoming enraged with Michelagnolo. Whereupon Michelagnolo, perceiving that his Holiness was determined in the matter, resolved to do it; and the Pope commanded Bramante to erect the scaffolding from which the vaulting might be painted. Bramante made it all supported by ropes, piercing the vaulting; which having perceived, Michelagnolo inquired of Bramante how he was to proceed to fill up the holes when he had finished painting it, and he replied that he would think of that afterwards, and that it could not be done otherwise. Michelagnolo recognized that Bramante was either not very competent for such a work or else little his friend, and he went to the Pope and said to him that the scaffolding was not satisfactory, and that Bramante had not known how to make it; [Pg 29] and the Pope answered, in the presence of Bramante, that he should make it after his own fashion. And so he commanded that it should be erected upon props so as not to touch the walls, a method of making scaffoldings for vaults that he taught afterwards to Bramante and others, whereby many fine works have been executed. Thus he enabled a poor creature of a carpenter, who rebuilt the scaffolding, to dispense with so many of the ropes, that, after selling them (for Michelagnolo gave them to him), he made up a dowry for his daughter.

The Creation of Eve.

(After the fresco by Michelagnolo. Rome: The Vatican, Sistine Chapel)
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He then set his hand to making the cartoons for that vaulting; and the Pope decided, also, that the walls which the masters before him in the time of Sixtus had painted should be scraped clean, and decreed that he should have fifteen thousand ducats for the whole cost of the work; which price was fixed through Giuliano da San Gallo. Thereupon, forced by the magnitude of the undertaking to resign himself to obtaining assistance, Michelagnolo sent for men to Florence; and he determined to demonstrate in such a work that those who had painted there before him were destined to be vanquished by his labours, and also resolved to show to the modern craftsmen how to draw and paint. Having begun the cartoons, he finished them; and the circumstances of the work spurred him to soar to great heights, both for his own fame and for the welfare of art. And then, desiring to paint it in fresco-colours, and not having any experience of them, there came from Florence to Rome certain of his friends who were painters, to the end that they might give him assistance in such a work, and also that he might learn from them the method of working in fresco, in which some of them were well-practised; and among these were Granaccio, Giuliano Bugiardini, Jacopo di Sandro, the elder Indaco, Agnolo di Donnino, and Aristotile. Having made a commencement with the work, he caused them to begin some things as specimens; but, perceiving that their efforts were very far from what he desired, and not being satisfied with them, he resolved one morning to throw to the ground everything that they had done. Then, shutting himself up in the chapel, he would never open to them, nor even allowed himself to be seen by them when he was at home. And so, when the jest appeared to them to be going too far, they resigned themselves to it and returned in [Pg 30] shame to Florence. Thereupon Michelagnolo, having made arrangements to paint the whole work by himself, carried it well on the way to completion with the utmost solicitude, labour, and study; nor would he ever let himself be seen, lest he should give any occasion to compel him to show it, so that the desire in the minds of everyone to see it grew greater every day.

Pope Julius was always very desirous to see any undertakings that he was having carried out, and therefore became more eager than ever to see this one, which was hidden from him. And so one day he resolved to go to see it, but was not admitted, for Michelagnolo would never have consented to show it to him; out of which affair arose the quarrel that has been described, when he had to depart from Rome because he would not show his work to the Pope. Now, when a third of the work was finished (as I ascertained from him in order to clear up all doubts), it began to throw out certain spots of mould, one winter that the north wind was blowing. The reason of this was that the Roman lime, which is made of travertine and white in colour, does not dry very readily, and, when mixed with pozzolana, which is of a tawny colour, makes a dark mixture which, when soft, is very watery; and when the wall has been well soaked, it often breaks out into an efflorescence in the drying; and thus this salt efflorescence of moisture came out in many places, but in time the air consumed it. Michelagnolo was in despair over this, and was unwilling to continue the work, asking the Pope to excuse him, since he was not succeeding; but his Holiness sent Giuliano da San Gallo to see him, and he, having told him whence the defect arose and taught him how to remove the spots of mould, encouraged him to persevere.

Now, when he had finished half of it, the Pope, who had subsequently gone to see it several times (mounting certain ladders with the assistance of Michelagnolo), insisted that it should be thrown open, for he was hasty and impatient by nature, and could not wait for it to be completely finished and to receive, as the saying is, the final touch. No sooner was it thrown open than all Rome was drawn to see it, and the Pope was the first, not having the patience to wait until the dust caused by the dismantling of the scaffolding had settled. Thereupon Raffaello da Urbino, [Pg 31] who was very excellent in imitation, after seeing it straightway changed his manner, and without losing any time, in order to display his ability, painted the Prophets and Sibyls in the work of the Pace; and at the same time Bramante sought to have the other half of the chapel entrusted by the Pope to Raffaello. Which hearing, Michelagnolo complained of Bramante, and revealed to the Pope without any reserve many faults both in his life and in his architectural works; of which last, in the building of S. Pietro, as was seen afterwards, Michelagnolo became the corrector. But the Pope, recognizing more clearly every day the ability of Michelagnolo, desired that he should continue the work, judging, after he had seen it uncovered, that he could make the second half considerably better; and so in twenty months he carried that work to perfect completion by himself alone, without the assistance even of anyone to grind his colours. Michelagnolo complained at times that on account of the haste that the Pope imposed on him he was not able to finish it in his own fashion, as he would have liked; for his Holiness was always asking him importunately when he would finish it. On one occasion, among others, he replied, "It will be finished when I shall have satisfied myself in the matter of art." "But it is our pleasure," answered the Pope, "that you should satisfy us in our desire to have it done quickly;" and he added, finally, that if Michelagnolo did not finish the work quickly he would have him thrown down from the scaffolding. Whereupon Michelagnolo, who feared and had good reason to fear the anger of the Pope, straightway finished all that was wanting, without losing any time, and, after taking down the rest of the scaffolding, threw it open to view on the morning of All Saints' Day, when the Pope went into the chapel to sing Mass, to the great satisfaction of the whole city. Michelagnolo desired to retouch some parts "a secco," as the old masters had done on the scenes below, painting backgrounds, draperies, and skies in ultramarine, and ornaments in gold in certain places, to the end that this might produce greater richness and a more striking effect; and the Pope, having learned that this ornamentation was wanting, and hearing the work praised so much by all who had seen it, wished him to finish it; but, since it would have been too long a labour for Michelagnolo to rebuild the [Pg 32] scaffolding, it was left as it was. His Holiness, often seeing Michelagnolo, would say to him that the chapel should be enriched with colours and gold, since it looked poor. And Michelagnolo would answer familiarly, "Holy Father, in those times men did not bedeck themselves with gold, and those that are painted there were never very rich, but rather holy men, on which account they despised riches."

For this work Michelagnolo was paid by the Pope three thousand crowns on several occasions, of which he had to spend twenty-five on colours. The work was executed with very great discomfort to himself, from his having to labour with his face upwards, which so impaired his sight that for a time, which was not less than several months, he was not able to read letters or look at drawings save with his head backwards. And to this I can bear witness, having painted five vaulted chambers in the great apartments in the Palace of Duke Cosimo, when, if I had not made a chair on which I could rest my head and lie down at my work, I would never have finished it; even so, it has so ruined my sight and injured my head, that I still feel the effects, and I am astonished that Michelagnolo endured all that discomfort so well. But in truth, becoming more and more kindled every day by his fervour in the work, and encouraged by the proficience and improvement that he made, he felt no fatigue and cared nothing for discomfort.

The Creation of Adam.

(After the fresco by Michelagnolo. Rome: The Vatican, Sistine Chapel)
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The distribution of this work is contrived with six pendentives on either side, with one in the centre of the walls at the foot and at the head, and on these he painted Sibyls and Prophets, six braccia in height; in the centre of the vault the history of the world from the Creation down to the Deluge and the Drunkenness of Noah, and in the lunettes all the Genealogy of Christ. In these compartments he used no rule of perspectives in foreshortening, nor is there any fixed point of view, but he accommodated the compartments to the figures rather than the figures to the compartments, being satisfied to execute those figures, both the nude and the draped, with the perfection of design, so that another such work has never been and never can be done, and it is scarcely possible even to imitate his achievement. This work, in truth, has been and still is the lamp of our art, and has bestowed such benefits and shed so much [Pg 33] light on the art of painting, that it has served to illuminate a world that had lain in darkness for so many hundreds of years. And it is certain that no man who is a painter need think any more to see new inventions, attitudes, and draperies for the clothing of figures, novel manners of expression, and things painted with greater variety and force, because he gave to this work all the perfection that can be given to any work executed in such a field of art. And at the present day everyone is amazed who is able to perceive in it the excellence of the figures, the perfection of the foreshortenings, and the extraordinary roundness of the contours, which have in them slenderness and grace, being drawn with the beauty of proportion that is seen in beautiful nudes; and these, in order to display the supreme perfection of art, he made of all ages, different in expression and in form, in countenance and in outline, some more slender and some fuller in the members; as may also be seen in the beautiful attitudes, which are all different, some seated, some moving, and others upholding certain festoons of oak-leaves and acorns, placed there as the arms and device of Pope Julius, and signifying that at that time and under his government was the age of gold; for Italy was not then in the travail and misery that she has since suffered. Between them, also, they hold some medallions containing stories in relief in imitation of bronze and gold, taken from the Book of Kings.

The Fall and the Expulsion.

(After the fresco by Michelagnolo. Rome: The Vatican, Sistine Chapel)
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Besides this, in order to display the perfection of art and also the greatness of God, he painted in a scene God dividing Light from Darkness, wherein may be seen His Majesty as He rests self-sustained with the arms outstretched, and reveals both love and power. In the second scene he depicted with most beautiful judgment and genius God creating the Sun and Moon, in which He is supported by many little Angels, in an attitude sublime and terrible by reason of the foreshortenings in the arms and legs. In the same scene Michelagnolo depicted Him after the Blessing of the Earth and the Creation of the Animals, when He is seen on that vaulting as a figure flying in foreshortening; and wherever you go throughout the chapel, it turns constantly and faces in every direction. So, also, in the next scene, where He is dividing the Water from the Earth; and both these are very beautiful figures and refinements of genius such as [Pg 34] could be produced only by the divine hands of Michelagnolo. He then went on, beyond that scene, to the Creation of Adam, wherein he figured God as borne by a group of nude Angels of tender age, which appear to be supporting not one figure only, but the whole weight of the world; this effect being produced by the venerable majesty of His form and by the manner of the movement with which He embraces some of the little Angels with one arm, as if to support Himself, and with the other extends the right hand towards Adam, a figure of such a kind in its beauty, in the attitude, and in the outlines, that it appears as if newly fashioned by the first and supreme Creator rather than by the brush and design of a mortal man. Beyond this, in another scene, he made God taking our mother Eve from Adam's side, in which may be seen those two nude figures, one as it were dead from his being the thrall of sleep, and the other become alive and filled with animation by the blessing of God. Very clearly do we see from the brush of this most gifted craftsman the difference that there is between sleep and wakefulness, and how firm and stable, speaking humanly, the Divine Majesty may appear.

Next to this there follows the scene when Adam, at the persuasion of a figure half woman and half serpent, brings death upon himself and upon us by the Forbidden Fruit; and there, also, are seen Adam and Eve driven from Paradise. In the figure of the Angel is shown with nobility and grandeur the execution of the mandate of a wrathful Lord, and in the attitude of Adam the sorrow for his sin together with the fear of death, as likewise in the woman may be seen shame, abasement, and the desire to implore pardon, as she presses the arms to the breast, clasps the hands palm to palm, and sinks the neck into the bosom, and also turns the head towards the Angel, having more fear of the justice of God than hope in His mercy. Nor is there less beauty in the story of the sacrifice of Cain and Abel; wherein are some who are bringing up the wood, some who are bent down and blowing at the fire, and others who are cutting the throat of the victim; which certainly is all executed with not less consideration and attention than the others. He showed the same art and the same judgment in the story of the Deluge, wherein are seen various deaths of men, who, terrified by the horror of those days, are striving their [Pg 35] utmost in different ways to save their lives. For in the faces of those figures may be seen life a prey to death, not less than fear, terror, and disregard of everything; and compassion is visible in many that are assisting one another to climb to the summit of a rock in search of safety, among them one who, having embraced one half dead, is striving his utmost to save him, than which Nature herself could show nothing better. Nor can I tell how well expressed is the story of Noah, who, drunk with wine, is sleeping naked, and has before him one son who is laughing at him and two who are covering him up—a scene incomparable in the beauty of the artistry, and not to be surpassed save by himself alone.

The Lybian Sibyl.

(After the fresco by Michelagnolo. Rome: The Vatican, Sistine Chapel)
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Then, as if his genius had taken courage from what it had achieved up to that time, it soared upwards and proved itself even greater in the five Sibyls and seven Prophets that are painted there, each five braccia or more in height. In all these are well-varied attitudes, beautiful draperies, and different vestments; and all, in a word, are wrought with marvellous invention and judgment, and to him who can distinguish their expressions they appear divine. Jeremiah is seen with the legs crossed, holding one hand to the beard, and resting that elbow on the knee; the other hand rests in his lap, and he has the head bowed in a manner that clearly demonstrates the melancholy, cogitation, anxious thought and bitterness of soul that his people cause him. Equally fine, also, are two little children that are behind him, and likewise the first Sibyl, beyond him in the direction of the door, in which figure, wishing to depict old age, in addition to enveloping her in draperies, he sought to show that her blood is already frozen by time; besides which, since her sight has become feeble, he has made her as she reads bring the book very close to her eyes. Beyond this figure follows the Prophet Ezekiel, an old man, who has a grace and a movement that are most beautiful, and is much enveloped in draperies, while with one hand he holds a roll of prophecies, and with the other uplifted, turning his head, he appears to be about to utter great and lofty words; and behind him he has two boys who hold his books. Next to him follows a Sibyl, who is doing the contrary to the Erythræan Sibyl that we described above, for, holding her book away from her, she seeks to turn a page, while with one knee over the [Pg 36] other she sits sunk within herself, pondering gravely over what she is to write; and then a boy who is behind her, blowing on a burning brand, lights her lamp. This figure is of extraordinary beauty in the expression of the face, in the head-dress, and in the arrangement of the draperies; besides which she has the arms nude, which are equal to the other parts. Beyond this Sibyl he painted the Prophet Joel, who, sunk within himself, has taken a scroll and reads it with great attention and appreciation: and from his aspect it is so clearly evident that he is satisfied with that which he finds written there, that he looks like a living person who has applied his thoughts intently to some matter. Over the door of the chapel, likewise, he placed the aged Zaccharias, who, seeking through his written book for something that he cannot find, stands with one leg on high and the other low; and, while the ardour of the search after something that he cannot find causes him to stand thus, he takes no notice of the discomfort that he suffers in such a posture. This figure is very beautiful in its aspect of old age, and somewhat full in form, and has draperies with few folds, which are most beautiful. In addition, there is another Sibyl, who is next in the direction of the altar on the other side, displaying certain writings, and, with her boys in attendance, is no less worthy of praise than are the others. Beyond her is the Prophet Isaiah, who, wholly absorbed in his own thoughts, has the legs crossed over one another, and, holding one hand in his book to mark the place where he was reading, has placed the elbow of the other arm upon the book, with the cheek pressed against the hand; and, being called by one of the boys that he has behind him, he turns only the head, without disturbing himself otherwise. Whoever shall consider his countenance, shall see touches truly taken from Nature herself, the true mother of art, and a figure which, when well studied in every part, can teach in liberal measure all the precepts of the good painter. Beyond this Prophet is an aged Sibyl of great beauty, who, as she sits, studies from a book in an attitude of extraordinary grace, not to speak of the beautiful attitudes of the two boys that are about her. Nor may any man think with all his imaginings to be able to attain to the excellence of the figure of a youth representing Daniel, who, writing in a great book, is taking certain things from other [Pg 37] writings and copying them with extraordinary attention; and as a support for the weight of the book Michelagnolo painted a boy between his legs, who is upholding it while he writes, all which no brush held by a human hand, however skilful, will ever be able to equal. And so, also, with the beautiful figure of the Libyan Sibyl, who, having written a great volume drawn from many books, is in an attitude of womanly grace, as if about to rise to her feet; and in one and the same movement she makes as if to rise and to close the book—a thing most difficult, not to say impossible, for any other but the master of the work.

And what can be said of the four scenes at the corners, on the spandrels of that vaulting; in one of which David, with all the boyish strength that he can exert in the conquest of a giant, is cutting off his head, bringing marvel to the faces of some soldiers who are about the camp. And so, also, do men marvel at the beautiful attitudes that Michelagnolo depicted in the story of Judith, at the opposite corner, in which may be seen the trunk of Holofernes, robbed of life but still quivering, while Judith is placing the lifeless head in a basket on the head of her old serving-woman, who, being tall in stature, is stooping to the end that Judith may be able to reach up to her and adjust the weight well; and the servant, while upholding the burden with her hands, seeks to conceal it, and, turning her head towards the trunk, which, although dead, draws up an arm and a leg and makes a noise in the tent, she shows in her expression fear of the camp and terror of the dead body—a picture truly full of thought. But more beautiful and more divine than this or any of the others is the story of the Serpents of Moses, which is above the left-hand corner of the altar; for the reason that in it is seen the havoc wrought by death, the rain of serpents, their stings and their bites, and there may also be perceived the serpent of brass that Moses placed upon a pole. In this scene are shown vividly the various deaths that those die who are robbed of all hope by the bite of the serpents, and one sees the deadly venom causing vast numbers to die in terror and convulsions, to say nothing of the rigid legs and twisted arms of those who remain in the attitudes in which they were struck down, unable to move, and the marvellous heads that are shrieking and thrown backwards in despair. Not less beautiful than all [Pg 38] these are those who, having looked upon the serpent, and feeling their pains alleviated by the sight of it, are gazing on it with profound emotion; and among them is a woman who is supported by another figure in such a manner that the assistance rendered to her by him who upholds her is no less manifest than her pressing need in such sudden alarm and hurt. In the next scene, likewise, in which Ahasuerus, reclining in a bed, is reading his chronicles, are figures of great beauty, and among them three figures eating at a table, which represent the council that was held for the deliverance of the Jewish people and the hanging of Haman. The figure of Haman was executed by Michelagnolo in an extraordinary manner of foreshortening, for he counterfeited the trunk that supports his person, and that arm which comes forward, not as painted things but as real and natural, standing out in relief, and so also that leg which he stretches outwards and other parts that bend inwards: which figure, among all that are beautiful and difficult, is certainly the most beautiful and the most difficult.

Decorative Figure.

(After the fresco by Michelagnolo Buonarroti. Rome: The Vatican, Sistine Chapel)
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It would take too long to describe all the beautiful fantasies in the different actions in the part where there is all the Genealogy of the Fathers, beginning with the sons of Noah, to demonstrate the Genealogy of Jesus Christ, in which figures is a variety of things that it is not possible to enumerate, such as draperies, expressions of heads, and an infinite number of novel and extraordinary fancies, all most beautifully considered. Nothing there but is carried into execution with genius: all the figures there are masterly and most beautifully foreshortened, and everything that you look at is divine and beyond praise. And who will not be struck dumb with admiration at the sight of the sublime force of Jonas, the last figure in the chapel, wherein by the power of art the vaulting, which in fact springs forward in accord with the curve of the masonry, yet, being in appearance pushed back by that figure, which bends inwards, seems as if straight, and, vanquished by the art of design with its lights and shades, even appears in truth to recede inwards? Oh, truly happy age of ours, and truly blessed craftsmen! Well may you be called so, seeing that in our time you have been able to illumine anew in such a fount of light the darkened sight of your eyes, and to see all [Pg 39] that was difficult made smooth by a master so marvellous and so unrivalled! Certainly the glory of his labours makes you known and honoured, in that he has stripped from you that veil which you had over the eyes of your minds, which were so full of darkness, and has delivered the truth from the falsehood that overshadowed your intellects. Thank Heaven, therefore, for this, and strive to imitate Michelagnolo in everything.

When the work was thrown open, the whole world could be heard running up to see it, and, indeed, it was such as to make everyone astonished and dumb. Wherefore the Pope, having been magnified by such a result and encouraged in his heart to undertake even greater enterprises, rewarded Michelagnolo liberally with money and rich gifts: and Michelagnolo would say at times of the extraordinary favours that the Pope conferred upon him, that they showed that he fully recognized his worth, and that, if by way of proving his friendliness he sometimes played him strange tricks, he would heal the wound with signal gifts and favours. As when, Michelagnolo once demanding from him leave to go to Florence for the festival of S. John, and asking money for that purpose, the Pope said, "Well, but when will you have this chapel finished?" "As soon as I can, Holy Father." The Pope, who had a staff in his hand, struck Michelagnolo, saying, "As soon as I can! As soon as I can! I will soon make you finish it!" Whereupon Michelagnolo went back to his house to get ready to go to Florence; but the Pope straightway sent Cursio, his Chamberlain, to Michelagnolo with five hundred crowns to pacify him, fearing lest he might commit one of his caprices, and Cursio made excuse for the Pope, saying that such things were favours and marks of affection. And Michelagnolo, who knew the Pope's nature and, after all, loved him, laughed over it all, for he saw that in the end everything turned to his profit and advantage, and that the Pontiff would do anything to keep a man such as himself as his friend.

When the chapel was finished, before the Pope was overtaken by death, his Holiness commanded Cardinal Santiquattro and Cardinal Aginense, his nephew, in the event of his death, that they should cause his tomb to be finished, but on a smaller scale than before. To this work [Pg 40] Michelagnolo set himself once again, and so made a beginning gladly with the tomb, hoping to carry it once and for all to completion without so many impediments; but he had from it ever afterwards vexations, annoyances, and travails, more than from any other work that he did in all his life, and it brought upon him for a long time, in a certain sense, the accusation of being ungrateful to that Pope, who had so loved and favoured him. Thus, when he had returned to the tomb, and was working at it continually, and also at times preparing designs from which he might be able to execute the façades of the chapel, envious Fortune decreed that that memorial, which had been begun with such perfection, should be left unfinished. For at that time there took place the death of Pope Julius, and the work was abandoned on account of the election of Pope Leo X, who, being no less splendid than Julius in mind and spirit, had a desire to leave in his native city (of which he was the first Pope), in memory of himself and of a divine craftsman who was his fellow-citizen, such marvels as only a mighty Prince like himself could undertake. Wherefore he gave orders that the façade of S. Lorenzo, a church built by the Medici family in Florence, should be erected for him, which was the reason that the work of the tomb of Julius was left unfinished; and he demanded advice and designs from Michelagnolo, and desired that he should be the head of that work. Michelagnolo made all the resistance that he could, pleading that he was pledged in the matter of the tomb to Santiquattro and Aginense, but the Pope answered him that he was not to think of that, and that he himself had already seen to it and contrived that Michelagnolo should be released by them; promising, also, that he should be able to work in Florence, as he had already begun to do, at the figures for that tomb. All this was displeasing to the Cardinals, and also to Michelagnolo, who went off in tears.

The New Sacristy.

(After Michelagnolo. Florence: S. Lorenzo)
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Many and various were the discussions that arose on this subject, on the ground that such a work as that façade should have been distributed among several persons, and in the matter of the architecture many craftsmen flocked to Rome to see the Pope, and made designs; Baccio d'Agnolo, Antonio da San Gallo, Andrea Sansovino and Jacopo Sansovino, and the gracious Raffaello da Urbino, who was afterwards summoned [Pg 41] to Florence for that purpose at the time of the Pope's visit. Thereupon Michelagnolo resolved to make a model and not to accept anyone beyond himself as his guide or superior in the architecture of such a work; but this refusal of assistance was the reason that neither he nor any other executed the work, and that those masters returned in despair to their customary pursuits. Michelagnolo, going to Carrara, had an order authorizing that a thousand crowns should be paid to him by Jacopo Salviati; but on his arrival Jacopo was shut up in his room on business with some citizens, and Michelagnolo, refusing to wait for an audience, departed without saying a word and went straightway to Carrara. Jacopo heard of Michelagnolo's arrival, and, not finding him in Florence, sent him a thousand crowns to Carrara. The messenger demanded that Michelagnolo should write him a receipt, to which he answered that the money was for the expenses of the Pope and not for his own interest, and that the messenger might take it back, but that he was not accustomed to write out quittances or receipts for others; whereupon the other returned in alarm to Jacopo without a receipt.

While Michelagnolo was at Carrara and was having marble quarried for the tomb of Julius, thinking at length to finish it, no less than for the façade, a letter was written to him saying that Pope Leo had heard that in the mountains of Pietrasanta near Seravezza, in the Florentine dominion, at the summit of the highest mountain, which is called Monte Altissimo, there were marbles of the same excellence and beauty as those of Carrara. This Michelagnolo already knew, but it seems that he would not take advantage of it because of his friendship with the Marchese Alberigo, Lord of Carrara, and, in order to do him a good service, chose to quarry those of Carrara rather than those of Seravezza; or it may have been that he judged it to be a long undertaking and likely to waste much time, as indeed it did. However, he was forced to go to Seravezza, although he pleaded in protest that it would be more difficult and costly, as in truth it was, especially at the beginning, and, moreover, that the report about the marble was perhaps not true; but for all that the Pope would not hear a word of objection. Thereupon it was decided to make a road for several miles through the mountains, breaking down rocks [Pg 42] with hammers and pickaxes to obtain a level, and sinking piles in the marshy places; and there Michelagnolo spent many years in executing the wishes of the Pope. Finally five columns of the proper size were excavated, one of which is on the Piazza di S. Lorenzo in Florence, and the others are on the sea-shore. And for this reason the Marchese Alberigo, who saw his business ruined, became the bitter enemy of Michelagnolo, who was not to blame. Michelagnolo, in addition to these columns, excavated many other marbles there, which are still in the quarries, abandoned there for more than thirty years. But at the present day Duke Cosimo has given orders for the road to be finished, of which there are still two miles to make over very difficult ground, for the transportation of these marbles, and also a road from another quarry of excellent marble that was discovered at that time by Michelagnolo, in order to be able to finish many beautiful undertakings. In the same district of Seravezza he discovered a mountain of variegated marble that is very hard and very beautiful, below Stazema, a village in those mountains; where the same Duke Cosimo has caused a paved road of more than four miles to be made, for conveying the marble to the sea.

But to return to Michelagnolo: having gone back to Florence, he lost much time now in one thing and now in another. And he made at that time for the Palace of the Medici a model for the knee-shaped windows of those rooms that are at the corner, where Giovanni da Udine adorned the chamber in stucco and painting, which is a much extolled work; and he caused to be made for them by the goldsmith Piloto, but under his own direction, those jalousies of perforated copper, which are certainly admirable things. Michelagnolo consumed many years in quarrying marbles, although it is true that while they were being excavated he made models of wax and other things for the work. But this undertaking was delayed so long, that the money assigned by the Pope for the purpose was spent on the war in Lombardy; and at the death of Leo the work was left unfinished, nothing being accomplished save the laying of a foundation in front to support it, and the transportation of a large column of marble from Carrara to the Piazza di S. Lorenzo.

Madonna and Child.

(After Michelagnolo. Florence: New Sacristy of S. Lorenzo)
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The death of Leo completely dismayed the craftsmen and the arts [Pg 43] both in Rome and in Florence; and while Adrian VI was alive Michelagnolo gave his attention in Florence to the tomb of Julius. But after the death of Adrian Clement VII was elected, who was no less desirous than Leo and his other predecessors to leave his fame established by the arts of architecture, sculpture, and painting. At this time, which was the year 1525, Giorgio Vasari was taken as a little boy to Florence by the Cardinal of Cortona, and placed with Michelagnolo to learn art. But Michelagnolo was then summoned to Rome by Pope Clement VII, who had made a beginning with the library of S. Lorenzo and also the new sacristy, in which he proposed to place the marble tombs that he was having made for his forefathers; and he resolved that Vasari should go to work with Andrea del Sarto until he should himself be free again, and went in person to Andrea's workshop to present him.

Michelagnolo departed for Rome in haste, harassed once again by Francesco Maria, Duke of Urbino, the nephew of Pope Julius, who complained of him, saying that he had received sixteen thousand crowns for the above-named tomb, yet was living a life of pleasure in Florence; and he threatened in his anger that, if Michelagnolo did not give his attention to the work, he would make him rue it. Having arrived in Rome, Pope Clement, who wished to make use of him, advised him to draw up his accounts with the agents of the Duke, believing that after all that he had done he must be their creditor rather than their debtor; and so the matter rested. After discussing many things together, they resolved to finish completely the library and new sacristy of S. Lorenzo in Florence. Michelagnolo therefore departed from Rome, and raised the cupola that is now to be seen, causing it to be wrought in various orders of composition; and he had a ball with seventy-two faces made by the goldsmith Piloto, which is very beautiful. It happened, while Michelagnolo was raising the cupola, that he was asked by some friends, "Should you not make your lantern very different from that of Filippo Brunelleschi?" And he answered them, "Different it can be made with ease, but better, no." He made four tombs in that sacristy, to adorn the walls and to contain the bodies of the fathers of the two Popes, the elder Lorenzo and his brother Giuliano, and those of Giuliano, the brother of Leo, and of [Pg 44] Duke Lorenzo, his nephew. And since he wished to execute the work in imitation of the old sacristy that Filippo Brunelleschi had built, but with another manner of ornamentation, he made in it an ornamentation in a composite order, in a more varied and more original manner than any other master at any time, whether ancient or modern, had been able to achieve, for in the novelty of the beautiful cornices, capitals, bases, doors, tabernacles, and tombs, he departed not a little from the work regulated by measure, order, and rule, which other men did according to a common use and after Vitruvius and the antiquities, to which he would not conform. That licence has done much to give courage to those who have seen his methods to set themselves to imitate him, and new fantasies have since been seen which have more of the grotesque than of reason or rule in their ornamentation. Wherefore the craftsmen owe him an infinite and everlasting obligation, he having broken the bonds and chains by reason of which they had always followed a beaten path in the execution of their works. And even more did he demonstrate and seek to make known such a method afterwards in the library of S. Lorenzo, at the same place; in the beautiful distribution of the windows, in the pattern of the ceiling, and in the marvellous entrance of the vestibule. Nor was there ever seen a more resolute grace, both in the whole and in the parts, as in the consoles, tabernacles, and cornices, nor any staircase more commodious; in which last he made such bizarre breaks in the outlines of the steps, and departed so much from the common use of others, that everyone was amazed.

Giuliano De' Medici.

(After Michelagnolo. Florence: New Sacristy of S. Lorenzo)
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At this time he sent his disciple Pietro Urbano of Pistoia to Rome to carry to completion a nude Christ holding the Cross, a most admirable figure, which was placed beside the principal chapel of the Minerva, at the commission of Messer Antonio Metelli. About the same time there took place the sack of Rome and the expulsion of the Medici from Florence; by reason of which upheaval those who governed the city of Florence resolved to rebuild the fortifications, and therefore made Michelagnolo Commissary General over all that work. Whereupon he made designs and caused fortifications to be built for several parts of the city, and finally encircled the hill of San Miniato with bastions, which he made not [Pg 45] with sods of earth, wood, and bundles of brushwood, as is generally done, but with a stout base of chestnut, oak, and other good materials interwoven, and in place of sods he took unbaked bricks made with tow and the dung of cattle, squared with very great diligence. And for this reason he was sent by the Signoria of Florence to Ferrara, to inspect the fortifications of Duke Alfonso I, and so also his artillery and munitions; where he received many courtesies from that lord, who besought him that he should do something for him with his own hand at his leisure, and Michelagnolo promised that he would. After his return, he was continually engaged in fortifying the city, but, although he was thus occupied, nevertheless he kept working at a picture of a Leda for that Duke, painted with his own hand in distemper-colours, which was a divine thing, as will be related in the proper place; also continuing the statues for the tombs of S. Lorenzo, but in secret. At this time Michelagnolo spent some six months on the hill of San Miniato in order to press on the fortification of that hill, because if the enemy became master of it, the city was lost; and so he pursued these undertakings with the utmost diligence.

Tomb of Giuliano De' Medici.

(After Michelagnolo. Florence: New Sacristy of S. Lorenzo)
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At this same time he continued the work in the above-mentioned sacristy, in which were seven statues that were left partly finished and partly not. With these, and with the architectural inventions of the tombs, it must be confessed that he surpassed every man in these three professions; to which testimony is borne by the statues of marble, blocked out and finished by him, which are to be seen in that place. One is Our Lady, who is in a sitting attitude, with the right leg crossed over the left and one knee placed upon the other, and the Child, with the thighs astride the leg that is uppermost, turns in a most beautiful attitude towards His Mother, hungry for her milk, and she, while holding Him with one hand and supporting herself with the other, bends forward to give it to Him; and although the figure is not equal in every part, and it was left rough and showing the marks of the gradine, yet with all its imperfections there may be recognized in it the full perfection of the work. Even more did he cause everyone to marvel by the circumstance that in making the tombs of Duke Giuliano and Duke Lorenzo de' Medici he considered [Pg 46] that earth alone was not enough to give them honourable burial in their greatness, and desired that all the phases of the world should be there, and that their sepulchres should be surrounded and covered by four statues; wherefore he gave to one Night and Day, and to the other Dawn and Twilight; which statues, most beautifully wrought in form, in attitude, and in the masterly treatment of the muscles, would suffice, if that art were lost, to restore her to her pristine lustre. There, among the other statues, are the two Captains, armed; one the pensive Duke Lorenzo, the very presentment of wisdom, with legs so beautiful and so well wrought, that there is nothing better to be seen by mortal eye; and the other is Duke Giuliano, so proud a figure, with the head, the throat, the setting of the eyes, the profile of the nose, the opening of the mouth, and the hair all so divine, to say nothing of the hands, arms, knees, feet, and, in short, every other thing that he carved therein, that the eye can never be weary or have its fill of gazing at them; and, of a truth, whoever studies the beauty of the buskins and the cuirass, believes it to be celestial rather than mortal. But what shall I say of the Dawn, a nude woman, who is such as to awaken melancholy in the soul and to render impotent the style of sculpture? In her attitude may be seen her effort, as she rises, heavy with sleep, and raises herself from her downy bed; and it seems that in awakening she has found the eyes of that great Duke closed in death, so that she is agonized with bitter grief, weeping in her own unchangeable beauty in token of her great sorrow. And what can I say of the Night, a statue not rare only, but unique? Who is there who has ever seen in that art in any age, ancient or modern, statues of such a kind? For in her may be seen not only the stillness of one sleeping, but the grief and melancholy of one who has lost a great and honoured possession; and we must believe that this is that night of darkness that obscures all those who thought for some time, I will not say to surpass, but to equal Michelagnolo in sculpture and design. In that statue is infused all the somnolence that is seen in sleeping forms; wherefore many verses in Latin and rhymes in the vulgar tongue were written in her praise by persons of great learning, such as these, of which the author is not known—

[Pg 47] La Notte che tu vedi in si dolci atti
Dormire, fu da un Angelo scolpita
In questo sasso; e perche dorme, ha vita.
Destala, se no 'l credi, e parleratti.

To which Michelagnolo, speaking in the person of Night, answered thus—

Grato mi è il sonno, e più l'esser di sasso;
Mentre che il danno e la vergogna dura,
Non veder' non sentir' m'è gran ventura.
Però non mi destar'; deh parla basso.

Truly, if the enmity that there is between Fortune and Genius, between the envy of the one and the excellence of the other, had not prevented such a work from being carried to completion, Art was like to prove to Nature that she surpassed her by a great measure in every conception.

While Michelagnolo was labouring with the greatest solicitude and love at these works, there came in 1529 the siege of Florence, which hindered their completion only too effectually, and was the reason that he did little or no more work upon them, the citizens having laid upon him the charge of fortifying not only the hill of S. Miniato, but also the city, as we have related. And thus, having lent a thousand crowns to that Republic, and being elected one of the Nine, a military Council appointed for the war, he turned all his mind and soul to perfecting those fortifications. But in the end, when the enemy had closed round the city, and all hope of assistance was failing little by little, and the difficulties of maintaining the defence were increasing, and it appeared to Michelagnolo that he was in a sorry pass with regard to his personal safety, he determined to leave Florence and make his way to Venice, without making himself known to anyone on the road. He set out secretly, therefore, by way of the hill of S. Miniato, without anyone knowing of it, taking with him Antonio Mini, his disciple, and the goldsmith Piloto, his faithful friend; and each of them carried a number of crowns on his person, sewn into his quilted doublet. Having arrived in Ferrara, they rested there; and it happened that on account of the alarm [Pg 48] caused by the war and the league of the Emperor and the Pope, who were besieging Florence, Duke Alfonso d'Este was keeping strict watch in Ferrara, and required to be secretly informed by the hosts who gave lodging to travellers of the names of all those who lodged with them from one day to another; and he caused a list of all foreigners, with their nationality, to be brought to him every day. It came to pass, then, that when Michelagnolo had dismounted with his companions, intending to stay there without revealing himself, this became known in that way to the Duke, who was very glad, because he had already become his friend. That Prince was a man of lofty mind, delighting constantly in persons of ability all his life long, and he straightway sent some of the first men of his Court with orders to conduct him in the name of his Excellency to the Palace, where the Duke was, to remove thither his horses and all his baggage, and to give him a handsome lodging in that Palace. Michelagnolo, finding himself in the power of another, was constrained to obey and to make the best of a bad business, and he went with those courtiers to the Duke, but without removing his baggage from the inn. Thereupon the Duke, after first complaining of his reserve, gave him a great reception; and then, making him rich and honourable presents, he sought to detain him in Ferrara with the promise of a fine salary. He, having his mind set on something else, would not consent to remain; but the Duke again made him a free offer of all that was in his power, praying him that he should at least not depart as long as the war continued. Whereupon Michelagnolo, not wishing to be outdone in courtesy, thanked him warmly, and, turning towards his two companions, said that he had brought twelve thousand crowns to Ferrara, and that, if the Duke had need of them, they were at his disposal, together with himself. The Duke then took him through the Palace to divert him, as he had done on another occasion, and showed him all the beautiful things that he had there, including a portrait of himself by Tiziano, which was much commended by Michelagnolo. However, his Excellency was not able to keep him in the Palace, for he insisted on returning to the inn; wherefore the host who was lodging him received from the Duke a great abundance of things wherewith to do him honour, and also orders that [Pg 49] at his departure he should not accept anything for his lodging. From Ferrara he made his way to Venice, where many gentlemen sought to become known to him; but he, who always had a very poor opinion of their knowledge of his profession, departed from the Giudecca, where he had his lodging. There, so it is said, he made for that city at that time, at the request of the Doge Gritti, a design for the bridge of the Rialto, which was very rare in invention and in ornamentation.

Michelagnolo was invited with great insistence to go back to his native country, being urgently requested not to abandon his undertaking there, and receiving a safe-conduct; and finally, vanquished by love of her, he returned, but not without danger to his life. At this time he finished the Leda that he was painting, as has been related, at the request of Duke Alfonso; and it was afterwards taken to France by Antonio Mini, his disciple. And at this same time he saved the campanile of S. Miniato, a tower which sorely harassed the enemy's forces with its two pieces of artillery, so that their artillerists, having set to work to batter it with heavy cannon, had half ruined it, and were like to destroy it completely, when Michelagnolo protected it so well with bales of wool and stout mattresses suspended by cords, that it is still standing. It is said, also, that at the time of the siege there came to him an opportunity to acquire, according to a desire that he had long had, a block of marble of nine braccia which had come from Carrara, and which Pope Clement, after much rivalry and contention between him and Baccio Bandinelli, had given to Baccio. But Michelagnolo, now that such a matter was in the hands of the Commonwealth, asked for it from the Gonfalonier, who gave it to him that he might likewise try his hand upon it, although Baccio had already made a model and hacked away much of the stone in blocking it out. Thereupon Michelagnolo made a model, which was held to be a marvellous and very beautiful thing; but on the return of the Medici the marble was restored to Baccio.

When peace had been made, Baccio Valori, the Pope's Commissioner, received orders to have some of the most partisan citizens arrested and imprisoned in the Bargello, and the same tribunal sought out Michelagnolo at his house; but he, fearing that, had fled secretly to the house of one [Pg 50] who was much his friend, where he remained hidden many days. Finally, when the first fury had abated, Pope Clement, remembering the ability of Michelagnolo, caused a diligent search to be made for him, with orders that nothing should be said to him, but rather that his former appointments should be restored to him, and that he should attend to the work of S. Lorenzo, over which he placed as proveditor M. Giovan Battista Figiovanni, the old servant of the Medici family and Prior of S. Lorenzo. Thus reassured, Michelagnolo, in order to make Baccio Valori his friend, began a figure of three braccia in marble, which was an Apollo drawing an arrow from his quiver, and carried it almost to completion. It is now in the apartment of the Prince of Florence, and is a very rare work, although it is not completely finished.

At this time a certain gentleman was sent to Michelagnolo by Duke Alfonso of Ferrara, who, having heard that the master had made some rare work for him with his own hand, did not wish to lose such a jewel. Having arrived in Florence and found Michelagnolo, the envoy presented to him letters of recommendation from that lord; whereupon Michelagnolo, receiving him courteously, showed him the Leda embracing the Swan that he had painted, with Castor and Pollux issuing from the Egg, in a large picture executed in distemper, as it were with the breath. The Duke's envoy, thinking from the praise that he heard everywhere of Michelagnolo that he should have done something great, and not recognizing the excellence and artistry of that figure, said to Michelagnolo: "Oh, this is but a trifle." Michelagnolo, knowing that no one is better able to pronounce judgment on works than those who have had long practise in them, asked him what was his vocation. And he answered, with a sneer, "I am a merchant"; believing that he had not been recognized by Michelagnolo as a gentleman, and as it were making fun of such a question, and at the same time affecting to despise the industry of the Florentines. Michelagnolo, who had understood perfectly the meaning of his words, at once replied: "You will find you have made a bad bargain this time for your master. Get you gone out of my sight."


(After Michelagnolo. Florence: Museo Nazionale)
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Now in those days Antonio Mini, his disciple, who had two sisters waiting to be married, asked him for the Leda, and he gave it to him [Pg 51] willingly, with the greater part of the designs and cartoons that he had made, which were divine things, and also two chests full of models, with a great number of finished cartoons for making pictures, and some of works that had been painted. When Antonio took it into his head to go to France, he carried all these with him; the Leda he sold to King Francis by means of some merchants, and it is now at Fontainebleau, but the cartoons and designs were lost, for he died there in a short time, and some were stolen; and so our country was deprived of all these valuable labours, which was an incalculable loss. The cartoon of the Leda has since come back to Florence, and Bernardo Vecchietti has it; and so also four pieces of the cartoons for the chapel, with nudes and Prophets, brought back by the sculptor Benvenuto Cellini, and now in the possession of the heirs of Girolamo degli Albizzi.

It became necessary for Michelagnolo to go to Rome to see Pope Clement, who, although angry with him, yet, as the friend of every talent, forgave him everything, and gave him orders that he should return to Florence and have the library and sacristy of S. Lorenzo completely finished; and, in order to shorten that work, a vast number of statues that were to be included in it were distributed among other masters. Two he allotted to Tribolo, one to Raffaello da Montelupo, and one to Fra Giovanni Agnolo, the Servite friar, all sculptors; and he gave them assistance in these, making rough models in clay for each of them. Whereupon they all worked valiantly, and he, also, caused work to be pursued on the library, and thus the ceiling was finished in carved woodwork, which was executed after his models by the hands of the Florentines Carota and Tasso, excellent carvers and also masters of carpentry; and likewise the shelves for the books, which were executed at that time by Battista del Cinque and his friend Ciappino, good masters in that profession. And in order to give the work its final perfection there was summoned to Florence the divine Giovanni da Udine, who, together with others his assistants and also some Florentine masters, decorated the tribune with stucco; and they all sought with great solicitude to give completion to that vast undertaking.

Now, just as Michelagnolo was about to have the statues carried [Pg 52] into execution, at that very time the Pope took it into his head to have him near his person, being desirous to have the walls of the Chapel of Sixtus painted, where Michelagnolo had painted the vaulting for Julius II, his nephew. On the principal wall, where the altar is, Clement wished him to paint the Universal Judgment, to the end that he might display in that scene all that the art of design could achieve, and opposite to it, on the other wall, over the principal door, he had commanded that he should depict the scene when Lucifer was expelled for his pride from Heaven, and all those Angels who sinned with him were hurled after him into the centre of Hell: of which inventions it was found that Michelagnolo many years before had made various sketches and designs, one of which was afterwards carried into execution in the Church of the Trinità at Rome by a Sicilian painter, who stayed many months with Michelagnolo, to serve him and to grind his colours. This work, painted in fresco, is in the Chapel of S. Gregorio, in the cross of the church, and, although it is executed badly, there is a certain variety and terrible force in the attitudes and groups of those nudes that are raining down from Heaven, and of the others who, having fallen into the centre of the earth, are changed into various forms of Devils, very horrible and bizarre; and it is certainly an extraordinary fantasy. While Michelagnolo was directing the preparation of the designs and cartoons of the Last Judgment on the first wall, he never ceased for a single day to be at strife with the agents of the Duke of Urbino, by whom he was accused of having received sixteen thousand crowns from Julius II for the tomb. This accusation was more than he could bear, and he desired to finish the work some day, although he was already an old man, and he would have willingly stayed in Rome to finish it, now that he had found, without seeking it, such a pretext for not returning any more to Florence, since he had a great fear of Duke Alessandro de' Medici, whom he regarded as little his friend; for, when the Duke had given him to understand through Signor Alessandro Vitelli that he should select the best site for the building of the castle and citadel of Florence, he answered that he would not go save at the command of Pope Clement.

Finally an agreement was formed in the matter of the tomb, that [Pg 53] it should be finished in the following manner: there was no longer to be an isolated tomb in a rectangular shape, but only one of the original façades, in the manner that best pleased Michelagnolo, and he was to be obliged to place in it six statues by his own hand. In this contract that was made with the Duke of Urbino, his Excellency consented that Michelagnolo should be at the disposal of Pope Clement for four months in the year, either in Florence or wherever he might think fit to employ him. But, although it seemed to Michelagnolo that at last he had obtained some peace, he was not to be quit of it so easily, for Pope Clement, desiring to see the final proof of the force of his art, kept him occupied with the cartoon of the Judgment. However, contriving to convince the Pope that he was thus engaged, at the same time he kept working in secret, never relaxing his efforts, at the statues that were going into the above-named tomb.

In the year 1533[1] came the death of Pope Clement, whereupon the work of the library and sacristy in Florence, which had remained unfinished in spite of all the efforts made to finish it, was stopped. Then, at length, Michelagnolo thought to be truly free and able to give his attention to finishing the tomb of Julius II. But Paul III, not long after his election, had him summoned to his presence, and, besides paying him compliments and making him offers, requested him to enter his service and remain near his person. Michelagnolo refused, saying that he was not able to do it, being bound by contract to the Duke of Urbino until the tomb of Julius should be finished. The Pope flew into a rage and said: "I have had this desire for thirty years, and now that I am Pope do you think I shall not satisfy it? I shall tear up the contract, for I am determined to have you serve me, come what may." Michelagnolo, hearing this resolution, was tempted to leave Rome and in some way find means to give completion to the tomb; however, fearing, like a wise man, the power of the Pope, he resolved to try to keep him pacified with words, seeing that he was so old, until something should happen. The Pope, who wished to have some extraordinary work executed by Michelagnolo, went one day with ten Cardinals to visit him at his house, where he [Pg 54] demanded to see all the statues for the tomb of Julius, which appeared to him marvellous, and particularly the Moses, which figure alone was said by the Cardinal of Mantua to be enough to do honour to Pope Julius. And after seeing the designs and cartoons that he was preparing for the wall of the chapel, which appeared to the Pope to be stupendous, he again besought Michelagnolo with great insistence that he should enter his service, promising that he would persuade the Duke of Urbino to content himself with three statues, and that the others should be given to other excellent masters to execute after his models. Whereupon, his Holiness having arranged this with the agents of the Duke, a new contract was made, which was confirmed by the Duke; and Michelagnolo of his own free will bound himself to pay for the other three statues and to have the tomb erected, depositing for this purpose in the bank of the Strozzi one thousand five hundred and eighty ducats. This he might have avoided, and it seemed to him that he had truly done enough to be free of such a long and troublesome undertaking; and afterwards he caused the tomb to be erected in S. Pietro in Vincola in the following manner. He erected the lower base, which was all carved, with four pedestals which projected outwards as much as was necessary to give space for the captive that was originally intended to stand on each of them, instead of which there was left a terminal figure; and since the lower part had thus a poor effect, he placed at the feet of each terminal figure a reversed console resting on the pedestal. Those four terminal figures had between them three niches, two of which (those at the sides) were round, and were to have contained the Victories. Instead of the Victories, he placed in one Leah, the daughter of Laban, to represent the Active Life, with a mirror in her hand to signify the consideration that we should give to our actions, and in the other hand a garland of flowers, to denote the virtues that adorn our life during its duration, and make it glorious after death; and the other figure was her sister Rachel, representing the Contemplative Life, with the hands clasped and one knee bent, and on the countenance a look as of ecstasy of spirit. These statues Michelagnolo executed with his own hand in less than a year. In the centre is the other niche, rectangular in shape, which in the original [Pg 55] design was to have been one of the doors that were to lead into the little oval temple of the rectangular tomb; this having become a niche, there is placed in it, upon a dado of marble, the gigantic and most beautiful statue of Moses, of which we have already said enough. Above the heads of the terminal figures, which form capitals, are architrave, frieze, and cornice, which project beyond those figures and are carved with rich ornaments, foliage, ovoli, dentils, and other rich members, distributed over the whole work. Over that cornice rises another course, smooth and without carvings, but with different terminal figures standing directly above those below, after the manner of pilasters, with a variety of cornice-members; and since this course accompanies that below and resembles it in every part, there is in it a space similar to the other, forming a niche like that in which there is now the Moses, and in the niche, resting on projections of the cornice, is a sarcophagus of marble with the recumbent statue of Pope Julius, executed by the sculptor Maso dal Bosco, while in that niche, also, there stands a Madonna who is holding her Son in her arms, wrought by the sculptor Scherano da Settignano from a model by Michelagnolo; which statues are passing good. In two other rectangular niches, above the Active and the Contemplative Life, are two larger statues, a Prophet and a Sibyl seated, which were both executed by Raffaello da Montelupo, as has been related in the Life of his father Baccio, but little to the satisfaction of Michelagnolo. For its crowning completion this work had a different cornice, which, like those below, projected over the whole work; and above the terminal figures, as a finish, were candelabra of marble, with the arms of Pope Julius in the centre. Above the Prophet and the Sibyl, in the recess of each niche, he made a window for the convenience of the friars who officiate in that church, the choir having been made behind; which windows serve to send their voices into the church when they say the divine office, and permit the celebration to be seen. Truly this whole work has turned out very well, but not by a great measure as it had been planned in the original design.

The Last Judgment.

(After the fresco by Michelagnolo. Rome: The Vatican, Sistine Chapel)
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Michelagnolo resolved, since he could not do otherwise, to serve Pope Paul, who allowed him to continue the work as ordered by Clement, [Pg 56] without changing anything in the inventions and the general conception that had been laid before him, thus showing respect for the genius of that great man, for whom he felt such reverence and love that he sought to do nothing but what pleased him; of which a proof was soon seen. His Holiness desired to place his own arms beneath the Jonas in the chapel, where those of Pope Julius II had previously been put; but Michelagnolo, being asked to do this, and not wishing to do a wrong to Julius and Clement, would not place them there, saying that they would not look well; and the Pope, in order not to displease him, was content to have it so, having recognized very well the excellence of such a man, and how he always followed what was just and honourable without any adulation or respect of persons—a thing that the great are wont to experience very seldom. Michelagnolo, then, caused a projection of well baked and chosen bricks to be carefully built on the wall of the above-named chapel (a thing which was not there before), and contrived that it should overhang half a braccio from above, so that neither dust nor any other dirt might be able to settle upon it. But I will not go into the particulars of the invention and composition of this scene, because so many copies of it, both large and small, have been printed, that it does not seem necessary to lose time in describing it. It is enough for us to perceive that the intention of this extraordinary man has been to refuse to paint anything but the human body in its best proportioned and most perfect forms and in the greatest variety of attitudes, and not this only, but likewise the play of the passions and contentments of the soul, being satisfied with justifying himself in that field in which he was superior to all his fellow-craftsmen, and to lay open the way of the grand manner in the painting of nudes, and his great knowledge in the difficulties of design; and, finally, he opened out the way to facility in this art in its principal province, which is the human body, and, attending to this single object, he left on one side the charms of colouring and the caprices and new fantasies of certain minute and delicate refinements which many other painters, perhaps not without some show of reason, have not entirely neglected. For some, not so well grounded in design, have sought with variety of tints and shades of colouring, with various new and bizarre inventions, and, in short, with the [Pg 57] other method, to win themselves a place among the first masters; but Michelagnolo, standing always firmly rooted in his profound knowledge of art, has shown to those who know enough how they should attain to perfection.

But to return to the story: Michelagnolo had already carried to completion more than three-fourths of the work, when Pope Paul went to see it. And Messer Biagio da Cesena, the master of ceremonies, a person of great propriety, who was in the chapel with the Pope, being asked what he thought of it, said that it was a very disgraceful thing to have made in so honourable a place all those nude figures showing their nakedness so shamelessly, and that it was a work not for the chapel of a Pope, but for a bagnio or tavern. Michelagnolo was displeased at this, and, wishing to revenge himself, as soon as Biagio had departed he portrayed him from life, without having him before his eyes at all, in the figure of Minos with a great serpent twisted round the legs, among a heap of Devils in Hell; nor was Messer Biagio's pleading with the Pope and with Michelagnolo to have it removed of any avail, for it was left there in memory of the occasion, and it is still to be seen at the present day.

It happened at this time that Michelagnolo fell no small distance from the staging of this work, and hurt his leg; and in his pain and anger he would not be treated by anyone. Now there was living at this same time the Florentine Maestro Baccio Rontini, his friend, an ingenious physician, who had a great affection for his genius; and he, taking compassion on him, went one day to knock at his door. Receiving no answer either from the neighbours or from him, he so contrived to climb by certain secret ways from one room to another, that he came to Michelagnolo, who was in a desperate state. And then Maestro Biagio would never abandon him or take himself off until he was cured.

Having recovered from this injury, he returned to his labour, and, working at it continually, he carried it to perfect completion in a few months, giving such force to the paintings in the work, that he justified the words of Dante—

Morti li morti, i vivi parean vivi.

[Pg 58] And here, also, may be seen the misery of the damned and the joy of the blessed. Wherefore, when this Judgment was thrown open to view, it proved that he had not only vanquished all the earlier masters who had worked there, but had sought to surpass the vaulting that he himself had made so famous, excelling it by a great measure and outstripping his own self. For he imagined to himself the terror of those days, and depicted, for the greater pain of all who have not lived well, the whole Passion of Christ, causing various naked figures in the air to carry the Cross, the Column, the Lance, the Sponge, the Nails, and the Crown of Thorns, all in different attitudes, executed to perfection in a triumph of facility over their difficulties. In that scene is Christ seated, with a countenance proud and terrible, turning towards the damned and cursing them; not without great fear in Our Lady, who, hearing and beholding that vast havoc, draws her mantle close around her. There are innumerable figures, Prophets and Apostles, that form a circle about Him, and in particular Adam and S. Peter, who are believed to have been placed there, one as the first parent of those thus brought to judgment, and the other as having been the first foundation of the Christian Church; and at His feet is a most beautiful S. Bartholomew, who is displaying his flayed skin. There is likewise a nude figure of S. Laurence; besides which, there are multitudes of Saints without number, both male and female, and other figures, men and women, around Him, near or distant, who embrace one another and make rejoicing, having received eternal blessedness by the grace of God and as the reward of their works. Beneath the feet of Christ are the Seven Angels with the Seven Trumpets described by S. John the Evangelist, who, as they sound the call to judgment, cause the hair of all who behold them to stand on end at the terrible wrath that their countenances reveal. Among others are two Angels that have each the Book of Life in the hands: and near them, on one side, not without beautiful consideration, are seen the Seven Mortal Sins in the forms of Devils, assailing and striving to drag down to Hell the souls that are flying towards Heaven, all with very beautiful attitudes and most admirable foreshortenings. Nor did he hesitate to show to the world, in the resurrection of the dead, how they take to themselves flesh and [Pg 59] bones once more from the same earth, and how, assisted by others already alive, they go soaring towards Heaven, whence succour is brought to them by certain souls already blessed; not without evidence of all those marks of consideration that could be thought to be required in so great a work. For studies and labours of every kind were executed by him, which may be recognized throughout the whole work without exception; and this is manifested with particular clearness in the barque of Charon, who, in an attitude of fury, strikes with his oars at the souls dragged down by the Devils into the barque, after the likeness of the picture that the master's best-beloved poet, Dante, described when he said—

Caron demonio con occhi di bragia,
Loro accennando, tutte le raccoglie,
Batte col remo qualunque si adagia.

Charon's Boat: Detail from the Last Judgment.

(After the fresco by Michelagnolo. Rome: The Vatican, Sistine Chapel)
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Nor would it be possible to imagine how much variety there is in the heads of those Devils, which are truly monsters from Hell. In the sinners may be seen sin and the fear of eternal damnation; and, to say nothing of the beauty of every detail, it is extraordinary to see so great a work executed with such harmony of painting, that it appears as if done in one day, and with such finish as was never achieved in any miniature. And, of a truth, the terrible force and grandeur of the work, with the multitude of figures, are such that it is not possible to describe it, for it is filled with all the passions known to human creatures, and all expressed in the most marvellous manner. For the proud, the envious, the avaricious, the wanton, and all the other suchlike sinners can be distinguished with ease by any man of fine perception, because in figuring them Michelagnolo observed every rule of Nature in the expressions, in the attitudes, and in every other natural circumstance; a thing which, although great and marvellous, was not impossible to such a man, for the reason that he was always observant and shrewd and had seen men in plenty, and had acquired by commerce with the world that knowledge that philosophers gain from cogitation and from writings. Wherefore he who has judgment and understanding in painting perceives there the most terrible force of art, and sees in those figures such thoughts and passions as were never [Pg 60] painted by any other but Michelagnolo. So, also, he may see there how the variety of innumerable attitudes is accomplished, in the strange and diverse gestures of young and old, male and female; and who is there who does not recognize in these the terrible power of his art, together with the grace that he had from Nature, since they move the hearts not only of those who have knowledge in that profession, but even of those who have none? There are foreshortenings that appear as if in relief, a harmony of painting that gives great softness, and fineness in the parts painted by him with delicacy, all showing in truth how pictures executed by good and true painters should be; and in the outlines of the forms turned by him in such a way as could not have been achieved by any other but Michelagnolo, may be seen the true Judgment and the true Damnation and Resurrection. This is for our art the exemplar and the grand manner of painting sent down to men on earth by God, to the end that they may see how Destiny works when intellects descend from the heights of Heaven to earth, and have infused in them divine grace and knowledge. This work leads after it bound in chains those who persuade themselves that they have mastered art; and at the sight of the strokes drawn by him in the outlines of no matter what figure, every sublime spirit, however mighty in design, trembles and is afraid. And while the eyes gaze at his labours in this work, the senses are numbed at the mere thought of what manner of things all other pictures, those painted and those still unpainted, would appear if placed in comparison with such perfection. Truly blessed may he be called, and blessed his memories, who has seen this truly stupendous marvel of our age! Most happy and most fortunate Paul III, in that God granted that under thy protection should be acquired the renown that the pens of writers shall give to his memory and thine! How highly are thy merits enhanced by his genius! And what good fortune have the craftsmen had in this age from his birth, in that they have seen the veil of every difficulty torn away, and have beheld in the pictures, sculptures, and architectural works executed by him all that can be imagined and achieved!

S. Sebastian.

(After the fresco by Michelagnolo. Rome: The Vatican, Sistine Chapel)
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He toiled eight years over executing this work, and threw it open to view in the year 1541, I believe, on Christmas day, to the marvel and [Pg 61] amazement of all Rome, nay, of the whole world; and I, who was that year in Venice, and went to Rome to see it, was struck dumb by its beauty.

Pope Paul, as has been related, had caused a chapel called the Pauline to be erected on the same floor by Antonio da San Gallo, in imitation of that of Nicholas V; and in this he resolved that Michelagnolo should paint two great pictures with two large scenes. In one he painted the Conversion of S. Paul, with Jesus Christ in the air and a multitude of nude Angels making most beautiful movements, and below, all dazed and terrified, Paul fallen from his horse to the level of the ground, with his soldiers about him, some striving to raise him up, and others, struck with awe by the voice and splendour of Christ, are flying in beautiful attitudes and marvellous movements of panic, while the horse, taking to flight, appears to be carrying away in its headlong course him who seeks to hold it back; and this whole scene is executed with extraordinary design and art. In the other picture is the Crucifixion of S. Peter, who is fixed, a nude figure of rare beauty, upon the cross; showing the ministers of the crucifixion, after they have made a hole in the ground, seeking to raise the cross on high, to the end that he may remain crucified with his feet in the air; and there are many remarkable and beautiful considerations. Michelagnolo, as has been said elsewhere, gave his attention only to the perfection of art, and therefore there are no landscapes to be seen there, nor trees, nor buildings, nor any other distracting graces of art, for to these he never applied himself, as one, perchance, who would not abase his great genius to such things. These, executed by him at the age of seventy-five, were his last pictures, and, as he used himself to tell me, they cost him much fatigue, for the reason that painting, and particularly working in fresco, is no art for men who have passed a certain age. Michelagnolo arranged that Perino del Vaga, a very excellent painter, should decorate the vaulting with stucco and with many things in painting, after his designs, and such, also, was the wish of Pope Paul III; but the work was afterwards delayed, and nothing more was done, even as many undertakings are left unfinished, partly by the fault of want of resolution in the craftsmen, and partly by that of Princes little zealous in urging them on.

[Pg 62] Pope Paul had made a beginning with the fortifying of the Borgo, and had summoned many gentlemen, together with Antonio da San Gallo, to a conference; but he wished that Michelagnolo also should have a part in this, knowing that the fortifications about the hill of S. Miniato in Florence had been constructed under his direction. After much discussion, Michelagnolo was asked what he thought; and he, having opinions contrary to San Gallo and many others, declared them freely. Whereupon San Gallo said to him that his arts were sculpture and painting, and not fortification. Michelagnolo replied that of sculpture and painting he knew little, but of fortification, what with the thought that he had devoted to it for a long time, and his experience in what he had done, it appeared to him that he knew more than either Antonio or any of his family; showing him in the presence of the company that he had made many errors in that art. Words rising high on either side, the Pope had to command silence; but no long time passed before Michelagnolo brought a design for all the fortifications of the Borgo, which laid open the way for all that has since been ordained and executed; and this was the reason that the great gate of S. Spirito, which was approaching completion under the direction of San Gallo, was left unfinished.


(After Michelagnolo. Florence: Duomo)
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The spirit and genius of Michelagnolo could not rest without doing something; and, since he was not able to paint, he set to work on a piece of marble, intending to carve from it four figures in the round and larger than life, including a Dead Christ, for his own delight and to pass the time, and because, as he used to say, the exercise of the hammer kept him healthy in body. This Christ, taken down from the Cross, is supported by Our Lady, by Nicodemus, who bends down and assists her, planted firmly on his feet in a forceful attitude, and by one of the Maries, who also gives her aid, perceiving that the Mother, overcome by grief, is failing in strength and not able to uphold Him. Nor is there anywhere to be seen a dead form equal to that of Christ, who, sinking with the limbs hanging limp, lies in an attitude wholly different, not only from that of any other work by Michelagnolo, but from that of any other figure that was ever made. A laborious work is this, a rare achievement in a single stone, and truly divine; but, as will be related hereafter, it remained [Pg 63] unfinished, and suffered many misfortunes, although Michelagnolo had intended that it should serve to adorn his own tomb, at the foot of that altar where he thought to place it.

It happened in the year 1546 that Antonio da San Gallo died; whereupon, there being now no one to direct the building of S. Pietro, many suggestions were made by the superintendents to the Pope as to who should have it. Finally his Holiness, inspired, I believe, by God, resolved to send for Michelagnolo. But he, when asked to take Antonio's place, refused it, saying, in order to avoid such a burden, that architecture was not his proper art; and in the end, entreaties not availing, the Pope commanded that he should accept it, whereupon, to his great displeasure and against his wish, he was forced to undertake that enterprise. And one day among others that he went to S. Pietro to see the wooden model that San Gallo had made, and to examine the building, he found there the whole San Gallo faction, who, crowding before Michelagnolo, said to him in the best terms at their command that they rejoiced that the charge of the building was to be his, and that the model was a field where there would never be any want of pasture. "You speak the truth," answered Michelagnolo, meaning to infer, as he declared to a friend, that it was good for sheep and oxen, who knew nothing of art. And afterwards he used to say publicly that San Gallo had made it wanting in lights, that it had on the exterior too many ranges of columns one above another, and that, with its innumerable projections, pinnacles, and subdivisions of members, it was more akin to the German manner than to the good method of the ancients or to the gladsome and beautiful modern manner; and, in addition to this, that it was possible to save fifty years of time and more than three hundred thousand crowns of money in finishing the building, and to execute it with more majesty, grandeur, and facility, greater beauty and convenience, and better ordered design. This he afterwards proved by a model that he made, in order to bring it to the form in which the work is now seen constructed; and thus he demonstrated that what he said was nothing but the truth. This model cost him twenty-five crowns, and was made in a fortnight; that of San Gallo, as has been related, cost four thousand, and took [Pg 64] many years to finish. From this and other circumstances it became evident that that fabric was but a shop and a business for making money, and that it would be continually delayed, with the intention of never finishing it, by those who had undertaken it as a means of profit.

Stairs of the Palace of the Senators.

(After Michelagnolo. Rome: The Capitol)
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Such methods did not please our upright Michelagnolo, and in order to get rid of all these people, while the Pope was forcing him to accept the office of architect to the work, he said to them openly one day that they should use all the assistance of their friends and do all that they could to prevent him from entering on that office, because, if he were to undertake such a charge, he would not have one of them about the building. Which words, spoken in public, were taken very ill, as may be believed, and were the reason that they conceived a great hatred against him, which increased every day as they saw the whole design being changed, both within and without, so that they would scarcely let him live, seeking out daily new and various devices to harass him, as will be related in the proper place. Finally the Pope issued a Motu-proprio creating him head of that fabric, with full authority, and giving him power to do or undo whatever he chose, and to add, take away, or vary anything at his pleasure; and he decreed that all the officials employed in the work should be subservient to his will. Whereupon Michelagnolo, seeing the great confidence and trust that the Pope placed in him, desired, in order to prove his generosity, that it should be declared in the Motu-proprio that he was serving in the fabric for the love of God and without any reward. It is true that the Pope had formerly granted to him the ferry over the river at Parma,[2] which yielded him about six hundred crowns; but he lost it at the death of Duke Pier Luigi Farnese, and in exchange for it he was given a Chancellery at Rimini, a post of less value. About that he showed no concern; and, although the Pope sent him money several times by way of salary, he would never accept it, to which witness is borne by Messer Alessandro Ruffini, Chamberlain to the Pope at that time, and by M. Pier Giovanni Aliotti, Bishop of Forlì. Finally the model that had been made by Michelagnolo was approved by the Pope; which model diminished S. Pietro in size, but gave it greater grandeur, [Pg 65] to the satisfaction of all those who have judgment, although some who profess to be good judges, which in fact they are not, do not approve of it. He found that the four principal piers built by Bramante, and left by Antonio da San Gallo, which had to support the weight of the tribune, were weak; and these he partly filled up, and beside them he made two winding or spiral staircases, in which is an ascent so easy that the beasts of burden can climb them, carrying all the materials to the very top, and men on horseback, likewise, can go up to the uppermost level of the arches. The first cornice above the arches he constructed of travertine, curving in a round, which is an admirable and graceful thing, and very different from any other; nor could anything better of that kind be done. He also made a beginning with the two great recesses of the transepts; and whereas formerly, under the direction of Bramante, Baldassarre, and Raffaello, as has been related, eight tabernacles were being made on the side towards the Camposanto, and that plan was afterwards followed by San Gallo, Michelagnolo reduced these to three, with three chapels in the interior, and above them a vaulting of travertine, and a range of windows giving a brilliant light, which are varied in form and of a sublime grandeur. But, since these things are in existence, and are also to be seen in engraving, not only those of Michelagnolo, but those of San Gallo as well, I will not set myself to describe them, for it is in no way necessary. Let it suffice to say that he set himself, with all possible diligence, to cause the work to be carried on in those parts where the fabric was to be changed in design, to the end that it might remain so solid and stable that it might never be changed by another; which was the wise provision of a shrewd and prudent intellect, because it is not enough to do good work, if further precautions be not taken, seeing that the boldness and presumption of those who might be supposed to have knowledge if credit were placed rather in their words than in their deeds, and at times the favour of such as know nothing, may give rise to many misfortunes.

The Roman people, with the sanction of that Pope, had a desire to give some useful, commodious, and beautiful form to the Campidoglio, and to furnish it with colonnades, ascents, and inclined approaches with [Pg 66] and without steps, and also with the further adornment of the ancient statues that were already there, in order to embellish that place. For this purpose they sought the advice of Michelagnolo, who made them a most beautiful and very rich design, in which, on the side where the Senatore stands, towards the east, he arranged a façade of travertine, and a flight of steps that ascends from two sides to meet on a level space, from which one enters into the centre of the hall of that Palace, with rich curving wings adorned with balusters that serve as supports and parapets. And there, to enrich that part, he caused to be placed on certain bases the two ancient figures in marble of recumbent River Gods, each of nine braccia, and of rare workmanship, one of which is the Tiber and the other the Nile; and between them, in a niche, is to go a Jove. On the southern side, where there is the Palace of the Conservatori, in order that it might be made rectangular, there followed a rich and well varied façade, with a loggia at the foot full of columns and niches, where many ancient statues are to go; and all around are various ornaments, doors, windows, and the like, of which some are already in place. On the other side from this, towards the north, below the Araceli, there is to follow another similar façade; and before it, towards the west, is to be an ascent of baston-like steps, which will be almost level, with a border and parapet of balusters; here will be the principal entrance, with a colonnade, and bases on which will be placed all that wealth of noble statues in which the Campidoglio is now so rich. In the middle of the Piazza, on a base in the form of an oval, is placed the famous bronze horse on which is the statue of Marcus Aurelius, which the same Pope Paul caused to be removed from the Piazza di Laterano, where Sixtus IV had placed it. This edifice is now being made so beautiful that it is worthy to be numbered among the finest works that Michelagnolo has executed, and it is being carried to completion at the present day under the direction of M. Tommaso de' Cavalieri, a Roman gentleman who was, and still is, one of the greatest friends that Michelagnolo ever had, as will be related hereafter.

Court of the Palazzo Farnese.

(After Michelagnolo. Rome)
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Pope Paul III had caused San Gallo, while he was alive, to carry forward the Palace of the Farnese family, but the great upper cornice, [Pg 67] to finish the roof on the outer side, had still to be constructed, and his Holiness desired that Michelagnolo should execute it from his own designs and directions. Michelagnolo, not being able to refuse the Pope, who so esteemed and favoured him, caused a model of wood to be made, six braccia in length, and of the size that it was to be; and this he placed on one of the corners of the Palace, so that it might show what effect the finished work would have. It pleased his Holiness and all Rome, and that part of it has since been carried to completion which is now to be seen, proving to be the most varied and the most beautiful of all that have ever been known, whether ancient or modern. On this account, after San Gallo was dead, the Pope desired that Michelagnolo should have charge of the whole fabric as well; and there he made the great marble window with the beautiful columns of variegated marble, which is over the principal door of the Palace, with a large escutcheon of great beauty and variety, in marble, of Pope Paul III, the founder of that Palace. Within the Palace he continued, above the first range of the court, the two other ranges, with the most varied, graceful, and beautiful windows, ornaments and upper cornice that have ever been seen, so that, through the labours and the genius of that man that court has now become the most handsome in Europe. He widened and enlarged the Great Hall, and set in order the front vestibule, and caused the vaulting of that vestibule to be constructed in a new variety of curve, in the form of a half oval.

Now in that year there was found at the Baths of Antoninus a mass of marble seven braccia in every direction, in which there had been carved by the ancients a Hercules standing upon a mound, who was holding the Bull by the horns, with another figure assisting him, and around that mound various figures of Shepherds, Nymphs, and different animals—a work of truly extraordinary beauty, showing figures so perfect in one single block without any added pieces, which was judged to have been intended for a fountain. Michelagnolo advised that it should be conveyed into the second court, and there restored so as to make it spout water in the original manner; all which advice was approved, and the work is still being restored at the present day with great diligence, [Pg 68] by order of the Farnese family, for that purpose. At that time, also, Michelagnolo made a design for the building of a bridge across the River Tiber in a straight line with the Farnese Palace, to the end that it might be possible to go from that palace to another palace and gardens that they possessed in the Trastevere, and also to see at one glance in a straight line from the principal door which faces the Campo di Fiore, the court, the fountain, the Strada Giulia, the bridge, and the beauties of the other garden, even to the other door which opened on the Strada di Trastevere—a rare work, worthy of that Pontiff and of the judgment, design, and art of Michelagnolo.

In the year 1547 died Sebastiano Viniziano, the Friar of the Piombo; and, Pope Paul proposing that the ancient statues of his Palace should be restored, Michelagnolo willingly favoured the Milanese sculptor Guglielmo della Porta, a young man of promise, who had been recommended by the above-named Fra Sebastiano to Michelagnolo, who, liking his work, presented him to Pope Paul for the restoration of those statues. And the matter went so far forward that Michelagnolo obtained for him the office of the Piombo, and he then set to work on restoring the statues, some of which are to be seen in that Palace at the present day. But Guglielmo, forgetting the benefits that he had received from Michelagnolo, afterwards became one of his opponents.

In the year 1549 there took place the death of Pope Paul III; whereupon, after the election of Pope Julius III, Cardinal Farnese gave orders for a grand tomb to be made for his kinsman Pope Paul by the hand of Fra Guglielmo, who arranged to erect it in S. Pietro, below the first arch of the new church, beneath the tribune, which obstructed the floor of the church, and was, in truth, not the proper place. Michelagnolo advised, most judiciously, that it could not and should not stand there, and the Frate, believing that he was doing this out of envy, became filled with hatred against him; but afterwards he recognized that Michelagnolo had spoken the truth, and that the fault was his, in that he had had the opportunity and had not finished the work, as will be related in another place. And to this I can bear witness, for the reason that in the year 1550 I had gone by order of Pope Julius III to Rome to serve him (and [Pg 69] very willingly, for love of Michelagnolo), and I took part in that discussion. Michelagnolo desired that the tomb should be erected in one of the niches, where there is now the Column of the Possessed, which was the proper place, and I had so gone to work that Julius III was resolving to have his own tomb made in the other niche with the same design as that of Pope Paul, in order to balance that work; but the Frate, who set himself against this, brought it about that his own was never finished after all, and that the tomb of the other Pontiff was also not made; which had all been predicted by Michelagnolo.

In the same year Pope Julius turned his attention to having a chapel of marble with two tombs constructed in the Church of S. Pietro a Montorio for Cardinal Antonio di Monte, his uncle, and Messer Fabiano, his grandfather, the first founder of the greatness of that illustrious house. For this work Vasari having made designs and models, Pope Julius, who always esteemed the genius of Michelagnolo and loved Vasari, desired that Michelagnolo should fix the price between them; and Vasari besought the Pope that he should prevail upon him to take it under his protection. Now Vasari had proposed Simone Mosca for the carvings of this work, and Raffaello da Montelupo for the statues; but Michelagnolo advised that no carvings of foliage should be made in it, not even in the architectural parts of the work, saying that where there are to be figures of marble there must not be any other thing. On which account Vasari feared that the work should be abandoned, because it would look poor; but in fact, when he saw it finished, he confessed that Michelagnolo had shown great judgment. Michelagnolo would not have Montelupo make the statues, remembering how badly he had acquitted himself in those of his own tomb of Julius II, and he was content, rather, that they should be entrusted to Bartolommeo Ammanati, whom Vasari had proposed, although Buonarroti had something of a private grievance against him, as also against Nanni di Baccio Bigio, caused by a reason which, if one considers it well, seems slight enough; for when they were very young, moved rather by love of art than by a desire to do wrong, they had entered with great pains into his house, and had taken from Antonio Mini, the disciple of Michelagnolo, many sheets with drawings; [Pg 70] but these were afterwards all restored to him by order of the Tribunal of Eight, and, at the intercession of his friend Messer Giovanni Norchiati, Canon of S. Lorenzo, he would not have any other punishment inflicted on them. Vasari, when Michelagnolo spoke to him of this matter, said to him, laughing, that it did not seem to him that they deserved any blame, and that he himself, if he had ever been able, would have not taken a few drawings only, but robbed him of everything by his hand that he might have been able to seize, merely for the sake of learning art. One must look kindly, he said, on those who seek after excellence, and also reward them, and therefore such men must not be treated like those who go about stealing money, household property, and other things of value; and so the matter was turned into a jest. This was the reason that a beginning was made with the work of the Montorio, and that in the same year Vasari and Ammanati went to have the marble conveyed from Carrara to Rome for the execution of that work.

At that time Vasari was with Michelagnolo every day; and one morning the Pope in his kindness gave them both leave that they might visit the Seven Churches on horseback (for it was Holy Year), and receive the Pardon in company. Whereupon, while going from one church to another, they had many useful and beautiful conversations on art and every industry, and out of these Vasari composed a dialogue, which will be published at some more favourable opportunity, together with other things concerning art. In that year Pope Julius III confirmed the Motu-proprio of Pope Paul III with regard to the building of S. Pietro; and although much evil was spoken to him of Michelagnolo by the friends of the San Gallo faction, in the matter of that fabric of S. Pietro, at that time the Pope would not listen to a word, for Vasari had demonstrated to him (as was the truth) that Michelagnolo had given life to the building, and also persuaded his Holiness that he should do nothing concerned with design without the advice of Michelagnolo. This promise the Pope kept ever afterwards, for neither at the Vigna Julia did he do anything without his counsel, nor at the Belvedere, where there was built the staircase that is there now, in place of the semicircular staircase that came forward, [Pg 71] ascending in eight steps, and turned inwards in eight more steps, erected in former times by Bramante in the great recess in the centre of the Belvedere. And Michelagnolo designed and caused to be built the very beautiful quadrangular staircase, with balusters of peperino-stone, which is there at the present day.

Vasari had finished in that year the printing of his work, the Lives of the Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, in Florence. Now he had not written the Life of any living master, although some who were old were still alive, save only of Michelagnolo; and in the book were many records of circumstances that Vasari had received from his lips, his age and his judgment being the greatest among all the craftsmen. Giorgio therefore presented the work to him, and he received it very gladly; and not long afterwards, having read it, Michelagnolo sent to him the following sonnet, written by himself, which I am pleased to include in this place in memory of his loving-kindness:

Se con lo stile o co' colori havete
Alla Natura pareggiato l'Arte,
Anzi a quella scemato il pregio in parte,
Che 'l bel di lei più bello a noi rendete,
Poichè con dotta man posto vi siete
A più degno lavoro, a vergar carte,
Quel che vi manca a lei di pregio in parte,
Nel dar vita ad altrui tutto togliete.
Che se secolo alcuno omai contese
In far bell'opre, almen cedale, poi
Che convien', ch'al prescritto fine arrive.
Or le memorie altrui già spente accese
Tornando fate, or che sien quelle, e voi,
Mal grado d'esse, eternalmente vive.

Vasari departed for Florence, and left to Michelagnolo the charge of having the work founded in the Montorio. Now Messer Bindo Altoviti, the Consul of the Florentine colony at that time, was much the friend of Vasari, and on this occasion Giorgio said to him that it would be well to have this work erected in the Church of S. Giovanni de' Fiorentini, and that he had already spoken of it with Michelagnolo, who would favour [Pg 72] the enterprise; and that this would be a means of giving completion to that church. This proposal pleased Messer Bindo, and, being very intimate with the Pope, he urged it warmly upon him, demonstrating that it would be well that the chapel and the tombs which his Holiness was having executed for the Montorio should be placed in the Church of S. Giovanni de' Fiorentini; adding that the result would be that with this occasion and this spur the Florentine colony would undertake such expenditure that the church would receive its completion, and, if his Holiness were to build the principal chapel, the other merchants would build six chapels, and then little by little all the rest. Whereupon the Pope changed his mind, and, although the model for the work was already made and the price arranged, went to the Montorio and sent for Michelagnolo, to whom Vasari was writing every day, receiving answers from him according to the opportunities presented in the course of affairs. Michelagnolo then wrote to Vasari, on the first day of August in 1550, of the change that the Pope had made; and these are his words, written in his own hand:


"My dear Messer Giorgio,

"With regard to the founding of the work at S. Pietro a Montorio, and how the Pope would not listen to a word, I wrote you nothing, knowing that you are kept informed by your man here. Now I must tell you what has happened, which is as follows. Yesterday morning the Pope, having gone to the said Montorio, sent for me. I met him on the bridge, on his way back, and had a long conversation with him about the tombs allotted to you; and in the end he told me that he was resolved that he would not place those tombs on that mount, but in the Church of the Florentines. He sought from me my opinion and also designs, and I encouraged him not a little, considering that by this means the said church would be finished. Respecting your three letters received, I have no pen wherewith to answer to such exalted matters, but if I should rejoice to be in some sort what you make me, I should rejoice for no other reason save that you might have a servant who might be worth something. But I do not marvel that you, who restore dead [Pg 73] men to life, should lengthen the life of the living, or rather, that you should steal from death for an unlimited period those barely alive. To cut this short, such as I am, I am wholly yours,

"Michelagnolo Buonarroti."

While these matters were being discussed, and the Florentine colony was seeking to raise money, certain difficulties arose, on account of which they came to no decision, and the affair grew cold. Meanwhile, Vasari and Ammanati having by this time had all the marbles quarried at Carrara, a great part of them were sent to Rome, and with them Ammanati, through whom Vasari wrote to Buonarroti that he should ascertain from the Pope where he wanted the tomb, and, after receiving his orders, should have the work begun. The moment that Michelagnolo received the letter, he spoke to his Holiness; and with his own hand he wrote the following resolution to Vasari:

"13th of October, 1550.

"My dear Messer Giorgio,

"The instant that Bartolommeo arrived here, I went to speak to the Pope, and, having perceived that he wished to begin the work once more at the Montorio, in the matter of the tombs, I looked for a mason from S. Pietro. 'Tantecose'[3] heard this and insisted on sending one of his choosing, and I, to avoid contending with a man who commands the winds, have retired from the matter, because, he being a light-minded person, I would not care to be drawn into any entanglement. Enough that in my opinion there is no more thought to be given to the Church of the Florentines. Fare you well, and come back soon. Nothing else occurs to me."

Michelagnolo used to call Monsignor di Forlì "Tantecose," because he insisted on doing everything himself. Being Chamberlain to the Pope, he had charge of the medals, jewels, cameos, little figures in bronze, pictures, and drawings, and desired that everything should depend on him. Michelagnolo was always anxious to avoid the man, because he [Pg 74] had been constantly working against the master's interests, and therefore Buonarroti feared lest he might be drawn into some entanglement by the intrigues of such a man. In short, the Florentine colony lost a very fine opportunity for that church, and God knows when they will have such another; and to me it was an indescribable grief. I have desired not to omit to make this brief record, to the end that it may be seen that our Michelagnolo always sought to help his fellow-countrymen and his friends, and also art.

Vasari had scarcely returned to Rome, when, before the beginning of the year 1551, the San Gallo faction arranged a conspiracy against Michelagnolo, whereby the Pope was to hold an assembly in S. Pietro, and to summon together the superintendents and all those who had the charge of the work, in order to show to the Pope, by means of false calumnies, that Michelagnolo had ruined that fabric, because, he having already built the apse of the King, where there are the three chapels, and having executed these with the three windows above, they, not knowing what was to be done with the vaulting, with feeble judgment had given the elder Cardinal Salviati and Marcello Cervini, who afterwards became Pope, to understand that S. Pietro was being left with little light. Whereupon, all being assembled, the Pope said to Michelagnolo that the deputies declared that the apse would give little light, and he answered: "I would like to hear these deputies speak in person." Cardinal Marcello replied: "We are here." Then Michelagnolo said to him: "Monsignore, above these windows, in the vaulting, which is to be made of travertine, there are to be three others." "You have never told us that," said the Cardinal. And Michelagnolo answered: "I am not obliged, nor do I intend to be obliged, to say either to your Highness or to any other person what I am bound or desirous to do. Your office is to obtain the money and to guard it from thieves, and the charge of the design for the building you must leave to me." And then, turning to the Pope, he said: "Holy Father, you see what my gains are, and that if these fatigues that I endure do not profit me in my mind, I am wasting my time and my work." The Pope, who loved him, laid his hands on his shoulders, and said: "You shall profit both in mind and in body; [Pg 75] do not doubt it." Michelagnolo having thus been able to get rid of those persons, the Pope came to love him even more; and he commanded him and Vasari that on the day following they should both present themselves at the Vigna Julia, in which place his Holiness had many discussions with him, and they carried that work almost to the condition of perfect beauty in which it now is; nor did the Pope discuss or do anything in the matter of design without Michelagnolo's advice and judgment. And, among other things, since Michelagnolo went often with Vasari to visit him, the Pope insisted, once when he was at the fountain of the Acqua Vergine with twelve Cardinals, after Buonarroti had come up; the Pope, I say, insisted very strongly that he should sit beside him, although he sought most humbly to excuse himself; thus always honouring his genius as much as lay in his power.

The Pope caused him to make the model of a façade for a palace that his Holiness desired to build beside S. Rocco, intending to avail himself of the Mausoleum of Augustus for the rest of the masonry; and, as a design for a façade, there is nothing to be seen that is more varied, more ornate, or more novel in manner and arrangement, for the reason that, as has been seen in all his works, he never consented to be bound by any law, whether ancient or modern, in matters of architecture, as one who had a brain always able to discover things new and well-varied, and in no way less beautiful. That model is now in the possession of Duke Cosimo de' Medici, who had it as a present from Pope Pius IV when he went to Rome; and he holds it among his dearest treasures. That Pope had such respect for Michelagnolo, that he was constantly taking up his defence against Cardinals and others who sought to calumniate him, and he desired that other craftsmen, however able and renowned they might be, should always go to seek him at his house; such, indeed, were the regard and reverence that he felt for him, that his Holiness did not venture, lest he might annoy him, to call upon Michelagnolo for many works which, although he was old, he could have executed.

As far back as the time of Paul III Michelagnolo had made a beginning with the work of refounding, under his own direction, the Ponte S. Maria at Rome, which had been weakened by the constant flow of [Pg 76] water and by age, and was falling into ruin. The refounding was contrived by Michelagnolo by means of caissons, and by making stout reinforcements against the piers; and already he had carried a great part of it to completion, and had spent large sums on wood and travertine on behalf of the work, when, in the time of Julius III, an assembly was held by the Clerks of the Chamber with a view to making an end of it, and a proposal was made among them by the architect Nanni di Baccio Bigio, saying that if it were allotted by contract to him it would be finished in a short time and without much expense; and this they suggested on the pretext, as it were, of doing a favour to Michelagnolo and relieving him of a burden, because he was old, alleging that he gave no thought to it, and that if matters remained as they were the end would never be seen. The Pope, who little liked being troubled, not thinking what the result might be, gave authority to the Clerks of the Chamber that they should have charge of the work, as a thing pertaining to them; and then, without Michelagnolo hearing another word about it, they gave it with all those materials, without any conditions, to Nanni, who gave no attention to the reinforcements, which were necessary for the refounding, but relieved the bridge of some weight, in consequence of having seen a great quantity of travertine wherewith it had been flanked and faced in ancient times, the result of which was to give weight to the bridge and to make it stouter, stronger, and more secure. In place of that he used gravel and other materials cast with cement, in such a manner that no defect could be seen in the inner part of the work, and on the outer side he made parapets and other things, insomuch that to the eye it appeared as if made altogether new; but it was made lighter all over and weakened throughout. Five years afterwards, when the flood of the year 1557 came down, it happened that the bridge collapsed in such a manner as to make known the little judgment of the Clerks of the Chamber and the loss that Rome suffered by departing from the counsel of Michelagnolo, who predicted the ruin of the bridge many times to me and to his other friends. Thus I remember that he said to me, when we were passing there together on horseback, "Giorgio, this bridge is shaking under us; let us spur our horses, or it may fall while we are upon it."

[Pg 77] But to return to the narrative interrupted above; when the work of the Montorio was finished, and that much to my satisfaction, I returned to Florence to re-enter the service of Duke Cosimo, which was in the year 1554. The departure of Vasari grieved Michelagnolo, and likewise Giorgio, for the reason that Michelagnolo's adversaries kept harassing him every day, now in one way and now in another; wherefore they did not fail to write to one another daily. And in April of the same year, Vasari giving him the news that Leonardo, the nephew of Michelagnolo, had had a male child, that they had accompanied him to baptism with an honourable company of most noble ladies, and that they had revived the name of Buonarroto, Michelagnolo answered in a letter to Vasari in these words:

"Dear Friend Giorgio,

"I have had the greatest pleasure from your letter, seeing that you still remember the poor old man, and even more because you were present at the triumph which, as you write, you witnessed in the birth of another Buonarroto; for which intelligence I thank you with all my heart and soul. But so much pomp does not please me, for man should not be laughing when all the world is weeping. It seems to me that Leonardo should not make so much rejoicing over a new birth, with all that gladness which should be reserved for the death of one who has lived well. Do not marvel if I delay to answer; I do it so as not to appear a merchant. As for the many praises that you send me in your letter, I tell you that if I deserved a single one of them, it would appear to me that in giving myself to you body and soul, I had truly given you something, and had discharged some infinitesimal part of the debt that I owe you; whereas I recognize you every hour as my creditor for more than I can repay, and, since I am an old man, I can now never hope to be able to square the account in this life, but perhaps in the next. Wherefore I pray you have patience, and remain wholly yours. Things here are much as usual."

Already, in the time of Paul III, Duke Cosimo had sent Tribolo to Rome to see if he might be able to persuade Michelagnolo to return to [Pg 78] Florence, in order to give completion to the Sacristy of S. Lorenzo. But Michelagnolo excused himself because, having grown old, he could not support the burden of such fatigues, and demonstrated to him with many reasons that he could not leave Rome. Whereupon Tribolo finally asked him about the staircase of the library of S. Lorenzo, for which Michelagnolo had caused many stones to be prepared, but there was no model of it nor any certainty as to the exact form, and, although there were some marks on a pavement and some other sketches in clay, the true and final design could not be found. However, no matter how much Tribolo might beseech him and invoke the name of the Duke, Michelagnolo would never answer a word save that he remembered nothing of it. Orders were given to Vasari by Duke Cosimo that he should write to Michelagnolo, requesting him to write saying what final form that staircase was to have; in the hope that through the friendship and love that he bore to Vasari, he would say something that might lead to some solution and to the completion of the work. Vasari wrote to Michelagnolo the mind of the Duke, saying that the execution of all that was to be done would fall to him; which he would do with that fidelity and care with which, as Michelagnolo knew, he was wont to treat such of his works as he had in charge. Wherefore Michelagnolo sent the directions for making the above-named staircase in a letter by his own hand on the 28th of September, 1555.

Biblioteca Laurenziana.

(After Michelagnolo. Florence)
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"Messer Giorgio, Dear Friend,

"Concerning the staircase for the library, of which so much has been said to me, you may believe that if I could remember how I had designed it, I would not need to be entreated. There does, indeed, come back to my mind, like a dream, a certain staircase; but I do not believe that it is exactly the one which I conceived at that time, because it comes out so stupid. However, I will describe it here. Take a quantity of oval boxes, each one palm in depth, but not of equal length and breadth. The first and largest place on the pavement at such a distance from the wall of the door as may make the staircase easy or steep, according to [Pg 79] your pleasure. Upon this place another, which must be so much smaller in every direction as to leave on the first one below as much space as the foot requires in ascending; diminishing and drawing back the steps one after another towards the door, in accord with the ascent. And the diminution of the last step must reduce it to the proportion of the space of the door. The said part of the staircase with the oval steps must have two wings, one on one side and one on the other, with corresponding steps but not oval. Of these the central flight shall serve as the principal staircase, and from the centre of the staircase to the top the curves of the said wings shall meet the wall; but from the centre down to the pavement they shall stand, together with the whole staircase, at a distance of about three palms from the wall, in such a manner that the basement of the vestibule shall not be obstructed in any part, and every face shall be left free. I am writing nonsense; but I know well that you will find something to your purpose."

Michelagnolo also wrote to Vasari in those days that Julius III being dead, and Marcellus elected, the faction that was against him, in consequence of the election of the new Pontiff, had again begun to harass him. Which hearing, and not liking these ways, the Duke caused Giorgio to write and tell him that he should leave Rome and come to live in Florence, where the Duke did not desire more than his advice and designs at times for his buildings, and that he would receive from that lord all that he might desire, without doing anything with his own hand. Again, there were carried to him by M. Leonardo Marinozzi, the private Chamberlain of Duke Cosimo, letters written by his Excellency; and so also by Vasari. But then, Marcellus being dead, and Paul IV having been elected, by whom once again numerous offers had been made to him from the very beginning, when he went to kiss his feet, the desire to finish the fabric of S. Pietro, and the obligation by which he thought himself bound to that task, kept him back; and, employing certain excuses, he wrote to the Duke that for the time being he was not able to serve him, and to Vasari a letter in these very words:

[Pg 80] "Messer Giorgio, my dear Friend,

"I call God to witness how it was against my will and under the strongest compulsion that I was set to the building of S. Pietro in Rome by Pope Paul III, ten years ago. Had they continued to work at that fabric up to the present day, as they were doing then, I would now have reached such a point in the undertaking that I might be thinking of returning home; but for want of money it has been much retarded, and is still being retarded at the time when it has reached the most laborious and difficult stage, insomuch that to abandon it now would be nothing short of the greatest possible disgrace and sin, losing the reward of the labours that I have endured in those ten years for the love of God. I have made you this discourse in answer to your letter, and also because I have a letter from the Duke that has made me marvel much that his Excellency should have deigned to write so graciously; for which I thank God and his Excellency to the best of my power and knowledge. I wander from the subject, because I have lost my memory and my wits, and writing is a great affliction to me, for it is not my art. The conclusion is this: to make you understand what would be the result if I were to abandon the fabric and depart from Rome; firstly, I would please a number of thieves, and secondly, I would be the cause of its ruin, and perhaps, also, of its being suspended for ever."

Continuing to write to Giorgio, Michelagnolo said to him, to excuse himself with the Duke, that he had a house and many convenient things at his disposal in Rome, which were worth thousands of crowns, in addition to being in danger of his life from disease of the kidneys, colic, and the stone, as happens to every old person, and as could be proved by Maestro Realdo, his physician, from whom he congratulated himself on having his life, after God; that for these reasons he was not able to leave Rome, and, finally, that he had no heart for anything but death. He besought Vasari, as he did in several other letters that Giorgio has by his hand, that he should recommend him to the Duke for pardon, in addition to what he wrote to the Duke, as I have said, to excuse himself. If Michelagnolo had been able to ride, he would have gone straightway to Florence, whence, I believe, he would never have consented to depart [Pg 81] in order to return to Rome, so much was he influenced by the tenderness and love that he felt for the Duke; but meanwhile he gave his attention to working at many parts of the above-named fabric, in order so to fix the form that it might never again be changed. During this time certain persons had informed him that Pope Paul IV was minded to make him alter the façade of the chapel where the Last Judgment is, because, he said, those figures showed their nakedness too shamelessly. When, therefore, the mind of the Pope was made known to Michelagnolo, he answered: "Tell the Pope that it is no great affair, and that it can be altered with ease. Let him put the world right, and every picture will be put right in a moment." The office of the Chancellery of Rimini was taken away from Michelagnolo, but he would never speak of this to the Pope, who did not know it; and it was taken away from him by the Pope's Cup-bearer, who sought to have a hundred crowns a month given to him in respect of the fabric of S. Pietro, and caused a month's payment to be taken to his house, but Michelagnolo would not accept it. In the same year took place the death of Urbino, his servant, or rather, as he may be called, and as he had been, his companion. This man came to live with Michelagnolo in Florence in the year 1530, after the siege was finished, when his disciple Antonio Mini went to France; and he rendered very faithful service to Michelagnolo, insomuch that in twenty-six years that faithful and intimate service brought it about that Michelagnolo made him rich and so loved him, that in this, Urbino's last illness, old as he was, he nursed him and slept in his clothes at night to watch over him. Wherefore, after he was dead, Vasari wrote to Michelagnolo to console him, and he answered in these words:

"My dear Messer Giorgio,

"I am scarce able to write, but, in reply to your letter, I shall say something. You know how Urbino died, wherein God has shown me very great grace, although it is also a grave loss and an infinite grief to me. This grace is that whereas when living he kept me alive, dying he has taught me to die not with regret, but with a desire for death. I have had him twenty-six years, and have found him a very rare and [Pg 82] faithful servant; and now, when I had made him rich and was looking to him as the staff and repose of my old age, he has flown from me, nor is any hope left to me but to see him again in Paradise. And of this God has granted a sign in the happy death that he died, in that dying grieved him much less than leaving me in this traitorous world with so many afflictions; although the greater part of me is gone with him, and nothing is left me but infinite misery. I commend myself to you."

Michelagnolo was employed in the time of Pope Paul IV on many parts of the fortifications of Rome, and also by Salustio Peruzzi, to whom that Pope, as has been related elsewhere, had given the charge of executing the great portal of the Castello di S. Angelo, which is now half ruined; and he occupied himself in distributing the statues of that work, examining the models of the sculptors, and correcting them. At that time the French army approached near to Rome, and Michelagnolo thought that he was like to come to an evil end together with that city; whereupon he resolved to fly from Rome with Antonio Franzese of Castel Durante, whom Urbino at his death had left in his house as his servant, and went secretly to the mountains of Spoleto, where he visited certain seats of hermits. Meanwhile Vasari wrote to him, sending him a little work that Carlo Lenzoni, a citizen of Florence, had left at his death to Messer Cosimo Bartoli, who was to have it printed and dedicated to Michelagnolo; which, when it was finished, Vasari sent in those days to Michelagnolo, and he, having received it, answered thus:

September 18, 1556.

"Messer Giorgio, dear Friend,

"I have received Messer Cosimo's little book, which you send to me, and this shall be a letter of thanks. I pray you to give them to him, and send him my compliments.

"I have had in these days great discomfort and expense, but also great pleasure, in visiting the hermits in the mountains of Spoleto, insomuch that less than half of me has returned to Rome, seeing that in truth there is no peace to be found save in the woods. I have nothing more to tell you. I am glad that you are well and happy, and I commend myself to you."

[Pg 83] Michelagnolo used to work almost every day, as a pastime, at that block with the four figures of which we have already spoken; which block he broke into pieces at this time for these reasons, either because it was hard and full of emery, and the chisel often struck sparks from it, or it may have been that the judgment of the man was so great that he was never content with anything that he did. A proof that this is true is that there are few finished statues to be seen out of all that he executed in the prime of his manhood, and that those completely finished were executed by him in his youth, such as the Bacchus, the Pietà in S. Maria della Febbre, the Giant of Florence, and the Christ of the Minerva, which it would not be possible to increase or diminish by as little as a grain of millet without spoiling them; and the others, with the exception of the Dukes Giuliano and Lorenzo, Night, Dawn, and Moses, with the other two, the whole number of these statues not amounting in all to eleven, the others, I say, were all left unfinished, and, moreover, they are many, Michelagnolo having been wont to say that if he had had to satisfy himself in what he did, he would have sent out few, nay, not one. For he had gone so far with his art and judgment, that, when he had laid bare a figure and had perceived in it the slightest degree of error, he would set it aside and run to lay his hand on another block of marble, trusting that the same would not happen to the new block; and he often said that this was the reason that he gave for having executed so few statues and pictures. This Pietà, when it was broken, he presented to Francesco Bandini. Now at this time Tiberio Calcagni, a Florentine sculptor, had become much the friend of Michelagnolo by means of Francesco Bandini and Messer Donato Giannotti; and being one day in Michelagnolo's house, where there was the Pietà, all broken, after a long conversation he asked him for what reason he had broken it up and destroyed labours so marvellous, and he answered that the reason was the importunity of his servant Urbino, who kept urging him every day to finish it, besides which, among other things, a piece of one of the elbows of the Madonna had been broken off, and even before that he had taken an aversion to it, and had had many misfortunes with it by reason of a flaw that was in the marble, so that he lost his patience and began to break it up; and he [Pg 84] would have broken it altogether into pieces if his servant Antonio had not besought him that he should present it to him as it was. Whereupon Tiberio, having heard this, spoke to Bandini, who desired to have something by the hand of Michelagnolo, and Bandini contrived that Tiberio should promise to Antonio two hundred crowns of gold, and prayed Michelagnolo to consent that Tiberio should finish it for Bandini with the assistance of models by his hand, urging that thus his labour would not be thrown away. Michelagnolo was satisfied, and then made them a present of it. The work was carried away immediately, and then put together again and reconstructed with I know not what new pieces by Tiberio; but it was left unfinished by reason of the death of Bandini, Michelagnolo, and Tiberio. At the present day it is in the possession of Pier Antonio Bandini, the son of Francesco, at his villa on Monte Cavallo. But to return to Michelagnolo; it became necessary to find some work in marble on which he might be able to pass some time every day with the chisel, and another piece of marble was put before him, from which another Pietà had been already blocked out, different from the first and much smaller.


(After Michelagnolo. Rome: Palazzo Rondanini)
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There had entered into the service of Paul IV, and also into the charge of the fabric of S. Pietro, the architect Pirro Ligorio, and he was now once more harassing Michelagnolo, going about saying that he had sunk into his second childhood. Wherefore, angered by such treatment, he would willingly have returned to Florence, and, having delayed to return, he was again urged in letters by Giorgio, but he knew that he was too old, having now reached the age of eighty-one. Writing at that time to Vasari by his courier, and sending him various spiritual sonnets, he said that he was come to the end of his life, that he must be careful where he directed his thoughts, that by reading he would see that he was at his last hour, and that there arose in his mind no thought upon which was not graved the image of death; and in one letter he said:

"It is God's will, Vasari, that I should continue to live in misery for some years. I know that you will tell me that I am an old fool to wish to write sonnets, but since many say that I am in my second childhood, I have sought to act accordingly. By your letter I see the love [Pg 85] that you bear me, and you may take it as certain that I would be glad to lay these feeble bones of mine beside those of my father, as you beg me to do; but by departing from here I would be the cause of the utter ruin of the fabric of S. Pietro, which would be a great disgrace and a very grievous sin. However, when it is so firmly established that it can never be changed, I hope to do all that you ask me, if it be not a sin to keep in anxious expectation certain gluttons that await my immediate departure."

With this letter was the following sonnet, also written in his own hand:

Giunto è già 'l corso della vita mia
Con tempestoso mar' per fragil barca
Al comun porto, ov'a render' si varca
Conto e ragion' d'ogni opra trista e pia.
Onde l'affetuosa fantasia,
Che l'arte mi fece idolo e monarca,
Conosco or' ben' quant'era d'error' carca,
E quel ch'a mal suo grado ognun' desia.
Gli amorosi pensier' già vani e lieti
Che sien'or', s'a due morti mi avvicino?
D'una so certo, e l'altra mi minaccia.
Nè pinger' nè scolpir' sia più che quieti
L'anima volta a quello Amor Divino
Ch'aperse a prender' noi in Croce le braccia.

Whereby it was evident that he was drawing towards God, abandoning the cares of art on account of the persecution of his malignant fellow-craftsmen, and also through the fault of certain overseers of the fabric, who would have liked, as he used to say, to dip their hands in the chest. By order of Duke Cosimo, a reply was written to Michelagnolo by Vasari in a letter of few words, exhorting him to repatriate himself, with a sonnet corresponding in the rhymes. Michelagnolo would willingly have left Rome, but he was so weary and aged, that although, as will be told below, he was determined to go back, while the spirit was willing the flesh was weak, and that kept him in Rome. It happened in June of the year 1557, he having made a model for the vault that was to cover the apse, which was being built of travertine in the Chapel of the King, that, from his not being able to go there as he had been wont, an error arose, [Pg 86] in that the capomaestro took the measurements over the whole body of the vault with one single centre, whereas there should have been a great number; and Michelagnolo, as the friend and confidant of Vasari, sent him designs by his own hand, with these words written at the foot of two of them:

"The centre marked with red was used by the capomaestro over the body of the whole vault; then, when he began to pass to the half-circle, which is at the summit of the vault, he became aware of the error which that centre was producing, as may be seen here in the design, marked in black. With this error the vault has gone so far forward, that we have to displace a great number of stones, for in that vault there is being placed no brick-work, but all travertine, and the diameter of the circle, without the cornice that borders it, is twenty-two palms. This error, after I had made an exact model, as I do of everything, has been caused by my not being able, on account of my old age, to go there often; so that, whereas I believed that the vault was now finished, it will not be finished all this winter, and, if it were possible to die of shame and grief, I should not be alive now. I pray you account to the Duke for my not being at this moment in Florence."

S. Peter's.

(After Michelagnolo. Rome)
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And continuing in the other design, where he had drawn the plan, he said this:

"Messer Giorgio,

"To the end that it may be easier to understand the difficulty of the vault by observing its rise from the level of the ground, let me explain that I have been forced to divide it into three vaults, corresponding to the windows below divided by pilasters; and you see that they go pyramidally into the centre of the summit of the vault, as also do the base and sides of the same. It was necessary to regulate them with an infinite number of centres, and there are in them so many changes in various directions, from point to point, that no fixed rule can be maintained. And the circles and squares that come in the middle of their deepest parts have to diminish and increase in so many directions, and to go to so many points, that it is a difficult thing to find the true method. [Pg 87] Nevertheless, having the model, such as I make for everything, they should never have committed so great an error as to seek to regulate with one single centre all those three shells; whence it has come about that we have been obliged with shame and loss to pull down, as we are still doing, a great number of stones. The vault, with its sections and hewn stone-work, is all of travertine, like all the rest below; a thing not customary in Rome."

Michelagnolo was excused by Duke Cosimo, hearing of these misfortunes, from coming to Florence; the Duke saying to him that his contentment and the continuation of S. Pietro were more dear to him than anything in the world, and that he should rest in peace. Whereupon Michelagnolo wrote to Vasari, on the same sheet in which he thanked the Duke to the best of his power and knowledge for such kindness, saying, "God give me grace that I may be able to serve him with this my poor person, for my memory and my brain are gone to await him elsewhere." The date of this letter was August in the year 1557. Thus, then, Michelagnolo learned that the Duke esteemed his life and his honour more than he did himself, who so revered him. All these things, and many more that it is not necessary to mention, we have in our possession, written in his hand.

Michelagnolo by this time was reduced to a feeble condition, and it was evident that little was being done in S. Pietro, now that he had carried on a great part of the frieze of the windows within, and of the double columns without, which curve above the great round cornice[4] where the cupola is to be placed, as will be related; and he was exhorted and urged by his greatest friends, such as the Cardinal of Carpi, Messer Donato Giannotti, Francesco Bandini, Tommaso de' Cavalieri, and Lottino that, since he saw the delay in the raising of the cupola, he should at least make a model of it. He stayed many months without making up his mind to this, but in the end he made a beginning, and then little by little constructed a small model in clay, from which, as an exemplar, and from the plans and profiles that he had drawn, it might be possible afterwards [Pg 88] to make a larger one of wood. This, having made a beginning with it, he caused to be constructed in little more than a year by Maestro Giovanni Franzese, with much study and pains; and he made it on such a scale that the smaller proportions of the model, measured by the old Roman palm, corresponded with complete exactness to those of the large work, he having fashioned with diligence in that model all the members of columns, bases, capitals, doors, windows, cornices, projections, and likewise every least thing, knowing that in such a work no less should be done, for in all Christendom, nay, in all the world, there is not to be found or seen any fabric more ornate or more grand. And I cannot but think that, if we have given up time to noting smaller things, it is even more useful, and also our duty, to describe this manner of design for building the structure of this tribune with the form, order, and method that Michelagnolo thought to give it; wherefore with such brevity as we may we will give a simple description of it, to the end that, if it should ever be the fate of this work, which God forbid, to be disturbed by the envy and malice of presumptuous persons after the death of Michelagnolo, even as we have seen it disturbed up to the present during his lifetime, these my writings, such as they may be, may be able to assist the faithful who are to be the executors of the mind of that rare man, and also to restrain the malignant desires of those who may seek to alter it, and so at one and the same time assist, delight, and open the minds of those beautiful intellects that are the friends of this profession and regard it as their joy.

S. Peter's.

(After Michelagnolo. Rome)
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I must begin by saying that according to this model, made under the direction of Michelagnolo, I find that in the great work the whole space within the tribune will be one hundred and eighty-six palms, speaking of its width from wall to wall above the great cornice of travertine that curves in a round in the interior, resting on the four great double piers that rise from the ground with their capitals carved in the Corinthian Order, accompanied by their architrave, frieze, and cornice, likewise of travertine; which great cornice, curving right round over the great niches, rests supported upon the four great arches of the three niches and of the entrance, which form the cross of the building. Then there begins to [Pg 89] spring the first part of the tribune, the rise of which commences in a basement of travertine with a platform six palms broad, where one can walk; and this basement curves in a round in the manner of a well, and its thickness is thirty-three palms and eleven inches, the height to the cornice eleven palms and ten inches, the cornice over it about eight palms, and its projection six and a half palms. Into this basement you enter, in order to ascend the tribune, by four entrances that are over the arches of the niches, and the thickness of the basement is divided into three parts; that on the inner side is fifteen palms, that on the outer side is eleven palms, and that in the centre is seven palms and eleven inches, which make up the thickness of thirty-three palms and eleven inches. The space in the centre is hollow and serves as a passage, which is two squares in height and curves in a continuous round, with a barrel-shaped vault; and in line with the four entrances are eight doors, each of which rises in four steps, one of them leading to the level platform of the cornice of the first basement, six palms and a half in breadth, and another leading to the inner cornice that curves round the tribune, eight palms and three-quarters broad, on which platforms, by each door, you can walk conveniently both within and without the edifice, and from one entrance to another in a curve of two hundred and one palms, so that, the sections being four, the whole circuit comes to be eight hundred and four palms. We now have to ascend from the level of this basement, upon which rest the columns and pilasters, and which forms the frieze of the windows within all the way round, being fourteen palms and one inch in height, and around it, on the outer side, there is at the foot a short order of cornice-work, and so also at the top, which does not project more than ten inches, and all of travertine; and so in the thickness of the third part, above that on the inner side, which we have described as fifteen palms thick, there is made in every quarter-section a staircase, one half of which ascends in one direction and the second half in another, the width being four palms and a quarter; and this staircase leads to the level of the columns. Above this level there begin to rise, in line with the solid parts of the basement, eighteen large piers all of travertine, each adorned with two columns on the outer side and pilasters on the inner, as will be [Pg 90] described below, and between the piers are left the spaces where there are to be all the windows that are to give light to the tribune. These piers, on the sides pointing towards the central point of the tribune, are thirty-six palms in extent, and on the front sides nineteen and a half. Each of them, on the outer side, has two columns, the lowest dado of which is eight palms and three-quarters broad and one palm and a half high, the base five palms and eight inches broad and ... palms and eleven inches high, the shaft of the column forty-three and a half palms high, five palms and six inches thick at the foot and four palms and nine inches at the top, the Corinthian capital six palms and a half high, with the crown of mouldings nine palms. Of these columns three quarters are to be seen, and the other quarter is merged into the corner, with the accompaniment of the half of a pilaster that makes a salient angle on the inner side, and this is accompanied in the central inner space by the opening of an arched door, five palms wide and thirteen palms and five inches high, from the summit of which to the capitals of the pilasters and columns there is a filling of solid masonry, serving as a connection with two other pilasters that are similar to those that form a salient angle beside the columns. These two pilasters correspond to the others, and adorn the sides of sixteen windows that go right round the tribune, each with a light twelve palms and a half wide and about twenty-two palms high. These windows are to be adorned on the outer side with varied architraves two palms and three-quarters high, and on the inner side they are to be adorned with orders likewise varied, with pediments and quarter-rounds; and they are wide without and more narrow within, and so, also, they are sloped away at the foot of the inner side, so that they may give light over the frieze and cornice. Each of them is bordered by two flat pilasters that correspond in height to the columns without, so that there come to be thirty-six columns without and thirty-six pilasters within; over which pilasters is the architrave, which is four palms and three-quarters in height, the frieze four and a half, and the cornice four and two-thirds, with a projection of five palms; and above this is to go a range of balusters, so that one may be able to walk all the way round there with safety. And in order that it may be [Pg 91] possible to climb conveniently from the level where the columns begin, another staircase ascends in the same line within the thickness of the part that is fifteen palms wide, in the same manner and of the same width, with two branches or ascents, all the way up to the summit of the columns, with their capitals, architraves, friezes, and cornices; insomuch that, without obstructing the light of the windows, these stairs pass at the top into a spiral staircase of the same breadth, which finally reaches the level where the turning of the tribune is to begin.

All this order, distribution, and ornamentation is so well varied, commodious, rich, durable, and strong, and serves so well to support the two vaults of the cupola that is to be turned upon it, that it is a very ingenious thing, and it is all so well considered and then executed in masonry, that there is nothing to be seen by the eyes of one who has knowledge and understanding that is more pleasing, more beautiful, or wrought with greater mastery, both on account of the binding together and mortising of the stones and because it has in it in every part strength and eternal life, and also because of the great judgment wherewith he contrived to carry away the rain-water by many hidden channels, and, finally, because he brought it to such perfection, that all other fabrics that have been built and seen up to the present day appear as nothing in comparison with the grandeur of this one. And it has been a very great loss that those whose duty it was did not put all their power into the undertaking, for the reason that, before death took away from us that rare man, we should have seen that beautiful and terrible structure already raised.

Up to this point has Michelagnolo carried the masonry of the work; and it only remains to make a beginning with the vaulting of the tribune, of which, since the model has come down to us, we shall proceed to describe the design that he has left to the end that it may be carried out. He turned the curve of this vault on three points that make a triangle, in this manner:

A   B

The point C, which is the lowest, is the principal one, wherewith he turned the first half-circle of the tribune, with which he gave the form, height [Pg 92] and breadth of this vault, which he ordered to be built entirely of bricks well baked and fired, laid herring-bone fashion. This shell he makes four palms and a half thick, and as thick at the top as at the foot, and leaving beside it, in the centre, a space four palms and a half wide at the foot, which is to serve for the ascent of the stairs that are to lead to the lantern, rising from the platform of the cornice where there are balusters. The arch of the interior of the other shell, which is to be wider at the foot and narrower at the top, is turned on the point marked B, and the thickness of the shell at the foot is four palms and a half. And the last arch, which is to be turned in order to make the exterior of the cupola, wider at the foot and narrowing towards the top, is to be raised on the point marked A, which arch turned, there remains at the top all the hollow space of the interior for the ascent of the stairs, which are eight palms high, so that one may climb them upright; and the thickness of that shell comes to diminish little by little, insomuch that, being as before four palms and a half at the foot, it decreases at the top to three palms and a half. And the outer shell comes to be so well bound to the inner shell with bonds and with the stairs, that the one supports the other; while of the eight parts into which the fabric is divided at the base, the four over the arches are left hollow, in order to put less weight upon the arches, and the other four are bound and chained together with bonds upon the piers, so that the structure may have everlasting life.

The stairs in the centre between one shell and the other are constructed in this form; from the level where the springing of the vault begins they rise in each of the four sections, and each ascends from two entrances, the stairs intersecting one another in the form of an X, until they have covered the half of the arch marked C, on the upper side of the shell, when, having ascended straight up the half of that arch, the remaining space is then easily climbed circle after circle and step after step in a direct line, until finally one arrives at the eye of the cupola, where the rise of the lantern begins, around which, in accord with the diminution of the compartments that spring above the piers, there is a smaller range of double pilasters and windows similar to those that are constructed in the interior, as will be described below.

[Pg 93] Over the first great cornice within the tribune there begin at the foot the compartments for the recesses that are in the vault of the tribune, which are formed by sixteen projecting ribs. These at the foot are as broad as the breadth of the two pilasters which at the lower end border each window below the vault of the tribune, and they rise, diminishing pyramidally, as far as the eye of the lantern; at the foot they rest on pedestals of the same breadth and twelve palms high, and these pedestals rest on the level platform of the cornice which goes in a circle right round the tribune. Above this, in the recessed spaces between the ribs, there are eight large ovals, each twenty-nine palms high, and over them a number of straight-sided compartments that are wider at the foot and narrower at the top, and twenty-four palms high, and then, the ribs drawing together, there comes above each straight-sided compartment a round fourteen palms high; so that there come to be eight ovals, eight straight-sided compartments, and eight rounds, each range forming recesses that grow more shallow in succession. The ground of all these displays extraordinary richness, for Michelagnolo intended to make the ribs and the ornaments of the said ovals, straight-sided compartments, and rounds, all corniced in travertine.

It remains for us to make mention of the surface and adornment of the arch on that side of the vault where the roofing is to go, which begins to rise from a base twenty-five palms and a half high, which has at the foot a basement that has a projection of two palms, as have the crowning mouldings at the top. The covering or roofing with which he proposed to cover it is of lead, such as covers the roof of the old S. Pietro at the present day, and is divided into sixteen sections from one solid base to another, each base beginning where the two columns end, which are one on either side of it. In each of these sections, in the centre, he made two windows to give light to the inner space where the ascent of the stairs is, between the two shells, so that in all they are thirty-two. These, by means of brackets that support a quarter-round, he made projecting from the roof in such a manner as to protect the lofty and novel view-point from the rain. In a line with the centre of the solid base between each two columns, above which was the crowning cornice, [Pg 94] sprang a rib, one to each, wider at the foot and narrowing at the top; in all sixteen ribs, five palms broad, in the centre of each of which was a quadrangular channel one palm and a half wide, within which is formed an ascent of steps about one palm high, by which to ascend or descend between the platform at the foot and the summit where the lantern begins. These are to be built of travertine and constructed with mortisings, to the end that the joins may be protected against water and ice during times of rain.

The design for the lantern is reduced in the same proportion as all the rest of the work, so that, taking lines round the circumference, everything comes to diminish in exact accord, and with proportionate measurements it rises as a simple temple with round columns two by two, like those on the solid bases below. These have pilasters to correspond to them, and one can walk all the way round and see from the central spaces between the pilasters, where the windows are, the interior of the tribune and the church. Above this, architrave, frieze, and cornice curve in a round, projecting over each pair of columns; and over these columns, in a line with them, spring some caulicoles, which, together with some niches that divide them, rise to find the end of the lantern, which, beginning to draw together, grows gradually narrower for a third of its height, in the manner of a round pyramid, until it reaches the ball, upon which, as the final crown of the structure, goes the cross. Many particulars and minute details I might have mentioned, such as air-holes for protection against earthquakes, water-conduits, the various lights, and other conveniences, but I omit them because the work is not yet come to completion, being content to have touched on the principal parts as well as I have been able. For, since every part is in existence and can be seen, it is enough to have made this brief sketch, which is a great light to him who has no knowledge of the structure.

The completion of this model caused the greatest satisfaction not only to all his friends, but to all Rome, the form of the fabric having been thus settled and established. It then came to pass that Paul IV died, and after him was elected Pius IV, who, while causing the building of the little palace in the wood of the Belvedere to be continued by Pirro Ligorio, [Pg 95] who remained architect to the Palace, made many gracious offers and advances to Michelagnolo. The Motu-proprio originally received by Michelagnolo from Paul III, and then from Julius III and Paul IV, in respect of the fabric of S. Pietro, he confirmed in his favour, and he restored to him a part of the revenues and allowances taken away by Paul IV, employing him in many of his works of building; and in his time he caused the fabric of S. Pietro to be carried on vigorously. He made use of Michelagnolo, in particular, in preparing a design for the tomb of the Marchese Marignano, his brother, which, destined to be erected in the Duomo of Milan, was allotted by his Holiness to the Chevalier Leone Lioni of Arezzo, a most excellent sculptor and much the friend of Michelagnolo; the form of which tomb will be described in the proper place.

At this time the Chevalier Leone made a very lively portrait of Michelagnolo in a medal, and to please him he fashioned on the reverse a blind man led by a dog, with these letters around:


And Michelagnolo, since it pleased him much, presented him a model in wax of Hercules crushing Antæus, by his own hand, with certain of his designs. Of Michelagnolo we have no other portraits but two in painting, one by the hand of Bugiardini and the other by Jacopo del Conte, one in bronze executed in full-relief by Daniello Ricciarelli, and this one by the Chevalier Leone; from which portraits so many copies have been made, that I have seen a good number in many places in Italy and in foreign parts.

The same year Cardinal Giovanni de' Medici, the son of Duke Cosimo, went to Rome to receive the hat from Pius IV, and it fell to Vasari, as his servant and familiar friend, to go with him; which Vasari went there willingly and stayed about a month, in order to enjoy Michelagnolo, who received him with great affection and was always with him. Vasari had taken with him, by order of his Excellency, a model in wood of the whole Ducal Palace of Florence, together with designs of the new apartments that had been built and painted by him; which Michelagnolo desired to see both in the model and in the designs, since, being old, he was not [Pg 96] able to see the works themselves. These works, which were abundant and well varied, with different inventions and fancies, began with the Castration of Uranus and continued in stories of Saturn, Ops, Ceres, Jove, Juno, and Hercules, each room having one of these names, with the stories in various compartments; even as the other chambers and halls, which were beneath these, had the names of the heroes of the House of Medici, beginning with the elder Cosimo, and continuing with Lorenzo, Leo X, Clement VII, Signor Giovanni, Duke Alessandro, and Duke Cosimo, in each of which were not only the stories of their actions, but also portraits of them, of their children, and of all the ancients renowned in statesmanship, in arms, and in letters, taken from the life. Of these Vasari had written a Dialogue in which he explained all the stories, the end of the whole invention, and how the fables above harmonized with the stories below; which was read to Michelagnolo by Annibale Caro, and he took the greatest pleasure in it. This Dialogue, when Vasari shall have more time, will be published.

The result of all this was as follows. Vasari was desirous of setting his hand to the Great Hall, and since, as has been said elsewhere, the ceiling was low, making it stunted and wanting in lights, he had a desire to raise that ceiling. Now the Duke would not make up his mind to give him leave that it should be raised; not that the Duke feared the cost, as was seen afterwards, but rather the danger of raising the beams of the roof thirteen braccia. However, like a man of judgment, his Excellency consented that the advice of Michelagnolo should be taken, and Michelagnolo, having seen in that model the Hall as it then was, and afterwards, all the beams having been removed and replaced by other beams with a new invention in the ceiling and walls, the same Hall as it has since been made, with the invention of the stories likewise designed therein, liked it and straightway became not a judge but a supporter, and the rather as he saw the facile method of raising the beams and the roof, and the plan for executing the whole work in a short time. Wherefore, on Vasari's return, he wrote to the Duke that he should carry out that undertaking, since it was worthy of his greatness.

Porta Pia.

(After Michelagnolo. Rome)
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The same year Duke Cosimo went to Rome with the Lady Duchess [Pg 97] Leonora, his consort, and Michelagnolo, after the Duke's arrival, went straightway to see him. The Duke, after receiving him with many endearments, caused him, out of respect for his great genius, to sit by his side, and with much familiarity talked to him of all that he had caused to be done in painting and sculpture at Florence, and also of all that he was minded to have done, and in particular of the Hall; and Michelagnolo again encouraged and reassured him in that matter, lamenting, since he loved that Lord, that he was not young enough to be able to serve him. His Excellency said that he had discovered the way to work porphyry, a thing which Michelagnolo could not believe, and the Duke therefore sent him, as has been related in the first chapter of the Treatise on Theory, the head of Christ wrought by the sculptor Francesco del Tadda, at which he was astonished; and he visited the Duke several times the while that he stayed in Rome, to his vast satisfaction. He did the same a short time afterwards when the most Illustrious Don Francesco de' Medici, the Duke's son, went there, in whom Michelagnolo took much delight from the marks of regard and affection shown to him by his most Illustrious Excellency, who spoke with him always cap in hand, having infinite reverence for so rare a man; and Michelagnolo wrote to Vasari that it vexed him to be old and infirm, for he would have liked to do something for that Lord, but he was going about trying to buy some beautiful antique to send to him in Florence.

Being requested at this time by the Pope for a design for the Porta Pia, Michelagnolo made three, all fantastic and most beautiful, of which the Pope chose the least costly for putting into execution; and it is now to be seen erected there, with much credit to him. Perceiving the inclination of the Pope, and hoping that he would restore the other gates of Rome, he made many other designs for him; and he did the like, at the request of the same Pontiff, in the matter of the new Church of S. Maria degli Angeli in the Baths of Diocletian, in order to convert them into a temple for the use of Christians. A design by his hand prevailed over many others made by excellent architects, being executed with such beautiful considerations for the convenience of the Carthusian Friars, who have now carried it almost to completion, that it caused his Holiness [Pg 98] and all the prelates and lords of the Court to marvel at the judgment of the lovely conceptions that he had drawn, availing himself of all the skeleton of those baths, out of which was seen formed a most beautiful temple, with an entrance surpassing the expectations of all the architects; from which he acquired infinite praise and honour. For that place, also, he designed for his Holiness a Ciborium of the Sacrament in bronze, cast for the most part by Maestro Jacopo Ciciliano, an excellent bronze-caster, who makes his works come out very delicate and fine, without any roughness, so that they can be polished with little labour; in which field he is a rare master, and gave much satisfaction to Michelagnolo.

S. Maria Degli Angeli.

(After Michelagnolo. Rome)
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The Florentine colony had often talked among themselves of giving a good beginning to the Church of S. Giovanni in the Strada Giulia. Finally, all the heads of the richest houses having assembled together, they each promised to contribute in due proportion according to their means towards that fabric, insomuch that they contrived to collect a good sum of money; and then it was discussed among them whether it were better to follow the old lines or to have something new and finer. It was determined that something new should be erected upon the old foundations, and finally they elected three men to have the charge of the fabric, who were Francesco Bandini, Uberto Ubaldini, and Tommaso de' Bardi; and these requested Michelagnolo for a design, recommending themselves to him on the ground that it was a disgrace to their colony to have thrown away so much money without any kind of profit, and that, if his genius did not avail to finish the work, they had no other resource. He promised them to do it, with as much lovingness as he had ever shown in any work in the past, because in this his old age he readily gave his attention to sacred things, such as might redound to the honour of God, and also from affection for his fellow-Florentines, whom he loved always. Michelagnolo had with him at this conference the Florentine sculptor Tiberio Calcagni, a young man very ardent to learn art, who, after going to Rome, had turned his mind to the study of architecture. Loving him, Michelagnolo had given him to finish, as has been related, the Pietà in marble that he had broken, and, in addition, a head of Brutus in marble with the breast, considerably larger than [Pg 99] life, to the end that he might finish it. Of this the head alone was carved, with certain most minute gradines, and he had taken it from a portrait of Brutus cut in a very ancient cornelian that was in the possession of Signor Giuliano Cesarino; which Michelagnolo was doing for Cardinal Ridolfi at the entreaty of Messer Donato Giannotti, his very dear friend, and it is a rare work. Michelagnolo, then, in matters of architecture, not being able by reason of old age to draw any more or to make accurate lines, was making use of Tiberio, because he was very gentle and discreet; and thus, desiring to avail himself of him in such an undertaking, he laid on him the charge of tracing the plan of the site of the above-named church. That plan having been traced and carried straightway to Michelagnolo, at a time when it was not thought that he was doing anything, he gave them to understand through Tiberio that he had carried out their wishes, and finally showed them five most beautiful ground-plans of temples; which having seen, they marvelled. He said to them that they should choose one that pleased them, and they, not wishing to do it, left the matter to his judgment, but he insisted that they should decide of their own free will; wherefore they all with one accord chose the richest. This having been adopted, Michelagnolo said to them that if they carried such a design to completion, neither the Greeks nor the Romans ever in their times executed such a work; words that neither before nor afterwards ever issued from the mouth of Michelagnolo, for he was very modest. Finally it was agreed that the direction should be left entirely to Michelagnolo, and that the labour of executing that work should fall to Tiberio; with all which they were content, Buonarroti promising them that Tiberio would serve them excellently well. And so, having given the ground-plan to Tiberio to be drawn accurately and with correct measurements, he drew for him the profiles both within and without, and bade him make a model of clay, teaching him the way to execute it so that it might stand firm. In ten days Tiberio executed a model of eight palms, which much pleased the whole Florentine colony, so that afterwards they caused to be made from it a model of wood, which is now in the residence of the Consuls of that colony; a thing as rare in its beauty, richness, and great variety, as any temple that has [Pg 100] ever been seen. A beginning was made with the building, and five thousand crowns were spent; but the funds for the fabric failed, and so it was abandoned, at which Michelagnolo felt very great displeasure. He obtained for Tiberio the commission to finish under his direction, at S. Maria Maggiore, a chapel begun for Cardinal Santa Fiore; but it was left unfinished, on account of the death of the Cardinal, of Michelagnolo, and of Tiberio himself, the death of which young man was a very great loss.


(After Michelagnolo. Florence: Museo Nazionale)

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Michelagnolo had been seventeen years in the fabric of S. Pietro, and several times the deputies had tried to remove him from that position, but they had not succeeded, and they were seeking to oppose him in every matter now with one vexatious pretext and now with another, hoping that out of weariness, being now so old that he could do no more, he would retire before them. It happened in those days that Cesare da Castel Durante, who had been the overseer, died, and Michelagnolo, to the end that the fabric might not suffer, sent there Luigi Gaeta, who was too young but very competent, until he should find a man after his desire. The deputies (some of whom had many times made efforts to place there Nanni di Baccio Bigio, who was always urging them and promising great things), in order to be able to disturb the affairs of the fabric at their pleasure, sent Luigi Gaeta away, which having heard, Michelagnolo, as in anger, would no longer show himself at the fabric; whereupon they began to give out that he could do no more, that it was necessary to give him a substitute, and that he himself had said that he did not wish to be embroiled any longer with S. Pietro. All this came to the ears of Michelagnolo, who sent Daniello Ricciarelli of Volterra to Bishop Ferratino, one of the superintendents, who had said to the Cardinal of Carpi that Michelagnolo had told one of his servants that he did not wish to be mixed up with the fabric any longer; and Daniello said that this was by no means Michelagnolo's desire. Ferratino complained that Michelagnolo would not make his conception known, adding that it would be well for him to provide a substitute, and that he would have gladly accepted Daniello; and with this Michelagnolo appeared to be content. Thereupon Ferratino, having had the deputies informed in the name of Michelagnolo [Pg 101] that they now had a substitute, presented not Daniello, but in his place Nanni di Baccio Bigio, who came in and was accepted by the superintendents. Before very long he gave orders to make a scaffolding of wood from the side of the Pope's stables, where the hill is, to rise above the great recess that is turned towards that side, and caused some stout beams of fir to be cut, saying that too many ropes were consumed in drawing up the materials, and that it was better to raise them by his method. Which having heard, Michelagnolo went straight to the Pope, who was on the Piazza di Campidoglio, and made so much noise that his Holiness made him go at once into a room, where he said: "Holy Father, there has been appointed as my substitute by the deputies a man of whom I know nothing; but if they are convinced, and also your Holiness, that I am no longer the proper man, I will return to rest in Florence, where I will enjoy the favours of that great Duke who has so long desired me, and will finish my life in my own house; I therefore beg your gracious leave." The Pope was vexed at this, and, consoling him with kind words, ordained that he should come to speak with him on the following day at the Araceli. There, having caused the deputies of the fabric to be assembled together, he desired to be informed of the reasons of what had happened: whereupon their answer was that the fabric was going to ruin, and that errors were being made in it. Which having heard not to be the truth, the Pope commanded Signor Gabrio Scerbellone that he should go to see the fabric for himself, and that Nanni, who was making these assertions, should show it to him. This was carried out, and Signor Gabrio found that the whole story was a malicious slander, and not the truth; wherefore Nanni was dismissed from that fabric with no very flattering words in the presence of many lords, being also reproached that by his fault the bridge of Santa Maria fell into ruin, and that at Ancona, seeking to do great things at little cost in the matter of cleaning out the harbour, he filled it up more in one day than the sea had done in ten years. Such was the end of Nanni in the fabric of S. Pietro. For that work Michelagnolo for seventeen years attended constantly to nothing but to establishing it securely with directions, doubting on account of those envious persecutions lest it might come to be changed after his [Pg 102] death; so that at the present day it is strong enough to allow the vaulting to be raised with perfect security. Thus it has been seen that God, who is the protector of the good, defended him as long as he lived, and worked for the benefit of the fabric and for the defence of the master until his death. Moreover, Pius IV, living after him, commanded the superintendents of the fabric that nothing of what Michelagnolo had directed should be changed; and with even greater authority his successor, Pius V, caused it to be carried out, who, lest disorder should arise, insisted that the designs made by Michelagnolo should be carried into execution with the utmost fidelity, so that, when the architects Pirro Ligorio and Jacopo Vignuola were in charge of it, and Pirro wished presumptuously to disturb and alter those directions, he was removed with little honour from that fabric, and only Vignuola remained. Finally, that Pontiff being full of zeal no less for the honour of the fabric of S. Pietro than for the Christian religion, in the year 1565, when Vasari went to kiss the feet of his Holiness, and in the year 1566, when he was again summoned, nothing was discussed save the means to ensure the observing of the designs left by Michelagnolo; and his Holiness, in order to obviate all chance of disorder, commanded Vasari that he should go with Messer Guglielmo Sangalletti, the private treasurer of his Holiness, to seek out Bishop Ferratino, the head of the superintendents of S. Pietro, with orders from the Pontiff that he should listen to all the suggestions and records of importance that Vasari might impart to him, to the end that no words of any malignant and presumptuous person might ever cause to be disturbed any line or order left by the excellent genius of Michelagnolo of happy memory; and at that interview was present Messer Giovan Battista Altoviti, who was much the friend of Vasari and of these arts. And Ferratino, having heard a discourse that Vasari made to him, readily accepted every record, and promised to observe and to cause to be observed with the utmost fidelity in that fabric every order and design that Michelagnolo had left for that purpose, and, in addition, to be the protector, defender, and preserver of the labours of that great man.

But to return to Michelagnolo: I must relate that about a year before his death, Vasari secretly prevailed upon Duke Cosimo de' Medici to persuade [Pg 103] the Pope by means of Messer Averardo Serristori, his Ambassador, that, since Michelagnolo was much reduced, a diligent watch should be kept on those who were about him to take care of him, or who visited him at his house, and that, in the event of some sudden accident happening to him, such as might well happen to an old man, he should make arrangements for his property, designs, cartoons, models, money, and all his other possessions at the time of his death, to be set down in an inventory and placed in security, for the sake of the fabric of S. Pietro, so that, if there were things pertaining to that fabric, and also to the sacristy, library, and façade of S. Lorenzo, they might not be taken away, as is often wont to happen; and in the end, all this being duly carried out, such diligence had its reward. Leonardo, the nephew of Michelagnolo, was desirous to go during the coming Lent to Rome, as one who guessed that he was now come to the end of his life; and at this Michelagnolo was content. When, therefore, he fell sick of a slow fever, he straightway caused Daniello to write to Leonardo that he should come; but the illness grew worse, although Messer Federigo Donati, his physician, and his other attendants were about him, and with perfect consciousness he made his will in three sentences, leaving his soul in the hands of God, his body to the earth, and his substance to his nearest relatives, and enjoining on his friends that, at his passing from this life, they should recall to him the agony of Jesus Christ. And so at the twenty-third hour of the seventeenth day of February, in the year 1563 (after the Florentine reckoning, which according to the Roman would be 1564), he breathed his last, to go to a better life.

Michelagnolo was much inclined to the labours of art, seeing that everything, however difficult, succeeded with him, he having had from nature a genius very apt and ardent in these most noble arts of design. Moreover, in order to be entirely perfect, innumerable times he made anatomical studies, dissecting men's bodies in order to see the principles of their construction and the concatenation of the bones, muscles, veins, and nerves, the various movements and all the postures of the human body; and not of men only, but also of animals, and particularly of horses, which last he much delighted to keep. Of all these he desired to [Pg 104] learn the principles and laws in so far as touched his art, and this knowledge he so demonstrated in the works that fell to him to handle, that those who attend to no other study than this do not know more. He so executed his works, whether with the brush or with the chisel, that they are almost inimitable, and he gave to his labours, as has been said, such art and grace, and a loveliness of such a kind, that (be it said without offence to any) he surpassed and vanquished the ancients; having been able to wrest things out of the greatest difficulties with such facility, that they do not appear wrought with effort, although whoever draws his works after him finds enough in imitating them.

The genius of Michelagnolo was recognized in his lifetime, and not, as happens to many, after death, for it has been seen that Julius II, Leo X, Clement VII, Paul III, Julius III, Paul IV, and Pius IV, all supreme Pontiffs, always wished to have him near them, and also, as is known, Suleiman, Emperor of the Turks, Francis of Valois, King of France, the Emperor Charles V, the Signoria of Venice, and finally, as has been related, Duke Cosimo de' Medici; all offering him honourable salaries, for no other reason but to avail themselves of his great genius. This does not happen save to men of great worth, such as he was; and it is evident and well known that all these three arts were so perfected in him, that it is not found that among persons ancient or modern, in all the many years that the sun has been whirling round, God has granted this to any other but Michelagnolo. He had imagination of such a kind, and so perfect, and the things conceived by him in idea were such, that often, through not being able to express with the hands conceptions so terrible and grand, he abandoned his works—nay, destroyed many of them; and I know that a little before he died he burned a great number of designs, sketches, and cartoons made with his own hand, to the end that no one might see the labours endured by him and his methods of trying his genius, and that he might not appear less than perfect. Of such I have some by his hand, found in Florence, and placed in my book of drawings; from which, although the greatness of that brain is seen in them, it is evident that when he wished to bring forth Minerva from the head of Jove, he had to use Vulcan's hammer. Thus he used to make [Pg 105] his figures in the proportion of nine, ten, and even twelve heads, seeking nought else but that in putting them all together there should be a certain harmony of grace in the whole, which nature does not present; saying that it was necessary to have the compasses in the eyes and not in the hand, because the hands work and the eye judges; which method he used also in architecture.

No one should think it strange that Michelagnolo delighted in solitude, he having been one who was enamoured of his art, which claims a man, with all his thoughts, for herself alone; moreover, it is necessary that he who wishes to attend to her studies should shun society, and, while attending to the considerations of art, he is never alone or without thoughts. And those who attributed it to caprice and eccentricity are wrong, because he who wishes to work well must withdraw himself from all cares and vexations, since art demands contemplation, solitude, and ease of life, and will not suffer the mind to wander. For all this, he prized the friendship of many great persons and of learned and ingenious men, at convenient times; and these he maintained. Thus the great Cardinal Ippolito de' Medici loved him greatly, and, having heard that a Turkish horse that he possessed pleased Michelagnolo because of its beauty, it was sent as a present to him by the liberality of that lord, with ten mules laden with fodder, and a serving-man to attend to it; and Michelagnolo accepted it willingly. The illustrious Cardinal Pole was much his friend, Michelagnolo being enamoured of his goodness and his talents; also Cardinal Farnese, and Santa Croce, which latter afterwards became Pope Marcellus, Cardinal Ridolfi, Cardinal Maffeo, Monsignor Bembo, Carpi, and many other Cardinals, Bishops, and Prelates, whom it is not necessary to name. Others were Monsignor Claudio Tolomei, the Magnificent Messer Ottaviano de' Medici, his gossip, whose son he held at baptism, and Messer Bindo Altoviti, to whom he presented that cartoon of the Chapel in which Noah, drunk with wine, is derided by one of his sons, and his nakedness is covered by the two others; M. Lorenzo Ridolfi, M. Annibale Caro, and M. Giovan Francesco Lottini of Volterra. But infinitely more than any of the others he loved M. Tommaso de' Cavalieri, a Roman gentleman, for whom, being a young man and much [Pg 106] inclined to these arts, he made, to the end that he might learn to draw, many most superb drawings of divinely beautiful heads, designed in black and red chalk; and then he drew for him a Ganymede rapt to Heaven by Jove's Eagle, a Tityus with the Vulture devouring his heart, the Chariot of the Sun falling with Phaëthon into the Po, and a Bacchanal of children, which are all in themselves most rare things, and drawings the like of which have never been seen. Michelagnolo made a life-size portrait of Messer Tommaso in a cartoon, and neither before nor afterwards did he take the portrait of anyone, because he abhorred executing a resemblance to the living subject, unless it were of extraordinary beauty. These drawings, on account of the great delight that M. Tommaso took in them, were the reason that he afterwards obtained a good number, miraculous things, which Michelagnolo once drew for Fra Sebastiano Viniziano, who carried them into execution; and in truth he rightly treasures them as reliques, and he has courteously given craftsmen access to them. Of a truth Michelagnolo always placed his affections with persons noble, deserving, and worthy of them, for he had true judgment and taste in all things.

Unfinished Figure.

(After Michelagnolo. Florence: Museo Nazionale)
View larger image

M. Tommaso afterwards caused Michelagnolo to make many designs for friends, such as that of the picture for Cardinal di Cesis, wherein is Our Lady receiving the Annunciation from the Angel, a novel thing, which was afterwards executed in colours by Marcello Mantovano and placed in the marble chapel which that Cardinal caused to be built in the Church of the Pace at Rome. So, also, with another Annunciation coloured likewise by the hand of Marcello in a picture in the Church of S. Giovanni Laterano, the design of which belongs to Duke Cosimo de' Medici, having been presented after Michelagnolo's death by his nephew Leonardo Buonarroti to his Excellency, who cherishes it as a jewel, together with a Christ praying in the Garden and many other designs, sketches, and cartoons by the hand of Michelagnolo, and likewise the statue of Victory with a captive beneath, five braccia in height, and four captives in the rough which serve to teach us how to carve figures from the marble by a method secure from any chance of spoiling the stone; which method is as follows. You take a figure in wax or some [Pg 107] other solid material, and lay it horizontally in a vessel of water, which water being by its nature flat and level at the surface, as you raise the said figure little by little from the level, so it comes about that the more salient parts are revealed, while the lower parts—those, namely, on the under side of the figure—remain hidden, until in the end it all comes into view. In the same manner must figures be carved out of marble with the chisel, first laying bare the more salient parts, and then little by little the lower parts; and this method may be seen to have been followed by Michelagnolo in the above-mentioned captives, which his Excellency wishes to be used as exemplars for his Academicians.

Michelagnolo loved his fellow-craftsmen, and held intercourse with them, as with Jacopo Sansovino, Rosso, Pontormo, Daniello da Volterra, and Giorgio Vasari of Arezzo, to which last he showed innumerable kindnesses; and he was the reason that Giorgio gave his attention to architecture, intending to make use of him some day, and he readily conferred and discussed matters of art with him. Those who say that he was not willing to teach are wrong, because he was always willing with his intimates and with anyone who asked him for counsel; and I have been present on many such occasions, but of these, out of consideration, I say nothing, not wishing to reveal the deficiencies of others. It may be urged that he had bad fortune with those who lived with him in his house, which was because he hit upon natures little able to imitate him. Thus, Pietro Urbano of Pistoia, his pupil, was a man of parts, but would never exert himself. Antonio Mini was willing, but had no aptitude of brain; and when the wax is hard it does not readily take an impression. Ascanio dalla Ripa Transone took great pains, but of this no fruits were ever seen either in designs or in finished works, and he toiled several years over a picture for which Michelagnolo had given him a cartoon. In the end, all the good expectation in which he was held vanished in smoke; and I remember that Michelagnolo would be seized with compassion for his toil, and would assist him with his own hand, but this profited him little. If he had found a nature after his heart, as he told me several times, in spite of his age he would often have made anatomical studies, and would have written upon them, for the benefit of his fellow-craftsmen; [Pg 108] for he was disappointed by several. But he did not trust himself, through not being able to express himself in writing as he would have liked, because he was not practised in diction, although in the prose of his letters he explained his conceptions very well in a few words. He much delighted in readings of the poets in the vulgar tongue, and particularly of Dante, whom he much admired, imitating him in his conceptions and inventions; and so with Petrarca, having delighted to make madrigals and sonnets of great weight, upon which commentaries have been written. M. Benedetto Varchi gave a lecture in the Florentine Academy upon that sonnet which begins—

Non ha l'ottimo artista alcun concetto
Ch'un marmo solo in se non circonscriva.

Michelagnolo sent a vast number by his own hand—receiving answers in rhyme and in prose—to the most illustrious Marchioness of Pescara, of whose virtues he was enamoured, and she likewise of his; and she went many times to Rome from Viterbo to visit him, and Michelagnolo designed for her a Dead Christ in the lap of Our Lady, with two little Angels, all most admirable, and a Christ fixed on the Cross, who, with the head uplifted, is recommending His Spirit to the Father, a divine work; and also a Christ with the Woman of Samaria at the well. He much delighted in the sacred Scriptures, like the excellent Christian that he was; and he held in great veneration the works written by Fra Girolamo Savonarola, because he had heard the voice of that friar in the pulpit. He greatly loved human beauty for the sake of imitation in art, being able to select from the beautiful the most beautiful, for without this imitation no perfect work can be done; but not with lascivious and disgraceful thoughts, as he proved by his way of life, which was very frugal. Thus, when he was young, all intent on his work, he contented himself with a little bread and wine, and this he continued when old until the time when he was painting the Judgment in the Chapel, taking his refreshment in the evening when he had finished the day's work, but always very frugally. And, although he was rich, he lived like a poor man, nor did any friend ever eat at his table, or rarely; and he would not [Pg 109] accept presents from anyone, because it appeared to him that if anyone gave him something, he would be bound to him for ever. This sober life kept him very active and in want of very little sleep, and often during the night, not being able to sleep, he would rise to labour with the chisel; having made a cap of thick paper, and over the centre of his head he kept a lighted candle, which in this way threw light over where he was working without encumbering his hands. Vasari, who had seen the cap several times, reflecting that he did not use wax, but candles of pure goat's tallow, which are excellent, sent him four bundles of these, which weighed forty libbre. And his servant with all courtesy carried them to him at the second hour of the evening, and presented them to him; but Michelagnolo refused them, declaring that he did not want them; and then the servant said: "They have broken my arms on the way between the bridge and here, and I shall not carry them back to the house. Now here in front of your door there is a solid heap of mud; they will stand in it beautifully, and I will set them all alight." Michelagnolo said to him: "Put them down here, for I will not have you playing pranks at my door."

He told me that often in his youth he slept in his clothes, being weary with labour and not caring to take them off only to have to put them on again later. There are some who have taxed him with being avaricious, but they are mistaken, for both with works of art and with his substance he proved the contrary. Of works of art, as has been seen and related, he presented to M. Tommaso de' Cavalieri, to Messer Bindo, and to Fra Sebastiano, designs of considerable value; and to Antonio Mini, his pupil, all his designs, all his cartoons, and the picture of the Leda, and all the models in clay and wax that he ever made, which, as has been related, were all left in France. To Gherardo Perini, a Florentine gentleman who was very much his friend, he gave three sheets with some divine heads in black chalk, which since Perini's death have come into the hands of the most illustrious Don Francesco, Prince of Florence, who treasures them as jewels, as indeed they are; for Bartolommeo Bettini he made a cartoon, which he presented to him, of a Venus with a Cupid that is kissing her, a divine thing, which is now in the possession [Pg 110] of Bettini's heirs in Florence, and for the Marchese del Vasto he made a cartoon of a "Noli me Tangere," a rare thing; and these two last were painted excellently well by Pontormo, as has been related. He presented the two Captives to Signor Ruberto Strozzi, and the Pietà in marble, which he broke, to Antonio, his servant, and to Francesco Bandini. I know not, therefore, how this man can be taxed with avarice, he having given away so many things for which he could have obtained thousands of crowns. What better proof can I give than this, that I know from personal experience that he made many designs and went to see many pictures and buildings, without demanding any payment? But let us come to the money earned by him by the sweat of his brow, not from revenues, not from traffickings, but from his own study and labour. Can he be called avaricious who succoured many poor persons, as he did, and secretly married off a good number of girls, and enriched those who served him and assisted him in his works, as with his servant Urbino, whom he made a very rich man? This Urbino was his man of all work, and had served him a long time; and Michelagnolo said to him: "If I die, what will you do?" And he answered: "I will serve another master." "You poor creature," said Michelagnolo, "I will save you from such misery"; and presented two thousand crowns to him in one sum, an act such as is generally left to Cæsars and Pontiffs. To his nephew, moreover, he gave three and four thousand crowns at a time, and at the end he left him ten thousand crowns, besides the property in Rome.

Michelagnolo was a man of tenacious and profound memory, so that, on seeing the works of others only once, he remembered them perfectly, and could avail himself of them in such a manner, that scarcely anyone has ever noticed it; nor did he ever do anything that resembled another thing by his hand, because he remembered everything that he had done. In his youth, being once with his painter-friends, they played for a supper for him who should make a figure most completely wanting in design and clumsy, after the likeness of the puppet-figures which those make who know nothing, scrawling upon walls; and in this he availed himself of his memory, for he remembered having seen one of those [Pg 111] absurdities on a wall, and drew it exactly as if he had had it before him, and thus surpassed all those painters—a thing difficult for a man so steeped in design, and accustomed to choice works, to come out of with credit. He was full of disdain, and rightly, against anyone who did him an injury, but he was never seen to run to take revenge; nay, rather, he was most patient, modest in all his ways, very prudent and wise in his speech, with answers full of weight, and at times sayings most ingenious, amusing, and acute. He said many things that have been written down by me, of which I shall include only a few, because it would take too long to give them all. A friend having spoken to him of death, saying that it must grieve him much, because he had lived in continual labour in matters of art, and had never had any repose, he answered that all that was nothing, because, if life is a pleasure to us, death, being likewise by the hand of one and the same master, should not displease us. To a citizen who found him by Orsanmichele in Florence, where he had stopped to gaze at Donato's statue of S. Mark, and who asked him what he thought of that figure, Michelagnolo answered that he had never seen a figure that had more of the air of a good man than that one, and that, if S. Mark was like that, one could give credence to what he had written. Being shown the drawing of a boy then beginning to learn to draw, who was recommended to him, some persons excusing him because it was not long since he had applied himself to art, he replied: "That is evident." He said a similar thing to a painter who had painted a Pietà, and had not acquitted himself well: "It is indeed a pitiful thing to see." Having heard that Sebastiano Viniziano had to paint a friar in the chapel of S. Pietro a Montorio, he said that this would spoil the work for him; and being asked why he said that, he answered: "Since they have spoiled the world, which is so large, it would not be surprising if they were to spoil such a small thing as that chapel." A painter had executed a work with very great pains, toiling over it a long time; but when it was given to view he had made a considerable profit. Michelagnolo was asked what he thought of the craftsman, and he answered: "As long as this man strives to be rich, he will always remain a poor creature." One of his friends who was a churchman, and used formerly to say Mass, having arrived in [Pg 112] Rome all covered with points and silk, saluted Michelagnolo; but he pretended not to see him, so that the friend was forced to declare his name to him. Michelagnolo expressed marvel that he should be in that habit, and then added, as it were to congratulate him: "Oh, but you are magnificent! If you were as fine within as I see you to be without, it would be well with your soul." The same man had recommended a friend to Michelagnolo (who had given him a statue to execute), praying him that he should have something more given to him, which Michelagnolo graciously did; but the envy of the friend, who had made the request to Michelagnolo only in the belief that he would not grant it, brought it about that, perceiving that the master had granted it after all, he complained of it. This matter was reported to Michelagnolo, and he answered that he did not like men made like sewers, using a metaphor from architecture, and meaning that it is difficult to have dealings with men who have two mouths. Being asked by a friend what he thought of one who had counterfeited in marble some of the most celebrated antique figures, and boasted that in his imitations he had surpassed the antiques by a great measure, Michelagnolo replied: "He who goes behind others can never go in front of them, and he who is not able to work well for himself cannot make good use of the works of others." A certain painter, I know not who, had executed a work wherein was an ox, which looked better than any other part; and Michelagnolo, being asked why the painter had made the ox more lifelike than the rest, said: "Any painter can make a good portrait of himself." Passing by S. Giovanni in Florence, he was asked his opinion of those doors, and he answered: "They are so beautiful that they would do well at the gates of Paradise." While serving a Prince who kept changing plans every day, and would never stand firm, Michelagnolo said to a friend: "This lord has a brain like a weather-cock, which turns round with every wind that blows on it." He went to see a work of sculpture which was about to be sent out because it was finished, and the sculptor was taking much trouble to arrange the lights from the windows, to the end that it might show up well; whereupon Michelagnolo said to him: "Do not trouble yourself; the important thing will be the light of the Piazza"; meaning to infer [Pg 113] that when works are in public places, the people must judge whether they are good or bad. There was a great Prince in Rome who had a notion to play the architect, and he had caused certain niches to be built in which to place figures, each three squares high, with a ring at the top; and having tried to place various statues within these niches, which did not turn out well, he asked Michelagnolo what he should place in them, and he answered: "Hang bunches of eels from those rings." There was appointed to the government of the fabric of S. Pietro a gentleman who professed to understand Vitruvius, and to be a critic of the work done. Michelagnolo was told, "You have obtained for the fabric one who has a great intelligence"; and he answered, "That is true, but he has a bad judgment." A painter had executed a scene, and had copied many things from various other works, both drawings and pictures, nor was there anything in that work that was not copied. It was shown to Michelagnolo, who, having seen it, was asked by a very dear friend what he thought of it, and he replied: "He has done well, but I know not what this scene will do on the day of Judgment, when all bodies shall recover their members, for there will be nothing left of it"—a warning to those who practise art, that they should make a habit of working by themselves. Passing through Modena, he saw many beautiful figures by the hand of Maestro Antonio Bigarino,[5] a sculptor of Modena, made of terra-cotta and coloured in imitation of marble, which appeared to him to be excellent works; and, since that sculptor did not know how to work marble, Michelagnolo said: "If this clay were to become marble, woe to the ancient statues." Michelagnolo was told that he should show resentment against Nanni di Baccio Bigio, who was seeking every day to compete with him; but he answered: "He who contends with men of no account never gains a victory." A priest, his friend, said to him: "It is a pity that you have not taken a wife, so that you might have had many children and left them all your honourable labours." And Michelagnolo replied: "I have only too much of a wife in this art of mine, who has always kept me in tribulation, and my children shall be the works that I may leave, which, even if they are naught, will live a while. Woe to [Pg 114] Lorenzo di Bartoluccio Ghiberti, if he had not made the gates of S. Giovanni, for his children and grandchildren sold or squandered all that he left, but the gates are still standing." Vasari, sent by Julius III to Michelagnolo's house for a design at the first hour of the night, found him working at the Pietà in marble that he broke. Michelagnolo, recognizing him by the knock at the door, left his work and took a lamp with his hand by the handle; Vasari explained what he wanted, whereupon Michelagnolo sent Urbino upstairs for the design, and then they entered into another conversation. Meanwhile Vasari turned his eyes to examine a leg of the Christ at which he was working, seeking to change it; and, in order to prevent Vasari from seeing it, he let the lamp fall from his hand, and they were left in darkness. He called to Urbino to bring a light, and meanwhile came forth from the enclosure where the work was, and said: "I am so old that death often pulls me by the cloak, that I may go with him, and one day this body of mine will fall like the lamp, and the light of my life will be spent."

For all this, he took pleasure in certain kinds of men after his taste, such as Menighella, a commonplace and clownish painter of Valdarno, who was a most diverting person. He would come at times to Michelagnolo, that he might make for him a design of S. Rocco or S. Anthony, to be painted for peasants; and Michelagnolo, who was with difficulty persuaded to work for Kings, would deign to set aside all his other work and make him simple designs suited to his manner and his wishes, as Menighella himself used to say. Among other things, Menighella persuaded him to make a model of a Crucifix, which was very beautiful; of this he made a mould, from which he formed copies in pasteboard and other materials, and these he went about selling throughout the countryside. Michelagnolo would burst out laughing at him, particularly because he used to meet with fine adventures, as with a countryman who commissioned him to paint a S. Francis, and was displeased because Menighella had made the vestment grey, whereas he would have liked it of a finer colour; whereupon Menighella painted over the Saint's shoulders a pluvial of brocade, and so contented him.

He loved, likewise, the stone-cutter Topolino, who had a notion of [Pg 115] being an able sculptor, but was in truth very feeble. This man spent many years in the mountains of Carrara, sending marble to Michelagnolo; nor would he ever send a boatload without adding to it three or four little figures blocked out with his own hand, at which Michelagnolo would die of laughing. Finally Topolino returned, and, having blocked out a Mercury from a piece of marble, he set himself to finish it; and one day, when there was little left to do, he desired that Michelagnolo should see it, and straitly besought him that he should tell him his opinion. "You are a madman to try to make figures, Topolino," said Michelagnolo. "Do you not see that your Mercury is more than a third of a braccio too short between the knees and the feet, and that you have made him a dwarf and all misshapen?" "Oh, that is nothing! If there is nothing else wrong, I will put it right; leave it to me." Michelagnolo laughed once more at his simplicity; and when he was gone, Topolino took a piece of marble, and, having cut the Mercury a quarter of a braccio below the knees, he let it into the new piece of marble and joined it neatly together, making a pair of buskins for the Mercury, the tops of which were above the joins; and so he added the length required. Then he invited Michelagnolo to come, and showed him his work once again; and the master laughed, marvelling that such simpletons, when driven by necessity, form resolutions of which able men are not capable.

While Michelagnolo was having the tomb of Julius II finished, he caused a marble-hewer to execute a terminal figure for placing in the tomb in S. Pietro in Vincola, saying to him, "Cut away this to-day," "Level that," "Polish here"; insomuch that, without the other noticing it, he enabled him to make a figure. Wherefore, when it was finished, the man gazed at it marvelling; and Michelagnolo said: "What do you think of it?" "I think it fine," he answered, "and I am much obliged to you." "Why so?" asked Michelagnolo. "Because by your means I have discovered a talent that I did not know I possessed."

Now, to be brief, I must record that the master's constitution was very sound, for he was lean and well knit together with nerves, and although as a boy he was delicate, and as a man he had two serious illnesses, he could always endure any fatigue and had no infirmity, save [Pg 116] that in his old age he suffered from dysuria and from gravel, which in the end developed into the stone; wherefore for many years he was syringed by the hand of Maestro Realdo Colombo, his very dear friend, who treated him with great diligence. He was of middle stature, broad in the shoulders, but well proportioned in all the rest of the body. In his latter years he wore buskins of dogskin on the legs, next to the skin, constantly for whole months together, so that afterwards, when he sought to take them off, on drawing them off the skin often came away with them. Over the stockings he wore boots of cordwain fastened on the inside, as a protection against damp. His face was round, the brow square and spacious, with seven straight lines, and the temples projected considerably beyond the ears; which ears were somewhat on the large side, and stood out from the cheeks. The body was in proportion to the face, or rather on the large side; the nose somewhat flattened, as was said in the Life of Torrigiano, who broke it for him with his fist; the eyes rather on the small side, of the colour of horn, spotted with blueish and yellowish gleams; the eyebrows with few hairs, the lips thin, with the lower lip rather thicker and projecting a little, the chin well shaped and in proportion with the rest, the hair black, but mingled with white hairs, like the beard, which was not very long, forked, and not very thick.

Truly his coming was to the world, as I said at the beginning, an exemplar sent by God to the men of our arts, to the end that they might learn from his life the nature of noble character, and from his works what true and excellent craftsmen ought to be. And I, who have to praise God for infinite blessings, as is seldom wont to happen with men of our profession, count it among the greatest blessings that I was born at the time when Michelagnolo was alive, that I was thought worthy to have him as my master, and that he was so much my friend and intimate, as everyone knows, and as the letters written by him to me, now in my possession, bear witness; and out of love for truth, and also from the obligation that I feel to his loving kindness, I have contrived to write many things of him, and all true, which many others have not been able to do. Another blessing he used to point out to me himself: "You should thank God, Giorgio, who has caused you to serve Duke Cosimo, who, in [Pg 117] his contentment that you should build and paint and carry into execution his conceptions and designs, has grudged no expense; and you will remember, if you consider it, that the others whose Lives you have written did not have such advantages."

With most honourable obsequies, and with a concourse of all the craftsmen, all his friends, and all the Florentine colony, Michelagnolo was given burial in a sepulchre at S. Apostolo, in the sight of all Rome; his Holiness having intended to make him some particular memorial and tomb in S. Pietro at Rome. Leonardo, his nephew, arrived when all was over, although he travelled post. When Duke Cosimo was informed of the event, he confirmed his resolve that since he had not been able to have him and honour him alive, he would have him brought to Florence and not hesitate to honour him with all manner of pomp after death; and the body was sent secretly in a bale, under the title of merchandise, which method was adopted lest there might be a tumult in Rome, and lest perchance the body of Michelagnolo might be detained and prevented from leaving Rome for Florence. But before the body arrived, the news of the death having been heard, the principal painters, sculptors, and architects were assembled together at the summons of the Lieutenant of their Academy, and they were reminded by that Lieutenant, who at that time was the Reverend Don Vincenzio Borghini, that they were obliged by virtue of their statutes to pay due honour to the death of any of their brethren, and that, they having done this so lovingly and with such universal satisfaction in the obsequies of Fra Giovanni Agnolo Montorsoli, who had been the first to die after the creation of the Academy, they should look well to what it might be proper for them to do in honour of Buonarroti, who had been elected by an unanimous vote of the whole body of the Company as the first Academician and the head of them all. To which proposal they all replied, as men most deeply indebted and affected to the genius of so great a man, that at all costs pains should be taken to do him honour in the best and finest ways available to them. This done, in order not to have to assemble so many persons together every day, to their great inconvenience, and to the end that matters might proceed more quietly, four men were elected as heads of the [Pg 118] obsequies and the funeral pomp that were to be held; the painters Agnolo Bronzino and Giorgio Vasari, and the sculptors Benvenuto Cellini and Bartolommeo Ammanati, all men of illustrious name and eminent ability in their arts; to the end, I say, that they might consult and determine between themselves and the Lieutenant what was to be done in each particular, and in what way, with authority and power to dispose of the whole body of the Company and Academy. This charge they accepted all the more willingly because all the members, young and old, each in his own profession, offered their services for the execution of such pictures and statues as had to be done for that funeral pomp. They then ordained that the Lieutenant, in pursuance of his office, and the Consuls, in the name of the Company and Academy, should lay the whole matter before the Lord Duke, and beseech him for all the aids and favours that might be necessary, and especially for permission to have those obsequies held in S. Lorenzo, the church of the most illustrious House of Medici; wherein are the greater part of the works by the hand of Michelagnolo that there are to be seen in Florence; and, in addition, that his Excellency should allow Messer Benedetto Varchi to compose and deliver the funeral oration, to the end that the excellent genius of Michelagnolo might be extolled by the rare eloquence of a man so great as was Varchi, who, being in the particular service of his Excellency, would not have undertaken such a charge without a word from him, although they were very certain that, as one most loving by nature and deeply affected to the memory of Michelagnolo, of himself he would never have refused. This done, and the Academicians dismissed, the above-named Lieutenant wrote to the Lord Duke a letter of this precise tenor:

"The Academy and Company of Painters and Sculptors having resolved among themselves, if it should please your most illustrious Excellency, to do honour in some sort to the memory of Michelagnolo Buonarroti, both from the general obligation due from their profession to the extraordinary genius of one who was perhaps the greatest craftsman who has ever lived, and from their particular obligation through their belonging to a common country, and also because of the great advantage [Pg 119] that these professions have received from the perfection of his works and inventions, insomuch that they hold themselves obliged to prove their affection to his genius in whatever way they are able, they have laid this their desire before your illustrious Excellency in a letter, and have besought you, as their peculiar refuge, for a certain measure of assistance. I, entreated by them, and being, as I think, obliged because your most illustrious Excellency has been content that I should be again this year in their Company with the title of your Lieutenant, with the added reason that the proposal is a generous one and worthy of virtuous and grateful minds, and, above all, knowing how your most illustrious Excellency is the patron of talent, and as it were a haven and unique protector for ingenious persons in this age, even surpassing in this respect your forefathers, who bestowed extraordinary favours on those excellent in these professions, as, by order of the Magnificent Lorenzo, Giotto, already so long dead, received a statue in the principal church, and Fra Filippo a most beautiful tomb of marble at his expense, while many others obtained the greatest benefits and honours on various occasions; moved, I say, by all these reasons, I have taken it upon myself to recommend to your most illustrious Excellency the petition of this Academy, that they may be able to do honour to the genius of Michelagnolo, the particular nursling and pupil of the school of the Magnificent Lorenzo, which will be an extraordinary pleasure to them, a vast satisfaction to men in general, no small incitement to the professors of these arts, and to all Italy a proof of the lofty mind and overflowing goodness of your most illustrious Excellency, whom may God long preserve in happiness for the benefit of your people and the support of every talent."

To which letter the above-named Lord Duke answered thus:

"Reverend and Well-Beloved Friend,

"The zeal that this Academy has displayed, and continues to display, to honour the memory of Michelagnolo Buonarroti, who has passed from this to a better life, has given us much consolation for the loss of a man so extraordinary; and we wish not only to satisfy them in all that they have demanded in their memorial, but also to have his [Pg 120] remains brought to Florence, which, according as we are informed, was his own desire. All this we are writing to the aforesaid Academy, to encourage them to celebrate by every possible means the genius of that great man. May God content you in your desire."

Of the letter, or rather, memorial, of which mention has been made above, addressed by the Academy to the Lord Duke, the tenor was as follows:

"Most Illustrious, etc.

"The Academy and the Men of the Company of Design, created by the grace and favour of your most illustrious Excellency, knowing with what solicitude and affection you caused the body of Michelagnolo Buonarroti to be brought to Florence by means of your representative in Rome, have assembled together and have unanimously determined that they shall celebrate his obsequies in the best manner in their power and knowledge. Wherefore they, knowing that your most illustrious Excellency was revered by him as much as you yourself loved him, beseech you that you should deign in your infinite goodness and liberality to grant to them, first, that they may be allowed to celebrate the said obsequies in the Church of S. Lorenzo, a church built by your ancestors, in which are so many beautiful works wrought by his hand, both in architecture and in sculpture, and near which you are minded to have erected a place that shall be as it were a nest and an abiding school of architecture, sculpture, and painting, for the above-named Academy and Company of Design. Secondly, they pray you that you should consent to grant a commission to Messer Benedetto Varchi that he shall not only compose the funeral oration, but also deliver it with his own mouth, as he has promised most freely that he would do, when besought by us, in the event of your most illustrious Excellency consenting. In the third place, they entreat and pray you that you should deign, in the same goodness and liberality of your heart, to supply them with all that may be necessary for them in celebrating the above-mentioned obsequies, over and above their own resources, which are very small. All these matters, and each singly, have been discussed and determined [Pg 121] in the presence and with the consent of the most Magnificent and Reverend Monsignor, Messer Vincenzio Borghini, Prior of the Innocenti and Lieutenant of your most illustrious Excellency in the aforesaid Academy and Company of Design, which, etc."

To which letter of the Academy the Duke made this reply:

"Well-Beloved Academicians,

"We are well content to give full satisfaction to your petitions, so great is the affection that we have always borne to the rare genius of Michelagnolo Buonarroti, and that we still bear to all your profession; do not hesitate, therefore, to carry out all that you have proposed to do in his obsequies, for we will not fail to supply whatever you need. Meanwhile, we have written to Messer Benedetto Varchi in the matter of the oration, and to the Director of the Hospital with regard to anything more that may be necessary in this undertaking. Fare you well.


The letter to Varchi was as follows:

"Messer Benedetto, our Well-Beloved,

"The affection that we bear to the rare genius of Michelagnolo Buonarroti makes us desire that his memory should be honoured and celebrated in every possible way. It will be pleasing to us, therefore, that you for love of us shall undertake the charge of composing the oration that is to be delivered at his obsequies, according to the arrangements made by the deputies of the Academy; and still more pleasing that it should be delivered by your own lips. Fare you well."

Messer Bernardino Grazzini, also, wrote to the above-named deputies that they could not have expected in the Duke any desire in that matter more ardent than that which he had shown, and that they might be assured of every aid and favour from his most illustrious Excellency.

While these matters were being discussed in Florence, Leonardo Buonarroti, Michelagnolo's nephew (who, when informed of his uncle's illness, had made his way to Rome by post, but had not found him alive), having heard from Daniello da Volterra, who had been the very familiar [Pg 122] friend of Michelagnolo, and also from others who had been about the person of that saintly old man, that he had requested and prayed that his body should be carried to Florence, that most noble city of his birth, of which he was always a most tender lover; Leonardo, I say, with prompt and therefore good resolution, removed the body cautiously from Rome and sent it off to Florence in a bale, as if it had been a piece of merchandise. And here I must not omit to say that this final resolution of Michelagnolo's proved a thing against the opinion of certain persons, but nevertheless very true, namely, that his absence for so many years from Florence had been caused by no other thing but the nature of the air, for the reason that experience had taught him that the air of Florence, being sharp and subtle, was very injurious to his constitution, while that of Rome, softer and more temperate, had kept him in perfect health up to his ninetieth year, with all the senses as lively and sound as they had ever been, and with such strength, for his age, that up to the last day he had never ceased to work at something.

Since, then, the coming of the bale was so sudden and so unexpected that for the time being it was not possible to do what was done afterwards, the body of Michelagnolo, on arriving in Florence, was placed with the coffin, at the desire of the deputies, on the same day that it arrived in the city (namely, on the 11th of March, which was a Saturday), in the Company of the Assumption, which is under the high-altar of S. Pietro Maggiore, beneath the steps at the back; but it was not touched in any way whatever. The next day, which was Sunday of the second week in Lent, all the painters, sculptors, and architects assembled as quietly as possible round S. Pietro, whither they had brought nothing but a pall of velvet, all bordered and embroidered in gold, which covered the coffin and the whole bier; upon which coffin was an image of Christ Crucified. Then, about the middle hour of the night, all having gathered around the body, all at once the oldest and most eminent craftsmen laid their hands on a great quantity of torches that had been carried there, and the younger men took up the bier with such eagerness, that blessed was he who could approach it and place his shoulders under it, believing as it were that in the time to come they would be able to claim the glory of having borne [Pg 123] the remains of the greatest man that there had ever been in their arts. The sight of a certain number of persons assembled about S. Pietro had caused, as always happens in such cases, many others to stop there, and the rather as it had been trumpeted abroad that the body of Michelagnolo had arrived, and was to be carried to S. Croce. And although, as I have said, every precaution had been taken that the matter should not become known, lest the report might spread through the city, and there might flock thither such a multitude that it would not be possible to avoid a certain degree of tumult and confusion, and also because they desired that the little which they wished to do at that time should be done with more quiet than pomp, reserving the rest for a more convenient time with greater leisure; nevertheless, both the one thing and the other took a contrary course, for with regard to the multitude, the news, as has been related, passing from lip to lip, in the twinkling of an eye the church was so filled, that in the end it was with the greatest difficulty that the body was carried from the church to the sacristy, in order to take it out of the bale and then place it in the sepulchre. With regard to the question of honour, although it cannot be denied that to see in funeral pomps a great show of priests, a large quantity of wax tapers, and a great number of mourners dressed in black, is a thing of grand and magnificent appearance, it does not follow that it was not also a great thing to see thus assembled in a small company, without preparation, all those eminent men who are now in such repute, and who will be even more in the future, honouring that body with such loving and affectionate offices. And, in truth, the number of such craftsmen in Florence—and they were all there—has always been very great, for the reason that these arts have always flourished in Florence in such a manner, that I believe that it may be said without prejudice to other cities that their principal and true nest and domicile is Florence, not otherwise than Athens once was of the sciences. In addition to that number of craftsmen, there were so many citizens following them, and so many at the sides of the streets where the procession passed, that there was no place for any more; and, what is an even greater thing, there was nothing heard but praises in every man's mouth of the merits of Michelagnolo, all saying that true genius [Pg 124] has such force that, after all expectation of such honour and profit as can be obtained from a gifted man has failed, nevertheless, by its own nature and peculiar merits, it remains honoured and beloved. For these reasons that demonstration was more vivid in effect and more precious than any pomp of gold and trappings that could have been contrived.

The body having been carried with so beautiful a train into S. Croce, after the friars had finished the ceremonies that were customary for the dead, it was borne—not without very great difficulty, as has been related, by reason of the concourse of people—into the sacristy, where the above-named Lieutenant, who had been present in virtue of his office, thinking to do a thing pleasing to many, and also (as he afterwards confessed) desiring to see in death one whom he had not seen in life, or had seen at such an early age that he had lost all memory of him, then resolved to have the coffin opened. This done, when he and all the rest of us present thought to find the body already marred and putrefied, because Michelagnolo had been dead twenty-five days and twenty-two in the coffin, we found it so perfect in every part, and so free from any noisome odour, that we were ready to believe that it was rather at rest in a sweet and most peaceful sleep; and, besides that the features of the face were exactly as in life (except that there was something of the colour of death), it had no member that was marred or revealed any corruption, and the head and cheeks were not otherwise to the touch than as if he had passed away but a few hours before.

When the tumult of the people had abated, arrangements were made to place the body in a sepulchre in the church, beside the altar of the Cavalcanti, by the door that leads into the cloister of the chapter-house. Meanwhile the news had spread through the city, and such a multitude of young people flocked thither to see the corpse, that there was great difficulty in contriving to close the tomb; and if it had been day, instead of night, we would have been forced to leave it open many hours in order to satisfy the public. The following morning, while the painters and sculptors were commencing to make arrangements for the memorial of honour, many choice spirits, such as have always abounded in Florence, [Pg 125] began to attach above the aforesaid sepulchre verses both Latin and in the vulgar tongue, and so it was continued for some time; but those compositions that were printed at that time were but a small part with respect to the many that were written.

Now to come to the obsequies, which were not held the day after the day of S. John, as had been intended, but were postponed until the 14th of July. The three deputies (for Benvenuto Cellini, having felt somewhat indisposed from the beginning, had never taken any part in the matter), having appointed the sculptor Zanobi Lastricati as their proveditor, resolved that they would do something ingenious and worthy of their arts rather than costly and full of pomp. And, in truth, since honour was to be paid (said those deputies and their proveditor) to such a man as Michelagnolo, and by men of the profession that he had practised, men rich rather in talents than in excess of means, that must be done not with regal pomp or superfluous vanities, but with inventions and works abounding in spirit and loveliness, such as issue from the knowledge and readiness of hand of our craftsmen; thus honouring art with art. For although, they said, we may expect from his Excellency the Lord Duke any sum of money that may be necessary, and we have already received such amounts as we have demanded, nevertheless we must hold it as certain that from us there is expected something ingenious and pleasing in invention and art, rather than rich through vast expense or grand by reason of superb appurtenances. But, notwithstanding this, it was seen in the end that the work was equal in magnificence to any that ever issued from the hands of those Academicians, and that this memorial of honour was no less truly magnificent than it was ingenious and full of fanciful and praiseworthy inventions.

Finally, then, it was arranged that in the central nave of S. Lorenzo, between the two lateral doors, of which one leads out of the church and the other into the cloister, there should be erected, as was done, a catafalque of a rectangular form, twenty-eight braccia high, eleven braccia long, and nine broad, with a figure of Fame on the summit. On the base of the catafalque, which rose two braccia from the ground, on the part looking towards the principal door of the church, there were [Pg 126] placed two most beautiful recumbent figures of Rivers, one representing the Arno and the other the Tiber. Arno had a horn of plenty, full of flowers and fruits, signifying thereby the fruits that have come to these professions from the city of Florence, which have been of such a kind and so many that they have filled the world, and particularly Rome, with extraordinary beauty. This was demonstrated excellently well by the other River, representing, as has been said, the Tiber, in that, extending one arm, it had the hands full of flowers and fruits received from the horn of plenty of the Arno, which lay beside it, face to face; and it served also to demonstrate, by enjoying the fruits of Arno, that Michelagnolo had lived a great part of his life in Rome, and had executed there those marvels that cause amazement to the world. Arno had for a sign the Lion, and Tiber the She-Wolf, with the infants Romulus and Remus; and they were both colossal figures of extraordinary grandeur and beauty, in the likeness of marble. One, the Tiber, was by the hand of Giovanni di Benedetto of Castello, a pupil of Bandinelli, and the other by Battista di Benedetto, a pupil of Ammanati; both excellent young men of the highest promise.

From this level rose façades of five braccia and a half, with the proper cornices above and below, and also at the corners, leaving space for four pictures, one in the centre of each. In the first of these, which was on the façade where the two Rivers were, there was painted in chiaroscuro (as were also all the other pictures of this structure) the Magnificent Lorenzo de' Medici, the Elder, receiving Michelagnolo as a boy in his garden, of which there has been an account in another place, after he had seen certain specimens of his handiwork, which foreshadowed, as early flowers, the fruits that afterwards issued in abundance from the living force and grandeur of his genius. Such, then, was the story contained in that picture, which was painted by Mirabello and Girolamo del Crocifissaio, so called, who, as very dear friends and companions, undertook to do the work together. In it were animated and lively attitudes, and there could be seen the above-named Magnificent Lorenzo, portrayed from nature, graciously receiving Michelagnolo, a boy all full of reverence, into his garden, and, after an examination, handing him over to some masters who should teach him.

[Pg 127] In the second scene, which came, continuing the same order, to face towards the lateral door that leads out of the church, was figured Pope Clement, who, contrary to the expectation of the public, which thought that his Holiness felt disdain against Michelagnolo on account of his actions in the siege of Florence, not only assures his safety and shows himself lovingly disposed towards him, but sets him to work on the new sacristy and the library of S. Lorenzo, in which places how divinely well he worked has been already told. In this picture, then, there was painted by the hand of Federigo Fiammingo, called Del Padovano, with much dexterity and great sweetness of manner, Michelagnolo showing to the Pope the ground-plan of that sacristy, and behind him were borne, partly by little Angels and partly by other figures, the models of the library and sacristy and of the statues that are there, finished, at the present day; which was all very well composed and executed with diligence.

In the third picture, which stood on the first level, like the others described above, and looked towards the high-altar, was a great Latin epitaph composed by the most learned M. Pier Vettori, the sense of which was in the Florentine speech as follows:

"The Academy of Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, with the favour and assistance of Duke Cosimo de' Medici, their head and the supreme protector of these arts, admiring the extraordinary genius of Michelagnolo Buonarroti, and seeking to acknowledge in part the benefits received from his divine works, has dedicated this memorial, born from their own hands and from all the affection of their hearts, to the excellence and genius of the greatest painter, sculptor, and architect that there has ever been."

The Latin words were these:


[Pg 128] This epitaph was supported by two little Angels, who, with weeping faces, and extinguishing each a torch, appeared to be lamenting that a genius so great and so rare was now spent.

Next, in the picture which came to face towards the door that leads into the cloister, was Michelagnolo making, on account of the siege of Florence, the fortifications of the hill of San Miniato, which were held to be impregnable and a marvellous work. This was by the hand of Lorenzo Sciorini, a pupil of Bronzino and a young man of excellent promise.

This lowest part, or, so to speak, the base of the whole structure, had at every corner a pedestal that projected, and upon every pedestal was a statue larger than life, which had beneath it another, as it were subjugated and vanquished, of similar size, but each constrained in a different and extravagant attitude. The first, on the right hand going towards the high-altar, was a young man, slender and the very presentment of pure spirit, and of a most lively beauty, representing Genius, with two little wings over the temples, in the guise wherein at times Mercury is painted; and beneath this young man, wrought with incredible diligence, was a marvellous figure with asses' ears, representing Ignorance, the mortal enemy of Genius. These two statues were by the hand of Vincenzio Danti of Perugia, of whom and of his works, which are renowned among the young modern sculptors, we shall speak at greater length in another place.

Upon the next pedestal, which, being on the right hand of the approach towards the high-altar, looked towards the new sacristy, was a woman representing Christian Piety, which, being composed of religion and every other excellence, is nothing less than an aggregate of all those virtues that we have called the Theological, and of those that were named by the Gentiles the Moral; wherefore it was right that, since the genius of a Christian, adorned by most saintly character, was being celebrated by Christians, a seemly and honourable place should be given to this Piety, which is concerned with the law of God and the salvation of souls, seeing that all other ornaments of body and mind, where she is lacking, are to be held in little estimation, or rather, none. This figure, who had [Pg 129] beneath her, prostrate and trampled under foot by her, Vice, or rather, Impiety, was by the hand of Valerio Cioli, who is a young man of ability and fine spirit, and deserves the name of a very judicious and diligent sculptor. Opposite to this, on the side towards the old sacristy, was another similar figure made with much judgment to represent Minerva, or rather, Art; for the reason that it may be said with truth that after excellence of character and life, which must always hold the first place among the good, it was Art that gave to this man not only honour and profit, but also so much glory, that he may be said to have enjoyed in his lifetime such fruits as able and illustrious men have great difficulty in wresting even after death from the grasp of Fame, by means of their finest works; and, what is more, that he so vanquished envy, that by common consent, without any contradiction, he has obtained the rank and fame of the best and highest excellence. And for this reason this figure had beneath her feet Envy, who was an old woman lean and withered, with the eyes of a viper; in short, with features that all breathed out venom and poison, besides which she was girt with serpents, and had a viper in her hand. These two statues were by the hand of a boy of very tender years, called Lazzaro Calamech of Carrara, who at the present day, although still a mere lad, has given in some works of painting and sculpture convincing proofs of a beautiful and most lively genius. By the hand of Andrea Calamech, the uncle of the above-mentioned Lazzaro, and pupil of Ammanati, were the two statues placed upon the fourth pedestal, which was opposite to the organ and looked towards the principal doors of the church. The first of these was made to represent Study, for the reason that those who exert themselves little and sluggishly can never acquire repute, as Michelagnolo did, who from his early boyhood, from fifteen to ninety years of age, as has been seen above, never ceased to labour. This statue of Study, which was well in keeping with that great man, was a bold and vigorous youth, who had at the end of the arms, just above the joint of the hands, two little wings signifying rapidity and frequency of working; and he had prostrate beneath him, as a prisoner, Idleness or Indolence, who was a sluggish and weary woman, heavy and somnolent in her whole attitude.

[Pg 130] These four figures, disposed in the manner that has been described, made a very handsome and magnificent composition, and had all the appearance of marble, because a coat of white had been laid over the clay, which resulted in a very beautiful effect. From this level, upon which the above-named figures rested, there rose another base, likewise rectangular and about four braccia high, but smaller in length and breadth than that below by the extent of the projection and cornice-work upon which those figures rested; and on every side this had a painted compartment six braccia and a half in length and three in height. Above this rose a platform in the same manner as that below, but smaller; and upon every corner, on the projection of a socle, sat a figure of the size of life, or rather more. These were four women, who, from the instruments that they had, were easily recognized as Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, and Poetry; placed there for reasons that have been perceived in the narration of Michelagnolo's Life.

Now, going from the principal door of the church towards the high-altar, in the first picture of the second range of the catafalque—namely, above the scene in which, as has been related, Lorenzo de' Medici is receiving Michelagnolo into his garden—there was painted in a most beautiful manner, to suggest Architecture, Michelagnolo in the presence of Pope Pius IV, with a model in his hand of the stupendous pile of the Cupola of S. Pietro in Rome. This scene, which was much extolled, was painted by Piero Francia, a Florentine painter, with beautiful manner and invention; and the statue, or rather, image of Architecture, which was on the left hand of this scene, was by the hand of Giovanni di Benedetto of Castello, who with so much credit to himself, as has been related, executed also the Tiber, one of the two Rivers that were on the front part of the catafalque. In the second picture, continuing to go forward on the right hand towards the lateral door that leads out of the church, was seen (to suggest Painting) Michelagnolo painting that so much but never sufficiently extolled Judgment: that Judgment, I mean, which is an exemplar in foreshortenings and all the other difficulties of art. This picture, which was executed by Michele di Ridolfo's young men with much diligence and grace, had likewise, on the left hand (namely, [Pg 131] at the corner looking towards the new sacristy), its appropriate image, a statue of Painting, wrought by Battista del Cavaliere, a young man no less excellent in sculpture than remarkable for his goodness, modesty, and character. In the third picture, facing towards the high-altar (in that, namely, which was above the epitaph already mentioned), there was to be seen, to suggest Sculpture, Michelagnolo speaking with a woman, who by many signs could be recognized as Sculpture; and it appeared that he was taking counsel with her. Michelagnolo had about him some of the most excellent works that he executed in sculpture; and the woman held a little tablet with these words of Boethius:


Beside that picture, which was the work of Andrea del Minga, and executed by him with beautiful invention and manner, there was on the left hand the statue of Sculpture, wrought very well by the sculptor Antonio di Gino Lorenzi. In the fourth of those four scenes, which faced towards the organ, there could be seen, to suggest Poetry, Michelagnolo all intent on writing some composition, and about him the Nine Muses, marvellous in their grace and beauty and with their distinctive garments, according as they are described by the poets, and before them Apollo with the lyre in his hand, his crown of laurel on his head, and another crown in the hand, which he made as if to place on the head of Michelagnolo. Near the gladsome and beautiful composition of this scene, painted in a very lovely manner, with most vivacious and spirited attitudes, by Giovan Maria Butteri, there was on the left hand the statue of Poetry, the work of Domenico Poggini, a man much practised not only in sculpture and in striking impressions of coins and medals with great beauty, but also in working in bronze and likewise in poetry.

Of such a kind, then, was the ornamentation of the catafalque, which so diminished from course to course that it was possible to walk round each, and it was much after the likeness of the Mausoleum of Augustus in Rome; although perchance, from being rectangular, it rather resembled the Septizonium of Severus, not that near the Campidoglio, which is commonly so called in error, but the true one, which is to be [Pg 132] seen in stamp in the "Nuove Rome," near the Baths of Antoninus. Up to this point the catafalque had three levels; where the Rivers lay was the first, the second where the pairs of figures rested, and the third where the single figures had their feet. From this last level rose a base, or rather, socle, one braccio high, and much less in length and breadth than that last level; upon the projections of that base sat the above-named single figures, and around it could be read these words:


Upon this base stood a pyramid nine braccia high, on two sides of which (namely, that which looked towards the principal door, and that which faced towards the high-altar), at the foot, were two ovals with the head of Michelagnolo portrayed from nature in relief and executed very well by Santi Buglioni. At the summit of the pyramid was a ball in due proportion with the pyramid, such as might have contained the ashes of him who was being honoured, and upon the ball was a figure of Fame, larger than life and in the likeness of marble, and in the act, as it were, of taking flight, and at the same time of causing the praises and glory of that great craftsman to resound throughout the world through a trumpet which branched into three mouths. That Fame was by the hand of Zanobi Lastricati, who, besides the labours that he had as proveditor for the whole work, desired also not to fail to show, with much honour to himself, the virtue of his hand and brain. In all, from the level of the ground to the head of the Fame, the height, as has been related, was twenty-eight braccia.

Besides the catafalque described above, the whole church was draped with black baize and serge, hung not on the columns in the centre, as is usual, but on the chapels that are all around; and there was no space between the pilasters that enclose those chapels and correspond to the columns, that had not some adornment in painting, which, making an ingenious, pleasing, and beautiful display, caused marvel and at the same time the greatest delight.

Now, to begin with one end: in the space of the first chapel that is beside the high-altar, as you go towards the old sacristy, was a picture [Pg 133] six braccia in height and eight in length, in which, with novel and as it were poetical invention, was Michelagnolo in the centre, already come to the Elysian fields, where, on his right hand, were figures considerably larger than life of the most famous and most highly celebrated sculptors and painters of antiquity. Each of these could be recognized by some notable sign; Praxiteles by the Satyr that is in the Vigna of Pope Julius III, Apelles by the portrait of Alexander the Great, Zeuxis by a little panel on which were figured the grapes that deceived the birds, and Parrhasius with the covering counterfeited in painting over his picture; and, even as these, so the others were known by other signs. On the left hand were those who have been illustrious in these arts in our own centuries, from Cimabue to the present day. Thus Giotto could be recognized there by a little panel on which was seen the portrait of Dante as a young man, in the manner in which he may be seen in S. Croce, painted by Giotto himself; Masaccio by his portrait from life, Donatello likewise by his portrait, and also by his Zuccone from the Campanile, which was by his side, and Filippo Brunelleschi by the representation of his Cupola of S. Maria del Fiore; and there were portrayed from life, without other signs, Fra Filippo, Taddeo Gaddi, Paolo Uccello, Fra Giovanni Agnolo, Jacopo da Pontormo, Francesco Salviati, and others. All these were about him with the same expressions of welcome as the ancients, full of love and admiration, in the same manner as Virgil was received by the other poets on his return, according to the fable of the divine poet Dante, from whom, in addition to the invention, there was taken also the verse that could be read in a scroll both above and in the hand of the River Arno, which lay at the feet of Michelagnolo, most beautiful in features and in attitude:


This picture, by the hand of Alessandro Allori, the pupil of Bronzino, an excellent painter and a not unworthy disciple and pupil of so great a master, was consummately extolled by all those who saw it. In the space of the Chapel of the most holy Sacrament, at the head of the transept, there was in a picture, five braccia in length and four in breadth, [Pg 134] Michelagnolo with all the school of the arts about him, little children, boys, and young men of every age up to twenty-four, who were offering to him, as to a being sacred and divine, the firstfruits of their labours, such as pictures, sculptures, and models; and he was receiving them courteously, and was instructing them in the matters of art, while they were listening most intently and gazing upon him with expressions and attitudes truly full of beauty and grace. And, to tell the truth, the whole composition of this picture could not have been, in a certain sense, better done, nor could anything more beautiful have been desired in any of the figures, wherefore Battista, the pupil of Pontormo, who had done the work, received infinite praise for it; and the verses that were to be read at the foot of the scene, ran thus:


Going, then, from the place where was the picture described above, towards the principal doors of the church, almost at the corner and just before arriving at the organ, in a picture six braccia long and four high that was in the space of a chapel, there was depicted the extraordinary and unexampled favour that was paid to the rare genius of Michelagnolo by Pope Julius III, who, wishing to avail himself in certain buildings of the judgment of that great man, had him summoned to his presence at his villa, where, having invited him to sit by his side, they talked a good time together, while Cardinals, Bishops, and other personages of the Court, whom they had about them, remained constantly standing. This event, I say, was seen to have been depicted with such fine composition and so much relief, and with such liveliness and spirit in the figures, that perchance it might not have turned out better from the hands of an eminent, aged, and well-practised master; wherefore Jacopo Zucchi, a young man, the pupil of Giorgio Vasari, who executed the work in a beautiful manner, proved that a most honourable result could be expected from him. Not far from this, on the same side (namely, a little below the organ), Giovanni Strada, an able Flemish painter, had depicted in a picture six braccia long and four high the story of Michelagnolo's [Pg 135] going to Venice at the time of the siege of Florence; where, living in that quarter of that most noble city which is called the Giudecca, the Doge Andrea Gritti and the Signoria sent some gentlemen and others to visit him and make him very great offers. In representing that event the above-named painter showed great judgment and much knowledge, which did him great honour, both in the whole composition and in every part of it, for in the attitudes, the lively expressions of the faces, and the movements of every figure, were seen invention, design, and excellent grace.

Now, returning to the high-altar, and facing towards the new sacristy: in the first picture found there, which came in the space of the first chapel, there was depicted by the hand of Santi Titi, a young man of most beautiful judgment and much practised in painting both in Florence and in Rome, another signal favour paid to the genius of Michelagnolo, as I believe I mentioned above, by the most illustrious Lord, Don Francesco de' Medici, Prince of Florence, who, happening to be in Rome about three years before Michelagnolo died, and receiving a visit from him, the moment that Buonarroti entered the Prince rose to his feet, and then, in order to do honour to that great man and to his truly venerable age, with the greatest courtesy that ever young Prince showed, insisted—although Michelagnolo, who was very modest, protested against it—that he should sit in his own chair, from which he had risen, standing afterwards on his feet to hear him with the attention and reverence that children are wont to pay to a well-beloved father. At the feet of the Prince was a boy, executed with great diligence, who had in his hands a mazzocchio,[6] or Ducal cap, and around them were some soldiers dressed in ancient fashion, and painted with much spirit and a beautiful manner; but beyond all the rest, most beautifully wrought, most lifelike and most natural were the Prince and Michelagnolo, insomuch that it appeared as if the old man were in truth speaking, and the young man most intently listening to his words.

In another picture, nine braccia in height and twelve in length, which was opposite to the Chapel of the Sacrament, Bernardo Timante Buontalenti, a painter much beloved and favoured by the most illustrious Prince, had figured with most beautiful invention the Rivers of the three [Pg 136] principal parts of the world, come, as it were, all grieving and sorrowful, to lament with Arno on their common loss and to console him; and these Rivers were the Nile, the Ganges, and the Po. The Nile had as a symbol a crocodile, and, to signify the fertility of his country, a garland of ears of corn; the Ganges, a gryphon-bird and a chaplet of gems; the Po, a swan and a crown of black amber. These Rivers, having been conducted into Tuscany by the Fame, who was to be seen on high, as it were in flight, were standing round Arno, who was crowned with cypress and held his vase, drained empty, uplifted with one hand, and in the other a branch of cypress, and beneath him was a lion. And, to signify that the soul of Michelagnolo had flown to the highest felicity in Heaven, the judicious painter had depicted in the air a Splendour representing the celestial light, towards which the blessed soul, in the form of a little Angel, was winging its way; with this lyric verse:


At the sides, upon two bases, were two figures in the act of holding open a curtain within which, so it appeared, were the above-named Rivers, the soul of Michelagnolo, and the Fame; and each of those two figures had another beneath it. That which was on the right hand of the Rivers, representing Vulcan, had a torch in the hand; and the figure representing Hatred, which had the neck under Vulcan's feet in an attitude of great constraint, and as it were struggling to writhe free, had as symbol a vulture, with this verse:


And that because things superhuman, and almost divine, should in no way be regarded with envy or hatred. The other, representing Aglaia, one of the Three Graces and wife of Vulcan, to signify Proportion, had in her hand a lily, both because flowers are dedicated to the Graces, and also because the lily is held to be not inappropriate to the rites of death. The figure which was lying beneath Aglaia, and which was painted to represent Disproportion, had as symbol a monkey, or rather, ape, and above her this verse:


[Pg 137] And under the Rivers were these two other verses:


This picture was held to be very beautiful in the invention, in the composition of the whole scene and the loveliness of the figures, and in the beauty of the verses, and because the painter honoured Michelagnolo with this his labour, not by commission, but spontaneously and with such assistance as his own merit enabled him to obtain from his courteous and honourable friends; and for this reason he deserved to be even more highly commended.

In another picture, six braccia in length and four in height, near the lateral door that leads out of the church, Tommaso da San Friano, a young painter of much ability, had painted Michelagnolo as Ambassador of his country at the Court of Pope Julius II; as we have related that he went, and for what reasons, sent by Soderini. Not far distant from the above-named picture (namely, a little below that lateral door which leads out of the church), in another picture of the same size, Stefano Pieri, a pupil of Bronzino and a young man of great diligence and industry, had painted a scene that had in truth happened several times in Rome not long before—namely, Michelagnolo seated in a room by the side of the most illustrious Lord Duke Cosimo, who stood conversing with him; of all which enough has been said above.

Over the said black draperies with which, as has been told, the whole church was hung all round, wherever there were no painted scenes or pictures, there were in each of the spaces of the chapels images of death, devices, and other suchlike things, all different from those that are generally made, and very fanciful and beautiful. Some of these, as it were lamenting that they had been forced to deprive the world of such a man, had these words in a scroll:


And near them was a globe of the world, from which had sprung a lily, which had three flowers and was broken in the middle, executed with [Pg 138] most beautiful fantasy and invention by the above-named Alessandro Allori. There were other Deaths, also, depicted with other inventions, but that one was most extolled upon whose neck, as she lay prostrate on the ground, Eternity, with a palm in the hand, had planted one of her feet, and, regarding her with a look of disdain, appeared to be saying to her: "Be it necessity or thy will, thou hast done nothing, for in spite of thee, come what may, Michelagnolo shall live." The motto ran thus:


And all this was the invention of Vasari.

I will not omit to say that each of these Deaths had on either side the device of Michelagnolo, which was three crowns, or rather, three circlets, intertwined together in such a manner, that the circumference of one passed through the centre of the two others, and so with each; which sign Michelagnolo used either to suggest that the three professions of sculpture, painting, and architecture are interwoven one with another and so bound together, that each of them receives benefit and adornment from the others, and they neither can nor should be separated; or, indeed, being a man of lofty genius, he may have had a more subtle meaning. But the Academicians, considering him to have been perfect in all these three professions, and that each of these had assisted and embellished the other, changed his three circlets into three crowns intertwined together, with the motto:


Which was intended to signify that in those three professions the crown of human perfection was justly due to him.

On the pulpit from which Varchi delivered the funeral oration, which was afterwards printed, there was no ornamentation, because, that work having been executed in bronze, with scenes in half-relief and low-relief, by the excellent Donatello, any adornment that might have been added to it would have been by a great measure less beautiful. But on the other, which is opposite to the first, although it had not yet been raised on the columns, there was a picture, four braccia in height and [Pg 139] little more than two in width, wherein there was painted with beautiful invention and excellent design, to represent Fame, or rather, Honour, a young man in a most beautiful attitude, with a trumpet in the right hand, and with the feet planted on Time and Death, in order to show that fame and honour, in spite of death and time, preserve alive to all eternity those who have laboured valiantly in this life. This picture was by the hand of Vincenzio Danti, the sculptor of Perugia, of whom we have spoken, and will speak again elsewhere.

The church having been embellished in such a manner, adorned with lights, and filled with a countless multitude, for everyone had left every other care and flocked together to such an honourable spectacle, there entered behind the above-named Lieutenant of the Academy, accompanied by the Captain and Halberdiers of the Duke's Guard, the Consuls and the Academicians, and, in short, all the painters, sculptors, and architects of Florence. After all these had sat down between the catafalque and the high-altar, where they had been awaited for a good while by an infinite number of lords and gentlemen, who had been accommodated with seats according to the rank of each, there was begun a most solemn Mass for the dead, with music and ceremonies of every kind. Which finished, Varchi mounted the above-mentioned pulpit, who had never performed such an office since he did it for the most illustrious Lady Duchess of Ferrara, the daughter of Duke Cosimo; and there, with that elegance, those modes of utterance, and that voice which were the peculiar attributes of that great man in oratory, he recounted the praises and merits, life and works of the divine Michelagnolo Buonarroti.

Of a truth, what great good fortune it was for Michelagnolo that he did not die before our Academy was created, whereby his funeral rites were celebrated with so much honour and such magnificent and honourable pomp! So, also, it must be considered most fortunate for him that it happened that he passed from this to an eternal and most blessed life before Varchi, seeing that he could not have been extolled by any more eloquent and learned man. That funeral oration by M. Benedetto Varchi was printed a short time afterwards, as was also, not long after [Pg 140] that, another equally beautiful oration, likewise in praise of Michelagnolo and of painting, composed by the most noble and most learned M. Leonardo Salviati, at that time a young man of about twenty-two years of age, and of a rare and happy genius in all manner of compositions, both Latin and Tuscan, as is known even now, and will be better known in the future, to all the world. And what shall I say, what can I say, that would not be too little, of the capacity, goodness, and wisdom of the very reverend Lord Lieutenant, the above-named Don Vincenzio Borghini? Save that it was with him as their chief, their guide, and their counsellor, that the eminent men of the Academy and Company of Design celebrated those obsequies; for the reason that, although each of them was competent to do much more in his art than he did, nevertheless no enterprise is ever carried to a perfect and praiseworthy end save when one single man, in the manner of an experienced pilot and captain, has authority and power over all others. And since it was not possible that the whole city should see that funeral pomp in one day, by order of the Duke it was all left standing many weeks, for the satisfaction of his people and of the strangers who came from neighbouring places to see it.

We shall not give in this place the great multitude of epitaphs and verses, both Latin and Tuscan, composed by many able men in honour of Michelagnolo; both because they would require a work to themselves, and because they have been written down and published by other writers elsewhere. But I will not omit to say in this last part, that after all the honours described above the Duke ordained that an honourable place should be given to Michelagnolo for his tomb in S. Croce, in which church he had purposed in his lifetime to be buried, because the sepulchre of his ancestors was there. And to Leonardo, the nephew of Michelagnolo, his Excellency gave all the marbles, both white and variegated, for that tomb, which was allotted to Battista Lorenzi, an able sculptor, to execute after the design of Giorgio Vasari, together with the head of Michelagnolo. And since there are to be three statues there, Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture, one of these was allotted to the above-named Battista, one to Giovanni dell'Opera, and the last to Valerio Cioli, Florentine sculptors; [Pg 141] which statues are in process of being fashioned together with the tomb, and soon they will be seen finished and set in their places. The cost, over and above the marbles received from the Duke, has been borne by the same Leonardo Buonarroti. But his Excellency, in order not to fail in any respect in doing honour to that great man, will cause to be placed in the Duomo, as he has previously thought to do, a memorial with his name, besides the head, even as there are to be seen there the names and images of the other eminent Florentines.



Having treated hitherto of such of our craftsmen as are no longer alive among us—of those, namely, who have lived from 1200 until this year of 1567—and having set Michelagnolo Buonarroti in the last place for many reasons, although two or three have died later than he, I have thought that it cannot be otherwise than a praiseworthy labour to make mention likewise in this our work of many noble craftsmen who are alive, and, for their merits, most worthy to be highly extolled and to be numbered among these last masters. This I do all the more willingly because they are all very much my friends and brothers, and the three most eminent are already so far advanced in years, that, having come to the furthest limit of old age, little more can be expected from them, although they still continue by a sort of habit to occupy themselves with some work. After these I will also make brief mention of those who under their discipline have become such, that they hold the first places among the craftsmen of our own day; and of others who in like manner are advancing towards perfection in our arts.

Beginning, then, with Francesco Primaticcio, to go on afterwards to Tiziano Vecelli and Jacopo Sansovino: I have to record that the said Francesco, born in Bologna of the noble family of the Primaticci, much celebrated by Fra Leandro Alberti and by Pontano, was apprenticed in his early boyhood to commerce. But, that calling pleasing him little, not long afterwards, being exalted in mind and spirit, he set himself to practise design, to which he felt himself inclined by nature; and so, giving his attention to drawing, and at times to painting, no long time passed [Pg 146] before he gave proof that he was likely to achieve an excellent result. Going afterwards to Mantua, where at that time Giulio Romano was working at the Palace of the Te for Duke Federigo, he employed such interest that he was set, in company with many other young men who were with Giulio, to labour at that work. There, attending to the studies of art with much industry and diligence for a period of six years, he learned very well to handle colours and to work in stucco; wherefore, among all the other young men who were labouring in the work of that Palace, Francesco came to be held one of the most excellent, and the best of all at drawing and colouring. This may be seen in a great chamber, round which he made two friezes of stucco, one above the other, with a great abundance of figures that represent the ancient Roman soldiery; and in the same Palace, likewise, he executed many works in painting that are to be seen there, after the designs of the above-named Giulio. Through these works Primaticcio came into such favour with that Duke, that, when King Francis of France heard with what quantity of ornaments he had caused the work of the Palace to be executed, and wrote to him that at all costs he should send him a young man able to work in painting and stucco, the Duke sent him Francesco Primaticcio, in the year 1531. And although the year before that the Florentine painter Rosso had gone into the service of the same King, as has been related, and had executed many works there, and in particular the pictures of Bacchus and Venus, Psyche and Cupid, nevertheless the first works in stucco that were done in France, and the first labours in fresco of any account, had their origin, it is said, from Primaticcio, who decorated in this manner many chambers, halls, and loggie for that King.

Decorative Panels.

(After Primaticcio. Fontainebleau: Galerie Henry II)
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Liking the manner of this painter, and his procedure in every matter, the King sent him in the year 1540 to Rome, to contrive to obtain certain antique marbles; in which Primaticcio served him with such diligence, that in a short time, what with heads, torsi, and figures, he bought one hundred and twenty-five pieces. And at that same time he caused to be moulded by Jacopo Barozzi of Vignuola, and by others, the bronze horse that is on the Campidoglio, a great part of the scenes on the Column, the statue of Commodus, the Venus, the Laocoon, the Tiber, [Pg 147] the Nile, and the statue of Cleopatra, which are in the Belvedere; to the end that they might all be cast in bronze. Rosso having meanwhile died in France, and a long gallery therefore remaining unfinished which had been begun after his designs and in great part adorned with stucco-work and pictures, Primaticcio was recalled from Rome; whereupon he took ship with the above-mentioned marbles and moulds of antique figures, and returned to France. There, before any other thing, he cast according to those moulds and forms a great part of those antique figures, which came out so well, that they might be the originals; as may be seen in the Queen's garden at Fontainebleau, where they were placed, to the vast satisfaction of that King, who made in that place, one might say, another Rome. I will not omit to say that Primaticcio, in executing those statues, employed masters so excellent in the art of casting, that those works came out not only light, but with a surface so smooth, that it was hardly necessary to polish them.

This work done, Primaticcio was commissioned to give completion to the gallery that Rosso had left unfinished; whereupon he set his hand to it, and in a short time delivered it finished with as many works in stucco and painting as have ever been executed in any place. Wherefore the King, finding that he had been well served in the period of eight years that this master had worked for him, had him placed among the number of his chamberlains; and a short time afterwards, which was in the year 1544, he made him Abbot of S. Martin, considering that Francesco deserved no less. But for all this Francesco has never ceased to have many works in stucco and in painting executed in the service of his King and of the others who have governed that kingdom after Francis I. Among others who have assisted him in this, he has been served, to say nothing of many of his fellow-Bolognese, by Giovan Battista, the son of Bartolommeo Bagnacavallo, who has proved not less able than his father in many scenes and other works of Primaticcio's that he has carried into execution. Another who has served him for a considerable time is one Ruggieri da Bologna, who is still with him. In like manner, Prospero Fontana, a painter of Bologna, was summoned to France not long since by Primaticcio, who intended to make use of him; but, having [Pg 148] fallen ill to the danger of his life immediately after his arrival, he returned to Bologna. To tell the truth, these two, Bagnacavallo and Fontana, are able men, and I, who have made considerable use both of the one and of the other, of the first at Rome, and of the second at Rimini and Florence, can declare this with certainty. But of all those who have assisted the Abbot Primaticcio, none has done him more honour than Niccolò da Modena, of whom mention has been made on another occasion, for by the excellence of his art this master has surpassed all the others. Thus he executed with his own hand, after the designs of the Abbot, a hall called the Ball-room, with such a vast number of figures, that it appears scarcely possible that they could be counted, and all as large as life and coloured in so bright a manner, that in the harmony of the fresco-colours they appear like work in oils. After this work he painted in the Great Gallery, likewise from the designs of the Abbot, sixty stories of the life and actions of Ulysses, but with a colouring much darker than the pictures in the Ball-room. This came about because he used no other colours but the earths in the pure state in which they are produced by Nature, without mixing with them, it may be said, any white, and so heavily loaded with darks in the deep parts, that these have extraordinary relief and force; besides which, he executed the whole work with such harmony, that it appears almost as if painted in one and the same day. Wherefore he merits extraordinary praise, particularly because he executed it in fresco, without ever retouching it "a secco," as many at the present day are accustomed to do. The vaulting of this gallery, likewise, is all wrought in stucco and painting, executed with much diligence by the men mentioned above and other young painters, but still after the designs of the Abbot; as is also the old Hall, and likewise a lower gallery that is over the pond, which is most beautiful and better adorned with lovely works than any other part of that place; but to attempt to speak of it at any length would make too long a story.

Decorative Panels.

(After the painting by Primaticcio. Fontainebleau: Escalier du Roi)
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At Meudon the same Abbot Primaticcio has made innumerable decorations for the Cardinal of Lorraine in a vast palace belonging to him, called the Grotto, a place so extraordinary in size, that, after the likeness of similar edifices of the ancients, it might be called the Thermæ, by [Pg 149] reason of the vast number and grandeur of the loggie, staircases, and apartments, both public and private, that are there; and, to say nothing of other particulars, most beautiful is a room called the Pavilion, for it is all adorned with compartments and mouldings of stucco that are wrought with a view to being seen from below, and filled with a number of figures foreshortened in the same manner, which are very beautiful. Beneath this, then, is a large room with some fountains wrought in stucco, and full of figures in the round and compartments formed of shells and other products of the sea and natural objects, which are marvellous things and beautiful beyond measure; and the vaulting, likewise, is all most excellently wrought in stucco by the hand of Domenico del Barbiere, a Florentine painter, who is excellent not only in this kind of relief, but also in design, so that in some works that he has coloured he has given proofs of the rarest ability. In the same place, also, many figures of stucco in the round have been executed by a sculptor likewise of our country, called Ponzio, who has acquitted himself very well. But, since the works that have been executed in those places in the service of those lords are innumerable in their variety, I must touch only on the principal works of the Abbot, in order to show how rare he is in painting, in design, and in matters of architecture; although, in truth, it would not appear to me an excessive labour to enlarge on the particular works, if I had some true and clear information about them, as I have about works here. With regard to design, Primaticcio has been and still is most excellent, as may be seen from a drawing by his hand painted with the signs of the heavens, which is in our book, sent to me by Francesco himself; and I, both for love of him and because it is a thing of absolute perfection, hold it very dear.

King Francis being dead, the Abbot remained in the same place and rank with King Henry, and served him as long as he lived; and afterwards he was created by King Francis II Commissary-General over all the buildings of the whole kingdom, in which office, one of great honour and much repute, there had previously acted the father of Cardinal della Bordagiera and Monseigneur de Villeroy. Since the death of Francis II, he has continued in the same office, serving the [Pg 150] present King, by whose order and that of the Queen-Mother Primaticcio has made a beginning with the tomb of the above-named King Henry, making in the centre of a six-sided chapel the sepulchre of the King himself, and at four sides the sepulchres of his four children; while at one of the other two sides of the chapel is the altar, and at the other the door. And since there are going into this work innumerable statues in marble and bronzes and a number of scenes in low-relief, it will prove worthy of all these great Kings and of the excellence and genius of so rare a craftsman as is this Abbot of S. Martin, who in his best years has been most excellent and versatile in all things that pertain to our arts, seeing that he has occupied himself in the service of his lords not only in buildings, paintings, and stucco-work, but also in the preparations for many festivals and masquerades, with most beautiful and fantastic inventions.

He has been very liberal and most loving towards his friends and relatives, and likewise towards the craftsmen who have served him. In Bologna he has conferred many benefits on his relatives, and has bought honourable dwellings for them and made them commodious and very ornate, as is that wherein there now lives M. Antonio Anselmi, who has for wife one of the nieces of our Abbot Primaticcio, who has also given in marriage another niece, the sister of the first-named, with honour and a good dowry. Primaticcio has always lived not like a painter and craftsman, but like a nobleman, and, as I have said, he has been very loving towards our craftsmen. When, as has been related, he sent for Prospero Fontana, he despatched to him a good sum of money, to the end that he might be able to make his way to France. This sum, having fallen ill, Prospero was not able to pay back or return by means of his works and labours; wherefore I, passing in the year 1563 through Bologna, recommended Prospero to him in this matter, and such was the courtesy of Primaticcio, that before I departed from Bologna I saw a writing by the hand of the Abbot in which he made a free gift to Prospero of all that sum of money which he had in hand for that purpose. For which reasons the affection that he has won among craftsmen is such, that they address and honour him as a father.

Now, to say something more of Prospero, I must record that he [Pg 151] was once employed with much credit to himself in Rome, by Pope Julius III, at his Palace, at the Vigna Giulia, and at the Palace of the Campo Marzio, which at that time belonged to Signor Balduino Monti, and now belongs to the Lord Cardinal Ernando de' Medici, the son of Duke Cosimo. In Bologna the same master has executed many works in oils and in fresco, and in particular an altar-piece in oils in the Madonna del Baracane, of a S. Catherine who is disputing with philosophers and doctors in the presence of the Tyrant, which is held to be a very beautiful work. And the same Prospero has painted many pictures in fresco in the principal chapel of the Palace where the Governor lives.

Much the friend of Primaticcio, likewise, is Lorenzo Sabatini, an excellent painter; and if he had not been burdened with a wife and many children, the Abbot would have taken him to France, knowing that he has a very good manner and great mastery in all kinds of work, as may be seen from many things that he has done in Bologna. And in the year 1566 Vasari made use of him in the festive preparations that were carried out in Florence for the above-mentioned nuptials of the Prince and her serene Highness Queen Joanna of Austria, causing him to execute, in the vestibule that is between the Sala dei Dugento and the Great Hall, six figures in fresco that are very beautiful and truly worthy to be praised. But since this able painter is constantly making progress, I shall say nothing more about him, save that, attending as he does to the studies of art, a most honourable result is expected from him.

Now, in connection with the Abbot and the other Bolognese of whom mention has been made hitherto, I shall say something of Pellegrino Bolognese, a painter of the highest promise and most beautiful genius. This Pellegrino, after having attended in his early years to drawing the works by Vasari that are in the refectory of S. Michele in Bosco at Bologna, and those by other painters of good name, went in the year 1547 to Rome, where he occupied himself until the year 1550 in drawing the most noteworthy works; executing during that time and also afterwards, in the Castello di S. Angelo, some things in connection with the works that Perino del Vaga carried out. In the centre of the vaulting of the Chapel of S. Dionigi, in the Church of S. Luigi de' Franzesi, [Pg 152] he painted a battle-scene in fresco, in which he acquitted himself in such a manner, that, although Jacopo del Conte, a Florentine painter, and Girolamo Siciolante of Sermoneta had executed many works in the same chapel, Pellegrino proved to be in no way inferior to them; nay, it appears to many that he acquitted himself better than they did in the boldness, grace, colouring, and design of those his pictures. By reason of this Monsignor Poggio afterwards availed himself much of Pellegrino, for he had erected a palace on the Esquiline Hill, where he had a vineyard, without the Porta del Popolo, and he desired that Pellegrino should execute some figures for him on the façade, and then that he should paint the interior of a loggia that faces towards the Tiber, which he executed with such diligence, that it is held to be a work of much beauty and grace. In the house of Francesco Formento, between the Strada del Pellegrino and the Parione, he painted in a courtyard a façade and two figures besides. By order of the ministers of Pope Julius III, he executed a large escutcheon, with two figures, in the Belvedere; and without the Porta del Popolo, in the Church of S. Andrea, which that Pontiff had caused to be built, he painted a S. Peter and a S. Andrew, which two figures were much extolled, and the design of the S. Peter is in our book, together with other sheets drawn with much diligence by the same hand.

The Adoration of the Shepherds.

(After the painting by Pellegrino Tibaldi. Vienna: Prince Liechtenstein)
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Being then sent to Bologna by Monsignor Poggio, he painted for him in his palace there many scenes in fresco, among which is one that is most beautiful, wherein from the many figures, both nude and clothed, and the lovely composition of the scene, it is evident that he surpassed himself, insomuch that he has never done any work since better than this. In S. Jacopo, in the same city, he began to paint a chapel likewise for Cardinal Poggio, which was afterwards finished by the above-mentioned Prospero Fontana. Being then taken by the Cardinal of Augsburg to the Madonna of Loreto, Pellegrino decorated for him a chapel most beautifully with stucco-work and pictures. On the vaulting, within a rich pattern of compartments in stucco, are the Nativity of Christ and His Presentation in the arms of Simeon at the Temple; and in the centre, in particular, is the Transfiguration of the Saviour on Mount Tabor, and [Pg 153] with Him Moses, Elias, and the Disciples. In the altar-piece that is above the altar, he painted S. John the Baptist baptizing Christ; and in this he made a portrait of the above-named Cardinal, kneeling. On one of the façades at the sides he painted S. John preaching to the multitude, and on the other the Beheading of the same Saint. In the forecourt below the church he painted stories of the Judgment, and some figures in chiaroscuro in the place where the Theatines now have their Confessional.

Being summoned not long afterwards to Ancona by Giorgio Morato, he painted for the Church of S. Agostino a large altar-piece in oils of Christ baptized by S. John, with S. Paul and other Saints on one side, and in the predella a good number of little figures, which are full of grace. For the same man he made in the Church of S. Ciriaco sul Monte a very beautiful ornament in stucco for the altar-piece of the high-altar, and within it a Christ of five braccia in full-relief, which was much extolled. In like manner, he has made in the same city a very large and very beautiful ornament of stucco for the high-altar of S. Domenico, and he would also have painted the altar-picture, but he had a difference with the patron of that work, and it was given to Tiziano Vecelli to execute, as will be related in the proper place. Finally, having undertaken to decorate in the same city of Ancona the Loggia de' Mercanti, which faces on one side over the sea-shore and on the other towards the principal street of the city, Pellegrino has adorned the vaulting, which is a new structure, with pictures and many large figures in stucco; in which work since he has exerted all the effort and study possible to him, it has turned out in truth full of beauty and grace, for the reason that, besides that all the figures are beautiful and well executed, there are some most lovely foreshortenings of nudes, in which it is evident that he has imitated with much diligence the works of Buonarroti that are in the Chapel in Rome.

Now, since there are not in those parts any architects or engineers of account, or any who know more than he does, Pellegrino has taken it upon himself to give his attention to architecture and to the fortifying of places in that province; and, as one who has recognized that painting is more difficult and perhaps less advantageous than architecture, setting his painting somewhat on one side, he has executed many works for the [Pg 154] fortification of Ancona and for many other places in the States of the Church, and particularly at Ravenna. Finally, he has made a beginning with a palace for the Sapienza, at Pavia, for Cardinal Borromeo. And at the present day, since he has not wholly abandoned painting, he is executing a scene in fresco, which will be very beautiful, in the refectory of S. Giorgio at Ferrara, for the Monks of Monte Oliveto; and of this Pellegrino himself not long ago showed me the design, which is very fine. But, seeing that he is a young man of thirty-five, and is constantly making more and more progress and advancing towards perfection, this much about him must suffice for the present. In like manner, I shall be brief in speaking of Orazio Fumaccini,[7] a painter likewise from Bologna, who has executed in Rome, as has been related, above one of the doors of the Hall of Kings, a scene that is very fine, and in Bologna many much-extolled pictures; for he also is young, and he is acquitting himself in such a manner, that he will not be inferior to his elders, of whom we have made mention in these our Lives.

The men of Romagna, also, spurred by the example of the Bolognese, their neighbours, have executed many noble works in our arts; for, besides Jacopone da Faenza, who, as has been related, painted the tribune of S. Vitale in Ravenna, there have been and still are many others after him who are excellent. Maestro Luca de' Longhi of Ravenna, a man of good, quiet, and studious nature, has painted in his native city of Ravenna and in the surrounding country many very beautiful panel-pictures in oils and portraits from nature; and of much charm, among others, are two little altar-pieces that he was commissioned not long since to paint for the Church of the Monks of Classi by the Reverend Don Antonio da Pisa, then Abbot of that Monastery; to say nothing of an infinite number of other works that this painter has executed. And, to tell the truth, if Maestro Luca had gone forth from Ravenna, where he has always lived and still lives with his family, being assiduous and very diligent, and of fine judgment, he would have become a very rare painter, because he has executed his works, as he still does, with patience and study; and to this I can bear witness, who know how much proficience he [Pg 155] made during my sojourn of two months in Ravenna, both practising and discussing the matters of art; nor must I omit to say that a daughter of his, still but a little girl, called Barbara, draws very well, and has begun to do some work in colour with no little grace and excellence of manner.

A rival of Luca, for a time, was Livio Agresti of Forlì, who, after he had executed for Abbot de' Grassi in the Church of the Spirito Santo some scenes in fresco and certain other works, departed from Ravenna and made his way to Rome. There, attending with much study to design, he became a well-practised master, as may be seen from some façades and other works in fresco that he executed at that time; and his first works, which are in Narni, have in them not a little of the good. In a chapel of the Church of the Santo Spirito, in Rome, he has painted a number of figures and scenes in fresco, which are executed with much industry and study, so that they are rightly extolled by everyone. That work was the reason, as has been related, that there was allotted to him one of the smaller scenes that are over the doors in the Hall of Kings in the Palace of the Vatican, in which he acquitted himself so well, that it can bear comparison with the others. The same master has executed for the Cardinal of Augsburg seven pieces with scenes painted on cloth of silver, which have been held to be very beautiful in Spain, where they have been sent by that same Cardinal as presents to King Philip, to be used as hangings in a chamber. Another picture on cloth of silver he has painted in the same manner, which is now to be seen in the Church of the Theatines at Forlì. Finally, having become a good and bold draughtsman, a well-practised colourist, fertile in the composition of scenes, and universal in his manner, he has been invited by the above-named Cardinal with a good salary to Augsburg, where he is constantly executing works worthy of much praise.

But most rare among the other men of Romagna, in certain respects, is Marco da Faenza (for only so, and not otherwise, is he called), for the reason that he has no ordinary mastery in the work of fresco, being bold, resolute, and of a terrible force, and particularly in the manner and practice of making grotesques, in which he has no equal at the present day, nor one who even approaches his perfection. His works may be [Pg 156] found throughout all Rome; and in Florence there is by his hand the greater part of the ornaments of twenty different rooms that are in the Ducal Palace, and the friezes of the ceiling in the Great Hall of that Palace, which was painted by Giorgio Vasari, as will be fully described in the proper place; not to mention that the decorations of the principal court of the same Palace, made in a short time for the coming of Queen Joanna, were executed in great part by the same man. And this must be enough of Marco, he being still alive and in the flower of his growth and activity.

In Parma there is at the present day in the service of the Lord Duke Ottavio Farnese, a painter called Miruolo, a native, I believe, of Romagna, who, besides some works executed in Rome, has painted many scenes in fresco in a little palace that the same Lord Duke has caused to be built in the Castle of Parma. There, also, are some fountains constructed with fine grace by Giovanni Boscoli, a sculptor of Montepulciano, who, having worked in stucco for many years under Vasari in the Palace of the above-named Lord Duke Cosimo of Florence, has finally entered the service of the above-mentioned Lord Duke of Parma, with a good salary, and has executed, as he continues constantly to do, works worthy of his rare and most beautiful genius. In the same cities and provinces, also, are many other excellent and noble craftsmen; but, since they are still young, we shall defer to a more convenient time the making of that honourable mention of them that their talents and their works may have merited.

And this is the end of the works of Abbot Primaticcio. I will add that, he having had himself portrayed in a pen-drawing by the Bolognese painter Bartolommeo Passerotto, who was very much his friend, that portrait has come into our hands, and we have it in our book of drawings by the hands of various excellent painters.


Tiziano: The Madonna of the Cherries.

(Vienna: Imperial Gallery, 180. Panel)
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Tiziano was born at Cadore, a little township situated on the Piave and five miles distant from the pass of the Alps, in the year 1480, from the family of the Vecelli, one of the most noble in that place. At the age of ten, having a fine spirit and a lively intelligence, he was sent to Venice to the house of an uncle, an honoured citizen, who, perceiving the boy to be much inclined to painting, placed him with Gian Bellini, an excellent painter very famous at that time, as has been related. Under his discipline, attending to design, he soon showed that he was endowed by nature with all the gifts of intellect and judgment that are necessary for the art of painting; and since at that time Gian Bellini and the other painters of that country, from not being able to study ancient works, were much—nay, altogether—given to copying from the life whatever work they did, and that with a dry, crude, and laboured manner, Tiziano also for a time learned that method. But having come to about the year 1507, Giorgione da Castelfranco, not altogether liking that mode of working, began to give to his pictures more softness and greater relief, with a beautiful manner; nevertheless he used to set himself before living and natural objects and counterfeit them as well as he was able with colours, and paint them broadly with tints crude or soft according as the life demanded, without doing any drawing, holding it as certain that to paint with colours only, without the study of drawing on paper, was the true and best method of working, and the true design. For he did not perceive that for him who wishes to distribute his compositions and accommodate his inventions well, it is necessary that he should first put them down on paper in several different ways, in order to see how [Pg 160] the whole goes together, for the reason that the idea is not able to see or imagine the inventions perfectly within herself, if she does not reveal and demonstrate her conception to the eyes of the body, that these may assist her to form a good judgment. Besides which, it is necessary to give much study to the nude, if you wish to comprehend it well, which you will never do, nor is it possible, without having recourse to paper; and to keep always before you, while you paint, persons naked or draped, is no small restraint, whereas, when you have formed your hand by drawing on paper, you then come little by little with greater ease to carry your conceptions into execution, designing and painting together. And so, gaining practice in art, you make both manner and judgment perfect, doing away with the labour and effort wherewith those pictures were executed of which we have spoken above, not to mention that by drawing on paper, you come to fill the mind with beautiful conceptions, and learn to counterfeit all the objects of nature by memory, without having to keep them always before you or being obliged to conceal beneath the glamour of colouring the painful fruits of your ignorance of design, in the manner that was followed for many years by the Venetian painters, Giorgione, Palma, Pordenone, and others, who never saw Rome or any other works of absolute perfection.


(After the painting by Tiziano. London: National Gallery, No. 1944)
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Tiziano, then, having seen the method and manner of Giorgione, abandoned the manner of Gian Bellini, although he had been accustomed to it for a long time, and attached himself to that of Giorgione; coming in a short time to imitate his works so well, that his pictures at times were mistaken for works by Giorgione, as will be related below. Then, having grown in age, practice, and judgment, Tiziano executed many works in fresco, which cannot be enumerated in order, being dispersed over various places; let it suffice that they were such, that the opinion was formed by many experienced judges that he would become, as he afterwards did, a most excellent painter. At the time when he first began to follow the manner of Giorgione, not being more than eighteen years of age, he made the portrait of a gentleman of the Barberigo family, his friend, which was held to be very beautiful, the likeness of the flesh-colouring being true and natural, and all the hairs so well distinguished [Pg 161] one from another, that they might have been counted, as also might have been the stitches in a doublet of silvered satin that he painted in that work. In short, it was held to be so well done, and with such diligence, that if Tiziano had not written his name on a dark ground, it would have been taken for the work of Giorgione.

Meanwhile Giorgione himself had executed the principal façade of the Fondaco de' Tedeschi, and by means of Barberigo there were allotted to Tiziano certain scenes on the same building, above the Merceria. After which work he painted a large picture with figures of the size of life, which is now in the hall of M. Andrea Loredano, who dwells near S. Marcuola. In that picture is painted Our Lady going into Egypt, in the midst of a great forest and certain landscapes that are very well done, because Tiziano had given his attention for many months to such things, and had kept in his house for that purpose some Germans who were excellent painters of landscapes and verdure. In the wood in that picture, likewise, he painted many animals, which he portrayed from the life; and they are truly natural, and almost alive. Next, in the house of M. Giovanni D'Anna, a Flemish gentleman and merchant, his gossip, he made his portrait, which has all the appearance of life, and also an "Ecce Homo" with many figures, which is held by Tiziano himself and by others to be a very beautiful work. The same master painted a picture of Our Lady with other figures the size of life, of men and children, all portrayed from the life and from persons of that house. Then in the year 1507, while the Emperor Maximilian was making war on the Venetians, Tiziano, according to his own account, painted an Angel Raphael with Tobias and a dog in the Church of S. Marziliano, with a distant landscape, where, in a little wood, S. John the Baptist is praying on his knees to Heaven, whence comes a radiance that illumines him; and this work it is thought that he executed before he made a beginning with the façade of the Fondaco de' Tedeschi. Concerning which façade, many gentlemen, not knowing that Giorgione was not working there any more and that Tiziano was doing it, who had uncovered one part, meeting with Giorgione, congratulated him in friendly fashion, saying that he was acquitting himself better in the façade towards the Merceria [Pg 162] than he had done in that which is over the Grand Canal. At which circumstance Giorgione felt such disdain, that until Tiziano had completely finished the work and it had become well known that the same had done that part, he would scarcely let himself be seen; and from that time onward he would never allow Tiziano to associate with him or be his friend.


(After the painting by Tiziano. Madrid: The Prado)
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In the year after, 1508, Tiziano published in wood-engraving the Triumph of Faith, with an infinity of figures; our first Parents, the Patriarchs, the Prophets, the Sibyls, the Innocents, the Martyrs, the Apostles, and Jesus Christ borne in Triumph by the four Evangelists and the Four Doctors, with the Holy Confessors behind. In that work Tiziano displayed boldness, a beautiful manner, and the power to work with facility of hand; and I remember that Fra Sebastiano del Piombo, conversing of this, said to me that if Tiziano had been in Rome at that time, and had seen the works of Michelagnolo, those of Raffaello, and the ancient statues, and had studied design, he would have done things absolutely stupendous, considering the beautiful mastery that he had in colouring, and that he deserved to be celebrated as the finest and greatest imitator of Nature in the matter of colour in our times, and with the foundation of the grand method of design he might have equalled the Urbinate and Buonarroti. Afterwards, having gone to Vicenza, Tiziano painted the Judgment of Solomon in fresco, which was a beautiful work, under the little loggia where justice is administered in public audience. He then returned to Venice, and painted the façade of the Grimani. At Padua, in the Church of S. Antonio, he executed likewise in fresco some stories of the actions of that Saint, and for that of S. Spirito he painted a little altar-piece with a S. Mark seated in the midst of certain Saints, in whose faces are some portraits from life done in oils with the greatest diligence; which picture many have believed to be by the hand of Giorgione. Then, a scene having been left unfinished in the Hall of the Great Council through the death of Giovanni Bellini, wherein Frederick Barbarossa is kneeling at the door of the Church of S. Marco before Pope Alexander IV, who places his foot on Barbarossa's neck, Tiziano finished it, changing many things, and making there many [Pg 163] portraits from life of his friends and others; for which he was rewarded by receiving from the Senate an office in the Fondaco de' Tedeschi, called the Senseria, which yields three hundred crowns a year. That office those Signori are accustomed to give to the most excellent painter of their city, on the condition that he shall be obliged from time to time to paint the portrait of their Prince or Doge, at his election, for the price of only eight crowns, which the Prince himself pays to him; which portrait is afterwards kept, in memory of him, in a public place in the Palace of S. Marco.

Madonna with Saints and Donor.

(After the panel by Tiziano da Cadore. Ancona: S. Domenico)
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In the year 1514 Duke Alfonso of Ferrara had caused a little chamber to be decorated, and had commissioned Dosso, the painter of Ferrara, to execute in certain compartments stories of Æneas, Mars, and Venus, and in a grotto Vulcan with two smiths at the forge; and he desired that there should also be there pictures by the hand of Gian Bellini. Bellini painted on another wall a vat of red wine with some Bacchanals around it, and Satyrs, musicians, and other men and women, all drunk with wine, and near them a nude and very beautiful Silenus, riding on his ass, with figures about him that have the hands full of fruits and grapes; which work was in truth executed and coloured with great diligence, insomuch that it is one of the most beautiful pictures that Gian Bellini ever painted, although in the manner of the draperies there is a certain sharpness after the German manner (nothing, indeed, of any account), because he imitated a picture by the Fleming Albrecht Dürer, which had been brought in those days to Venice and placed in the Church of S. Bartolommeo, a rare work and full of most beautiful figures painted in oils. On that vat Gian Bellini wrote these words:

Joannes Bellinus Venetus, P. 1514.

That work he was not able to finish completely, because he was old, and Tiziano, as the most excellent of all the others, was sent for to the end that he might finish it; wherefore, being desirous to acquire excellence and to make himself known, he executed with much diligence two scenes that were wanting in that little chamber. In the first is a river of red wine, about which are singers and musicians, both men and women, as [Pg 164] it were drunk, and a naked woman who is sleeping, so beautiful that she might be alive, together with other figures; and on this picture Tiziano wrote his name. In the other, which is next to it and seen first on entering, he painted many little boys and Loves in various attitudes, which much pleased that lord, as also did the other picture; but most beautiful of all is one of those boys who is making water into a river and is reflected in the water, while the others are around a pedestal that has the form of an altar, upon which is a statue of Venus with a sea-conch in the right hand, and Grace and Beauty about her, which are very lovely figures and executed with incredible diligence. On the door of a press, likewise, Tiziano painted an image of Christ from the waist upwards, marvellous, nay, stupendous, to whom a base Hebrew is showing the coin of Cæsar; which image, and also other pictures in that little chamber, our best craftsmen declare to be the finest and best executed that Tiziano has ever done, and indeed they are most rare. Wherefore he well deserved to be most liberally recompensed and rewarded by that lord, whom he portrayed excellently well with one arm resting on a great piece of artillery; and he also made a portrait of Signora Laura, who afterwards became the wife of the Duke, which is a stupendous work. And, in truth, gifts have great potency with those who labour for the love of art, when they are uplifted by the liberality of Princes. At that time Tiziano formed a friendship with the divine Messer Lodovico Ariosto, and was recognized by him as a most excellent painter and celebrated in his Orlando Furioso:

... E Tizian che onora
Non men Cador, che quei Vinezia e Urbino.

Tiziano: Sacred and Profane Love.

(Rome: Borghese Gallery, 147. Canvas)
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Having then returned to Venice, Tiziano painted on a canvas in oils, for the father-in-law of Giovanni da Castel Bolognese, a naked shepherd and a country-girl who is offering him some pipes, that he may play them, with a most beautiful landscape; which picture is now at Faenza, in the house of the said Giovanni. He then executed for the high-altar in the Church of the Friars Minors, called the Cà Grande, a picture of Our Lady ascending into Heaven, and below her the twelve Apostles, who are gazing upon her as she ascends; but of this work, from its having [Pg 165] been painted on cloth, and perhaps not well kept, there is little to be seen. For the Chapel of the Pesari family, in the same church, he painted in an altar-piece the Madonna with the Child in her arms, a S. Peter and a S. George, and about them the patrons of the work, kneeling and portrayed from life; among whom are the Bishop of Paphos and his brother, then newly returned from the victory which that Bishop won against the Turks. For the little Church of S. Niccolò, in the same convent, he painted in an altar-piece S. Nicholas, S. Francis, S. Catharine, and also a nude S. Sebastian, portrayed from life and without any artifice that can be seen to have been used to enhance the beauty of the limbs and trunk, there being nothing there but what he saw in the work of nature, insomuch that it all appears as if stamped from the life, so fleshlike it is and natural; but for all that it is held to be beautiful, as is also very lovely the Madonna with the Child in her arms at whom all those figures are gazing. The subject of that picture was drawn on wood by Tiziano himself, and then engraved by others and printed. For the Church of S. Rocco, after the works described above, he painted a picture of Christ with the Cross on His shoulder, and about His neck a cord that is drawn by a Hebrew; and that figure, which many have believed to be by the hand of Giorgione, is now the object of the greatest devotion in Venice, and has received in alms more crowns than Tiziano and Giorgione ever gained in all their lives. Then he was invited to Rome by Bembo, whom he had already portrayed, and who was at that time Secretary to Pope Leo X, to the end that he might see Rome, Raffaello da Urbino, and others; but Tiziano delayed that visit so long from one day to another, that Leo died, and Raffaello in 1520, and after all he never went. For the Church of S. Maria Maggiore he painted a picture with S. John the Baptist in the Desert among some rocks, an Angel that appears as if alive, and a little piece of distant landscape with some trees upon the bank of a river, all full of grace.

He made portraits from life of the Prince Grimani and Loredano, which were held to be admirable; and not long afterwards of King Francis, when he departed from Italy in order to return to France. And in the year when Andrea Gritti was elected Doge, Tiziano painted his portrait, [Pg 166] which was a very rare thing, in a picture wherein are Our Lady, S. Mark, and S. Andrew with the countenance of that Doge; which picture, a most marvellous work, is in the Sala del Collegio. He has also painted portraits, in addition to those of the Doges named above (being obliged, as has been related, to do it), of others who have been Doges in their time; Pietro Lando, Francesco Donato, Marcantonio Trevisano, and Veniero. But by the two Doges and brothers Paoli[8] he has been excused recently, because of his great age, from that obligation. Before the sack of Rome there had gone to live in Venice Pietro Aretino, a most famous poet of our times, and he became very much the friend of Tiziano and Sansovino; which brought great honour and advantage to Tiziano, for the reason that the poet made him known wherever his pen reached, and especially to Princes of importance, as will be told in the proper place.

Tiziano: Charles V.

(After the painting by Tiziano. Madrid: The Prado)
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Meanwhile, to return to Tiziano's works, he painted the altar-piece for the altar of S. Piero Martire in the Church of SS. Giovanni e Polo, depicting therein that holy martyr larger than life, in a forest of very great trees, fallen to the ground and assailed by the fury of a soldier, who has wounded him so grievously in the head, that as he lies but half alive there is seen in his face the horror of death, while in another friar who runs forward in flight may be perceived the fear and terror of death. In the air are two nude Angels coming down from a flash of Heaven's lightning, which gives light to the landscape, which is most beautiful, and to the whole work besides, which is the most finished, the most celebrated, the greatest, and the best conceived and executed that Tiziano has as yet ever done in all his life. This work being seen by Gritti, who was always very much the friend of Tiziano, as also of Sansovino, he caused to be allotted to him a great scene of the rout of Chiaradadda, in the Hall of the Great Council. In it he painted a battle with soldiers in furious combat, while a terrible rain falls from Heaven; which work, wholly taken from life, is held to be the best of all the scenes that are in that Hall, and the most beautiful. And in the same Palace, at the foot of a staircase, he painted a Madonna in fresco. Having made not long afterwards for a gentleman of the Contarini family a picture of a [Pg 167] very beautiful Christ, who is seated at table with Cleophas and Luke, it appeared to that gentleman that the work was worthy to be in a public place, as in truth it is. Wherefore having made a present of it, like a true lover of his country and of the commonwealth, to the Signoria, it was kept a long time in the apartments of the Doge; but at the present day it is in a public place, where it may be seen by everyone, in the Salotta d'Oro in front of the Hall of the Council of Ten, over the door. About the same time, also, he painted for the Scuola of S. Maria della Carità Our Lady ascending the steps of the Temple, with heads of every kind portrayed from nature; and for the Scuola of S. Fantino, likewise, a little altar-piece of S. Jerome in Penitence, which was much extolled by the craftsmen, but was consumed by fire two years ago together with the whole church.

It is said that in the year 1530, the Emperor Charles V being in Bologna, Tiziano was invited to that city by Cardinal Ippolito de' Medici, through the agency of Pietro Aretino. There he made a most beautiful portrait of his Majesty in full armour, which so pleased him, that he caused a thousand crowns to be given to Tiziano; but of these he was obliged afterwards to give the half to the sculptor Alfonso Lombardi, who had made a model to be reproduced in marble, as was related in his Life.

Having returned to Venice, Tiziano found that a number of gentlemen, who had taken Pordenone into their favour, praising much the works executed by him on the ceiling of the Sala de' Pregai and elsewhere, had caused a little altar-piece to be allotted to him in the Church of S. Giovanni Elemosinario, to the end that he might paint it in competition with Tiziano, who for the same place had painted a short time before the said S. Giovanni Elemosinario in the habit of a Bishop. But, for all the diligence that Pordenone devoted to that altar-piece, he was not able to equal or even by a great measure to approach to the work of Tiziano. Next, Tiziano executed a most beautiful altar-picture of an Annunciation for the Church of S. Maria degli Angeli at Murano, but he who had caused it to be painted not being willing to spend five hundred crowns upon it, which Tiziano was asking, by the advice of Messer Pietro [Pg 168] Aretino he sent it as a gift to the above-named Emperor Charles V, who, liking that work vastly, made him a present of two thousand crowns; and where that picture was to have been placed, there was set in its stead one by the hand of Pordenone. Nor had any long time passed when Charles V, returning to Bologna for a conference with Pope Clement, at the time when he came with his army from Hungary, desired to be portrayed again by Tiziano. Before departing from Bologna, Tiziano also painted a portrait of the above-named Cardinal Ippolito de' Medici in Hungarian dress, and in a smaller picture the same man in full armour; both which portraits are now in the guardaroba of Duke Cosimo. At that same time he executed a portrait of Alfonso Davalos, Marchese del Vasto, and one of the above-named Pietro Aretino, who then contrived that he should become the friend and servant of Federigo Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua, with whom Tiziano went to his States and there painted a portrait of him, which is a living likeness, and then one of the Cardinal, his brother. These finished, he painted, for the adornment of a room among those of Giulio Romano, twelve figures from the waist upwards of the twelve Cæsars, very beautiful, beneath each of which the said Giulio afterwards painted a story from their lives.

Tiziano: The Duke of Norfolk.

(Florence: Pitti, 92. Canvas)
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In Cadore, his native place, Tiziano has painted an altar-picture wherein are Our Lady, S. Tiziano the Bishop, and a portrait of himself kneeling. In the year when Pope Paul III went to Bologna, and from there to Ferrara, Tiziano, having gone to the Court, made a portrait of that Pope, which was a very beautiful work, and from it another for Cardinal S. Fiore; and both these portraits, for which he was very well paid by the Pope, are in Rome, one in the guardaroba of Cardinal Farnese, and the other in the possession of the heirs of the above-named Cardinal S. Fiore, and from them have been taken many copies, which are dispersed throughout Italy. At this same time, also, he made a portrait of Francesco Maria, Duke of Urbino, which was a marvellous work; wherefore M. Pietro Aretino on this account celebrated him in a sonnet that began:

Se il chiaro Apelle con la man dell'arte
Rassembrò d'Alessandro il volto e il petto.

[Pg 169] There are in the guardaroba of the same Duke, by the hand of Tiziano, two most lovely heads of women, and a young recumbent Venus with flowers and certain light draperies about her, very beautiful and well finished; and, in addition, a figure of S. Mary Magdalene with the hair all loose, which is a rare work. There, likewise, are the portraits of Charles V, King Francis as a young man, Duke Guidobaldo II, Pope Sixtus IV, Pope Julius II, Paul III, the old Cardinal of Lorraine, and Suleiman Emperor of the Turks; which portraits, I say, are by the hand of Tiziano, and most beautiful. In the same guardaroba, besides many other things, is a portrait of Hannibal the Carthaginian, cut in intaglio in an antique cornelian, and also a very beautiful head in marble by the hand of Donato.

Pope Paul III.

(After the painting by Tiziano. Naples: Museo Nazionale)
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In the year 1541 Tiziano painted for the Friars of S. Spirito, in Venice, the altar-piece of their high-altar, figuring in it the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, with a God depicted as of fire, and the Spirit as a Dove; which altar-piece becoming spoiled in no long time, after having many disputes with those friars he had to paint it again, and it is that which is over the altar at the present day. For the Church of S. Nazzaro in Brescia he executed the altar-piece of the high-altar in five pictures; in the central picture is Jesus Christ returning to life, with some soldiers around, and at the sides are S. Nazzaro, S. Sebastian, the Angel Gabriel, and the Virgin receiving the Annunciation. In a picture for the wall at the entrance of the Duomo of Verona, he painted an Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven, with the Apostles on the ground, which is held to be the best of the modern works in that city. In the year 1541 he made the portrait of Don Diego di Mendoza, at that time Ambassador of Charles V in Venice, a whole-length figure and standing, which was very beautiful; and from this Tiziano began what has since come into fashion, the making of certain portraits of full length. In the same manner he painted that of the Cardinal of Trento, then a young man, and for Francesco Marcolini the portrait of Messer Pietro Aretino, but this last was by no means as beautiful as one of that poet, likewise by the hand of Tiziano, which Aretino himself sent as a present to Duke Cosimo de' Medici, to whom he sent also the head of Signor Giovanni de' [Pg 170] Medici, the father of the said Lord Duke. That head was copied from a cast taken from the face of that lord when he died at Mantua, which was in the possession of Aretino; and both these portraits are in the guardaroba of the same Lord Duke, among many other most noble pictures.

The same year, Vasari having been thirteen months in Venice to execute, as has been related, a ceiling for Messer Giovanni Cornaro, and some works for the Company of the Calza, Sansovino, who was directing the fabric of S. Spirito, had commissioned him to make designs for three large pictures in oils which were to go into the ceiling, to the end that he might execute them in painting; but, Vasari having afterwards departed, those three pictures were allotted to Tiziano, who executed them most beautifully, from his having contrived with great art to make the figures foreshortened from below upwards. In one is Abraham sacrificing Isaac, in another David severing the neck of Goliath, and in the third Abel slain by his brother Cain. About the same time Tiziano painted a portrait of himself, in order to leave that memory of himself to his children.


(After the painting by Tiziano. Naples: Museo Nazionale)
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The year 1546 having come, he went at the invitation of Cardinal Farnese to Rome, where he found Vasari, who, having returned from Naples, was executing the Hall of the Cancelleria for the above-named Cardinal; whereupon, Tiziano having been recommended by that lord to Vasari, Giorgio kept him company lovingly in taking him about to see the sights of Rome. And then, after Tiziano had rested for some days, rooms were given to him in the Belvedere, to the end that he might set his hand to painting once more the portrait of Pope Paul, of full length, with one of Farnese and one of Duke Ottavio, which he executed excellently well and much to the satisfaction of those lords. At their persuasion he painted, for presenting to the Pope, a picture of Christ from the waist upwards in the form of an "Ecce Homo," which work, whether it was that the works of Michelagnolo, Raffaello, Polidoro, and others had made him lose some force, or for some other reason, did not appear to the painters, although it was a good picture, to be of the same excellence as many others by his hand, and particularly his portraits. Michelagnolo and Vasari, going one day to visit Tiziano in the Belvedere, saw in a [Pg 171] picture that he had executed at that time a nude woman representing Danaë, who had in her lap Jove transformed into a rain of gold; and they praised it much, as one does in the painter's presence. After they had left him, discoursing of Tiziano's method, Buonarroti commended it not a little, saying that his colouring and his manner much pleased him, but that it was a pity that in Venice men did not learn to draw well from the beginning, and that those painters did not pursue a better method in their studies. "For," he said, "if this man had been in any way assisted by art and design, as he is by nature, and above all in counterfeiting the life, no one could do more or work better, for he has a fine spirit and a very beautiful and lively manner." And in fact this is true, for the reason that he who has not drawn much nor studied the choicest ancient and modern works, cannot work well from memory by himself or improve the things that he copies from life, giving them the grace and perfection wherein art goes beyond the scope of nature, which generally produces some parts that are not beautiful.

Tiziano, finally departing from Rome, with many gifts received from those lords, and in particular a benefice of good value for his son Pomponio, set himself on the road to return to Venice, after Orazio, his other son, had made a portrait of Messer Battista Ceciliano, an excellent player on the bass-viol, which was a very good work, and he himself had executed some other portraits for Duke Guidobaldo of Urbino. Arriving in Florence, and seeing the rare works of that city, he was amazed by them no less than he had been by those of Rome. And besides that, he visited Duke Cosimo, who was at Poggio a Caiano, offering to paint his portrait; to which his Excellency did not give much heed, perchance in order not to do a wrong to the many noble craftsmen of his city and dominion.

Then, having arrived in Venice, Tiziano finished for the Marchese del Vasto an Allocution (for so they called it) made by that lord to his soldiers; and after that he took the portrait of Charles V, that of the Catholic King, and many others. These works finished, he painted a little altar-piece of the Annunciation for the Church of S. Maria Nuova in Venice; and then, employing the assistance of his young men, he executed a Last Supper in the refectory of SS. Giovanni e Polo, and for the high-altar of [Pg 172] the Church of S. Salvadore an altar-piece in which is a Christ Transfigured on Mount Tabor, and for another altar in the same church a Madonna receiving the Annunciation from the Angel. But these last works, although there is something of the good to be seen in them, are not much esteemed by him, and have not the perfection that his other pictures have. And since the works of Tiziano are without number, and particularly the portraits, it is almost impossible to make mention of them all; wherefore I shall speak only of the most remarkable, but without order of time, it being of little import to know which was first and which later. Several times, as has been related, he painted the portrait of Charles V, and in the end he was summoned for that purpose to the Court, where he portrayed him as he was in those his later years; and the work of Tiziano so pleased that all-conquering Emperor, that after he had once seen it he would not be portrayed by other painters. Each time that he painted him, he received a thousand crowns of gold as a present, and he was made by his Majesty a Chevalier, with a revenue of two hundred crowns on the Chamber of Naples. In like manner, when he portrayed Philip, King of Spain, the son of Charles, he received from him a fixed allowance of two hundred crowns more; insomuch that, adding those four hundred to the three hundred that he has on the Fondaco de' Tedeschi from the Signori of Venice, he has without exerting himself a fixed income of seven hundred crowns every year. Of the same Charles V and King Philip Tiziano sent portraits to the Lord Duke Cosimo, who has them in his guardaroba. He portrayed Ferdinand, King of the Romans, who afterwards became Emperor, and both his sons, Maximilian, now Emperor, and his brother. He also portrayed Queen Maria, and, for the Emperor Charles V, the Duke of Saxony when he was a prisoner. But what a waste of time is this? There has been scarce a single lord of great name, or Prince, or great lady, who has not been portrayed by Tiziano, a painter of truly extraordinary excellence in this field of art. He painted portraits of King Francis I of France, as has been related, Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan, the Marquis of Pescara, Antonio da Leva, Massimiano Stampa, Signor Giovan Battista Castaldo, and other lords without number.

Perseus and Andromeda.

(After the painting by Tiziano. London: Hertford House)
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In like manner, besides the works mentioned above, at various times [Pg 173] he has executed many others. In Venice, by order of Charles V, he painted in a great altar-piece the Triune God enthroned, Our Lady and the Infant Christ, with the Dove over Him, and the ground all of fire, signifying Love; and the Father is surrounded by fiery Cherubim. On one side is the same Charles V, and on the other the Empress, both clothed in linen garments, with the hands clasped in the attitude of prayer, among many Saints; all which was after the command of the Emperor, who, at that time at the height of his victories, began to show that he was minded to retire from the things of this world, as he afterwards did, in order to die like a true Christian, fearing God and desirous of his own salvation. Which picture the Emperor said to Tiziano that he wished to place in the monastery wherein afterwards he finished the course of his life; and since it is a very rare work, it is expected that it may soon be published in engravings. The same Tiziano executed for Queen Maria a Prometheus who is bound to Mount Caucasus and torn by Jove's Eagle, a Sisyphus in Hell who is toiling under his stone, and Tityus devoured by the Vulture. These her Majesty received, excepting the Prometheus, and with them a Tantalus of the same size (namely, that of life), on canvas and in oils. He executed, also, a Venus and Adonis that are marvellous, she having swooned, and the boy in the act of rising to leave her, with some dogs about him that are very natural. On a panel of the same size he represented Andromeda bound to the rock, and Perseus delivering her from the Sea-Monster, than which picture none could be more lovely; as is also another of Diana, who, bathing in a fount with her Nymphs, transforms Actæon into a stag. He also painted Europa passing over the sea on the back of the Bull. All these pictures are in the possession of the Catholic King, held very dear for the vivacity that Tiziano has given to the figures with his colours, making them natural and as if alive.

Philip II.

(After the painting by Tiziano. Naples: Museo Nazionale)
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It is true, however, that the method of work which he employed in these last pictures is no little different from the method of his youth, for the reason that the early works are executed with a certain delicacy and a diligence that are incredible, and they can be seen both from near and from a distance, and these last works are executed with bold strokes and [Pg 174] dashed off with a broad and even coarse sweep of the brush, insomuch that from near little can be seen, but from a distance they appear perfect. This method has been the reason that many, wishing to imitate him therein and to play the practised master, have painted clumsy pictures; and this happens because, although many believe that they are done without effort, in truth it is not so, and they deceive themselves, for it is known that they are painted over and over again, and that he returned to them with his colours so many times, that the labour may be perceived. And this method, so used, is judicious, beautiful, and astonishing, because it makes pictures appear alive and painted with great art, but conceals the labour.

Mary Magdalene.

(After the painting by Tiziano. Naples: Museo Nazionale)
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Tiziano painted recently in a picture three braccia high and four braccia broad, Jesus Christ as an Infant in the lap of Our Lady and adored by the Magi, with a good number of figures of one braccio each, which is a very lovely work, as is also another picture that he himself copied from that one and gave to the old Cardinal of Ferrara. Another picture, in which he depicted Christ mocked by the Jews, which is most beautiful, was placed in a chapel of the Church of S. Maria delle Grazie, in Milan. For the Queen of Portugal he painted a picture of a Christ scourged by Jews at the Column, a little less than the size of life, which is very beautiful. For the high-altar of S. Domenico, at Ancona, he painted an altar-piece with Christ on the Cross, and at the foot Our Lady, S. John, and S. Dominic, all most beautiful, and executed in his later manner with broad strokes, as has just been described above. And by the same hand, in the Church of the Crocicchieri at Venice, is the picture that is on the altar of S. Lorenzo, wherein is the martyrdom of that Saint, with a building full of figures, and S. Laurence lying half upon the gridiron, in foreshortening, with a great fire beneath him, and about it some who are kindling it. And since he counterfeited an effect of night, there are two servants with torches in their hands, which throw light where the glare of the fire below the gridiron does not reach, which is piled high and very fierce. Besides this, he depicted a lightning-flash, which, darting from Heaven and cleaving the clouds, overcomes the light of the fire and that of the torches, shining over the Saint and the other principal [Pg 175] figures, and, in addition to those three lights, the figures that he painted in the distance at the windows of the building have the light of lamps and candles that are near them; and all, in short, is executed with beautiful art, judgment, and genius. In the Church of S. Sebastiano, on the altar of S. Niccolò, there is by the hand of the same Tiziano a little altar-piece of a S. Nicholas who appears as if alive, seated in a chair painted in the likeness of stone, with an Angel that is holding his mitre; which work he executed at the commission of Messer Niccolò Crasso, the advocate. Tiziano afterwards painted, for sending to the Catholic King, a figure of S. Mary Magdalene from the middle of the thighs upwards, all dishevelled; that is, with the hair falling over the shoulders, about the throat, and over the breast, the while that, raising the head with the eyes fixed on Heaven, she reveals remorse in the redness of the eyes, and in her tears repentance for her sins. Wherefore the picture moves mightily all who behold it; and, what is more, although she is very beautiful, it moves not to lust but to compassion. This picture, when it was finished, so pleased ... Silvio, a Venetian gentleman, that in order to have it, being one who takes supreme delight in painting, he gave Tiziano a hundred crowns: wherefore Tiziano was forced to paint another, which was not less beautiful, for sending to the above-named Catholic King.

There are also to be seen portraits from life by Tiziano of a Venetian citizen called Sinistri, who was much his friend, and of another named M. Paolo da Ponte, for whom he likewise portrayed a daughter that he had at that time, a most beautiful young woman called Signora Giulia da Ponte, a dear friend of Tiziano; and in like manner Signora Irene, a very lovely maiden, skilled in letters and music and a student of design, who, dying about seven years ago, was celebrated by the pens of almost all the writers of Italy. He portrayed M. Francesco Filetto, an orator of happy memory, and in the same picture, before him, his son, who seems as if alive; which portrait is in the house of Messer Matteo Giustiniani, a lover of these arts, who has also had a picture painted for himself by the painter Jacopo da Bassano, which is very beautiful, as also are many other works by that Bassano which are dispersed throughout Venice, and held in great price, particularly his little works and animals of every [Pg 176] kind. Tiziano portrayed Bembo another time (namely, after he became a Cardinal), Fracastoro, and Cardinal Accolti of Ravenna, which last portrait Duke Cosimo has in his guardaroba; and our Danese, the sculptor, has in his house at Venice a portrait by the hand of Tiziano of a gentleman of the Delfini family. There may be seen portraits by the same hand of M. Niccolò Zono, of Rossa, wife of the Grand Turk, at the age of sixteen, and of Cameria, her daughter, with most beautiful dresses and adornments. In the house of M. Francesco Sonica, an advocate and a gossip of Tiziano, is a portrait by his hand of that M. Francesco, and in a large picture Our Lady flying to Egypt, who is seen to have dismounted from the ass and to have seated herself upon a stone on the road, with S. Joseph beside her, and a little S. John who is offering to the Infant Christ some flowers picked by the hand of an Angel from the branches of a tree that is in the middle of a wood full of animals, where in the distance the ass stands grazing. That picture, which is full of grace, the said gentleman has placed at the present day in a palace that he has built for himself at Padua, near S. Giustina. In the house of a gentleman of the Pisani family, near S. Marco, there is by the hand of Tiziano the portrait of a gentlewoman, which is a marvellous thing. And having made for Monsignor Giovanni della Casa, the Florentine, who has been illustrious in our times both for nobility of blood and as a man of letters, a very beautiful portrait of a gentlewoman whom that lord loved while he was in Venice, Tiziano was rewarded by being honoured by him with the lovely sonnet that begins—

Ben vegg'io, Tiziano, in forme nuove
L'idolo mio, che i begli occhi apre e gira (with what follows).

Finally, this excellent painter sent to the above-named Catholic King a Last Supper of Christ with the Apostles, in a picture seven braccia long, which was a work of extraordinary beauty.

Tiziano: The Education of Cupid.

(Rome: Borghese Gallery. Canvas)
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In addition to the works described and many others of less merit executed by this man, which are omitted for the sake of brevity, he has in his house, sketched in and begun, the following: the Martyrdom of S. Laurence, similar to that described above, and destined by him for [Pg 177] sending to the Catholic King; a great canvas wherein is Christ on the Cross, with the Thieves, and at the foot the ministers of the crucifixion, which he is painting for Messer Giovanni d'Anna; and a picture which was begun for the Doge Grimani, father of the Patriarch of Aquileia. And for the Hall of the Great Palace of Brescia he has made a beginning with three large pictures that are to go in the ornamentation of the ceiling, as has been related in speaking of Cristofano and his brother, painters of Brescia. He also began, many years ago, for Alfonso I, Duke of Ferrara, a picture of a nude young woman bowing before Minerva, with another figure at the side, and a sea in the centre of which, in the distance, is Neptune in his car; but through the death of that lord, after whose fancy the work was being executed, it was not finished, and remained with Tiziano. He has also carried well forward, but not finished, a picture wherein is Christ appearing to Mary Magdalene in the Garden in the form of a gardener, with figures the size of life; another, also, of equal size, in which the Madonna and the other Maries being present, the Dead Christ is laid in the Sepulchre; likewise a picture of Our Lady, which is one of the best things that are in that house, and, as has been told, a portrait of himself that was finished by him four years ago, very beautiful and natural, and finally a S. Paul who is reading, a half-length figure, which has all the appearance of the real Saint filled with the Holy Spirit.

The Entombment.

(After the painting by Tiziano. Madrid: The Prado)
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All these works, I say, he has executed, with many others that I omit in order not to be wearisome, up to his present age of about seventy-six years. Tiziano has been very sound in health, and as fortunate as any man of his kind has ever been; and he has not received from Heaven anything save favours and blessings. In his house at Venice have been all the Princes, men of letters and persons of distinction who have gone to that city or lived there in his time, because, in addition to his excellence in art, he has shown great gentleness, beautiful breeding, and most courteous ways and manners. He has had in Venice some competitors, but not of much worth, so that he has surpassed them easily with the excellence of his art and with his power of attaching himself and making himself dear to the men of quality. He has earned much, for he has been very well paid for his works; but it would have been well for him in these [Pg 178] his last years not to work save as a pastime, so as not to diminish with works of less excellence the reputation gained in his best years, when his natural powers were not declining and drawing towards imperfection. When Vasari, the writer of this history, was at Venice in the year 1566, he went to visit Tiziano, as one who was much his friend, and found him at his painting with brushes in his hand, although he was very old; and he had much pleasure in seeing him and discoursing with him. He made known to Vasari Messer Gian Maria Verdezotti, a young Venetian gentleman full of talent, a friend of Tiziano and passing able in drawing and painting, as he showed in some landscapes of great beauty drawn by him. This man has by the hand of Tiziano, whom he loves and cherishes as a father, two figures painted in oils within two niches, an Apollo and a Diana.

Tiziano, then, having adorned with excellent pictures the city of Venice, nay, all Italy and other parts of the world, deserves to be loved and revered by the craftsmen, and in many things to be admired and imitated, as one who has executed and is still executing works worthy of infinite praise, which shall endure as long as the memory of illustrious men may live.

Paris Bordone: The Venetian Lovers.

(Milan: Brera, 105. Canvas)
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Now, although many have been with Tiziano in order to learn, yet the number of those who can truly be called his disciples is not great, for the reason that he has not taught much, and each pupil has gained more or less knowledge according as he has been able to acquire it from the works executed by Tiziano. There has been with him, among others, one Giovanni, a Fleming, who has been a much-extolled master in figures both small and large, and in portraits marvellous, as may be seen in Naples, where he lived some time, and finally died. By his hand—and this must do him honour for all time—were the designs of the anatomical studies that the most excellent Andrea Vessalio caused to be engraved and published with his work. But he who has imitated Tiziano more than any other is Paris Bordone, who, born in Treviso from a father of Treviso and a Venetian mother, was taken at the age of eight to the house of some relatives in Venice. There, having learned his grammar and become an excellent musician, he went to be with Tiziano, but he did not [Pg 179] spend many years with him, for he perceived that man to be not very ready to teach his young men, although besought by them most earnestly and invited by their patience to do his duty by them; and he resolved to leave him. He was much grieved that Giorgione should have died in those days, whose manner pleased him vastly, and even more his reputation for having taught well and willingly, and with lovingness, all that he knew; but, since there was nothing else to be done, Paris resolved in his mind that he would follow the manner of Giorgione. And so, setting himself to labour and to counterfeit the work of that master, he became such that he acquired very good credit; wherefore at the age of eighteen there was allotted to him an altar-piece that was to be painted for the Church of S. Niccolò, of the Friars Minors. Which having heard, Tiziano so went to work with various means and favours that he took it out of his hands, either to prevent him from being able to display his ability so soon, or perhaps drawn by his desire of gain.

Afterwards Paris was summoned to Vicenza, to paint a scene in fresco in the Loggia of the Piazza where justice is administered, beside that of the Judgment of Solomon which Tiziano had previously executed; and he went very willingly, and painted there a story of Noah with his sons, which was held to be a work passing good in diligence and in design, and not less beautiful than that of Tiziano, insomuch that by those who know not the truth they are considered to be both by the same hand. Having returned to Venice, Paris executed some nudes in fresco at the foot of the bridge of the Rialto; by reason of which essay he was commissioned to paint some façades of houses in Venice. Being then summoned to Treviso, he painted there likewise some façades and other works, and in particular many portraits, which gave much satisfaction; that of the Magnificent M. Alberto Unigo, that of M. Marco Seravalle, and of M. Francesco da Quer, of the Canon Rovere, and of Monsignor Alberti. For the Duomo of that city, in an altar-piece in the centre of the church, at the instance of the reverend Vicar, he painted the Nativity of Jesus Christ, and then a Resurrection. For S. Francesco he executed another altar-piece at the request of the Chevalier Rovere, another for S. Girolamo, and one for Ognissanti, with different heads of Saints both [Pg 180] male and female, all beautiful and varied in the attitudes and in the vestments. He executed another altar-piece for S. Lorenzo, and in S. Polo he painted three chapels, in the largest of which he depicted Christ rising from the dead, the size of life, and accompanied by a great multitude of Angels; in the second some Saints with many Angels about them, and in the third Jesus Christ upon a cloud, with Our Lady, who is presenting to Him S. Dominic. All these works have made him known as an able man and a lover of his city.

In Venice, where he has dwelt almost always, he has executed many works at various times. But the most beautiful, the most remarkable and the most worthy of praise that Paris ever painted, was a scene in the Scuola of S. Marco, at SS. Giovanni e Polo, wherein is the story of the fisherman presenting to the Signoria of Venice the ring of S. Mark, with a very beautiful building in perspective, about which is seated the Senate with the Doge; among which Senators are many portraits from nature, lifelike and well painted beyond belief. The beauty of this work, executed so well and coloured in fresco, was the reason that he began to be employed by many gentlemen. Thus in the great house of the Foscari, near S. Barnaba, he executed many paintings and pictures, and among them a Christ who, having descended to the Limbo of Hell, is delivering the Holy Fathers; which is held to be a work out of the ordinary. For the Church of S. Giobbe in Canal Reio he painted a most beautiful altar-piece, and for S. Giovanni in Bragola another, and the same for S. Maria della Celeste and for S. Marina.

The Fisherman and the Doge Gradenigo.

(After the painting by Paris Bordone. Venice: Accademia) Anderson
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But, knowing that he who wishes to be employed in Venice is obliged to endure too much servitude in paying court to one man or another, Paris resolved, as a man of quiet nature and far removed from certain methods of procedure, whenever an occasion might present itself, to go abroad to execute such works as Fortune might set before him, without having to go about begging. Wherefore, having made his way with a good opportunity into France in the year 1538, to serve King Francis, he executed for him many portraits of ladies and other pictures with various paintings; and at the same time he painted for Monseigneur de Guise a most beautiful church-picture, and a chamber-picture of Venus [Pg 181] and Cupid. For the Cardinal of Lorraine he painted a Christ in an "Ecce Homo," a Jove with Io, and many other works. He sent to the King of Poland a picture wherein was Jove with a Nymph, which was held to be a very beautiful thing. And to Flanders he sent two other most beautiful pictures, a S. Mary Magdalene in the Desert accompanied by some Angels, and a Diana who is bathing with her Nymphs in a fount; which two pictures the Milanese Candiano caused him to paint, the physician of Queen Maria, as presents for her Highness. At Augsburg, in the Palace of the Fugger family, he executed many works of the greatest importance, to the value of three thousand crowns. And in the same city he painted for the Prineri, great men in that place, a large picture wherein he counterfeited in perspective all the five Orders of architecture, which was a very beautiful work; and another chamber-picture, which is in the possession of the Cardinal of Augsburg. At Crema he has executed two altar-pieces for S. Agostino, in one of which is portrayed Signor Giulio Manfrone, representing a S. George, in full armour. The same master has painted many works at Civitale di Belluno, which are extolled, and in particular an altar-piece in S. Maria and another in S. Giosef, which are very beautiful. He sent to Signor Ottaviano Grimaldo a portrait of him the size of life and most beautiful, and with it another picture, equal in size, of a very lustful woman. Having then gone to Milan, Paris painted for the Church of S. Celso an altar-piece with some figures in the air, and beneath them a very beautiful landscape, at the instance, so it is said, of Signor Carlo da Roma; and for the palace of the same lord two large pictures in oils, in one Venus and Mars under Vulcan's net, and in the other King David seeing Bathsheba being bathed by her serving-women in the fount; and also the portrait of that lord and that of Signora Paola Visconti, his consort, and some pieces of landscape not very large, but most beautiful. At this same time he painted many of Ovid's Fables for the Marchese d'Astorga, who took them with him to Spain; and for Signor Tommaso Marini, likewise, he painted many things of which there is no need to make mention.

Portrait of a Lady.

(After the painting by Paris Bordone. London: National Gallery, No. 674)
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And this much it must suffice to have said of Paris, who, being seventy-five years of age, lives quietly at home with his comforts, and [Pg 182] works for pleasure at the request of certain Princes and others his friends, avoiding rivalries and certain vain ambitions, lest he should suffer some hurt and have his supreme tranquillity and peace disturbed by those who walk not, as he says, in truth, but by dubious ways, malignantly and without charity; whereas he is accustomed to live simply and by a certain natural goodness, and knows nothing of subtleties or astuteness in his life. He has executed recently a most beautiful picture for the Duchess of Savoy, of a Venus and Cupid that are sleeping, guarded by a servant; all executed so well, that it is not possible to praise them enough.

Vision of the Apocalypse.

(After the mosaic by Zuccati. Venice: S. Marco)
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But here I must not omit to say that a kind of painting which is almost discontinued in every other place, namely, mosaic, is kept alive by the most Serene Senate of Venice. Of this the benign and as it were the principal reason has been Tiziano, who, so far as it has lain in him, has always taken pains that it should be practised in Venice, and has caused honourable salaries to be given to those who have worked at it. Wherefore various works have been executed in the Church of S. Marco, all the old works have been almost renewed, and this sort of painting has been carried to such a height of excellence as is possible, and to a different condition from that in which it was in Florence and Rome at the time of Giotto, Alesso Baldovinetti, the Ghirlandajo family, and the miniaturist Gherardo. And all that has been done in Venice has come from the design of Tiziano and other excellent painters, who have made drawings and coloured cartoons to the end that the works might be carried to such perfection as may be seen in those of the portico of S. Marco, where in a very beautiful niche there is a Judgment of Solomon so lovely, that in truth it would not be possible to do more with colours. In the same place is the genealogical tree of Our Lady by the hand of Lodovico Rosso, all full of Sibyls and Prophets executed in a delicate manner and put together very well, with a relief that is passing good. But none have worked better in this art in our times than Valerio and Vincenzio Zuccheri[9] of Treviso, by whose hands are stories many and various that may be seen in S. Marco, and in particular that of the Apocalypse, wherein around the Throne of God are the Four Evangelists in the form of animals, [Pg 183] the Seven Candlesticks, and many other things executed so well, that, looking at them from below, they appear as if done in oil-colours with the brush; besides that there may be seen in their hands and about them little pictures full of figures executed with the greatest diligence, insomuch that they have the appearance not of paintings only, but of miniatures, and yet they are made of stones joined together. There are also many portraits; the Emperor Charles V, Ferdinand his brother, who succeeded him in the Empire, and Maximilian, son of Ferdinand and now Emperor; likewise the head of the most illustrious Cardinal Bembo, the glory of our age, and that of the Magnificent ...; all executed with such diligence and unity, and so well harmonized in the lights, flesh-colours, tints, shadows, and every other thing, that there is nothing better to be seen, nor any more beautiful work in a similar material. And it is in truth a great pity that this most excellent art of working in mosaic, with its beauty and everlasting life, is not more in use than it is, and that, by the fault of the Princes who have the power, no attention is given to it.

In addition to those named above, there has worked in mosaic at S. Marco, in competition with the Zuccheri, one Bartolommeo Bozzato, who also has acquitted himself in his works in such a manner as to deserve undying praise. But that which has been of the greatest assistance to all in this art, is the presence and advice of Tiziano; of whom, besides the men already named and many more, another disciple, helping him in many works, has been one Girolamo, whom I know by no other name than Girolamo di Tiziano.



The while that Andrea Contucci, the sculptor of Monte Sansovino, having already acquired in Italy and Spain the name of the most excellent sculptor and architect that there was in art after Buonarroti, was living in Florence in order to execute the two figures of marble that were to be placed over that door of the Temple of S. Giovanni which faces towards the Misericordia, a young man was entrusted to him to be taught the art of sculpture, the son of Antonio di Jacopo Tatti, whom Nature had endowed with a great genius, so that he gave much grace to the things that he did in relief. Whereupon Andrea, having recognized how excellent in sculpture the young man was destined to become, did not fail to teach him with all possible care all those things which might make him known as his disciple. And so, loving him very dearly, and doing his best for him with much affection, and being loved by the young man with equal tenderness, people judged that the pupil would not only become as excellent as his master, but would by a great measure surpass him. And such were the reciprocal friendliness and love between these two, as it were between father and son, that Jacopo in those early years began to be called no longer Tatti, but Sansovino, and so he has always been, and always will be.

Now, Jacopo beginning to exercise his hand, he was so assisted by Nature in the things that he did, that, although at times he did not use [Pg 188] much study and diligence in his work, nevertheless in what he did there could be seen facility, sweetness, grace, and a certain delicacy very pleasing to the eyes of craftsmen, insomuch that his every sketch, rough study, and model has always had a movement and a boldness that Nature is wont to give to but few sculptors. Moreover, the friendship and intercourse that Andrea del Sarto and Jacopo Sansovino had with each other in their childhood, and then in their youth, assisted not a little both the one and the other, for they followed the same manner in design and had the same grace in execution, one in painting and the other in sculpture, and, conferring together on the problems of art, and Jacopo making models of figures for Andrea, they gave one another very great assistance. And that this is true a proof is that in the altar-piece of S. Francesco, belonging to the Nuns of the Via Pentolini, there is a S. John the Evangelist which was copied from a most beautiful model in clay that Sansovino made in those days in competition with Baccio da Montelupo; for the Guild of Por Santa Maria wished to have a bronze statue of four braccia made for a niche at the corner of Orsanmichele, opposite to the Wool-Shearers, for which Jacopo made a more beautiful model in clay than Baccio, but nevertheless it was allotted to Montelupo, from his being an older master, rather than to Sansovino, although his work, young as he was, was the better. That model, which is a very beautiful thing, is now in the possession of the heirs of Nanni Unghero; for which Nanni, being then his friend, Sansovino made some models of large boys in clay, and the model for a figure of S. Nicholas of Tolentino, which were all executed of the size of life in wood, with the assistance of Sansovino, and placed in the Chapel of that Saint in the Church of S. Spirito.

Becoming known for these reasons to all the craftsmen of Florence, and being considered a young man of fine parts and excellent character, Jacopo was invited by Giuliano da San Gallo, architect to Pope Julius II, to Rome, vastly to his satisfaction; and then, taking extraordinary pleasure in the ancient statues that are in the Belvedere, he set himself to draw them. Whereupon Bramante, who was likewise architect to Pope Julius, holding the first place at that time and dwelling in the [Pg 189] Belvedere, having seen some drawings by this young man, and a nude recumbent figure of clay in full-relief, holding a vessel to contain ink, which he had made, liked them so much that he took him under his protection and ordered him that he should make a large copy in wax of the Laocoon, which he was having copied also by others, in order to take a cast in bronze—namely, by Zaccheria Zacchi of Volterra, the Spaniard Alonzo Berughetta, and Vecchio of Bologna. These, when all were finished, Bramante caused to be seen by Raffaello Sanzio of Urbino, in order to learn which of the four had acquitted himself best; whereupon it was judged by Raffaello that Sansovino, young as he was, had surpassed the others by a great measure. Then, by the advice of Cardinal Domenico Grimani, orders were given to Bramante that he should have Jacopo's copy cast in bronze; and so the mould was made, and the work, being cast in metal, came out very well. And afterwards, having been polished, it was given to the Cardinal, who held it as long as he lived not less dear than if it had been the antique; and when he came to die, he left it as a very rare thing to the most Serene Signoria of Venice, which, after having kept it many years in the press of the Hall of the Council of Ten, finally in the year 1534 presented it to the Cardinal of Lorraine, who took it to France.

S. James.

(After Jacopo Sansovino. Florence: Duomo)
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While Sansovino was acquiring greater fame every day in Rome with his studies in art, being held in much consideration, Giuliano da San Gallo, who had been keeping him in his house in the Borgo Vecchio, fell ill; and when he departed from Rome in a litter, in order to go to Florence for a change of air, a room was found for Jacopo by Bramante, likewise in the Borgo Vecchio, in the Palace of Domenico della Rovere, Cardinal of San Clemente, where Pietro Perugino was also dwelling, who at that time was painting for Pope Julius the vaulting of the chamber in the Borgia Tower. Whereupon Pietro, having seen the beautiful manner of Sansovino, caused him to make many models in wax for himself, and among them a Christ taken down from the Cross in the round, with many ladders and figures, which was a very beautiful thing. This and other things of the same sort, and models of various fantasies, were all collected afterwards by M. Giovanni Gaddi, and they are now [Pg 190] in his house on the Piazza di Madonna in Florence. And these works were the reason that Sansovino became very intimately associated with Maestro Luca Signorelli, the painter of Cortona, with Bramantino da Milano, with Bernardino Pinturicchio, with Cesare Cesariano, who was in repute at that time for his commentaries on Vitruvius, and with many other famous and beautiful intellects of that age. Bramante, then, desiring that Sansovino should become known to Pope Julius, arranged to have some antiques restored by him; whereupon Jacopo, setting to work, displayed such diligence and so much grace in restoring them, that the Pope and all who saw them judged that nothing better could be done. These praises so spurred Sansovino to surpass himself, that, having given himself beyond measure to his studies, and being, also, somewhat delicate in constitution and suffering from some excess such as young men commit, he became so ill that he was forced for the sake of his life to return to Florence, where, profiting by his native air, by the advantage of his youth, and by the diligence and care of the physicians, in a short time he completely recovered. Now Messer Piero Pitti was arranging at that time to have a Madonna of marble made for that façade of the Mercato Nuovo in Florence where the clock is, and it appeared to him, since there were in Florence many young men of ability and also old masters, that the work should be given to that one among them who might make the best model. Whereupon one was given to Baccio da Montelupo to execute, one to Zaccheria Zacchi of Volterra, who had likewise returned to Florence the same year, another to Baccio Bandinelli, and yet another to Sansovino; and when these were placed in comparison, the honour and the work were given by Lorenzo di Credi, an excellent painter and a person of judgment and probity, and likewise by the other judges, craftsmen, and connoisseurs, to Sansovino. But, although the work was therefore allotted to him, nevertheless so much delay was caused in procuring and conveying the marble for him, by the envious machinations of Averardo da Filicaia, who greatly favoured Bandinelli and hated Sansovino, that he was ordered by certain other citizens, having perceived that delay, to make one of the large Apostles in marble that were going into the Church of S. Maria del Fiore. Wherefore, [Pg 191] having made the model of a S. James (which model, when the work was finished, came into the possession of Messer Bindo Altoviti), he began that figure and, continuing to work at it with all diligence and study, he carried it to completion so perfectly, that it is a miraculous figure and shows in all its parts that it was wrought with incredible study and care, the draperies, arms, and hands being undercut and executed with such art and such grace, that there is nothing better in marble to be seen. Thus, Sansovino showed in what way undercut draperies should be executed, having made these so delicate and so natural, that in some places he reduced the marble to the thickness that is seen in real folds and in the edges and hems of the borders of draperies; a difficult method, and one demanding much time and patience if you wish that it should so succeed as to display the perfection of art. That figure remained in the Office of Works from the time when it was finished by Sansovino until the year 1565, at which time, in the month of December, it was placed in the Church of S. Maria del Fiore to do honour to the coming of Queen Joanna of Austria, the wife of Don Francesco de' Medici, Prince of Florence and Siena. And there it is kept as a very rare work, together with the other Apostles, likewise in marble, executed in competition by other craftsmen, as has been related in their Lives.


(After Jacopo Sansovino. Florence: Museo Nazionale)
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At this same time he made for Messer Giovanni Gaddi a Venus of marble on a shell, of great beauty, as was also the model, which was in the house of Messer Francesco Montevarchi, a friend of these arts, but came to an evil end in the inundation of the River Arno in the year 1558. He also made a boy of tow and a swan as beautiful as could be, of marble, for the same M. Giovanni Gaddi, together with many other things, which are all in his house. For Messer Bindo Altoviti he had a chimney-piece of great cost made, all in grey-stone carved by Benedetto da Rovezzano, which was placed in his house in Florence, and Messer Bindo caused Sansovino to make a scene with little figures for placing in the frieze of that chimney-piece, with Vulcan and other Gods, which was a very rare work; but much more beautiful are two boys of marble that were above the crown of the chimney-piece, holding some arms of the Altoviti in their hands, which have been removed by Signor Don Luigi [Pg 192] di Toledo, who inhabits the house of the above-named Messer Bindo, and placed about a fountain in his garden, behind the Servite Friars, in Florence. Two other boys of extraordinary beauty, also of marble and by the same hand, who are likewise holding an escutcheon, are in the house of Giovan Francesco Ridolfi. All these works caused Sansovino to be held by the men of art and by all Florence to be a most excellent and gracious master; on which account Giovanni Bartolini, having caused a house to be built in his garden of Gualfonda, desired that Sansovino should make for him a young Bacchus in marble, of the size of life. Whereupon the model for this was made by Sansovino, and it pleased Giovanni so much, that he had him supplied with the marble, and Jacopo began it with such eagerness, that his hands and brain flew as he worked. This work, I say, he studied in such a manner, in order to make it perfect, that he set himself to portray from the life, although it was winter, an assistant of his called Pippo del Fabbro, making him stand naked a good part of the day. Which Pippo would have become a capable craftsman, for he was striving with every effort to imitate his master; but, whether it was the standing naked with the head uncovered at that season, or that he studied too much and suffered hardships, before the Bacchus was finished he went mad, copying the attitudes of that figure. And this he showed one day that it was raining in torrents, when, Sansovino calling out "Pippo!" and he not answering, the master afterwards saw him mounted on the summit of a chimney on the roof, wholly naked and striking the attitude of his Bacchus. At other times, taking a sheet or other large piece of cloth, and wetting it, he would wrap it round his naked body, as if he were a model of clay or rags, and arrange the folds; and then, climbing up to some extraordinary place, and settling himself now in one attitude and now in another, as a Prophet, an Apostle, a soldier, or something else, he would have himself portrayed, standing thus for a period of two hours without speaking, not otherwise than as if he had been a motionless statue. Many other amusing follies of that kind poor Pippo played, but above all he was never able to forget the Bacchus that Sansovino had made, save only when he died, a few years afterwards.

Mars and Neptune.

(After Jacopo Sansovino. Venice: Ducal Palace)
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[Pg 193] But to return to the statue; when it was carried to completion, it was held to be the most beautiful work that had ever been executed by a modern master, seeing that in it Sansovino overcame a difficulty never yet attempted, in making an arm raised in the air and detached on every side, which holds between the fingers a cup all cut out of the same marble with such delicacy, that the attachment is very slight, besides which the attitude is so well conceived and balanced on every side, and the legs and arms are so beautiful and so well proportioned and attached to the trunk, that to the eye and to the touch the whole seems much more like living flesh; insomuch that the fame that it has from all who see it is well deserved, and even more. This work, I say, when finished, while Giovanni was alive, was visited in that courtyard in the Gualfonda by everyone, native and stranger alike, and much extolled. But afterwards, Giovanni being dead, his brother Gherardo Bartolini presented it to Duke Cosimo, who keeps it as a rare thing in his apartments, together with other most beautiful statues of marble that he possesses. For the same Giovanni Sansovino made a very beautiful Crucifix of wood, which is in their house in company with many works by the ancients and by the hand of Michelagnolo.

In the year 1514, when festive preparations of great richness were to be made in Florence for the coming of Pope Leo X, orders were given by the Signoria and by Giuliano de' Medici that many triumphal arches of wood should be made in various parts of the city. Whereupon Sansovino not only executed the designs for many of these, but himself undertook in company with Andrea del Sarto to construct the façade of S. Maria del Fiore all of wood, with statues, scenes, and architectural orders, exactly in the manner wherein it would be well for it to be in order to remove all that there is in it of the German order of composition. Having therefore set his hand to this (to say nothing in this place of the awning of cloth that used to cover the Piazza of S. Maria del Fiore and that of S. Giovanni for the festival of S. John and for others of the greatest solemnity, since we have spoken sufficiently of this in another place), beneath that awning, I say, Sansovino constructed the said façade in the Corinthian Order, making it in the manner of a triumphal arch, and [Pg 194] placing upon an immense base double columns on each side, and between them certain great niches filled with figures in the round that represented the Apostles. Above these were some large scenes in half-relief, made in the likeness of bronze, with stories from the Old Testament, some of which are still to be seen in the house of the Lanfredini on the bank of the Arno; and over them followed architraves, friezes, and cornices, projecting outwards, and then frontispieces of great beauty and variety; and in the angles of the arches, both in the wide parts and below, were stories painted in chiaroscuro by the hand of Andrea del Sarto, and very beautiful. In short, this work of Sansovino's was such that Pope Leo, seeing it, said that it was a pity that the real façade of that temple was not so built, which was begun by the German Arnolfo. The same Sansovino made among these festive preparations for the coming of Leo X, besides the said façade, a horse in the round all of clay and shearings of woollen cloth, in the act of rearing, and under it a figure of nine braccia, upon a pedestal of masonry. Which work was executed with such spirit and force, that it pleased Pope Leo and was much extolled by him; wherefore Sansovino was taken by Jacopo Salviati to kiss the feet of the Pope, who showed him many marks of affection.

The Pope departed from Florence, and had a conference at Bologna with King Francis I of France; and then he resolved to return to Florence. Whereupon orders were given to Sansovino that he should make a triumphal arch at the Porta S. Gallo, and he, not falling back in any way from his own standard, executed it similar to the other works that he had done—namely, beautiful to a marvel, and full of statues and painted pictures wrought excellently well. His Holiness having then determined that the façade of S. Lorenzo should be executed in marble, the while that Raffaello da Urbino and Buonarroti were expected from Rome, Sansovino, by order of the Pope, made a design for it; which giving much satisfaction, Baccio d'Agnolo was commissioned to make a model of it in wood, which proved very beautiful. Meanwhile, Buonarroti had made another, and he and Sansovino were ordered to go to Pietrasanta; where, finding much marble, but difficult to transport, they lost so much time, that when they returned to Florence they found the Pope departed [Pg 195] for Rome. Whereupon, both following after him with their models, each by himself, Jacopo arrived at the very moment when Buonarroti's model was being shown to his Holiness in the Torre Borgia; but he did not succeed in obtaining what he hoped, because, whereas he believed that he would at least make under Michelagnolo part of the statues that were going into that work, the Pope having spoken of it to him and Michelagnolo having given him so to understand, he perceived on arriving in Rome that Buonarroti wished to be alone in the work. Nevertheless, having made his way to Rome and not wishing to return to Florence without any result, he resolved to remain in Rome and there give his attention to sculpture and architecture. And so, having undertaken to execute for the Florentine Giovan Francesco Martelli a Madonna in marble larger than life, he made her most beautiful, with the Child in her arms; and this was placed upon an altar within the principal door of S. Agostino, on the right hand as one enters. The clay model of this statue he presented to the Priore de' Salviati, in Rome, who placed it in a chapel in his palace on the corner of the Piazza di S. Pietro, at the beginning of the Borgo Nuovo. After no long lapse of time he made for the altar of the chapel that the very reverend Cardinal Alborense had caused to be built in the Church of the Spaniards in Rome, a statue in marble of four braccia, worthy of no ordinary measure of praise, of a S. James, which has a movement full of grace and is executed with judgment and perfect art, so that it won him very great fame. And the while that he was executing these statues, he made the ground-plan and model, and then began the building, of the Church of S. Marcello for the Servite Friars, a work of truly great beauty. Continuing to be employed in matters of architecture, he built for Messer Marco Coscia a very beautiful loggia on the road that leads to Rome, at Pontemolle on the Via Appia.[11] For the Company of the Crocifisso, attached to the Church of S. Marcello, he made a Crucifix for carrying in procession, a thing full of grace; and for Cardinal Antonio di Monte he began a great fabric at his villa without Rome, on the Acqua Vergine. And by the hand of Jacopo, perhaps, is a very beautiful portrait in marble of that [Pg 196] elder Cardinal di Monte which is now in the Palace of Signor Fabiano at Monte Sansovino, over the door of the principal chamber off the hall. He directed, also, the building of the house of Messer Luigi Leoni, a most commodious edifice, and in the Banchi a palace beside the house of the Gaddi, which was bought afterwards by Filippo Strozzi—certainly a commodious and most beautiful fabric, with many ornaments.

At this time, with the favour of Pope Leo, the Florentine colony had bestirred itself out of emulation of the Germans, Spaniards, and Frenchmen, who had either begun or finished the churches of their colonies in Rome, and had begun to perform their solemn offices in those already built and adorned; and the Florentines had sought leave likewise to build a church for themselves. For which the Pope having given instructions to Lodovico Capponi, the Consul of the Florentine colony at that time, it was determined that behind the Banchi, at the beginning of the Strada Giulia, on the bank of the Tiber, an immense church should be built, to be dedicated to S. John the Baptist; which might surpass in magnificence, grandeur, cost, ornamentation, and design, the churches of all the other colonies. There competed, then, in making designs for this work, Raffaello da Urbino, Antonio da San Gallo, Baldassarre da Siena, and Sansovino; and the Pope, when he had seen all their designs, extolled as the best that of Sansovino, because, besides other things, he had made at each of the four corners of that church a tribune, and a larger tribune in the centre, after the likeness of the plan that Sebastiano Serlio placed in his second book on Architecture. Whereupon, all the heads of the Florentine colony concurring with the will of the Pope, with much approval of Sansovino, the foundations were begun for a part of that church, altogether twenty-two canne[12] in length. But, there being not enough space, and yet wishing to make the façade of the church in line with the houses of the Strada Giulia, they were obliged to stretch out into the stream of the Tiber at least fifteen canne; which pleasing many of them, because the grandeur as well as the cost was increased by making the foundations in the river, work was begun on this, and they spent [Pg 197] upon it more than forty thousand crowns, which would have been enough to build half the masonry of the church.

In the meantime Sansovino, who was the head of this fabric, while the foundations were being laid little by little, had a fall and suffered a serious injury; and after a few days he had himself carried to Florence for treatment, leaving the charge of laying the rest of the foundations, as has been related, to Antonio da San Gallo. But no long time passed before the Florentine colony, having lost by the death of Leo so great a support and so splendid a Prince, abandoned the building for the duration of the life of Pope Adrian VI. Then, Clement having been elected, it was ordained, in order to pursue the same order and design, that Sansovino should return and carry on that fabric in the same manner wherein he had first arranged it; and so a beginning was made once more with the work. Meanwhile, Sansovino undertook to make the tomb of the Cardinal of Arragon and that of Cardinal Aginense; and he had caused work to be begun on the marbles for the ornaments, and had made many models for the figures, and already Rome was in his hands, and he was executing many works of the greatest importance for all those lords, when God, in order to chastise that city and abate the pride of the inhabitants of Rome, permitted that Bourbon should come with his army on the 6th of May, 1527, and that the whole city should be sacked and put to fire and sword.

In that ruin, besides many other beautiful intellects that came to an evil end, Sansovino was forced to his great loss to depart from Rome and to fly to Venice, intending from there to pass into France to enter the service of the King, whither he had been already invited. But, halting in that city in order to make himself ready and provide himself with many things, for he was despoiled of everything, it was announced to the Prince Andrea Gritti, who was much the friend of every talent, that Jacopo Sansovino was there. Whereupon there came to Gritti a desire to speak with him, because at that very time Cardinal Domenico Grimani had given him to understand that Sansovino would have been the man for the cupolas of S. Marco, their principal church, which, because of age and of weak foundations, and also from their being badly secured [Pg 198] with chains, were all opening out and threatening to fall; and so he had him summoned. After many courtesies and long discussions, he said to Sansovino that he wished, or rather, prayed him, that he should find a remedy for the ruin of those tribunes; which Sansovino promised to do, and to put it right. And so, having agreed to do the work, he caused it to be taken in hand; and, having contrived all the scaffoldings in the interior and made supports of beams after the manner of stars, he propped in the central hollow of woodwork all the timbers that sustained the vault of each tribune, and encircled them on the inner side with curtains of woodwork, going on then to bind them on the outer side with chains of iron, to flank them with new walls, and to make at the foot new foundations for the piers that supported them, insomuch that he strengthened them vastly and made them for ever secure. By doing which he caused all Venice to marvel, and not only satisfied Gritti, but also—which was far more—rendered his ability so clearly manifest to that most illustrious Senate, that when the work was finished, the Protomaster to the Lords Procurators of S. Mark being dead, which is the highest office that those lords give to their architects and engineers, they gave it to him with the usual house and a passing handsome salary. Whereupon Sansovino, having accepted it most willingly and freed his mind of all doubt, became the head of all their fabrics, with honour and advantage for himself.

The Library of S. Marco.

(After Jacopo Sansovino. Venice)
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First, then, he erected the public building of the Mint, which he designed and distributed in the interior with so much order and method, for the convenience and service of the many artificers, that in no place is there a Treasury ordered so well or with greater strength than that one, which he adorned altogether in the Rustic Order, very beautifully; which method, not having been used before in Venice, caused no little marvel in the men of that city. Wherefore, having recognized that the genius of Sansovino was equal to their every need in the service of the city, they caused him to attend for many years to the fortifications of their State. Nor did any long time pass before he took in hand, by order of the Council of Ten, the very rich and beautiful fabric of the Library of S. Marco, opposite to the Palazzo della Signoria, with such a wealth of carvings, cornices, columns, capitals, and half-length figures [Pg 199] over the whole work, that it is a marvel; and it is all done without any sparing of expense, so that up to the present day it has cost one hundred and fifty thousand ducats. And it is held in great estimation in that city, because it is full of the richest pavements, stucco-work, and stories, distributed among the halls of the building, with public stairs adorned by various pictures, as has been related in the Life of Battista Franco; besides many other beautiful appurtenances, and the rich ornaments that it has at the principal door of entrance, which give it majesty and grandeur, making manifest the ability of Sansovino. This method of building was the reason that in that city, into which up to that time there had never entered any method save that of making their houses and palaces with the same order, each one always continuing the same things with the same measure and ancient use, without varying according to the sites as they found them or according to convenience—this, I say, was the reason that buildings both public and private began to be erected with new designs and better order.

The first palace that he built was that of M. Giorgio Cornaro, a most beautiful work, erected with all proper appurtenances and ornaments at a cost of seventy thousand crowns. Moved by which, a gentleman of the Delfino family caused Sansovino to build a smaller one, at a cost of thirty thousand crowns, which was much extolled and very beautiful. Then he built that of Moro, at a cost of twenty thousand crowns, which likewise was much extolled; and afterwards many others of less cost in the city and the neighbourhood. Wherefore it may be said that at the present day that magnificent city, in the quantity and quality of her sumptuous and well-conceived edifices, shines resplendent and is in that respect what she is through the ability, industry, and art of Jacopo Sansovino, who therefore deserves the highest praise; seeing that with those works he has been the reason that the gentlemen of Venice have introduced modern architecture into their city, in that not only has that been done there which has passed through his hands, but also many—nay, innumerable—other works which have been executed by other masters, who have gone to live there and have achieved magnificent things. Jacopo also built the fabric of the loggia in the Piazza di S. [Pg 200] Marco, in the Corinthian Order, which is at the foot of the Campanile of the said S. Marco, with a very rich ornamentation of columns, and four niches, in which are four figures the size of life and in bronze, of supreme beauty. And that work formed, as it were, a base of great beauty to the said campanile, which at the foot has a breadth, on one of the sides, of thirty-five feet, which is about the extent of Sansovino's ornamentation; and a height from the ground to the cornice, where are the windows of the bells, of one hundred and sixty feet. From the level of that cornice to the other above it, where there is the corridor, is twenty-five feet, and the other dado above is twenty-eight feet and a half high; and from that level of the corridor to the pyramid, spire, or pinnacle, whatever it may be called, is sixty feet. At the summit of that pinnacle the little square, upon which stands the Angel, is six feet high, and the said Angel, which revolves, is ten feet high; insomuch that the whole height comes to be two hundred and ninety-two feet. He also designed and executed for the Scuola, or rather, Confraternity and Company of the Misericordia, the fabric of that place, an immense building which cost one hundred and fifty thousand crowns; and he rebuilt the Church of S. Francesco della Vigna, where the Frati de' Zoccoli have their seat, a vast work and of much importance.


(After Jacopo Sansovino. Venice: Piazza di S. Marco)
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Nor for all this, the while that he has been giving his attention to so many buildings, has he ever ceased from executing every day for his own delight great and beautiful works of sculpture, in marble and in bronze; and over the holy-water font of the Friars of the Cà Grande there is a statue executed in marble by his hand, representing a S. John the Baptist, very beautiful and much extolled. At Padua, in the Chapel of the Santo, there is a large scene in marble by the same hand, with very beautiful figures in half-relief, of a miracle of S. Anthony of Padua; which scene is much esteemed in that place. For the entrance of the stairs of the Palace of S. Marco he is even now executing in marble, in the form of two most beautiful giants, each of seven braccia, a Neptune and a Mars, signifying the power that is exercised both on land and on sea by that most illustrious Republic. He made a very beautiful statue of a Hercules for the Duke of Ferrara; and for the Church of S. Marco [Pg 201] he executed four scenes of bronze in half-relief, one braccio in height and one and a half in length, for placing around a pulpit, and containing stories of that Evangelist, which are held in great estimation for their variety. Over the door of the same S. Marco he has made a Madonna of marble, the size of life, which is held to be a very beautiful thing, and at the entrance of the sacristy in that place there is by his hand the door of bronze, divided into two most beautiful parts, with stories of Jesus Christ all in half-relief and wrought excellently well; and over the door of the Arsenal he has made a very lovely Madonna of marble, who is holding her Son in her arms. All which works not only have given lustre and adornment to that Republic, but also have caused Sansovino to become daily more known as a most excellent craftsman, and to be loved by those Signori and honoured by their magnificent liberality, and likewise by the other craftsmen; for every work of sculpture and architecture that has been executed in that city in his time has been referred to him. And in truth the excellence of Jacopo has well deserved to be held in the first rank in that city among the craftsmen of design, and his genius is rightly loved and revered by all men, both nobles and plebeians, for the reason that, besides other things, he has brought it about, as has been said, with his knowledge and judgment, that that city has been almost entirely made new and has learned the true and good manner of building.

But, if she has received from him beauty and adornment, he, on the other hand, has received many benefits from her. Thus, in addition to other things, he has lived in her, from the time when he first went there to the age of seventy-eight years, full of health and strength; and the air and that sky have done so much for him, that he does not seem, one might say, more than forty. He has had, and still has, from a most talented son—a man of letters—two grandchildren, one male and the other female, both of them pictures of health and beauty, to his supreme contentment; and, what is more, he is still alive, full of happiness and with all the greatest conveniences and comforts that any man of his profession could have. He has always loved his brother-craftsmen, and in particular he has been very much the friend of the excellent and [Pg 202] famous Tiziano, as he also was of M. Pietro Aretino during his lifetime. For all these reasons I have judged it well to make this honourable record of him, although he is still living, and particularly because now he is by way of doing little in sculpture.

Sansovino had many disciples in Florence: Niccolò, called Tribolo, as has been related, and Solosmeo da Settignano, who finished with the exception of the large figures the whole of the tomb in marble that is at Monte Casino, wherein is the body of Piero de' Medici, who was drowned in the River Garigliano. His disciple, likewise, was Girolamo da Ferrara, called Lombardo, of whom there has been an account in the Life of Benvenuto Garofalo of Ferrara; which Girolamo has learned his art both from the first Sansovino and from this second one in such a manner, that, besides the works at Loreto of which we have spoken, both in marble and in bronze, he has executed many works in Venice. This master, although he came under Sansovino at the age of thirty and knowing little of design, being rather a man of letters and a courtier than a sculptor, although he had previously executed some works in sculpture, nevertheless applied himself in such a manner, that in a few years he made the proficience that may be perceived in his works in half-relief that are in the fabrics of the Library and the Loggia of the Campanile of S. Marco; in which he acquitted himself so well, that he was afterwards able to make by himself alone the statues of marble and the Prophets that he executed, as has been related, at the Madonna of Loreto.

The Miracle of S. Anthony.

(After the relief by Jacopo Sansovino. Padua: S. Antonio)
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A disciple of Sansovino, also, was Jacopo Colonna, who died at Bologna thirty years ago while executing a work of importance. This Jacopo made for the Church of S. Salvadore in Venice a nude S. Jerome of marble, still to be seen in a niche near the organ, which was a beautiful figure and much extolled, and for S. Croce della Giudecca he made a Christ also nude and of marble, who is showing His Wounds, a work of beautiful artistry; and likewise for S. Giovanni Nuovo three figures, S. Dorothy, S. Lucia, and S. Catharine. In S. Marina may be seen a horse with an armed captain upon it, by his hand; and all these works can stand in comparison with any that are in Venice. In Padua, for the Church of S. Antonio, he executed in stucco the said Saint and S. Bernardino, [Pg 203] clothed. Of the same material he made for Messer Luigi Cornaro a Minerva, a Venus, and a Diana, larger than life and in the round; in marble a Mercury, and in terra-cotta a nude Marzio as a young man, who is drawing a thorn from his foot, or rather, showing that he has drawn it out, he holds the foot with one hand, looking at the wound, and with the other hand seems to be about to cleanse it with a cloth; which last work, because it is the best that Jacopo ever did, the said Messer Luigi intends to have cast in bronze. For the same patron he made another Mercury of stone, which was afterwards presented to Duke Federigo of Mantua.

Another disciple of Sansovino was Tiziano da Padova, a sculptor, who carved some little figures of marble in the Loggia of the Campanile of S. Marco at Venice; and in the Church of the same S. Marco there may be seen, likewise fashioned and cast in bronze by him, a large and beautiful cover for a basin in bronze, in the Chapel of S. Giovanni. This Tiziano had made a statue of S. John, with which were the four Evangelists and four stories of S. John, wrought with beautiful artistry for casting in bronze; but he died at the age of thirty-five, and the world was robbed of an excellent and valiant craftsman. And by the same hand is the vaulting of the Chapel of S. Antonio da Padova, with a very rich pattern of compartments in stucco. He had begun for the same chapel a grating of five arches in bronze, which were full of stories of that Saint, with other figures in half-relief and low-relief; but this, also, by reason of his death and of the disagreement of those who had the charge of having it done, remained unfinished. Many pieces of it had already been cast, which turned out very beautiful, and many others were made in wax, when he died, and for the said reasons the whole work was abandoned. The same Tiziano, when Vasari executed the above-described decorations for the gentlemen of the Company of the Calza in Canareio, made for that work some statues in clay and many terminal figures. And he was employed many times on ornaments for scenic settings, theatres, arches, and other suchlike things, whereby he won much honour; having executed works all full of invention, fantasy, and variety, and above all with great rapidity.

[Pg 204] Pietro da Salò, also, was a disciple of Sansovino; and after having toiled at carving foliage up to the age of thirty, finally, assisted by Sansovino, who taught him, he set himself to make figures of marble. In which he so delighted, and studied in such a manner, that in two years he was working by himself; to which witness is borne by some passing good works by his hand that are in the tribune of S. Marco, and the statue of a Mars larger than life that is in the façade of the Palazzo Pubblico, which statue is in company with three others by the hands of good craftsmen. He also made two figures for the apartments of the Council of Ten, one male and the other female, in company with two others executed by Danese Cattaneo, a sculptor of highest renown, who, as will be related, was likewise a disciple of Sansovino; which figures serve to adorn a chimney-piece. Pietro made, in addition, three figures that are at S. Antonio, in the round and larger than life; and these are a Justice, a Fortitude, and a statue of a Captain-General of the Venetian forces, all executed with good mastery. He also made a statue of Justice in a beautiful attitude and with good design, which was placed upon a column in the Piazza of Murano, and another in the Piazza del Rialto in Venice, as a support for that stone where public proclamations are made, which is called the Gobbo[13] di Rialto; and these works have made him known as a very good sculptor. For the Santo, in Padua, he made a very beautiful Thetis; and a Bacchus who is squeezing a bunch of grapes into a cup, which figure, the most difficult that he ever executed, and the best, he left at his death to his children, who have it still in their house, seeking to sell it to him who shall best recognize and reward the labour that their father endured for it.

Likewise a disciple of Jacopo was Alessandro Vittoria of Trento, a most excellent sculptor and much the friend of study, who with a very beautiful manner has shown in many works that he has executed, as well in stucco as in marble, that he has a ready brain and a lovely style, and that his labours are worthy to be held in estimation. By the hand of this Alessandro, in Venice, at the principal door of the Library of S. Marco, are two great women of stone, each ten palms high, which are [Pg 205] full of grace and beauty and worthy to be much extolled. He has made four figures for the tomb of the Contarini in the Santo of Padua, two slaves, or rather, captives, with a Fame and a Thetis, all of stone; and an Angel ten feet high, a very beautiful statue, which has been placed upon the Campanile of the Duomo in Verona. And to Dalmatia he sent four Apostles also of stone, each five feet high, for the Cathedral of Traù. He made, also, some figures in silver for the Scuola of S. Giovanni Evangelista in Venice, which were all in full-relief and rich in grace, and a S. Teodoro of two feet in silver, in the round. For the Chapel of the Grimani, in S. Sebastiano, he wrought two figures in marble, each three feet high; and then he made a Pietà, with two figures of stone, held to be good, which are at S. Salvadore in Venice. He made a Mercury, held to be a good figure, for the pulpit of the Palazzo di S. Marco, which looks out over the Piazza; and for S. Francesco della Vigna he made three figures large as life—S. Anthony, S. Sebastian, and S. Rocco—all of stone and full of beauty and grace, and well wrought. For the Church of the Crocicchieri he made in stucco two figures each six feet high, very beautiful, which are placed on the high-altar; and of the same material he made, as has been already told, all the ornaments that are in the vaulting of the new staircase of the Palazzo di S. Marco, with various patterns of compartments in stucco, where Battista Franco afterwards painted in the spaces the scenes, figures, and grotesques that are there. In like manner, Alessandro executed the ornaments of the staircase of the Library of S. Marco, all works of great mastery; and a chapel for the Friars Minors, and in the altar-piece of marble, which is very large and very beautiful, the Assumption of Our Lady in half-relief, with five great figures at the foot which have in them something of the grand and are made with a beautiful manner, a lovely and dignified flow of draperies, and much diligence of execution; which figures of marble—S. Jerome, S. John the Baptist, S. Peter, S. Andrew, and S. Leonardo—each six feet high, are the best of all the works that he has done up to the present. And as a crown to that chapel, on the frontispiece, are two figures likewise of marble, each eight feet high and very graceful. The same Vittoria has executed many portraits in marble and most beautiful heads, [Pg 206] which are good likenesses, such as that of Signor Giovan Battista Feredo, placed in the Church of S. Stefano, that of Camillo Trevisano, the orator, placed in the Church of SS. Giovanni e Polo; the most illustrious Marc'Antonio Grimani, likewise placed in the Church of S. Sebastiano; and in S. Gimignano, the rector of that church. He has also portrayed Messer Andrea Loredano. M. Priano da Lagie, and two brothers of the Pellegrini family—M. Vincenzio and M. Giovan Battista—both orators. And since Vittoria is young and a willing worker, talented, amiable, desirous of acquiring name and fame, and, lastly, very gentle, we may believe that if he lives, we are destined to see most beautiful works come from him from day to day, worthy of his name of Vittoria, and that, if his life endures, he is like to be a most excellent sculptor and to win the palm from all the others of that country.

There is also one Tommaso da Lugano, a sculptor, who likewise has been many years with Sansovino, and has made with the chisel many figures in the Library of S. Marco, very beautiful, in company with others. And then, having left Sansovino, he has made by himself a Madonna with the Child in her arms, and at her feet a little S. John, which are all three figures of such beautiful form, attitude, and manner, that they can stand among all the other beautiful modern statues that are in Venice; which work is placed in the Church of S. Bastiano. And a portrait of the Emperor Charles V, which he made from the breast upwards, of marble, has been held to be a marvellous thing, and was very dear to his Majesty. And since Tommaso has delighted to work rather in stucco than in marble or bronze, there are innumerable most beautiful figures by his hand and works executed by him in that material in the houses of various gentlemen of Venice. But it must suffice to have said this much of him.

Of the Lombards, finally, it remains for us to make record of Jacopo Bresciano, a young man of twenty-four, who has not long parted from Sansovino. He has given proof at Venice, in the many years that he has been there, of being talented and likely to prove excellent, as he has since shown in the works that he has executed in his native Brescia, and particularly in the Palazzo Pubblico, and if he lives and studies, [Pg 207] there will be seen from his hand, also, things greater and better, for he has a fine spirit and most beautiful gifts.

Of our Tuscans, one of the disciples of Sansovino has been the Florentine Bartolommeo Ammanati, of whom record has already been made in many places in this work. This Bartolommeo, I say, worked under Sansovino in Venice; and then in Padua for Messer Marco da Mantova, a most excellent doctor of medicine, in whose house he made an immense giant from more than one piece of stone for his court, and his tomb, with many statues. Afterwards, Ammanati having gone to Rome in the year 1550, there were allotted to him by Giorgio Vasari four statues of marble, each of four braccia, for the tomb of the old Cardinal di Monte, which Pope Julius III had allotted to Giorgio himself in the Church of S. Pietro a Montorio, as will be related; which statues were held to be very beautiful. Wherefore Vasari, having conceived an affection for him, made him known to the said Julius III, who, having ordained what he wanted done, caused him to be set to work; and so both of them, Vasari and Ammanati, worked together for a time at the Vigna. But not long afterwards, when Vasari had gone to serve Duke Cosimo in Florence, the above-named Pope being dead, Ammanati, who found himself without work and badly recompensed by that Pontiff for his labours in Rome, wrote to Vasari, praying him that, even as he had assisted him in Rome, so he should assist him in Florence with the Duke. Whereupon Vasari, occupying himself with fervour in this matter, introduced him into the service of the Duke, for whom he has executed many statues in marble and in bronze that are not yet in position. For the garden of Castello he has made two figures in bronze larger than life—namely, a Hercules who is crushing Antæus, from which Antæus, in place of his spirit, there issues from the mouth water in great abundance. Finally, Ammanati has executed in marble the colossal figure of Neptune that is in the Piazza, ten braccia and a half in height; but since the work of the fountain, in the centre of which the said Neptune is to stand, is not finished, I shall say nothing more of it. The same Ammanati, as architect, is giving his attention with much honour and praise to the fabric of the Pitti, in which work he has a great opportunity to show the worth and grandeur of his mind, and [Pg 208] the magnificence and great spirit of Duke Cosimo. I could tell many particulars of this sculptor, but since he is my friend, and another, so I hear, is writing his history, I shall say no more, in order not to set my hand to things that may be related by another better than I perhaps might be able.

It remains for us to make mention, as the last of Sansovino's disciples, of Danese Cattaneo, the sculptor of Carrara, who was already with him in Venice when still a little boy. Parting from his master at the age of nineteen, he made by himself a boy of marble for S. Marco, and a S. Laurence for the Church of the Friars Minors; for S. Salvadore another boy in marble, and for SS. Giovanni e Polo the statue of a nude Bacchus, who is grasping a bunch of grapes from a vine which twines round a trunk that he has behind his legs, which statue is now in the house of the Mozzenighi at S. Barnaba. He has executed many figures for the Library of S. Marco and for the Loggia of the Campanile, together with others of whom there has been an account above; and, in addition to those named, the two that have been mentioned already as being in the apartments of the Council of Ten. He made portraits in marble of Cardinal Bembo and Contarini, the Captain-General of the Venetian forces, which are both in S. Antonio at Padua, with rich and beautiful ornaments about them. And in the same city of Padua, in S. Giovanni di Verdara, there is by the same hand the portrait of Messer Girolamo Gigante, a most learned jurist. And for S. Antonio della Giudecca, in Venice, he has made a very lifelike portrait of Giustiniano, the Lieutenant of the Grand Master of Malta, and that of Tiepolo, who was three times General; but these have not yet been set in their places. But the greatest work and the most distinguished that Danese has ever executed is a rich chapel of marble, with large figures, in S. Anastasia at Verona, for Signor Ercole Fregoso, in memory of Signor Jano, once Lord of Genoa, and then Captain-General of the Venetians, in whose service he died. This work is of the Corinthian Order, in the manner of a triumphal arch, and divided by four great columns, round and fluted, with capitals of olive-leaves, which rest upon a base of proportionate height, making the space in the centre as wide again as one of those at the sides; with an arch between the columns, above which there rest on the capitals the architrave [Pg 209] and cornice, and in the centre, within the arch, a very beautiful decoration of pilasters, with cornice and frontispiece, and with a ground formed by a tablet of most beautiful black basanite, where there is the statue of a nude Christ, larger than life and in the round, a very good figure; which statue stands in the act of showing the Wounds, with a piece of drapery bound round the flanks and reaching between the legs to the ground. Over the angles of the arch are Signs of His Passion, and between the columns that are on the right side there stands upon a pedestal a statue in the round representing Signor Jano Fregoso, fully armed after the antique save that he shows the arms and legs nude, and he has the left hand upon the pommel of the sword at his girdle, and with the right hand he holds the general's baton; having behind him as a pendant, within the space between the columns, a Minerva in half-relief, who, poised in the air, holds with one hand a Ducal staff, such as that of the Doges of Venice, and with the other a banner containing the device of S. Mark. Between the two other columns, as the other pendant, is Military Valour in armour, on her head the helmet-crest with the house-leek upon it, and on her cuirass the device of an ermine that stands upon a rock surrounded by mire, with letters that run—"Potius mori quam fœdari," and with the device of the Fregosi; and above is a Victory, with a garland of laurel and a palm in the hands. Above the columns, architrave, frieze and cornice, is another range of pilasters, upon the crowns of which stand two figures of marble in the round, and two trophies likewise in the round and of the same size as the figures. Of these two statues, one is Fame in the act of taking flight, pointing with the right hand to Heaven, and with a trumpet that she is sounding; and this figure has light and most beautiful draperies about the body, and all the rest nude. The other, representing Eternity, is clothed in heavier vestments, and stands in majesty, holding in the left hand a round on which she is gazing, and with the right hand she grasps a hem of her garment wherein are globes that signify the various ages, with the celestial sphere encircled by the serpent that seizes the tail in the mouth. In the central space above the great cornice, which forms and separates those two other spaces, are three steps upon which are seated two large nude boys, who [Pg 210] hold a great shield with the helmet above it, containing the devices of the Fregosi; and below those steps is an epitaph of basanite with large gilded letters. That whole work is truly worthy to be extolled, for Danese executed it with great diligence, and gave beautiful proportion and grace to the composition, and made each figure with great study. And Danese is not only, as has been described, an excellent sculptor, but also a good and much extolled poet, as his works clearly demonstrate, on which account he has always had intercourse and strait friendship with the greatest men and choicest spirits of our age; and of this may serve as a proof the work described above, executed by him with much poetic feeling. By the hand of Danese is the nude statue of the Sun above the ornament of the well in the courtyard of the Mint, at Venice; in place of which those Signori desired a Justice, but Danese considered that in that place the Sun is more appropriate. This figure has a bar of gold in the left hand, and in the right hand a sceptre, at the end of which he made an eye, and about the head the rays of the sun, and above all the globe of the world encircled by the serpent that holds the tail in the mouth, with some little mounds of gold about the globe, generated by him. Danese would have liked to make two other statues, that of the Moon for silver and another for copper, with that of the Sun for gold; but it was enough for those Signori that there should be that of gold, as the most perfect of all the metals. The same Danese has begun another work in memory of Prince Loredano, Doge of Venice, wherein it is hoped that in invention and fantasy he is to surpass by a great measure all his other labours; which work is to be placed in the Church of SS. Giovanni e Polo in Venice. But, since this master is alive and still constantly at work for the benefit of the world and of art, I shall say nothing more of him; nor of other disciples of Sansovino. I will not omit, however, to speak briefly of some other excellent craftsmen, sculptors and painters, from that dominion of Venice, taking my opportunity from those mentioned above, in order to make an end of speaking of them in this Life of Sansovino.

Palazzo Chiericati.

(After Andrea Palladio. Vicenza)
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Vicenza, then, has likewise had at various times sculptors, painters, and architects, of some of whom record was made in the Life of Vittore [Pg 211] Scarpaccia, and particularly of those who flourished in the time of Mantegna and learned to draw from him; and such were Bartolommeo Montagna, Francesco Verbo, and Giovanni Speranza, all painters, by whose hands are many pictures that are dispersed throughout Vicenza. Now in the same city there are many sculptures by the hand of one Giovanni, a carver and architect, which are passing good, although his proper profession has been to carve foliage and animals, as he still does excellently well, although he is old. In like manner, Girolamo Pironi of Vicenza has executed praiseworthy works of sculpture and painting in many places in his city. But among all the masters of Vicenza he who most deserves to be extolled is the architect Andrea Palladio, from his being a man of singular judgment and brain, as many works demonstrate that were executed by him in his native country and elsewhere, and in particular the Palazzo della Comunità, a building much renowned, with two porticoes composed in the Doric Order with very beautiful columns. The same Palladio has erected a palace, beautiful and grand beyond all belief, with an infinity of the richest ornaments, for Count Ottavio de' Vieri, and another like it for Count Giuseppe di Porto, which could not be more beautiful or magnificent, nor more worthy than it is of no matter how great a Prince; and another is being built even now for Count Valerio Chiericati under the direction of the same master, very similar in majesty and grandeur to the ancient buildings so much extolled. For the Counts of Valmorana, likewise, he has now carried almost to completion another most superb palace, which does not yield in any particular to any of those mentioned above. In the same city, upon the piazza commonly called the Isola, he has built another very magnificent fabric for Signor Valerio Chiericati; and at Pugliano, a place in the Vicentino, a most beautiful house for the Chevalier, Signor Bonifazio Pugliana. In the same territory of Vicenza, at Finale, he has erected another fabric for Messer Biagio Saraceni; and one at Bagnolo for Signor Vittore Pisani, with a large and very rich court in the Doric Order with most beautiful columns. Near Vicenza, at the township of Lisiera, he has constructed for Signor Giovan Francesco Valmorana another very rich edifice, with four towers at the corners, which make a very fine effect. At Meledo, [Pg 212] likewise, for Count Francesco Trissino and Lodovico his brother, he has begun a magnificent palace upon a hill of some eminence, with many ranges of loggie, staircases, and other appurtenances of a villa. At Campiglia, likewise in the Vicentino, he is making for Signor Mario Ropetta another similar habitation, with so many conveniences, rich apartments of rooms, loggie, staircases, and chambers dedicated to various virtues, that it will be, when once carried to completion, an abode rather for a King than for a nobleman. At Lunedo he has built another, in the manner of a villa, for Signor Girolamo de' Godi; and at Angarano another for Count Jacopo Angarano, which is truly most beautiful, although it appears a small thing to the great mind of that lord. At Quinto, also, near Vicenza, he erected not long ago another palace for Count Marc'Antonio Tiene, which has in it more of the grand and the magnificent than I could express. In short, Palladio has constructed so many vast and lovely buildings within and without Vicenza, that, even if there were no others there, they would suffice to make a very handsome city with most beautiful surroundings.

In Venice the same Palladio has begun many buildings, but one that is marvellous and most notable among them all, in imitation of the houses that the ancients used to build, in the Monastery of the Carità. The atrium of this is forty feet wide and fifty-four feet long, which are exactly the diameters of the quadrangle, the wings being one-third and a half of the length. The columns, which are Corinthian, are three feet and a half in thickness and thirty-five feet high. From the atrium one goes into the peristyle, that is, into a clauster (for thus do the friars call their courts), which on the side towards the atrium is divided into five parts, and at the flanks into seven, with three orders of columns one above the other, of which the Doric is at the foot, and above it the Ionic and the Corinthian. Opposite to the atrium is the refectory, two squares in length, and as high as the level of the peristyle, with its officines around it, all most commodious. The stairs are spiral, in the form of an oval, and they have neither wall nor column, nor any part in the middle to support them; they are thirteen feet wide, and the steps by their position support one another, being fixed in the wall. This [Pg 213] edifice is all built of baked stone, that is, of brick, save the bases of the columns, the capitals, the imposts of the arches, the stairs, the surface of the cornices, and the whole of the windows and doors. The same Palladio has built for the Black Friars of S. Benedict, in their Monastery of S. Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, a very large and most beautiful refectory with its vestibule in front, and has begun to found a new church, with such beautiful ordering, according as the model shows, that, if it is carried to completion, it will prove a stupendous and most lovely work. Besides this, he has begun the façade of the Church of S. Francesco della Vigna, which the very reverend Grimani, Patriarch of Aquileia, is causing to be made of Istrian stone, with a most magnificent disregard of expense; the columns are four palms thick at the foot, forty palms high, and in the Corinthian Order, and already the whole basement at the foot is built. At Gambaraie, a place seven miles distant from Venice, on the River Brenta, the same Palladio has made a very commodious habitation for M. Niccolò and M. Luigi Foscari, gentlemen of Venice. Another he has built at Marocco, a place in the Mestrino, for the Chevalier Mozzenigo; at Piombino one for M. Giorgio Cornaro, one at Montagnana for the Magnificent M. Francesco Pisani, and another at Cicogna in the territory of Padua for Count Adovardo da Tiene, a gentleman of Vicenza. At Udine, in Friuli, he has built one for Signor Floriano Antimini; at Motto, a township likewise in Friuli, one for the Magnificent M. Marco Zeno, with a most beautiful court and porticoes all the way round; and at Fratta, a township in the Polesine, a great fabric for Signor Francesco Badoaro, with some very beautiful and fantastic loggie. In like manner, near Asolo, a place in the territory of Treviso, he has erected a most commodious habitation for the very reverend S. Daniello Barbaro, Patriarch-Elect of Aquileia, who has written upon Vitruvius, and for the most illustrious M. Marc'Antonio, his brother, with such beautiful ordering, that nothing better or greater can ever be imagined. Among other things, he has made there a fountain very similar to that which Pope Julius caused to be made at his Vigna Giulia in Rome; with ornaments of stucco and paintings everywhere, executed by excellent masters. In Genoa M. Luca Giustiniano has erected a building with the design of [Pg 214] Palladio, which is held to be very beautiful, as are also all those mentioned above; but it would have made too long a story to seek to recount the many particulars of the strange and lovely inventions and fantasies that are in them. But, since there is soon to come into the light of day a work of Palladio, in which will be printed two books of ancient edifices and one book of those that he himself has caused to be built, I shall say nothing more of him, because this will be enough to make him known as the excellent architect that he is held to be by all who see his beautiful works; besides which, being still young and attending constantly to the studies of his art, every day greater things may be expected of him. Nor will I omit to say that he has wedded to such gifts a nature so amiable and gentle, that it renders him well-beloved with everyone; wherefore he has won the honour of being accepted into the number of the Academicians of Design in Florence, together with Danese, Giuseppe Salviati, Tintoretto, and Battista Farinato of Verona, as will be told in another place, speaking of the said Academicians.

Bonifazio, a Venetian painter, of whom I have never before received any information, is also worthy to be numbered in the company of these many excellent craftsmen, being a well-practised and able colourist. This master, besides many pictures and portraits that are dispersed throughout Venice, has executed for the altar of the Relics in the Church of the Servites, in the same city, an altar-piece wherein is a Christ with the Apostles about Him, and Philip who appears to be saying, "Domine, ostende nobis patrem," which is painted with a very good and beautiful manner. And for the altar of the Madonna in the Church of the Nuns of the Spirito Santo, he has executed another most beautiful altar-picture with a vast number of men, women, and children of every age, who in company with the Virgin are adoring a God the Father who is in the air with many Angels about Him. Another painter of passing good name in Venice is Jacopo Fallaro, who has painted on the doors of the organ in the Church of the Ingesuati the Blessed Giovanni Colombini receiving his habit in the Consistory from the Pope, with a good number of Cardinals. Another Jacopo, called Pisbolica, has executed an altar-piece for S. Maria Maggiore in Venice, wherein is Christ in the air [Pg 215] with many Angels, and below Him Our Lady with the Apostles. And one Fabrizio Viniziano has painted on the façade of a chapel in the Church of S. Maria Sebenico the Consecration of the baptismal font, with many portraits from life executed with beautiful grace and a good manner.


I., line 1, p. 187.

The family of the Tatti in Florence is recorded in the books of the Commune from the year 1300, because, having come from Lucca, a very noble city of Tuscany, it was always abundant in industrious and honoured men, and they were most highly favoured by the House of Medici. Of this family was born Jacopo, of whom we are writing in this place; and he was born from Antonio, a most excellent person, and from his wife Francesca, in the month of January, 1477. In the first years of his boyhood he was set, as is usual, to learn his letters; and, after beginning to show in these vivacity of brain and readiness of spirit, not long afterwards he applied himself of his own accord to drawing, giving evidence in a certain sort that nature was inclining him much more to this kind of work than to letters, for the reason that he went very unwillingly to school and learned much against his will the scabrous rudiments of grammar. His mother, whom he resembled strongly, perceiving this and fostering his genius, gave him assistance, causing him to be taught design in secret, because she loved the thought that her son should be a sculptor, perchance in emulation of the then rising glory of Michelagnolo Buonarroti, who at that time was still quite young; and also moved by a certain fateful augury, in that Michelagnolo and this Jacopo had been born in one and the same street, called Via S. Maria, near the Via Ghibellina. Now the boy, after some time, was placed to learn the trade of a merchant; in which delighting even less than in letters, he did and said so much, that he obtained leave from his father to attend without hindrance to that towards which he was urged by nature.

[Pg 216] There had come to Florence at that time Andrea Contucci of Monte Sansovino, a township near Arezzo, risen to great fame in our days from having been the birthplace of Pope Julius III; which Andrea, having acquired in Italy and in Spain the name of the best sculptor and architect that there was in art after Buonarroti, was staying in Florence in order to execute two figures of marble. Etc.

II., line 18, p. 197.

(And he was executing many works of the greatest importance for all those lords), having been recognized by three Pontiffs, and especially by Pope Leo, who presented him with a Knighthood of S. Pietro, which he sold during his illness, doubting lest he might die; (when God, etc.).

III., line 22, p. 198.

Having then entered on that office, he began to occupy himself with every care, both with regard to buildings and in the management of the papers and of the books that he held by virtue of his office, acquitting himself with all possible diligence in the affairs of the Church of S. Marco, of the Commissions, which are a great number, and of the many other matters that are in the charge of those Procurators; and he showed extraordinary lovingness towards those Signori, in that, having turned his whole attention to benefiting them and to directing their affairs to the aggrandizement, embellishment, and ornamentation of the church, the city, and the public square (a thing never yet done by any other in that office), he provided them with various advantages, profits, and revenues by means of his inventions, with his ingenuity of brain and readiness of spirit, yet always with little or no expense to the Signori themselves. Among which benefits, one was this; in the year 1529 there were between the two columns in the Piazza some butchers' stalls, and also between the one column and the other many wooden cabins to accommodate persons in their natural necessities—a thing most filthy and disgraceful, both for the dignity of the Palace and of the Piazza Pubblica, and for the strangers who, coming into Venice by way of S. Giorgio, saw first of all on arrival that filthiness. Jacopo, after demonstrating [Pg 217] to the Prince Gritti the honourable and profitable nature of his design, caused those stalls and cabins to be removed; and, placing the stalls where they now are and making certain places for the sellers of herbs, he obtained for the Procurators an additional revenue of seven hundred ducats, embellishing at the same time the Piazza and the city. Not long afterwards, having perceived that in the Merceria (on the way to the Rialto, near the Clock), by removing a house that paid a rent of twenty-six ducats, a street could be made leading into the Spadaria, whereby the rent of the houses and shops all around would be increased, he threw down that house and increased their revenues by one hundred and fifty ducats a year. Besides this, by placing on that site the hostelry of the Pellegrino and another in the Campo Rusolo, he brought them in another four hundred ducats. He obtained for them similar benefits by the buildings in the Pescaria, and, on divers other occasions, by many houses and shops and other places belonging to those Signori, at various times; insomuch that the Procurators, having gained by his care a revenue of more than two thousand ducats, have been rightly moved to love him and to hold him dear.

Not long afterwards, by order of the Procurators, he set his hand to the very rich and beautiful building of the Library opposite to the Palazzo Pubblico, with such a variety of architecture (for it is both Doric and Corinthian), and such a wealth of carvings, cornices, columns, capitals, and half-length figures throughout the whole work, that it is a marvel; and all without any sparing of expense, since it is full of the richest pavements, stucco-work and scenes throughout the halls of that place, and public staircases adorned with various pictures, as has been related in the Life of Battista Franco, not to speak of the appurtenances and rich ornaments that it has at the principal door of entrance, which give it majesty and grandeur, demonstrating the ability of Sansovino. Which method of building was the reason that in that city, into which there had not entered up to that time any other method but that of building their houses and palaces in one and the same order, each man always continuing the same things with the same measurements and ancient use, without varying according to the sites as they found them, or according [Pg 218] to convenience; it was the reason, I say, that buildings both public and private began to be erected with new designs and better order, and according to the ancient teaching of Vitruvius; and that work, in the opinion of those who are good judges and have seen many parts of the world, is without any equal.

He then built the Palace of Messer Giovanni Delfino, situated on the Grand Canal on the other side from the Rialto, opposite to the Riva del Ferro, at a cost of thirty thousand ducats. He built, likewise, that of Messer Leonardo Moro at S. Girolamo, a work of great cost, which has almost the appearance of a castle. And he erected the Palace of Messer Luigi de' Garzoni, wider by thirteen paces in every direction than is the Fondaco de' Tedeschi, with so many conveniences, that water runs through the whole fabric, which is adorned with four most beautiful figures by Sansovino; which palace is at Ponte Casale, in the neighbourhood of Venice. But the most beautiful is the Palace of Messer Giorgio Cornaro on the Grand Canal, which, without any doubt surpassing the others in convenience, majesty, and grandeur, is considered perhaps the finest that there is in Italy. He also built (to have done with speaking of private edifices) the Scuola or Confraternity of the Misericordia, a vast work costing one hundred and thirty thousand crowns, which, when carried to completion, will prove to be the most superb edifice in Italy. And his work, also, is the Church of S. Francesco della Vigna, where the Frati de' Zoccoli have their seat, a work of great size and importance; but the façade was by another master. The Loggia about the Campanile of S. Marco, in the Corinthian Order, was from his design, with a very rich ornament of columns, and with four niches, in which are four supremely beautiful figures in bronze, little less than the size of life, which are by his hand, together with various scenes and figures in low-relief. That work makes a most beautiful base to the said campanile, which has a thickness, on one of the sides, of thirty-five feet, which is about the extent of Sansovino's ornamentation. In height, from the ground to the cornice where are the windows of the bells, it is one hundred and sixty feet; from the level of that cornice to the other above it, where the corridor is, twenty-five feet; and the other dado above has a height [Pg 219] of twenty-eight feet and a half. From that level of the corridor up to the pyramid is sixty feet; at the summit of which spire, the little square, upon which rests the Angel, is six feet high, and the said Angel, which turns with every wind, is ten feet high; insomuch that the whole height comes to be two hundred and ninety-two feet.

But the finest, richest, and strongest of his edifices is the Mint of Venice, all of iron and stone, for there is not in it one single piece of wood, in order to render it absolutely safe from fire. And the interior is distributed with such order and convenience for the sake of the many artificers, that there is not in any part of the world a treasury better ordered, or with greater strength, than that one, which he built entirely in the Rustic Order and very beautiful; which method, not having been used before in that city, caused the inhabitants to marvel not a little. By his hand, also, may be seen the Church of S. Spirito on the lagoons, of a very delicate and pleasing workmanship; and in Venice there is the façade of S. Gimignano, which gives splendour to the Piazza, in the Merceria the façade of S. Giuliano, and in S. Salvadore the very rich tomb of the Prince Francesco Veniero. He also erected in the Rialto, on the Grand Canal, the new fabrics of the vaults, with such good design, that almost every day there assembles there a very convenient market of townsmen and of other persons who flock to that city. And a very marvellous thing and new was that which he did for the Tiepoli at the Misericordia, in that, they having on the canal a great palace with many regal chambers, and the whole building being badly founded in the water, so that it was likely enough that in a few years the edifice would fall to the ground, Sansovino rebuilt all the foundations in the canal below the palace with very large stones, maintaining the house on its feet with a marvellous support of props, while the owners lived in their house with perfect security.

Nor for all this, while he has given his attention to so many buildings, has he ever ceased to occupy himself every day for his own delight with vast and beautiful works of sculpture, in marble and in bronze. Over the holy-water font of the Friars of the Cà Grande there is by his hand a statue made of marble, representing S. John the Baptist, which is [Pg 220] very beautiful and highly extolled. At Padua, in the Chapel of the Santo, there is a large scene in marble by the same hand, with very beautiful figures in half-relief, of a miracle of S. Anthony of Padua; which is much esteemed in that place. For the entrance of the stairs of the Palace of S. Marco he is even now executing in marble in the forms of two very beautiful giants, each of seven braccia, a Neptune and a Mars, signifying the power which that most illustrious Republic has on land and sea. He made a most beautiful statue of Hercules for the Duke of Ferrara; and for the Church of S. Marco he made six scenes of bronze in half-relief, one braccio high and one and a half long, for placing on a pulpit, with stories of that Evangelist, which are held in much estimation for their variety. Over the door of the same S. Marco he made a Madonna of marble, the size of life, which is held to be a very beautiful thing; and at the entrance to the sacristy of that place there is by his hand the door of bronze divided into two most beautiful parts, with stories of Jesus Christ all in half-relief and wrought excellently well. And over the door of the Arsenal he made a very beautiful Madonna, who is holding her Son in her arms, of marble. All which works not only have given lustre and adornment to that Republic, but also have caused Sansovino to be better known every day as a most excellent craftsman, and loved and honoured by the magnificent liberality of those Signori, and likewise by the other craftsmen, every work of sculpture and architecture that has been executed in that city in his time being referred to him. And in truth the excellence of Jacopo has well deserved that he should be held in the first rank among the craftsmen of design in that city, and that his talents should be loved and revered by all without exception, both nobles and plebeians, for the reason that, besides other things, as has been told, with his judgment and knowledge he has brought it about that the city has been made almost entirely new and has learned the true and good method of building.

Three most beautiful figures in stucco by his hand, also, may be seen in the possession of his son, one a Laocoon, another a Venus standing, and the third a Madonna with many children about her; which figures are so rare, that in Venice there is seen nothing to equal them. The [Pg 221] said son also has in drawing sixty plans of temples and churches of Sansovino's invention, which are so excellent that from the days of the ancients to our own there have been seen none better conceived or more beautiful. These I have heard that the son will publish for the benefit of the world, and already he has had some pieces engraved, accompanying them with designs of the numberless labours that have been carried into execution by Sansovino in various parts of Italy.

For all this, although occupied, as has been related, with the management of so many things both public and private, and both in the city and abroad (for strangers, also, ran to him for models and designs of buildings, for figures, or for counsel, as did the Duke of Ferrara, who obtained a Hercules in the form of a giant, the Duke of Mantua, and the Duke of Urbino), he was always very zealous in the private and particular service of each of his own Lords Procurators, who, availing themselves of him both in Venice and elsewhere, and not doing a single thing without his assistance or counsel, kept him continually at work not only for themselves, but also for their friends and relatives, without any reward, he consenting to endure any inconvenience and fatigue in order to satisfy them. But above all he was greatly loved and held in infinite price by the Prince Gritti, who delighted in beautiful intellects, by Messer Vettorio Grimani, brother of the Cardinal, and by Messer Giovanni da Legge the Chevalier, all Procurators, and by Messer Marc'Antonio Justiniano, who became acquainted with him in Rome. For these illustrious men, exalted in spirit and truly regal in mind, being conversant with the affairs of the world and well informed in the noble and excellent arts, soon recognized his merit and how worthy he was to be cherished and esteemed, and availed themselves of him in due measure; and they used to say, in accord with the whole city, that the Procurators never had and never would have at any time another equal to him, for they knew very well how celebrated and renowned his name was with the men and princes of intellect in Florence and Rome and throughout all Italy, and every one held it as certain that not he only but also his descendants and all his posterity deserved to be endowed for ever in return for his singular genius.

[Pg 222] Jacopo was in body of ordinary stature, without any fat, and he walked with the person upright. He was white in complexion, with the beard red; and in his youth he was very graceful and handsome, and therefore much beloved by various women of some importance. After he became old, he had a venerable presence, with a beautiful white beard, and walked like a young man, insomuch that, having come to the age of ninety-three, he was still very strong and healthy and could see every least thing, however distant it might be, without spectacles, and when writing he kept his head erect, not bending over at all as is done by others. He delighted to dress handsomely, and was always very neat in his person; and he always took pleasure in women down to extreme old age, and much loved to talk of them. In his youth, by reason of his excesses, he was not very robust; but when he had become old he never suffered any illness, insomuch that for a period of fifty years, although at times he felt indisposed, he would never avail himself of any physician; nay, having had an apoplectic stroke for the fourth time at the age of eighty-four, he recovered by staying only two months in bed in a very dark and warm place, despising medicines. He had so good a stomach, that he was not afraid of anything, making no distinction between food that might be good and food that might be harmful; and in summer he lived almost entirely on fruits, eating very often as many as three cucumbers at a time, and half a citron, in his extreme old age. As for his qualities of mind, he was very prudent and foresaw future events in the matters of the present, weighing them against the past; and he was zealous in his affairs, not considering any fatigue, and never left his business to follow pleasures. He discoursed well and with many words upon no matter what subject that he understood, giving many illustrations with much grace; on which account he was very dear both to the great and to the small, and to his friends. And in his last years he had a memory still very fresh, and remembered in detail his childhood, the sack of Rome, and many things, fortunate or unfortunate, that he experienced in his time. He was courageous, and from his youth took delight in contending with those greater than himself, because, he used to say, by contending with the great a man advances, but against the little he [Pg 223] lowers himself. He esteemed honour above everything in the world, wherefore in his affairs he was most loyal and a man of his word, and so pure in heart, that no offer, however great, could have corrupted him, although he was put to the test several times by his Signori, who for this and for other qualities regarded him not as their protomaster or minister, but as a father and brother, honouring him for his goodness, which was in no way feigned, but real. He was liberal with every man, and so loving towards his relatives, that he deprived himself of many comforts in order to assist them; although he lived always in repute and honour, as one who was observed by everyone. At times he let himself be overcome by anger, which was very great in him, but it soon passed; and very often with a few humble words you could make the tears come to his eyes.

He had a surpassing love for the art of sculpture; such a love, indeed, that, to the end that it might be dispersed widely in various parts, he formed many disciples, making as it were a seminary of that art in Italy. Among these, very famous were Niccolò Tribolo and Solosmeo, Florentines; Danese Cattaneo of Carrara, a Tuscan, of supreme excellence in poetry as well as in sculpture; Girolamo da Ferrara, Jacopo Colonna of Venice, Luca Lancia of Naples, Tiziano da Padova, Pietro da Salò, Bartolommeo Ammanati of Florence, at the present day sculptor and protomaster to the great Duke of Tuscany, and, finally, Alessandro Vittoria of Trento, a rare master in portraits of marble, and Jacopo de' Medici of Brescia; who, reviving the memory of the excellence of their master, have employed their talents on many honoured works in various cities.

Sansovino was much esteemed by Princes, among whom Alessandro de' Medici, Duke of Florence, sought his judgment in building the Citadel of that city. And Duke Cosimo in the year 1540, Sansovino having gone on his affairs to his native city, not only sought his counsel in the matter of that fortress, but also strove to engage him in his service, offering him a good salary; and on his return from Florence Duke Ercole of Ferrara detained him about his person and proposed various conditions to him, making every effort to keep him in Ferrara. But he, being used [Pg 224] to Venice, and finding himself comfortable in that city, where he had lived a great part of his life, and having a singular love for the Procurators, by whom he was so much honoured, would never listen to any of them. He was also invited by Pope Paul III, who wished to advance him to the charge of S. Pietro in the place of Antonio da San Gallo, and with this Monsignor della Casa, who was then Legate in Venice, occupied himself much; but all was in vain, because he said that he was not minded to exchange the manner of life of a republic for that of living under an absolute Prince. And King Philip of Spain, on his way to Germany, showed him much kindness at Peschiera, whither Jacopo had gone to see him.

He had an immoderate desire of glory, and by reason of that used to spend his own substance on others (not without notable harm to his descendants), in the hope that there might remain some memory of him. Good judges say that although he had to yield to Michelagnolo, yet in certain things he was his superior. Thus in the fashioning of draperies, in children, and in the expressions of women, Jacopo had no equal, for the reason that his draperies in marble were very delicate and well executed, with beautiful folds and curves that revealed the nude beneath the vestments; his children he made tender and soft, without those muscles that adults have, and with their little arms and legs as if of flesh, insomuch that they were in no way different from the life; and the expressions of his women were sweet and pleasing, and as gracious as could be, as is clearly seen from various Madonnas made by him in many places, of marble and in low-relief, and from his statues of Venus and other figures.

Now this man, having thus become celebrated in sculpture and in architecture a master without a rival, and having lived in the grace of mankind and also of God, who bestowed upon him the genius that made him illustrious, as has been related, when he had come to the age of ninety-three, feeling somewhat weary in body, took to his bed in order to rest; in which having lain without any kind of suffering, although he strove to rise and dress himself as if well, for a period of a month and a half, failing little by little, he asked for the Sacraments of the Church, [Pg 225] which having received, while still hoping to live a few years, he sank gradually and died on the 2nd of November in the year 1570; and although in his old age he had run the whole course of nature, yet his death was a grief to all Venice. He left behind him his son Francesco, born at Rome in the year 1521, a man learned both in the law and in the humanities, from whom Jacopo saw three grandchildren born; a male child called, like his grandfather, Jacopo, and two female, one called Fiorenza, who died, to his infinite grief and sorrow, and the other Aurora. His body was borne with much honour to his chapel in S. Gimignano, where there was erected to his memory by his son the marble statue made by Jacopo himself while he was alive, with the epitaph given below in memory of his great worth:


His obsequies were likewise celebrated publicly at the Frari by the Florentine colony, with no slight pomp, and the oration was delivered by Messer Camillo Buonpigli, an excellent man.



Since that which has been said above, here and there, of the Chevalier Leone, a sculptor of Arezzo, has been said incidentally, it cannot but be well to speak here in due order of his works, which are truly worthy to be celebrated and to pass into the memory of mankind. This Leone, then, having applied himself in the beginning to the goldsmith's art, and having made in his youth many beautiful works, and in particular portraits from life in dies of steel for medals, became in a few years so excellent, that he came to the knowledge of many great men and Princes, and particularly of the Emperor Charles V, by whom, having recognized his talents, he was set to works of greater importance than medals. Thus, not long after he became known to his Majesty, he made a statue of that Emperor in bronze, larger than life and in the round, which he then furnished with a very delicate suit of armour formed of two very thin shells, which can be put on and taken off with ease, and all wrought with such grace, that whoever sees the statue when covered does not notice it and can scarcely believe that it is nude below, and when it is nude no one would believe without difficulty that it could ever be so well clad in armour. This statue rests on the left leg, and with the right foot tramples on Fury, which is a recumbent figure bound in chains, with the torch beneath it and arms of various kinds. On the base of this work, which is now in Madrid, are these words:


After these statues Leone made a great die for striking medals of his Majesty, and on the reverse the Giants being slain by Jove with thunderbolts. For all which works the Emperor gave to Leone a pension of [Pg 230] one hundred and fifty ducats a year on the Mint of Milan, with a very commodious house in the Contrada de' Moroni, and made him a Chevalier and of his household, besides giving him many privileges of nobility for his descendants. And while Leone was with his Majesty in Brussels, he had his rooms in the palace of the Emperor himself, who at times would go for recreation to see him at work. Not long afterwards he made another statue of the Emperor, in marble, and also those of the Empress and King Philip, and a bust of the same Emperor for placing on high between two panels in bronze. He made, likewise in bronze, the head of Queen Maria, that of Ferdinand, at that time King of the Romans, that of Maximilian his son, now Emperor, and that of Queen Leonora, with many others, which were placed in the Gallery of the Palace of Binche by Queen Maria, who had caused them to be made. But they did not stay there long, because King Henry of France set fire to the building by way of revenge, leaving written there these words, "Vela fole Maria";[14] I say by way of revenge, because a few years before that Queen had done the same to him. However it may have been, the work of that gallery did not proceed, and those statues are now partly in the Palace of the Catholic King at Madrid, and partly at Alicante, a sea-port, from which her Majesty intended to have them conveyed to Granada, where are the tombs of all the Kings of Spain. On returning from Spain, Leone brought with him two thousand crowns in cash, besides many other gifts and favours that were bestowed upon him by that Court.

Tomb of Gian Jacopo Medici.

(After Leone Lioni. Milan: Duomo)
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For the Duke of Alva Leone has executed a head of the Duke, one of Charles V, and another of King Philip. For the very reverend Bishop of Arras, now Grand Cardinal, called Granvella, he has made some pieces in bronze of an oval form, each of two braccia, with rich borders, and containing half-length statues; in one is Charles V, in another King Philip, and in the third the Cardinal himself, portrayed from life, and all have bases with little figures of much grace. For Signor Vespasiano [Pg 231] Gonzaga he has made in a great bust of bronze the portrait of Alva, which Gonzaga has placed in his house at Sabbionetto. For Signor Cesare Gonzaga he has executed, likewise in metal, a statue of four braccia, which has beneath it another figure that is entwined with a Hydra, in order to denote his father Don Ferrante, who by his worth and valour overcame the vicious envy that had sought to bring him into disgrace with Charles V in the matter of the government of Milan. This statue, which is clad in a toga and armed partly in the ancient and partly in the modern fashion, is to be taken to Guastalla and placed there in memory of that Don Ferrante, a most valorous captain.

The same Leone has made, as has been told in another place, the tomb of Signor Giovanni Jacopo Medici, Marquis of Marignano and brother of Pope Pius IV, which stands in the Duomo of Milan, about twenty-eight palms in length and forty in height. This tomb is all of Carrara marble, and adorned with four columns, two of them black and white, which were sent by the Pope as rare things from Rome to Milan, and two others, larger, which are of a spotted stone similar to jasper; which are all accommodated under one and the same cornice, an unusual contrivance, by the desire of that Pope, who caused the whole work to be executed after the directions of Michelagnolo, excepting only the five figures of bronze that are there, which are by the hand of Leone. The first of these, the largest of them all, is the statue of the Marquis himself, standing upright and larger than life, which has in the right hand the baton of a General, and the left hand resting on a helmet that is on a very richly adorned trunk. On the left of this is a smaller statue, representing Peace, and on the right another signifying Military Virtue; and these are seated, and in aspect all sad and sorrowing. Of the other two, which are on high, one is Providence and the other Fame; and between them, on the same level, is a most beautiful Nativity of Christ in bronze, in low-relief. At the summit of the whole work are two figures of marble, which support that lord's escutcheon of balls. For this work seven thousand and eight hundred crowns were paid, according to the agreement made in Rome by the most illustrious Cardinal Morone and Signor Agabrio Scierbellone.

[Pg 232] The same master has made for Signor Giovan Battista Castaldo a statue likewise in bronze, which is to be placed in I know not what monastery, with some ornaments. For the above-named Catholic King he has executed a Christ in marble, more than three braccia high, with the Cross and with other Mysteries of the Passion, which is much extolled. Finally, he has in hand the statue of Signor Alfonso Davalos, the Marchese del Vasto of famous memory, which was entrusted to him by the Marchese di Pescara, his son; four braccia high, and likely to prove an excellent figure when cast, by reason of the diligence that he is devoting to its execution, and the good fortune that Leone has always had in his castings.

Leone, in order to display the greatness of his mind, the beautiful genius that he has received from Nature, and the favour of Fortune, has built at great expense and with most beautiful architecture a house in the Contrada de' Moroni, so full of fantastic inventions, that there is perhaps no other like it in all Milan. In the distribution of the façade there are upon pilasters six captives each of six braccia and all of pietra viva, and between these, in certain niches, Fates in imitation of the antique, with little terminal figures, windows, and cornices all different from the common use and very graceful; and all the parts below correspond with beautiful order to those above, and the frieze-ornaments are all of various instruments of the arts of design. From the principal door one enters by a passage into a courtyard, in the centre of which, upon four columns, is the horse with the statue of Marcus Aurelius, cast in gesso from the original which is in the Campidoglio. By means of that statue he has intended that his house should be dedicated to Marcus Aurelius; and as for the captives, that fancy is interpreted by various persons in various ways. Besides the horse, he has in that beautiful and most commodious habitation, as has been told in another place, as many casts in gesso as he has been able to obtain of famous works in sculpture and casting, both ancient and modern.

A son of Leone, called Pompeo, who is now in the service of King Philip of Spain, is in no way inferior to his father in executing dies of steel for medals and in casting figures that are marvellous. Wherefore at that Court he has been a competitor of Giovan Paolo Poggini, a [Pg 233] Florentine, who also works in the service of that King and has made most beautiful medals. But Pompeo, having served that King many years, intends to return to Milan in order to enjoy his Aurelian house and the other labours of his excellent father, the loving friend of every man of talent.

And now to say something of medals, and of the steel dies with which they are made. I believe that it may be affirmed with truth that our modern intellects have achieved as much as the ancient Romans once did in the excellence of the figures, and that in the lettering and in other parts they have surpassed them. Which may be seen clearly in twelve reverses—besides many others—that Pietro Paolo Galeotto has executed recently in the medals of Duke Cosimo, and they are these; Pisa restored almost to her pristine condition by means of the Duke, he having drained the country round and dried the marshy places, and having made many other improvements; the waters conducted to Florence from various places, the ornate and magnificent building of the Magistrates erected for the public convenience, the union of the States of Florence and Siena, the building of a city and two fortresses in Elba, the column conveyed from Rome and placed on the Piazza di S. Trinita in Florence, the preservation, completion and enlargement of the Library of S. Lorenzo for the public good, the foundation of the Order of the Knights of S. Stephen, the resignation of the government to the Prince, the fortifying of the State, the militia or trained companies of his dominion, and the Pitti Palace with its gardens, waters, and buildings, a work of such regal magnificence; of which reverses I do not give here either the lettering that they have around them, or their explanation, having to treat of them in another place. All these twelve reverses are beautiful to a marvel and executed with much diligence and grace, as is also the head of the Duke, which is of perfect beauty; and medals and other works in stucco, likewise, as I have said on another occasion, are being made of absolute perfection at the present day. And recently Mario Capocaccia of Ancona has executed with coloured stucco, in little cases, heads and portraits that are truly most beautiful; such as a portrait of Pope Pius V, which I saw not long since, and that of Cardinal Alessandrino. [Pg 234] I have seen, also, portraits of the same kind by the hands of the sons of Polidoro, a painter of Perugia, which are very beautiful.

But to return to Milan; looking again a year ago over the works of the sculptor Gobbo, of whom mention has been made in another place, I did not see anything that was otherwise than ordinary, excepting an Adam and Eve, a Judith, and a S. Helena, in marble, which are about the Duomo; with two other statues of dead persons, representing Lodovico, called Il Moro, and Beatrice his wife, which were to be placed upon a tomb by the hand of Giovan Jacomo della Porta, sculptor and architect to the Duomo of Milan, who in his youth executed many works under the said Gobbo; and those named above, which were to go on that tomb, are wrought with a high finish. The same Giovan Jacomo has executed many beautiful works for the Certosa of Pavia, and in particular on the tomb of the Conte di Virtù and on the façade of the church. From him one his nephew learned his art, by name Guglielmo, who in Milan, about the year 1530, applied himself with much study to copying the works of Leonardo da Vinci, which gave him very great assistance. Whereupon he went with Giovan Jacomo to Genoa, when in the year 1531 the latter was invited to execute the sepulchre of S. John the Baptist, and he devoted himself with great study to design under Perino del Vaga; and, not therefore abandoning sculpture, he made one of the sixteen pedestals that are in that sepulchre, on which account, it being seen that he was acquitting himself very well, he was commissioned to make all the others. Next, he executed two Angels in marble, which are in the Company of S. Giovanni; and for the Bishop of Servega he made two portraits in marble, and a Moses larger than life, which was placed in the Church of S. Lorenzo. And then, after he had made a Ceres of marble that was placed over the door of the house of Ansaldo Grimaldi, he executed for placing over the Gate of the Cazzuola, in that city, a statue of S. Catharine of the size of life; and after that the three Graces, with four little boys, of marble, which were sent into Flanders to the Grand Equerry of the Emperor Charles V, together with another Ceres of the size of life.


(After Cristofano Solari. Milan: Duomo)
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Having executed these works in six years, Guglielmo in the year 1537 made his way to Rome, where he was much recommended by his uncle [Pg 235] Giovan Jacomo to the painter Fra Sebastiano Viniziano, his friend, to the end that he might recommend him, as he did, to Michelagnolo Buonarroti. Which Michelagnolo, seeing Guglielmo to be spirited and very assiduous in labouring, began to conceive an affection for him, and, before any other thing, caused him to restore some antique things in the Farnese Palace, in which he acquitted himself in such a manner, that Michelagnolo put him into the service of the Pope. Another proof of his powers had been seen already in a tomb that he had executed at the Botteghe Scure, for the most part of metal, for Bishop Sulisse, with many figures and scenes in low-relief—namely, the Cardinal Virtues and others, wrought with much grace, and besides these the figure of the Bishop himself, which afterwards went to Salamanca in Spain. Now, while Guglielmo was engaged in restoring the statues, which are now in the loggia that is before the upper hall in the Farnese Palace, there took place in the year 1547 the death of Fra Sebastiano Viniziano, who, as has been told, had administered the office of the Piombo. Whereupon Guglielmo, with the favour of Michelagnolo and of others, so wrought upon the Pope, that he obtained the said office of the Piombo, with the charge of executing the tomb of Pope Paul III, which was to be placed in S. Pietro. For this he availed himself in the model, with better design, of the scenes and figures of the Theological and Cardinal Virtues that he had made for the above-named Bishop Sulisse, placing at the corners four children in four partitions, and four cartouches, and making in addition a bronze statue of the said Pontiff seated, giving the benediction; which statue was seventeen palms high. But doubting, on account of the size of the casting, lest the metal might grow cold and the work therefore not succeed, he placed the metal in the vessel below, in such a way that it might be gradually sucked upwards. And with this unusual method that casting came out very well, and as clean as the wax, so that the very surface that came from the fire had no need at all to be polished, as may be seen from the statue itself, which was placed below the first arches that support the tribune of the new S. Pietro. On this tomb, which according to a design by his hand was to be isolated, were to be placed four figures, which he executed in marble with beautiful inventions [Pg 236] according as he was directed by M. Annibale Caro, who had the charge of this from the Pope and Cardinal Farnese. One was Justice, which is a nude figure lying upon some draperies, with the belt of the sword across the breast, and the sword hidden; in one hand she has the fasces of consular jurisdiction, and in the other a flame of fire, and she is young in countenance, and has the hair plaited, the nose aquiline, and the aspect full of expression. The second was Prudence in the form of a matron, young in aspect, with a mirror in the hand, and a closed book, and partly nude, partly draped. The third was Abundance, a young woman crowned with ears of corn, with a horn of plenty in one hand and the ancient corn-measure in the other, and clothed in such a manner as to show the nude beneath the draperies. The fourth and last was Peace, who is a matron with a boy that has lost his eyes, and with the Caduceus of Mercury. He made, likewise, a scene also of metal and after the directions of the above-named Caro, which was to be placed in the work, with two River Gods, one representing a lake and the other a river that is in the domains of the Farnesi; and, besides all these things, there was to be there a mount covered with lilies, and with the rainbow of Iris. But the whole was not afterwards carried into execution, for the reasons that have been given in the Life of Michelagnolo. It may be believed that even as these parts are in themselves beautiful and wrought with much judgment, so they would have succeeded as a whole together; and yet it is the air of the piazza[15] which gives the true light and enables us to form a correct judgment of a work.

Tomb of Pope Paul III.

(After Guglielmo della Porta. Rome: S. Peter's)
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The same Fra Guglielmo has executed during a period of many years fourteen stories of the life of Christ, for casting in bronze; each of which is four palms in breadth and six in height, excepting only one, which is twelve palms high and six broad, wherein is the Nativity of Jesus Christ, with most beautiful fantasies of figures. In the other thirteen are, Mary going with the Infant Christ on the ass to Jerusalem, with two figures in strong relief, and many in half-relief and low-relief; the Last Supper, with thirteen figures well composed, and a very rich building; the Washing of the Disciples' feet; the Prayer in the Garden, [Pg 237] with five figures, and at the foot a multitude of great variety; Christ led before Annas, with six large figures, many lower down, and one in the distance; the Scourging at the Column, the Crowning with Thorns, the "Ecce Homo," Pilate washing his hands; Christ bearing the Cross, with fifteen figures, and others in the distance, going to Mount Calvary; Christ Crucified, with eighteen figures; and Christ taken down from the Cross. All which scenes, if they were cast, would form a very rare work, seeing that they have been wrought with much study and labour. Pope Pius IV had intended to have them executed for one of the doors of S. Pietro, but he had not time, being overtaken by death. Recently Fra Guglielmo has executed models in wax for three altars in S. Pietro; Christ taken down from the Cross, Peter receiving the Keys of the Church, and the Coming of the Holy Spirit, which would all be beautiful scenes.

In short, this man has had, and still has, the greatest opportunities to exert himself and to execute works, seeing that the office of the Piombo gives such a revenue that the holder can study and labour for glory, which he who has not such advantages is not able to do; and yet Fra Guglielmo has executed no finished work between 1547 and this year of 1567. But it is the characteristic of those who hold that office to become sluggish and indolent; and that this is true, a proof is that this Guglielmo, before he became Friar of the Piombo, executed many heads in marble and other works, besides those that we have mentioned. It is true, indeed, that he has made four great Prophets in stucco, which are in the niches between the pilasters of the first great arch of S. Pietro. He also occupied himself much with the cars for the feast of Testaccio and other masquerades, which were held now many years ago in Rome.

A pupil of this master has been one Guglielmo Tedesco, who, among other works, has executed a very rich and beautiful ornamentation of little statues in bronze, imitated from the best antiques, for a cabinet of wood (so it is called) which the Count of Pitigliano presented to the Lord Duke Cosimo. Which little figures are these; the horse of the Campidoglio, those of Monte Cavallo, the Farnese figures of Hercules, the Antinous and the Apollo of the Belvedere, and the heads of the Twelve Emperors, with others, all well wrought and very similar to the originals.

[Pg 238] Milan has also had another sculptor, dead this year, called Tommaso Porta, who worked marble excellently well, and in particular counterfeited antique heads in marble, which have been sold as antiques; and masks he made so well that in them no one has equalled him, of which I have one in marble by his hand, placed on the chimney-piece of my house at Arezzo, which everyone takes for an antique. This Tommaso made the heads of the Twelve Emperors in marble, the size of life, which were the rarest things. These Pope Julius III took, making him a present of an office of a hundred crowns a year in the Segnatura; and he kept the heads I know not how many months in his chamber, as choice things. But by the agency (so it is believed) of the above-named Fra Guglielmo and others who were jealous of him, such measures were taken against him, that, with no regard for the dignity of the gift bestowed upon him by that Pontiff, they were sent back to his house; where they were afterwards bought from him on better terms by merchants, and then sent to Spain. Not one of our imitators of antiques was superior to this Tommaso, of whom it has seemed to me right that record should be made, and the rather as he has passed to a better life, leaving name and fame for his ability.

Many works, likewise, have been executed in Rome by one Leonardo, a Milanese, who has made recently two statues of marble, S. Peter and S. Paul, for the Chapel of Cardinal Giovanni Riccio da Montepulciano, which are much extolled and held to be good and beautiful figures. And the sculptors Jacopo and Tommaso Casignuola have made in the Chapel of the Caraffi, in the Church of the Minerva, the tomb of Pope Paul IV, and, besides other ornaments, a statue formed of pieces which represents that Pope, with a mantle of veined brocatello marble, and the trimming and other things of veined marbles of various colours, which render it marvellous. And so we see added to the other industries of our modern intellects this new one, and that sculptors proceed with colours in their sculpture to imitate painting. Which tomb has been executed by means of the great saintliness, goodness and gratitude of Pope Pius V, a Pontiff and Holy Father truly most saintly, most blessed, and most worthy of long life.

[Pg 239] Of Nanni di Baccio Bigio, a Florentine sculptor, besides what has been said of him in other places, I have to record that in his youth, under Raffaello da Montelupo, he applied himself in such a manner to sculpture, that in some little things that he did in marble he gave great promise that he would prove to be an able man. And having gone to Rome, under the sculptor Lorenzetto, while he gave his attention as his father had done also to architecture, he executed the statue of Pope Clement VII, which is in the choir of the Minerva, and a Pietà of marble, copied from that of Michelagnolo, which was placed in S. Maria de Anima, the Church of the Germans, as a work that is truly very beautiful. Another like it he made not long afterwards for Luigi del Riccio, a Florentine merchant, which is now in S. Spirito at Florence, in a chapel of that Luigi, who is no less extolled for such piety towards his native city than is Nanni for having executed the statue with much diligence and love. Nanni then applied himself under Antonio da San Gallo with more study to architecture, and gave his attention, while Antonio was alive, to the fabric of S. Pietro; where, falling from a staging sixty braccia high, and shattering himself, he escaped with his life by a miracle. Nanni has erected many edifices in Rome and in the country round, and has sought to obtain even more, and greater, as has been told in the Life of Michelagnolo. His work, also, is the Palace of Cardinal Montepulciano on the Strada Giulia, and a gate at Monte Sansovino built by order of Julius III, with a reservoir for water that is not finished, and a loggia and other apartments of the palace formerly built by the old Cardinal di Monte. And a work of Nanni, likewise, is the house of the Mattei, with many other buildings that have been erected or are still being constructed in Rome.

A famous and most celebrated architect, also, among others of the present day, is Galeazzo Alessi of Perugia, who, serving in his youth the Cardinal of Rimini, whose chamberlain he became, executed among his first works, at the desire of that lord, the rebuilding of the apartments in the Fortress of Perugia, with so many conveniences and such beauty, that for a place so small it was a marvel, and many times already they have accommodated the Pope with all his Court. Then, after many [Pg 240] other works that he executed for the said Cardinal, he was invited by the Genoese with much honour into the service of that Republic, for which the first work that he did was to restore and fortify the port and the mole; nay rather, to make it almost entirely different from what it was before. For, reaching out over a good space into the sea, he caused to be constructed a great and most beautiful port, which lies in a semicircle, very ornate with rustic columns and with niches about them, at the extremities of which semicircle there meet two little bastions, which defend that great port. On the piazza, then, above the mole and at the back of the great port, towards the city, he made a very large portico of the Doric Order, which accommodates the Guard, and over it, comprising all the space that it covers and likewise the two bastions and the gate, there is left a platform arranged for the operations of artillery, which commands the mole in the manner of a cavalier and defends the port both within and without. And besides this, which is finished, arrangements are being made for the enlargement of the city after his design, and his model has already been approved by the Signoria; and all with much praise for Galeazzo, who in these and other works has shown himself to be a most ingenious architect. The same Galeazzo has executed the new street of Genoa, with so many palaces built in the modern manner after his designs, that many declare that in no other city of Italy is there to be found a street more magnificent and grand than that one, nor one more full of the richest palaces, all built by those Signori with the persuasion and directions of Galeazzo, to whom all confess that they owe a very great obligation, in that he has been the inventor and executor of works which render their city, with regard to edifices, incomparably more grand and magnificent than it was before. The same master has built other streets without Genoa, and among others that which starts from Ponte Decimo on the way to Lombardy. He has restored the walls of the city towards the sea, and the fabric of the Duomo, making therein the tribune and the cupola; and he has built, also, many private edifices, such as the country palace of Messer Luca Giustiniano, that of Signor Ottaviano Grimaldi, the Palaces of two Doges, one for Signor Battista Grimaldi, and many others of which there is no need to speak.

Palazzo Grimaldi.

(After Galeazzo Alessi. Genoa)
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[Pg 241] Now I will not omit to say that he has made the lake and island of Signor Adamo Centurioni, abounding in waters and fountains contrived in various beautiful and fantastic ways, and also the fountain of the Captain Larcaro, near the city, which is a most remarkable work; but beyond all the different kinds of fountains that he has made for many persons, most beautiful is the bath that he has made in the house of Signor Giovan Battista Grimaldi at Bisagno. This bath, which in form is round, has in the centre a little basin wherein eight or ten persons can bathe without inconvenience; which basin has hot water from four heads of sea-monsters that appear as if issuing from it, and cold water from as many frogs that are over those heads of monsters. Around that basin, to which one descends by three circular steps, there curves a space wide enough for two persons to walk in comfort. The circular wall of the whole bath is divided into eight spaces, in four of which are four great niches, each of which contains a round basin that is raised a little from the ground, half being within the niche and half remaining without; and in the centre of each basin a man can bathe, hot and cold water coming from a great mask that pours it through the horns and draws it in again when necessary by the mouth. In one of the other four spaces is the door, and in the other three are windows and places to sit; and all the eight spaces are separated by terminal figures, which support the cornice upon which rests the round vaulting of the whole bath. From the centre of that vaulting hangs a great ball of crystal-glass, on which is painted the sphere of the heavens, and within it the globe of the earth, from certain parts of which, when one uses the bath at night, comes a brilliant light that renders the place as light as if it were mid-day. I forbear to speak of the anteroom, the dressing-room, and the small bath, which are full of stucco-ornaments, and of the pictures that adorn the place, so as not to be longer than is needful; let it suffice to say that they are in no way unworthy of so great a work.

In Milan, under the direction of the same Galeazzo, has been built the Palace of Signor Tommaso Marini, Duke of Terranuova; and also, possibly, the façade of the fabric of S. Celso that is now being built, the auditorium of the Cambio, which is round in form, the already begun [Pg 242] Church of S. Vittore, and many other edifices. He has also sent designs over all Italy and abroad, wherever he has not been able to be in person, of many edifices, palaces, and temples, of which I shall say no more; this much being enough to make him known as a talented and most excellent architect.

I will not omit—seeing that he is one of our Italians, although I do not know any particulars of his works—that in France, so I am informed, a most excellent architect, and particularly in the work of fortification, is Rocco Guerrini of Marradi, who in the recent wars of that kingdom, to his great profit and honour, has executed many ingenious and laudable works.

And so in this last part, in order not to defraud any man of the proper credit of his talent, I have discoursed of some sculptors and architects now living, of whom hitherto I had not had a convenient occasion to speak.



There has never been, nor perhaps will there ever be for many centuries, a more rare or more excellent miniaturist, or we would rather say painter of little things, than Don Giulio Clovio, in that he has surpassed by a great measure all others who have ever been engaged in that kind of painting. This master was born in the province of Sclavonia, or rather, Croatia, at a place called Grisone, in the diocese of Madrucci, although his elders, of the family of the Clovi, had come from Macedonia; and the name given to him at baptism was Giorgio Giulio. As a child he gave his attention to letters; and then, by a natural instinct, to design. And having come to the age of eighteen, being desirous to make proficience, he came to Italy and placed himself in the service of Cardinal Marino Grimani, with whom for a period of three years he applied himself in such a manner to drawing, that he achieved a much better result than perhaps up to that time had been expected of him; as was seen in some designs of medals and their reverses that he made for that lord, drawn with the pen most minutely, with extreme and almost incredible diligence. Whereupon, having seen that he was more assisted by nature in little things than in great, he resolved, and wisely, that he would give his attention to miniature, since his works in that field were full of grace and beautiful to a marvel; being urged to this, also, by many friends, and in particular by Giulio Romano, a painter of bright renown, who was the man who before any other taught him the method of using tints and colours in gum and in distemper.

The Deposition.

(After the painting upon parchment by Giulio Clovio. Florence: Pitti, No. 241)
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Among the first works that Clovio coloured was a Madonna, which, as a man of ingenious and beautiful spirit, he copied from the book of [Pg 246] the Life of the Virgin; which Madonna was printed in wood-engraving among the first sheets of Albrecht Dürer. Whereupon, having acquitted himself well in that his first work, he made his way by means of Signor Alberto da Carpi, who was then serving in Hungary, into the service of King Louis and of Queen Maria, the sister of Charles V; for which King he executed a Judgment of Paris in chiaroscuro, which much pleased him, and for the Queen the Roman Lucretia killing herself, with some other things, which were held to be very beautiful. The death of that King then ensuing, and the ruin of everything in Hungary, Giorgio Giulio was forced to return to Italy; where he had no sooner arrived than the old Cardinal Campeggio took him into his service. Thereupon, being settled to his liking, he executed a Madonna in miniature for that lord, and some other little things, and disposed himself to attend at all costs with greater study to the matters of art; and so he set himself to draw, and to seek with every effort to imitate the works of Michelagnolo. But this fine resolution was interrupted by the unhappy sack of Rome in the year 1527, when the poor man, finding himself the prisoner of the Spaniards and maltreated, in his great misery had recourse to divine assistance, making a vow that if he escaped safely from that miserable ruin and out of the hands of those new Pharisees, he would straightway become a friar. Wherefore, having escaped by the grace of God and made his way to Mantua, he became a monk in the Monastery of S. Ruffino, a seat of the Order of Canons Regular of Scopeto; having been promised, besides peace and quiet of mind and tranquil leisure in the service of God, that he would have facilities for attending at times, as it were by way of pastime, to the work of miniature. Having thus taken the habit and the name of Don Giulio, at the end of a year he made his profession; and then for a period of three years he stayed peacefully enough among those fathers, changing from one monastery to another according to his pleasure, as has been related elsewhere, and always working at something. During that time he completed a great choir-book with delicate illuminations and most beautiful borderings, making in it, among other things, a Christ appearing to the Magdalene in the form of a gardener, which was held to be a rare thing. Wherefore, [Pg 247] growing in courage, he depicted—but in figures much larger—the Adulterous Woman accused by the Jews before Christ, with a good number of figures; all which he copied from a picture that had been executed in those days by Tiziano Vecelli, that most excellent painter.

Not long afterwards it happened that Don Giulio, in transferring himself from one monastery to another, as monks or friars do, by misfortune broke a leg. Being therefore conveyed by those fathers to the Monastery of Candiana, that he might be better attended, he lay there some time without recovering, perhaps having been wrongly treated, as is common, no less by the fathers than by the physicians. Which hearing, Cardinal Grimani, who much loved him for his excellence, obtained from the Pope the power to keep him in his service and to have him cured. Whereupon Don Giulio, having thrown off the habit, and his leg being healed, went to Perugia with the Cardinal, who was Legate there; and, setting to work, he executed for him in miniature these works; an Office of Our Lady, with four most beautiful stories, and in an Epistolar three large stories of S. Paul the Apostle, one of which was sent not long afterwards to Spain. He also made for him a very beautiful Pietà, and a Christ Crucified, which after the death of Grimani came into the hands of Messer Giovanni Gaddi, Clerk of the Chamber.

All these works caused Don Giulio to become known in Rome as an excellent craftsman, and were the reason that Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, who has always assisted, favoured, and desired to have about him rare and gifted men, having heard his fame and seen his works, took him into his service, in which he has remained ever since and still remains, old as he is. For that lord, I say, he has executed an infinite number of the rarest miniatures, of which I shall mention here only a part, because to mention them all is almost impossible. In a little picture he has painted Our Lady with her Son in her arms, with many Saints and figures around, and Pope Paul III kneeling, portrayed from life so well, that for all the smallness of that miniature he seems as if alive; and all the other figures, likewise, appear to lack nothing save breath and speech. That little picture, as a thing truly of the rarest, was sent to Spain to the Emperor Charles V, who was amazed by it. After that [Pg 248] work the Cardinal caused him to set his hand to executing in miniature the stories in an Office of Our Lady, written in lettering shaped by Monterchi, who is a rare master in such work. Whereupon Don Giulio, resolving that this work should be the highest flight of his powers, applied himself to it with so much study and diligence, that no other was ever executed with more; wherefore he has achieved with the brush things so stupendous, that it does not appear possible to go so far with the eye or with the hand. Don Giulio has divided this labour into twenty-six little scenes, each two sheets being next to one another, the figure and the prefiguration, and every little scene has around it an ornament different from the other, with figures and fantasies appropriate to the story that it represents. Nor do I wish to grudge the labour of describing them briefly, for the reason that everyone is not able to see them. On the first page, where Matins begin, is the Angel bringing the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary, and in the ornament a border full of little children that are marvellous; and in the other scene Isaiah speaking with King Ahaz. In the second, for Lauds, is the Visitation of the Virgin to Elizabeth, which has an ornament in imitation of metal; and in the opposite scene are Justice and Peace embracing one another. For Prime is the Nativity of Christ, and opposite, in the Earthly Paradise, Adam and Eve eating the Fruit; both the one and the other with ornaments full of nudes and other figures and animals, portrayed from nature. For Terce he has painted the Shepherds with the Angel appearing to them, and in the opposite scene the Tiburtine Sibyl showing to the Emperor Octavian the Virgin with Christ her Son in Heaven; both the one and the other with ornaments of various borders and figures, all coloured, and containing the portrait of Alexander the Great and of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese. For Sext there is the Circumcision of Christ, where Pope Paul III is portrayed for Simeon, and in the scene are portraits of Mancina and Settimia, gentlewomen of Rome, who were of surpassing beauty; and around it a border well adorned, which likewise encloses with the same design the other story that is beside it, wherein is S. John the Baptist baptizing Christ, a scene full of nudes. For Nones he has made there the Magi adoring Christ, and opposite to [Pg 249] that Solomon adored by the Queen of Sheba, both one and the other with borders rich and varied, and at the foot of this the whole Feast of Testaccio executed with figures smaller than ants, which is a marvellous thing to see, that a work so small should have been executed to perfection with the point of a brush; this is one of the greatest things that mortal hand could do or mortal eye could behold, and in it are all the liveries that Cardinal Farnese devised at that time. For Vespers there is Our Lady flying with Christ into Egypt, and opposite is the Submersion of Pharaoh in the Red Sea; with varied borders at the sides. For Complines there is the Coronation of Our Lady in Heaven, with a multitude of Angels, and in the other scene opposite is Ahasuerus crowning Esther; with appropriate borders. For the Mass of the Madonna he has placed first, in a border in imitation of cameos, the Angel Gabriel announcing the Word to the Virgin; and the two scenes are Our Lady with Jesus Christ in her arms and God the Father creating Heaven and Earth. Before the Penitential Psalms is the Battle in which Uriah the Hittite was done to death by command of King David, wherein are horses and warriors wounded or dead, all marvellous; and opposite, in the other scene, David in Penitence; with ornaments and also little grotesques. But he who would sate himself with marvelling, let him look at the Litanies, where Don Giulio has woven a maze with the letters of the names of the Saints; and there in the margin above is a Heaven filled with Angels around the most holy Trinity, and one by one the Apostles and the other Saints; and on the other side the Heaven continues with Our Lady and all the Virgin Saints. On the margin below he has depicted with the most minute figures the procession that Rome holds for the solemn office of the Corpus Christi, thronged with officers with their torches, Bishops, and Cardinals, and the most Holy Sacrament borne by the Pope, with the rest of the Court and the Guard of Halberdiers, and finally Castel S. Angelo firing artillery; all such as to cause every acutest wit to marvel with amazement. At the beginning of the Office for the Dead are two scenes; Death triumphing over all mortals, mighty rulers of States and Kingdoms and the common herd alike, and opposite, in the other scene, the Resurrection of Lazarus, and also Death in combat [Pg 250] with some on horseback. For the Office of the Cross he has made Christ Crucified, and opposite is Moses with the rain of serpents, and the same Moses placing on high the serpent of brass. For that of the Holy Spirit is that same Holy Spirit descending upon the Apostles, and opposite is the Building of the Tower of Nimrod.

That work was executed by Don Giulio in a period of nine years with so much study and labour, that in a manner of speaking it would never be possible to pay for the work with no matter what price; nor is one able to see any more strange and beautiful variety than there is in all the scenes, of bizarre ornaments and various movements and postures of nudes both male and female, studied and well detailed in every part, and placed appropriately all around in those borders, in order to enrich the work. Which diversity of things infuses such beauty into that whole work, that it appears a thing divine and not human, and above all because with his colours and his manner of painting he has made the figures, the buildings and the landscapes recede and fade into the distance with all those considerations that perspective requires, and with the greatest perfection that is possible, insomuch that, whether near or far, they cause everyone to marvel; not to speak of the thousand different kinds of trees, wrought so well that they appear as if grown in Paradise. In the stories and inventions may be seen design, in the composition order and variety, and richness in the vestments, which are executed with such beauty and grace of manner, that it seems impossible that they could have been fashioned by the hand of man. Wherefore we may say, as we said at the beginning, that Don Giulio has surpassed in this field both ancients and moderns, and that he has been in our times a new, if smaller, Michelagnolo.

The same master once executed a small picture with little figures for the Cardinal of Trent, so pleasing and so beautiful, that that lord made a present of it to the Emperor Charles V; and afterwards, for the same lord, he painted another of Our Lady, and with it the portrait of King Philip, which were very beautiful and therefore presented to the said Catholic King. For the above-named Cardinal Farnese he painted a little picture of Our Lady with her Son in her arms, S. Elizabeth, a [Pg 251] young S. John, and other figures, which was sent to Ruy Gomez in Spain. In another, which the above-named Cardinal now has, he painted S. John the Baptist in the Desert, with landscapes and animals of great beauty, and another like it he executed afterwards for the same lord, for sending to King Philip; and a Pietà, which he painted with the Madonna and many other figures, was presented by the same Farnese to Pope Paul IV, who as long as he lived would always have it beside him. And a scene in which David is cutting off the head of the giant Goliath, was presented by the same Cardinal to Madama Margherita of Austria, who sent it to King Philip, her brother, together with another which that most illustrious lady caused Don Giulio to execute as a companion to it, wherein was Judith severing the head of Holofernes.

Many years ago Don Giulio stayed many months with Duke Cosimo, and during that time executed some works for him, part of which were sent to the Emperor and other lords, and part remained with his most illustrious Excellency, who, among other things, caused him to copy a little head of Christ from one of great antiquity that his Excellency himself possesses, which once belonged to Godfrey of Bouillon, King of Jerusalem; which head, they say, is more like the true image of the Saviour than any other that there may be. Don Giulio painted for the said Lord Duke a Christ on the Cross with the Magdalene at the foot, which is a marvellous thing, and a little picture of a Pietà, of which we have the design in our book together with another, also by the hand of Don Giulio, of Our Lady standing with her Son in her arms, dressed in the Jewish manner, with a choir of Angels about her, and many nude souls in the act of commending themselves to her. But to return to the Lord Duke; he has always loved dearly the excellence of Don Giulio, and sought to obtain works by his hand; and if it had not been for the regard that he felt for Farnese, he would not have let him go when he stayed some months, as I have said, in his service in Florence. The Duke, then, besides the works mentioned, has a little picture by the hand of Don Giulio, wherein is Ganymede borne to Heaven by Jove transformed into an Eagle, copied from the one that Michelagnolo once drew, which is now in the possession of Tommaso de' Cavalieri, as has been [Pg 252] told elsewhere. In like manner, the Duke has in his study a S. John the Baptist seated upon a rock, and some portraits by the same hand, which are admirable.

Don Giulio once executed a picture of a Pietà, with the Maries and other figures around, for the Marchioness of Pescara, and another like it in every part for Cardinal Farnese, who sent it to the Empress, who is now the wife of Maximilian and sister of King Philip; and another little picture by the same master's hand he sent to his Imperial Majesty, in which, in a most beautiful little landscape, is S. George killing the Serpent, executed with supreme diligence. But this was surpassed in beauty and design by a larger picture that Don Giulio painted for a Spanish gentleman, in which is the Emperor Trajan as he is seen in medals with the Province of Judæa on the reverse; which picture was sent to the above-named Maximilian, now Emperor.

For the same Cardinal Farnese he has executed two other little pictures; in one is Jesus Christ nude, with the Cross in His hands, and in the other is Christ led by the Jews and accompanied by a vast multitude to Mount Calvary, with the Cross on His shoulder, and behind Him Our Lady and the other Maries in attitudes full of grace, such as might move to pity a heart of stone. And in two large sheets for a Missal, he has painted for that Cardinal Jesus Christ instructing the Apostles in the doctrine of the Holy Evangel, and the Universal Judgment—a work so beautiful, nay, so marvellous, so stupendous, that I am confounded at the thought of it; and I hold it as certain that it is not possible, I do not say to execute, but to see or even imagine anything in miniature more beautiful.

It is a notable thing that in many of these works, and particularly in the Office of the Madonna described above, Don Giulio has made some little figures not larger than very small ants, with all the members so depicted and distinguished, that more could not have been done in figures of the size of life; and that everywhere there are dispersed portraits from nature of men and women, not less like the reality than if they had been executed, large as life and very natural, by Tiziano or Bronzino. Besides which, in some ornaments of the borders there may [Pg 253] be seen little figures both nude and in other manners, painted in the likeness of cameos, which, marvellously small as they are, resemble in those proportions the most colossal giants; such is the art and surpassing diligence that Don Giulio uses in his work. Of him I have wished to give to the world this information, to the end that those may know something of him who are not or will not be able to see any of his works, from their being almost all in the hands of great lords and personages. I say almost all, because I know that some private persons have in little cases most beautiful portraits by his hand, of various lords, their friends, or ladies loved by them. But, however that may be, it is certain that the works of men such as Don Giulio are not public, nor in places where they can be seen by everyone, like the pictures, sculptures, and buildings of the other masters of these our arts.

At the present day Don Giulio, although he is old and does not study or attend to anything save to seeking the salvation of his soul by good and holy works and by a life wholly apart from the things of the world, and is in every way an old man, yet continues constantly to work at something, there where he lives well attended and in perfect peace in the Palace of the Farnesi, where he is most courteous in showing his work with much willingness to all who go to visit and see him, as they

visit the other marvels of Rome.



There is now living in Rome one who is certainly very excellent in his profession, Girolamo Siciolante of Sermoneta, of whom, although something has been said in the Life of Perino del Vaga, whose disciple he was, assisting him in the works of Castel S. Angelo and in many others, nevertheless it cannot but be well to say also here so much as his great excellence truly deserves. Among the first works, then, that this Girolamo executed by himself, was an altar-piece twelve palms high painted by him in oils at the age of twenty, which is now in the Badia of S. Stefano, near his native town of Sermoneta; wherein, large as life, are S. Peter, S. Stephen, and S. John the Baptist, with certain children. After that altar-piece, which was much extolled, he painted for the Church of S. Apostolo, in Rome, an altar-piece in oils with the Dead Christ, Our Lady, S. John, the Magdalene, and other figures, all executed with diligence. Then in the Pace, in the marble chapel that Cardinal Cesis caused to be constructed, he decorated the whole vaulting with stucco-work in a pattern of four pictures, painting therein the Nativity of Jesus Christ, the Adoration of the Magi, the Flight into Egypt, and the Massacre of the Innocents; all which was a work worthy of much praise and executed with invention, judgment, and diligence. For that same church, not long after, the same Girolamo painted an altar-piece fifteen palms high, which is beside the high-altar, of the Nativity of Jesus Christ, which was very beautiful; and then in another altar-piece in oils, for the Sacristy of the Church of S. Spirito in Rome, the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, which is a work full of grace. In like manner, in the Church of S. Maria de Anima, the church of the German colony, he painted in fresco the whole of the Chapel of the Fugger family (for which [Pg 258] Giulio Romano once executed the altar-piece), with large scenes of the Life of Our Lady. For the high-altar of S. Jacopo degli Spagnuoli he painted in a large altar-piece a very beautiful Christ on the Cross with some Angels about Him, Our Lady, and S. John, and besides this two large pictures that are one on either side of it, each nine palms high and with a single figure, S. James the Apostle and S. Alfonso the Bishop; in which pictures it is evident that he used much study and diligence. On the Piazza Giudea, in the Church of S. Tommaso, he painted in fresco the whole of a chapel that looks out over the court of the Cenci Palace, depicting there the Nativity of the Madonna, the Annunciation by the Angel, and the Birth of Our Saviour Jesus Christ. For Cardinal Capodiferro he painted a hall in his palace, which is very beautiful, with stories of the ancient Romans. And at Bologna he once executed for the Church of S. Martino the altar-piece of the high-altar, which was much commended. For Signor Pier Luigi Farnese, Duke of Parma and Piacenza, whom he served for some time, he executed many works, and in particular a picture that is in Piacenza, painted for a chapel, wherein are Our Lady, S. Joseph, S. Michael, S. John the Baptist, and an Angel, of eight palms.

The Martyrdom of S. Catharine.

(After the painting by Sermoneta. Rome: S. Maria Maggiore)
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After his return from Lombardy he painted in the Minerva, in the passage of the sacristy, a Christ on the Cross, and another in the church. Then he painted in oils a S. Catharine and a S. Agatha; and in S. Luigi he executed a scene in fresco in competition with Pellegrino Pellegrini of Bologna and the Florentine Jacopo del Conte. In an altar-piece in oils, sixteen palms high, executed not long since for the Church of S. Alò, opposite to the Misericordia, a Company of the Florentines, he painted Our Lady, S. James the Apostle, and the Bishops S. Alò and S. Martino; and in S. Lorenzo in Lucina, in the Chapel of the Countess of Carpi, he painted in fresco a S. Francis who is receiving the Stigmata. In the Hall of Kings, at the time of Pope Pius IV, as has been related, he executed a scene in fresco over the door of the Chapel of Sixtus; in that scene, which was much extolled, Pepin, King of the Franks, is presenting Ravenna to the Roman Church, and is leading as prisoner Astulf, King of the Lombards; and we have the design of it by Girolamo's own hand [Pg 259] in our book, with many others by the same master. And, finally, he has now in hand the Chapel of Cardinal Cesis in S. Maria Maggiore, for which he has already executed in a large altar-piece the Martyrdom of S. Catharine on the wheel, which is a most beautiful picture, as are the others on which both there and elsewhere, with much study, he is continually at work. I shall not make mention of the portraits and other pictures and little works of Girolamo, because, besides that they are without number, these are enough to make him known as a valiant and excellent painter.

Having said above, in the Life of Perino del Vaga, that the painter Marcello Mantovano worked many years under him at pictures that gave him a great name, I have to say in this place, coming more to particulars, that he once painted in the Church of S. Spirito the whole Chapel of S. Giovanni Evangelista and its altar-piece, with the portrait of a Knight Commander of the same S. Spirito, who built that church and constructed that chapel; which portrait is a very good likeness, and the altar-piece most beautiful. Whereupon a Friar of the Piombo, having seen his beautiful manner, caused him to paint in fresco in the Pace, over the door that leads from the church into the convent, Jesus Christ as a boy disputing with the Doctors in the Temple, which is a very lovely work. But since he has always delighted to make portraits and little things, abandoning larger works, he has executed an infinite number of these; and among them may be seen some of Pope Paul III, which are beautiful and speaking likenesses. In like manner, from the designs of Michelagnolo and from his works he has executed a vast number of things likewise small, and among these he has depicted in one of his works the whole façade of the Judgment, which is a rare thing and executed excellently well; and in truth, for small paintings, it would not be possible to do better. For which reason, finally, that most gentle Messer Tommaso de' Cavalieri, who has always favoured him, has caused him to paint after the design of Michelagnolo an altar-picture of the Annunciation of the Virgin, most beautiful, for the Church of S. Giovanni Laterano; which design by Buonarroti's own hand, imitated by this Marcello, Leonardo Buonarroti, the nephew of Michelagnolo, presented to the Lord Duke Cosimo together [Pg 260] with some others of fortifications and architecture and other things of the rarest. And this must suffice for Marcello, who has been attending lately to working at little things, executing them with a truly supreme and incredible patience.

Of Jacopo del Conte, a Florentine, who like those named above dwells in Rome, enough will have been said, what with this and other places, after certain other particulars have been given here. This Jacopo, then, having been much inclined from his earliest youth to portraying from the life, has desired that this should be his principal profession, although on occasions he has executed altar-pictures and works in fresco in some numbers, both in Rome and without. Of his portraits—not to speak of them all, which would make a very long story—I shall say only that he has portrayed all the Pontiffs that there have been from Pope Paul III to the present day, and all the lords and ambassadors of importance who have been at that Court, and likewise the military captains and great men of the house of Colonna and of the Orsini, Signor Piero Strozzi, and an infinite number of Bishops, Cardinals, and other great prelates and lords, not to speak of many men of letters and other men of quality; all which has caused him to acquire fame, honour, and profit in Rome, so that he lives honourably and much at his ease with his family in that city. From his boyhood he drew so well that he gave promise, if he should persevere, of becoming excellent, and so in truth he would have been, but, as I have said, he turned to that to which he felt himself inclined by nature. Nevertheless, his works cannot but be praised. By his hand is a Dead Christ in an altar-piece that is in the Church of the Popolo, and in another that he has executed for the Chapel of S. Dionigi in S. Luigi, with stories, is the first-named Saint. But the most beautiful work that he ever did was in two scenes in fresco that he once painted, as has been told in another place, in the Florentine Company of the Misericordia, with an altar-picture of Christ taken down from the Cross, with the Thieves fixed on their crosses, and the Madonna in a swoon, painted in oil-colours, all beautiful and executed with diligence and with great credit to him. He has made many pictures throughout Rome, and figures in various manners, and has executed a number of full-length [Pg 261] portraits, both nude and draped, of men and women, which have proved very beautiful, because the subjects were not otherwise. He has also portrayed, according as occasions arose, many heads of noble ladies, gentlewomen and princesses who have been in Rome; and among others, I know that he once portrayed Signora Livia Colonna, a most noble lady, incomparable in her illustrious blood, her virtue, and her beauty. And let this suffice for Jacopo del Conte, who is still living and constantly at work.

I might have made known, also, many from our Tuscany and from other parts of Italy, their names and their works, which I have passed over lightly, because many of them, being old, have ceased to work, and others who are young are now trying their hands and will become known better by their works than by means of writings. But of Adone Doni of Assisi, because he is still living and working, although I made mention of him in the Life of Cristofano Gherardi, I shall give some particulars of his works, such as are in Perugia and throughout all Umbria, and in particular many altar-pieces in Foligno. But his best works are in S. Maria degli Angeli at Assisi, in the little chapel where S. Francis died, wherein are some stories of the life of that Saint executed in oils on the walls, which are much extolled, besides which, he has painted the Passion of Christ in fresco at the head of the refectory of that convent, in addition to many other works that have done him honour; and his gentleness and courtesy have caused him to be considered liberal and courteous.

In Orvieto there are two young men also of that same profession, one a painter called Cesare del Nebbia, and the other a sculptor, both well on the way to bringing it about that their city, which up to the present has always invited foreign masters to adorn her, will no longer be obliged, if they follow up the beginnings that they have made, to seek other masters. There is working at Orvieto, in S. Maria, the Duomo of that city, a young painter called Niccolò dalle Pomarancie, who, having executed an altar-piece wherein is Christ raising Lazarus, has given signs—not to speak of other works in fresco—of winning a name among the others named above.

[Pg 262] And now that we are come to the end of our Italian masters still living, I shall say only that no less service has been rendered by one Lodovico, a Florentine sculptor, who, so I am told, has executed notable works in England and at Bari; but, since I have not found here either his relatives or his family name, and have not seen his works, I am not able (as I fain would) to make any other record of him than this mention of his name.



Now, although in many places mention has been made of the works of certain excellent Flemish painters and of their engravings, but without any order, I shall not withhold the names of certain others—for of their works I have not been able to obtain full information—who have been in Italy, and I have known the greater number of them, in order to learn the Italian manner; believing that no less is due to their industry and to the labour endured by them in our arts. Leaving aside, then, Martin of Holland, Jan van Eyck of Bruges, and Hubert his brother, who in 1510 invented and brought to light the method of painting in oil-colours, as has been told elsewhere, and left many works by his hand in Ghent, Ypres, and Bruges, where he lived and died in honour; after them, I say, there followed Roger van der Weyden of Brussels, who executed many works in several places, but principally in his native city, and for the Town Hall four most beautiful panel-pictures in oils, of things appertaining to Justice. A disciple of that Roger was Hans,[16] by whom, as has been told, we have in Florence the Passion of Christ in a little picture that is in the hands of the Duke. To him there succeeded the Fleming Louis of Louvain, Pieter Christus, Justus of Ghent, Hugo of Antwerp, and many others, who, for the reason that they never went forth from their own country, always adhered to the Flemish manner. And if Albrecht Dürer, of whom we have spoken at some length, did once come to Italy, nevertheless he kept always to one and the same manner; although he was spirited and vivacious, particularly in his heads, as is well known to all Europe.

But, leaving these, and together with them Lucas of Holland and [Pg 266] others, I became acquainted in Rome, in 1532, with one Michael Coxie, who gave no little study to the Italian manner, and executed many works in fresco in that city, and in particular two chapels in S. Maria de Anima. Having then returned to his own country and made himself known as an able man, I hear that among other works he executed for King Philip of Spain an altar-picture copied from one by the above-named Jan van Eyck that is in Ghent; and in that copy, which was taken into Spain, is the Triumph of the Agnus Dei. There studied in Rome, not long afterwards, Martin Heemskerk, a good master of figures and landscapes, who has executed in Flanders many pictures and many designs for copper-engravings, which, as has been related elsewhere, have been engraved by Hieronymus Cock, whom I came to know in Rome while I was serving Cardinal Ippolito de' Medici. And all these have been most beautiful inventors of stories, and close observers of the Italian manner.

Portrait of a Man.

(After the painting by Johannes Calcar. Paris: Louvre, No. 1185)
X phot.
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In Naples, also, in the year 1545, I came to know Johann of Calcar, a Flemish painter, who became very much my friend; a very rare craftsman, and so well practised in the Italian manner, that his works were not recognized as by the hand of a Fleming. But he died young in Naples, while great things were expected of him; and he drew for Vessalio his studies in anatomy. Before him, however, there was much in repute one Dirk of Louvain, a good master in that manner; and also Quentin of the same place, who in his figures always followed nature as well as he was able, as also did a son of his called Johann. Joost van Cleef, likewise, was a great colourist and rare in making portraits from life, for which King Francis of France employed him much in executing many portraits of various lords and ladies. Famous painters of the same province, also, have been—and some of them still are—Jan van Hemessen, Matthys Cock of Antwerp, Bernard of Brussels, Jan Cornelis of Amsterdam, Lambert of the same city, Hendrik of Dinant, Joachim Patinier of Bouvignes, and Jan Scorel, Canon of Utrecht, who carried into Flanders many new methods of painting taken from Italy. Besides these, there have been Jean Bellegambe of Douai, Dirk of Haarlem, from the same place, and Franz Mostaert, who was passing skilful in painting landscapes in oils, fantasies, bizarre inventions, dreams, and suchlike imaginings. [Pg 267] Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Brueghel of Breda were imitators of that Mostaert, and Lancelot Blondeel has been excellent in painting fires, nights, splendours, devils, and other things of that kind. Pieter Koeck has had much invention in stories, and has made very beautiful cartoons for tapestries and arras-hangings; with a good manner and practice in matters of architecture, on which account he has translated into the Teuton tongue the works on architecture of Sebastiano Serlio of Bologna. And Jean Gossart of Mabuse was almost the first who took from Italy into Flanders the true method of making scenes full of nude figures and poetical inventions; and by his hand is a large altar-piece in the Abbey of Middelburg in Zeeland. Of all these information has been received from Maestro Giovanni Strada of Bruges, a painter, and from Giovan Bologna of Douai, a sculptor; both Flemings and men of excellence, as we shall relate in the Treatise on the Academicians.

As for those of the same province who are still living and in repute, the first among them, both for his works in painting and for his many copper-plate engravings, is Franz Floris of Antwerp, a disciple of the above-mentioned Lambert Lombard. This Floris, who is held to be most excellent, has worked in such a manner in every field of his profession, that no one, they say there, has expressed better the emotions of the soul, sorrow, gladness, and the other passions, and all with most beautiful and bizarre inventions; insomuch that, likening him to the Urbinate, they call him the Flemish Raffaello. It is true that this is not demonstrated to us fully by the printed sheets, for the reason that the engraver, be he ever so able, never by a great measure equals the originals or the design and manner of him who has drawn them. A fellow-disciple with Floris, learning under the discipline of the same master, has been Willem Key of Breda, and also of Antwerp, a temperate, serious, and judicious man, and a close imitator of the life and the objects of nature, and in addition passing fertile in invention, and one who more than any other executes his pictures with good gradation and all full of sweetness and grace; and although he has not the facility, boldness, and terrible force of his brother-disciple Floris, for all that he is held to be truly excellent. Michael Coxie, of whom I have spoken above, saying that [Pg 268] he carried the Italian manner into Flanders, is much celebrated among the Flemish craftsmen for being profoundly serious and making his figures such that they have in them much of the virile and severe; wherefore the Fleming Messer Domenicus Lampsonius, of whom mention will be made in the proper place, discoursing of the two masters named above and of this Michael, likens them to a fine trio in music, in which each plays his part with excellence. Much esteemed, also, among the same men, is Antonius Moor of Utrecht in Holland, painter to the Catholic King, whose colours, they say, in portraying whatever he may choose from nature, vie with the reality and deceive the eye most beautifully. The same Lampsonius writes to me that Moor, who is a man of very gentle ways and much beloved, has painted a most beautiful altar-picture of Christ rising from the dead, with two Angels, S. Peter, and S. Paul, which is a marvellous thing. Marten de Vos, who copies excellently well from nature, is held to be good in invention and colouring. But in the matter of making beautiful landscapes, none are equal to Jakob Grimmer, Hans Bol, and others, all of Antwerp and able men, of whom, nevertheless, I have not been able to obtain particular information. Pieter Aertsen, called Long Peter, painted in his native city of Amsterdam an altar-picture with wing-panels, containing Our Lady and other Saints; which whole work cost two thousand crowns. They also celebrate as a good painter Lambert of Amsterdam, who dwelt many years in Venice, and had the Italian manner very well. This Lambert was the father of Federigo, of whom, from his being one of our Academicians, record will be made in the proper place. Pieter Brueghel of Antwerp, likewise, they celebrate as an excellent master, and Lambert van Noort of Amersfort in Holland, and as a good architect Gilis Mostaert, brother of the above-named Franz; and Pieter Pourbus, a mere lad, has given proof that he is destined to become an excellent painter.

Now, that we may learn something of the miniaturists of those countries: they say that these have been excellent there, Marinus of Zierickzee, Lucas Horebout of Ghent, Simon Bening of Bruges, and Gerard; and likewise some women, Susanna, sister of the said Lucas, who was invited for that work into the service of Henry VIII, King of [Pg 269] England, and lived there in honour all the rest of her life; Clara Skeysers of Ghent, who at the age of eighty died, so they say, a virgin; Anna, daughter of Meister Seghers, a physician; Levina, daughter of the above-named Meister Simon of Bruges, who was married by the said Henry of England to a nobleman, and held in estimation by Queen Mary, even as she is now by Queen Elizabeth; and likewise Catharina, daughter of Meister Jan van Hemessen, who went to Spain into the service of the Queen of Hungary, with a good salary. In short, many other women in those parts have been excellent miniaturists.

In the work of glass and of making windows there have been many able men in the same province; Arthus van Noort of Nymwegen, Borghese of Antwerp, Dierick Jacobsz Vellaert, Dirk van Staren of Kampen, and Jan Haeck of Antwerp, by whom are the windows in the Chapel of the Sacrament in the Church of S. Gudule in Brussels. And here in Tuscany many very beautiful windows of fired glass have been made for the Duke of Florence by Wouter Crabeth and Giorgio, Flemings and able men, from the designs of Vasari.

In architecture and sculpture the most celebrated Flemings are Sebastian van Oja of Utrecht, who served Charles V in some fortifications, and then King Philip; Willem van Antwerp; Willem Keur of Holland, a good architect and sculptor; Jan van Dalen, sculptor, poet and architect; and Jakob Breuck, sculptor and architect, who executed many works for the Queen Regent of Hungary, and was the master of Giovan Bologna of Douai, one of our Academicians, of whom we shall speak in a short time. Jan de Mynsheere of Ghent, also, is held to be a good architect, and Matthaeus Manemaker of Antwerp, who is with the King of the Romans, an excellent sculptor; and Cornelis Floris, brother of the above-named Franz, is likewise an excellent sculptor and architect, and the first who introduced into Flanders the method of making grotesques. Others who give their attention to sculpture, with much honour to themselves, are Willem Paludanus, a very studious and diligent sculptor, brother of the above-named Heinrich; Jan der Sart of Nymwegen, Simon van Delft, and Joost Janszoon of Amsterdam. And Lambert Suavius of Liège is a very good architect and master in engraving [Pg 270] prints with the burin, wherein he has been followed by Joris Robyn of Ypres, Dirk Volkaerts and Philip Galle, both of Haarlem, Lucas van Leyden, and many others; who have all been in Italy in order to learn and to draw the antiquities, and to return home, as for the most part they have done, excellent masters. But greater than any of those named above has been Lambert Lombard of Liège, a man great in letters, judicious in painting, and excellent in architecture, the master of Franz Floris and Willem Key; of the excellencies of which Lambert and of others I have received much information in letters from M. Domenicus Lampsonius of Liège, a man well lettered and of much judgment in everything, who was the familiar confidant of Cardinal Pole of England during his lifetime, and now is secretary to Monsignor the Prince Bishop of Liège. That gentleman, I say, once sent me the life of the said Lambert written in Latin, and he has saluted me several times in the name of many of our craftsmen from that province; and a letter that I have by his hand, dated October 30, 1564, is written in this tenor:

"For four years back I have had it constantly in mind to thank you, honoured Sir, for two very great benefits that I have received from you, although I know that this will appear to you a strange exordium from one whom you have never seen or known. And strange, indeed, it would be, if I had not known you, which has been from the time when my good fortune, or rather, our Lord God, willed that by His Grace there should come into my hands, I know not in what way, your most excellent writings concerning the architects, painters, and sculptors. But at that time I did not know one word of Italian, whereas now, thanks be to God, for all that I have never seen Italy, by reading your writings I have gained such little knowledge as has encouraged me to write you this letter. And to this desire to learn your tongue I have been attracted by your writings, which perhaps those of no other man could have done; being drawn to seek to understand them by a natural and irresistible love that I have borne from childhood to these three most beautiful arts, but above all to that most pleasing to every age, sex, and rank, and hurtful to none, your art of painting. In which art, although I was at that time [Pg 271] wholly ignorant and wanting in judgment, now, by means of the frequently reiterated reading of your writings, I understand so much—little though it may be, and as it were nothing—as is yet enough to enable me to lead an agreeable and happy life; and this I value more than all the honours, comforts and riches of this world. By this little I mean only that I could copy with oil-colours, as with any kind of drawing-instrument, the objects of nature, and particularly nudes and vestments of every sort; but I have not had courage enough to plunge deeper, as for example, to paint things more hazardous which require a hand more practised and sure, such as landscapes, trees, waters, clouds, splendours, fires, etc. And although in these things, as also in inventions, up to a certain point, it is possible that in case of necessity I could show that I have made some little proficience by means of the reading I have mentioned, yet I have been content, as I have said, to confine myself to making only portraits, and the rather because the many occupations which my office necessarily involves do not permit me to do more. And in order to prove myself in some way appreciative and grateful for these benefits, that by your means I have learned a most beautiful tongue and the art of painting, I would have sent you with this letter a little portrait of my face, taken with a mirror, had I not doubted whether my letter would find you in Rome or not, since at the present moment you might perchance be living in Florence or your native city of Arezzo."

This letter contains, in addition, many other particulars that are not here to the point. In others, since, he has prayed me in the name of many honourable gentlemen of those parts, who have heard that these Lives are being reprinted, that I should add to them three treatises on sculpture, painting, and architecture, with drawings of figures, by way of elucidation according to necessity, in order to expound the secrets of the arts, as Albrecht Dürer and Serlio have done, and Leon Battista Alberti, who has been translated by M. Cosimo Bartoli, a gentleman and Academician of Florence. Which I would have done more than willingly, but my intention has been only to describe the lives and works of our craftsmen, and not to teach the arts, with the methods of drawing the [Pg 272] lines of painting, architecture, and sculpture; besides which, the work having grown under my hands for many reasons, it will be perchance too long, even without adding treatises. But it was not possible or right for me to do otherwise than I have done, or to defraud anyone of his due praise and honour, nor yet the world of the pleasure and profit that I hope may be derived from these labours.


  • Abate, Niccolò dell' (Niccolò da Modena), 148
  • Adone Doni, 261
  • Aertsen, Pieter, 268
  • Agnolo, Baccio d', 40, 41, 194
  • Agnolo Bronzino, 118, 125, 128, 133, 137, 252
  • Agnolo di Donnino, 29, 30
  • Agresti, Livio (Livio da Forlì), 155
  • Aimo, Domenico (Vecchio), 189
  • Alberti, Leon Batista, 271
  • Albrecht Dürer, 163, 246, 265, 271
  • Alessandro Allori (Alessandro del Bronzino), 133, 138
  • Alessandro (Scherano da Settignano), 55
  • Alessandro Vittoria, 204-206, 223
  • Alessi, Galeazzo, 239-242
  • Alesso Baldovinetti, 182
  • Alfonso Lombardi, 167
  • Allori, Alessandro (Alessandro del Bronzino), 133, 138
  • Alonzo Berughetta, 20, 189
  • Ammanati, Bartolommeo, 69, 70, 73, 118, 125, 126, 129, 207, 208, 223
  • Amsterdam, Lambert of (Lambert Lombard), 266-268, 270
  • Andrea Calamech, 129
  • Andrea Contucci (Andrea Sansovino), 15, 40, 41, 187, 202, 216
  • Andrea del Minga, 131
  • Andrea del Sarto, 20, 43, 188, 193, 194
  • Andrea Mantegna, 211
  • Andrea Palladio, 211-214
  • Andrea Sansovino (Andrea Contucci), 15, 40, 41, 187, 202, 216
  • Anna Seghers, 269
  • Antonio Begarelli (Modena), 113
  • Antonio da San Gallo (the elder), 16, 40, 41
  • Antonio da San Gallo (the younger), 61-67, 196, 197, 224, 239
  • Antonio di Gino Lorenzi, 131
  • Antonio di Marco di Giano (Carota), 51
  • Antonio Mini, 47-51, 69, 81, 107, 109
  • Antonius Moor, 268
  • Antwerp, Hugo of, 265
  • Antwerp, Willem van, 269
  • Apelles, 133, 168
  • Arca, Niccolò dell', 11
  • Aretino, Leone (Leone Lioni), Life, 229-232. 95, 233
  • Aristotile (Bastiano) da San Gallo, 20, 29, 30
  • Arnolfo di Lapo, 194
  • Arthus van Noort, 269
  • Ascanio Condivi (Ascanio dalla Ripa Transone), 5, 107
  • Baccio Bandinelli, 20, 49, 126, 190
  • Baccio d'Agnolo, 40, 41, 194
  • Baccio da Montelupo, 55, 188, 190, 239
  • Bagnacavallo, Bartolommeo da, 147
  • Bagnacavallo, Giovan Battista da, 147, 148
  • Baldassarre Peruzzi, 65, 196
  • Baldovinetti, Alesso, 182
  • Bandinelli, Baccio, 20, 49, 126, 190
  • Bandini, Giovanni di Benedetto (Giovanni dell'Opera), 126, 130, 140, 141
  • Barbara de' Longhi, 155
  • Barbiere, Domenico del, 149
  • Barozzi, Jacopo (Vignuola), 102, 146, 147
  • Bartolommeo Ammanati, 69, 70, 73, 118, 125, 126, 129, 207, 208, 223
  • Bartolommeo Bozzato (Girolamo Bozza), 183
  • Bartolommeo da Bagnacavallo, 147
  • Bartolommeo Montagna, 211
  • Bartolommeo Passerotto, 156
  • Bartolommeo Suardi (Bramantino da Milano), 190
  • Bassano, Jacopo da, 175, 176
  • Bastiano (Aristotile) da San Gallo, 20, 29, 30
  • Battista del Cavaliere (Battista Lorenzi), 131, 140, 141
  • Battista del Cinque, 51
  • Battista del Tasso, 51
  • Battista di Benedetto Fiammeri, 126
  • Battista Farinato, 214
  • Battista Franco, 199, 205, 217
  • Battista Lorenzi (Battista del Cavaliere), 131, 140, 141
  • Battista Naldini, 134
  • Begarelli, Antonio (Modena), 113
  • Bellegambe, Jean, 266
  • Bellini, Giovanni, 159, 160, 162, 163
  • Benedetto da Rovezzano, 191
  • Bening, Levina, 269
  • Bening, Simon, 268
  • Benvenuto Cellini, 51, 118, 125
  • Benvenuto Garofalo, 202
  • Bernard of Brussels, 266
  • Bernardino Pinturicchio, 190
  • Bernardo Timante Buontalenti, 135-137
  • Bertoldo, 8
  • Berughetta, Alonzo, 20, 189
  • Bigio, Nanni di Baccio, 69, 76, 100, 101, 113, 239
  • Blondeel, Lancelot, 267
  • Bol, Hans, 268
  • Bologna, Giovan, 267, 269
  • Bologna, Ruggieri da, 147
  • Bolognese, Pellegrino (Pellegrino Pellegrini, or Tibaldi), 151-154, 258
  • Bonifazio (of Venice), 214
  • Bordone, Paris, 178-182
  • Borghese (of Antwerp), 269
  • Bosch, Hieronymus, 267
  • Bosco, Maso dal (Maso Boscoli), 55
  • Boscoli, Giovanni, 156
  • Boscoli, Maso (Maso dal Bosco), 55
  • Bozzato, Bartolommeo (Girolamo Bozza), 183
  • Bramante da Urbino, 27-29, 31, 65, 71, 188-190
  • Bramantino da Milano (Bartolommeo Suardi), 190
  • Bresciano, Jacopo (Jacopo de' Medici), 206, 207, 223
  • Breuck, Jakob, 269
  • Bronzino, Agnolo, 118, 125, 128, 133, 137, 252
  • Bronzino, Alessandro del (Alessandro Allori), 133, 138
  • Brueghel, Pieter, 267, 268
  • Brunelleschi, Filippo, 43, 44, 133
  • Brussels, Bernard of, 266
  • Bugiardini, Giuliano, 29, 30, 95
  • Buglioni, Santi, 132
  • Buonarroti, Michelagnolo, Life, 3-141. 145, 153, 162, 170, 171, 187, 193-195, 215, 216, 224, 231, 235, 236, 239, 246, 250, 251, 259
  • Buontalenti, Bernardo Timante, 135-137
  • Butteri, Giovan Maria, 131
  • Cadore, Tiziano da (Tiziano Vecelli), Life, 159-178. 48, 145, 153, 159-179, 182, 183, 201, 202, 247, 252
  • Calamech, Andrea, 129
  • Calamech, Lazzaro, 129
  • Calcagni, Tiberio, 83, 84, 98-100
  • Calcar, Johann of (Giovanni Fiammingo), 178, 266
  • Capocaccia, Mario, 233
  • Caravaggio, Polidoro da, 170
  • Carota (Antonio di Marco di Giano), 51
  • Carpaccio, Vittore (Vittore Scarpaccia), 210, 211
  • Carrara, Danese da (Danese Cattaneo), 176, 204, 208-210, 214, 223
  • Casignuola, Jacopo, 238
  • Casignuola, Tommaso, 238
  • Castel Bolognese, Giovanni da, 164
  • Castelfranco, Giorgione da, 159-162, 165, 179
  • Catharina van Hemessen, 269
  • Cattaneo, Danese (Danese da Carrara), 176, 204, 208-210, 214, 223
  • Cavaliere, Battista del (Battista Lorenzi), 131, 140, 141
  • Cavalori, Mirabello (Mirabello di Salincorno), 126
  • Cellini, Benvenuto, 51, 118, 125
  • Cesare Cesariano, 190
  • Cesare del Nebbia, 261
  • Cesariano, Cesare, 190
  • Christus, Pieter, 265
  • Ciappino, 51
  • Ciciliano, Jacopo, 98
  • Cimabue, Giovanni, 133
  • Cinque, Battista del, 51
  • Cioli, Valerio, 129, 140, 141
  • Clara Skeysers, 269
  • Cleef, Joost van, 266
  • Clovio, Don Giulio, Life, 245-253
  • Cock, Hieronymus, 266
  • Cock, Matthys, 266
  • Colonna, Jacopo, 202, 203, 223
  • Condivi, Ascanio (Ascanio dalla Ripa Transone), 5, 107
  • Conte, Jacopo del, 95, 152, 258, 260, 261
  • Contucci, Andrea (Andrea Sansovino), 15, 40, 41, 187, 202, 216
  • Cornelis Floris, 269
  • Cornelis, Jan, 266
  • Coxie, Michael, 266-268
  • Crabeth, Wouter, 269
  • Credi, Lorenzo di, 190
  • Cristofano Gherardi, 261
  • Cristofano Gobbo (Cristofano Solari), 14, 234
  • Cristofano Rosa, 177
  • Cristofano Solari (Cristofano Gobbo), 14, 234
  • Crocifissaio, Girolamo del (Girolamo Macchietti), 126
  • Dalen, Jan van, 269
  • Danese Cattaneo (Danese da Carrara), 176, 204, 208-210, 214, 223
  • Daniello Ricciarelli (Daniello da Volterra), 95, 100, 101, 103, 107, 121, 122
  • Dante, Girolamo (Girolamo di Tiziano), 183
  • Danti, Vincenzio, 128, 139
  • David Ghirlandajo, 5, 6, 182
  • Delft, Simon van, 269
  • Dierick Jacobsz Vellaert, 269
  • Dinant, Hendrik of, 266
  • Dirk of Haarlem, 266
  • Dirk of Louvain, 266
  • Dirk van Staren, 269
  • Dirk Volkaerts, 270
  • Domenico Aimo (Vecchio), 189
  • Domenico del Barbiere, 149
  • Domenico Ghirlandajo, 5-9, 182
  • Domenico Poggini, 131
  • Domenicus Lampsonius, 268, 270, 271
  • Don Giulio Clovio, Life, 245-253
  • Donato (Donatello), 8, 10, 111, 133, 138, 169
  • Doni, Adone, 261
  • Donnino, Agnolo di, 29, 30
  • Dosso Dossi, 163
  • Dürer, Albrecht, 163, 246, 265, 271
  • Eyck, Hubert van, 265
  • Eyck, Jan van, 265, 266
  • Fabbro, Pippo del, 192
  • Fabrizio Viniziano, 215
  • Faenza, Jacopone da, 154
  • Faenza, Marco da (Marco Marchetti), 155, 156
  • Fallaro, Jacopo, 214
  • Farinato, Battista, 214
  • Federigo Fiammingo (Federigo di Lamberto, or Del Padovano), 127, 268
  • Ferrarese, Girolamo (Girolamo Lombardi), 202, 223
  • Fiammeri, Battista di Benedetto, 126
  • Fiammingo, Federigo (Federigo di Lamberto, or Del Padovano), 127, 268
  • Fiammingo, Giorgio, 269
  • Fiammingo, Giovanni (Johann of Calcar), 178, 266
  • Fiesole, Simone da, 15, 16
  • Filippo Brunelleschi, 43, 44, 133
  • Filippo Lippi, Fra, 119, 133
  • Floris, Cornelis, 269
  • Floris, Franz, 267-270
  • Fontana, Prospero, 147, 148, 150-152
  • Forlì, Livio da (Livio Agresti), 155
  • Fra Filippo Lippi, 119, 133
  • Fra Giovanni Agnolo Montorsoli, 51, 117, 133
  • Fra Guglielmo della Porta, 68, 69, 234-238
  • Fra Sebastiano Viniziano del Piombo, 68, 106, 109, 111, 162, 235
  • Francesco del Tadda, 97
  • Francesco Francia, 26, 27
  • Francesco Granacci, 5, 6, 8, 20, 29, 30
  • Francesco Primaticcio, Description of Works, 145-150. 151, 156
  • Francesco Salviati, 133
  • Francesco Verbo (Verlo), 211
  • Francia, Francesco, 26, 27
  • Francia, Piero, 130
  • Franciabigio, 20
  • Franco, Battista, 199, 205, 217
  • Franz Floris, 267-270
  • Franz Mostaert, 266-268
  • Franzese, Giovanni, 88
  • Gaddi, Taddeo, 133
  • Galeazzo Alessi, 239-242
  • Galeotto, Pietro Paolo, 233
  • Galle, Philip, 270
  • Garofalo, Benvenuto, 202
  • Gerard, 268
  • Ghent, Justus of, 265
  • Gherardi, Cristofano, 261
  • Gherardo, 182
  • Ghiberti, Lorenzo, 114
  • Ghirlandajo, David, 5, 6, 182
  • Ghirlandajo, Domenico, 5-9, 182
  • Ghirlandajo, Michele di Ridolfo, 130
  • Ghirlandajo, Ridolfo, 20
  • Gian Maria Verdezotti, 178
  • Giano, Antonio di Marco di (Carota), 51
  • Gilis Mostaert, 268
  • Giorgio Fiammingo, 269
  • Giorgio Vasari. See Vasari (Giorgio)
  • Giorgione da Castelfranco, 159-162, 165, 179
  • Giotto, 3, 119, 133, 182
  • Giovan Battista da Bagnacavallo, 147, 148
  • Giovan Bologna, 267, 269
  • Giovan Jacomo della Porta, 234, 235
  • Giovan Maria Butteri, 131
  • Giovan Paolo Poggini, 232, 233
  • Giovanni (of Vicenza), 211
  • Giovanni Agnolo Montorsoli, Fra, 51, 117, 133
  • Giovanni Antonio Licinio (Pordenone), 160, 167, 168
  • Giovanni Bellini, 159, 160, 162, 163
  • Giovanni Boscoli, 156
  • Giovanni Cimabue, 133
  • Giovanni da Castel Bolognese, 164
  • Giovanni da Udine, 42, 51
  • Giovanni dell'Opera (Giovanni di Benedetto Bandini), 126, 130, 140, 141
  • Giovanni Fiammingo (Johann of Calcar), 178, 266
  • Giovanni Franzese, 88
  • Giovanni Pisano, 11
  • Giovanni Speranza, 211
  • Giovanni Strada (Jan van der Straet), 134, 135, 267
  • Girolamo Bozza (Bartolommeo Bozzato), 183
  • Girolamo da Sermoneta (Girolamo Siciolante), 152, 257-259
  • Girolamo Dante (Girolamo di Tiziano), 183
  • Girolamo del Crocifissaio (Girolamo Macchietti), 126
  • Girolamo di Tiziano (Girolamo Dante), 183
  • Girolamo Ferrarese (Girolamo Lombardi), 202, 223
  • Girolamo Macchietti (Girolamo del Crocifissaio), 126
  • Girolamo Miruoli, 156
  • Girolamo Pironi, 211
  • Girolamo Siciolante (Girolamo da Sermoneta), 152, 257-259
  • Giuliano Bugiardini, 29, 30, 95
  • Giuliano da San Gallo, 16, 29, 30, 188, 189
  • Giulio Clovio, Don, Life, 245-253
  • Giulio Romano, 146, 168, 245, 257, 258
  • Giuseppe Salviati (Giuseppe Porta), 214
  • Gobbo, Cristofano (Cristofano Solari), 14, 234
  • Gossart, Jean, 267
  • Granacci, Francesco, 5, 6, 8, 20, 29, 30
  • Grimmer, Jakob, 268
  • Guerrini, Rocco, 242
  • Guglielmo della Porta, Fra, 68, 69, 234-238
  • Guglielmo Tedesco, 237
  • Haarlem, Dirk of, 266
  • Haeck, Jan, 269
  • Hans Bol, 268
  • Hans Memling, 265
  • Heemskerk, Martin, 266
  • Heinrich Paludanus, 269
  • Hemessen, Catharina van, 269
  • Hemessen, Jan van, 266, 269
  • Hendrik of Dinant, 266
  • Hieronymus Bosch, 267
  • Hieronymus Cock, 266
  • Horebout, Lucas, 268
  • Horebout, Susanna, 268, 269
  • Hubert van Eyck, 265
  • Hugo of Antwerp, 265
  • Indaco, Jacopo L', 29, 30
  • Irene di Spilimbergo, 175
  • Jacopo Barozzi (Vignuola), 102, 146, 147
  • Jacopo Bresciano (Jacopo de' Medici), 206, 207, 223
  • Jacopo Casignuola, 238
  • Jacopo Ciciliano, 98
  • Jacopo Colonna, 202, 203, 223
  • Jacopo da Bassano, 175, 176
  • Jacopo da Pontormo, 20, 107, 110, 133, 134
  • Jacopo de' Medici (Jacopo Bresciano), 206, 207, 223
  • Jacopo del Conte, 95, 152, 258, 260, 261
  • Jacopo di Sandro, 29, 30
  • Jacopo Fallaro, 214
  • Jacopo L'Indaco, 29, 30
  • Jacopo Palma, 160
  • Jacopo Pisbolica, 214, 215
  • Jacopo Sansovino (Jacopo Tatti), Life, 187-202, 215-225. 20, 40, 41, 107, 145, 166, 170, 187-204, 206-208, 210, 215-225
  • Jacopo Tintoretto, 214
  • Jacopo Zucchi, 134
  • Jacopone da Faenza, 154
  • Jakob Breuck, 269
  • Jakob Grimmer, 268
  • Jan Cornelis, 266
  • Jan de Mynsheere, 269
  • Jan der Sart, 269
  • Jan Haeck, 269
  • Jan Scorel, 266
  • Jan van Dalen, 269
  • Jan van der Straet (Giovanni Strada), 134, 135, 267
  • Jan van Eyck, 265, 266
  • Jan van Hemessen, 266, 269
  • Janszoon, Joost, 269
  • Jean Bellegambe, 266
  • Jean Gossart, 267
  • Joachim Patinier, 266
  • Johann of Calcar (Giovanni Fiammingo), 178, 266
  • Johann of Louvain, 266
  • Joost Janszoon, 269
  • Joost van Cleef, 266
  • Joris Robyn, 270
  • Justus of Ghent, 265
  • Lambert Lombard (Lambert of Amsterdam), 266-268, 270
  • Lambert Suavius, 269, 270
  • Lambert Van Noort, 268
  • Lamberto, Federigo di (Federigo Fiammingo, or Del Padovano), 127, 268
  • Lampsonius, Domenicus, 268, 270, 271
  • Lancelot Blondeel, 267
  • Lancia, Luca, 223
  • Lapo, Arnolfo di, 194
  • Lastricati, Zanobi, 125, 132
  • Lazzaro Calamech, 129
  • Leon Batista Alberti, 271
  • Leonardo da Vinci, 15, 19, 234
  • Leonardo Milanese, 238
  • Leone Lioni (Leone Aretino), Life, 229-232. 95, 233
  • Levina Bening, 269
  • Leyden, Lucas van, 265, 270
  • Licinio, Giovanni Antonio (Pordenone), 160, 167, 168
  • Ligorio, Pirro, 84, 94, 95, 102
  • L'Indaco, Jacopo, 29, 30
  • Lioni, Leone (Leone Aretino), Life, 229-232. 95, 233
  • Lioni, Pompeo, 232, 233
  • Lippi, Fra Filippo, 119, 133
  • Livio Agresti (Livio da Forlì), 155
  • Lodovico (of Florence), 262
  • Lodovico Rosso, 182
  • Lombard, Lambert (Lambert of Amsterdam), 266-268, 270
  • Lombardi, Alfonso, 167
  • Lombardi, Girolamo (Girolamo Ferrarese), 202, 223
  • Longhi, Barbara de', 155
  • Longhi, Luca de', 154, 155
  • Lorenzetto, 20, 239
  • Lorenzi, Antonio di Gino, 131
  • Lorenzi, Battista (Battista del Cavaliere), 131, 140, 141
  • Lorenzo della Sciorina (Lorenzo Sciorini), 128
  • Lorenzo di Credi, 190
  • Lorenzo Ghiberti, 114
  • Lorenzo Sabatini, 151
  • Lorenzo Sciorini (Lorenzo della Sciorina), 128
  • Louis of Louvain, 265
  • Louvain, Dirk of, 266
  • Louvain, Johann of, 266
  • Louvain, Louis of, 265
  • Louvain, Quentin of, 266
  • Luca de' Longhi, 154, 155
  • Luca Lancia, 223
  • Luca Signorelli, 190
  • Lucas Horebout, 268
  • Lucas van Leyden, 265, 270
  • Lugano, Tommaso da, 206
  • Macchietti, Girolamo (Girolamo del Crocifissaio), 126
  • Manemaker, Matthaeus, 269
  • Mantegna, Andrea, 211
  • Marcello Mantovano (Marcello Venusti), 106, 259, 260
  • Marco da Faenza (Marco Marchetti), 155, 156
  • Marinus (of Zierickzee), 268
  • Mario Capocaccia, 233
  • Marten de Vos, 268
  • Martin Heemskerk, 266
  • Martin Schongauer (Martino), 7, 265
  • Masaccio, 10, 133
  • Maso dal Bosco (Maso Boscoli), 55
  • Matthaeus Manemaker, 269
  • Matthys Cock, 266
  • Maturino, 20
  • Medici, Jacopo de' (Jacopo Bresciano), 206, 207, 223
  • Memling, Hans, 265
  • Menighella, 114
  • Michael Coxie, 266-268
  • Michelagnolo Buonarroti, Life, 3-141. 145, 153, 162, 170, 171, 187, 193-195, 215, 216, 224, 231, 235, 236, 239, 246, 250, 251, 259
  • Michele di Ridolfo Ghirlandajo, 130
  • Milanese, Leonardo, 238
  • Milano, Bramantino da (Bartolommeo Suardi), 190
  • Minga, Andrea del, 131
  • Mini, Antonio, 47-51, 69, 81, 107, 109
  • Minio, Tiziano (Tiziano da Padova), 203, 223
  • Mirabello di Salincorno (Mirabello Cavalori), 126
  • Miruoli, Girolamo, 156
  • Modena (Antonio Begarelli), 113
  • Modena, Niccolò da (Niccolò dell'Abate), 148
  • Montagna, Bartolommeo, 211
  • Montelupo, Baccio da, 55, 188, 190, 239
  • Montelupo, Raffaello da, 51, 55, 69, 239
  • Montorsoli, Fra Giovanni Agnolo, 51, 117, 133
  • Moor, Antonius, 268
  • Mosca, Simone, 69
  • Mostaert, Franz, 266-268
  • Mostaert, Gilis, 268
  • Mynsheere, Jan de, 269
  • Naldini, Battista, 134
  • Nanni di Baccio Bigio, 69, 76, 100, 101, 113, 239
  • Nanni Unghero, 188
  • Nebbia, Cesare del, 261
  • Niccolò (Tribolo), 20, 51, 77, 78, 202, 223
  • Niccolò da Modena (Niccolò dell'Abate), 148
  • Niccolò dalle Pomarancie, 261
  • Niccolò dell'Abate (Niccolò da Modena), 148
  • Niccolò dell'Arca, 11
  • Noort, Arthus van, 269
  • Noort, Lambert van, 268
  • Oja, Sebastian van, 269
  • Opera, Giovanni dell' (Giovanni di Benedetto Bandini), 126, 130, 140, 141
  • Orazio Sammacchini, 154
  • Orazio Vecelli, 171
  • Padova, Tiziano da (Tiziano Minio), 203, 223
  • Padovano, Federigo del (Federigo di Lamberto, or Fiammingo), 127, 268
  • Palladio, Andrea, 211-214
  • Palma, Jacopo, 160
  • Paludanus, Heinrich, 269
  • Paludanus, Willem, 269
  • Paolo Ponzio, 149
  • Paolo Uccello, 133
  • Paris Bordone, 178-182
  • Parrhasius, 133
  • Passerotto, Bartolommeo, 156
  • Patinier, Joachim, 266
  • Pellegrino Bolognese (Pellegrino Pellegrini or Tibaldi), 151-154, 258
  • Perino del Vaga, 20, 61, 151, 234, 257, 259
  • Perugino, Pietro, 189
  • Peruzzi, Baldassarre, 65, 196
  • Peruzzi, Salustio, 82
  • Philip Galle, 270
  • Pieri, Stefano, 137
  • Piero Francia, 130
  • Pieter Aertsen, 268
  • Pieter Brueghel, 267, 268
  • Pieter Christus, 265
  • Pieter Koeck, 267
  • Pieter Pourbus, 268
  • Pietro da Salò, 204, 223
  • Pietro Paolo Galeotto, 233
  • Pietro Perugino, 189
  • Pietro Urbano, 44, 107
  • Piloto, 42, 43, 47, 48
  • Pinturicchio, Bernardino, 190
  • Piombo, Fra Sebastiano Viniziano del, 68, 106, 109, 111, 162, 235
  • Pippo del Fabbro, 192
  • Pironi, Girolamo, 211
  • Pirro Ligorio, 84, 94, 95, 102
  • Pisano, Giovanni, 11
  • Pisbolica, Jacopo, 214, 215
  • Poggini, Domenico, 131
  • Poggini, Giovan Paolo, 232, 233
  • Polidoro (of Perugia), 234
  • Polidoro da Caravaggio, 170
  • Pomarancie, Niccolò dalle, 261
  • Pompeo Lioni, 232, 233
  • Pontormo, Jacopo da, 20, 107, 110, 133, 134
  • Ponzio, Paolo, 149
  • Pordenone (Giovanni Antonio Licinio), 160, 167, 168
  • Porta, Fra Guglielmo della, 68, 69, 234-238
  • Porta, Giovan Jacomo della, 234, 235
  • Porta, Giuseppe (Giuseppe Salviati), 214
  • Porta, Tommaso, 238
  • Pourbus, Pieter, 268
  • Praxiteles, 133
  • Primaticcio, Francesco, Description of Works, 145-150. 151, 156
  • Prospero Fontana, 147, 148, 150-152
  • Quentin of Louvain, 266
  • Sabatini, Lorenzo, 151
  • Salincorno, Mirabello di (Mirabello Cavalori), 126
  • Salò, Pietro da, 204, 223
  • Salustio Peruzzi, 82
  • Salviati, Francesco, 133
  • Salviati, Giuseppe (Giuseppe Porta), 214
  • Sammacchini, Orazio, 154
  • San Friano, Tommaso da, 137
  • San Gallo, Antonio da (the elder), 16, 40, 41
  • San Gallo, Antonio da (the younger), 61-67, 196, 197, 224, 239
  • San Gallo, Aristotile (Bastiano) da, 20, 29, 30
  • San Gallo, Giuliano da, 16, 29, 30, 188, 189
  • Sandro, Jacopo di, 29, 30
  • Sansovino, Andrea (Andrea Contucci), 15, 40, 41, 187, 202, 216
  • Sansovino, Jacopo (Jacopo Tatti), Life, 187-202, 215-225. 20, 40, 41, 107, 145, 166, 170, 187-204, 206-208, 210, 215-225
  • Santi Buglioni, 132
  • Santi Titi, 135
  • Sanzio, Raffaello (Raffaello da Urbino), 20, 27, 28, 30, 31, 40, 41, 65, 162, 165, 170, 189, 194, 196, 267
  • Sart, Jan der, 269
  • Sarto, Andrea del, 20, 43, 188, 193, 194
  • Scarpaccia, Vittore (Vittore Carpaccio), 210, 211
  • Scherano da Settignano (Alessandro), 55
  • Schongauer, Martin (Martino), 7, 265
  • Sciorini, Lorenzo (Lorenzo della Sciorina), 128
  • Scorel, Jan, 266
  • Sebastian van Oja, 269
  • Sebastiano Serlio, 196, 267, 271
  • Sebastiano Viniziano del Piombo, Fra, 68, 106, 109, 111, 162, 235
  • Seghers, Anna, 269
  • Serlio, Sebastiano, 196, 267, 271
  • Sermoneta, Girolamo da (Girolamo Siciolante), 152, 257-259
  • Settignano, Scherano da (Alessandro), 55
  • Settignano, Solosmeo da, 202, 223
  • Siciolante, Girolamo (Girolamo da Sermoneta), 152, 257-259
  • Signorelli, Luca, 190
  • Simon Bening, 268
  • Simon van Delft, 269
  • Simone da Fiesole, 15, 16
  • Simone Mosca, 69
  • Skeysers, Clara, 269
  • Solari, Cristofano (Cristofano Gobbo), 14, 234
  • Solosmeo da Settignano, 202, 223
  • Speranza, Giovanni, 211
  • Spilimbergo, Irene di, 175
  • Staren, Dirk van, 269
  • Stefano Pieri, 137
  • Stefano Rosa, 177
  • Strada, Giovanni (Jan van der Straet), 134, 135, 267
  • Suardi, Bartolommeo (Bramantino da Milano), 190
  • Suavius, Lambert, 269, 270
  • Susanna Horebout, 268, 269
  • Weyden, Roger van der, 265
  • Willem Keur, 269
  • Willem Key, 267, 268, 270
  • Willem Paludanus, 269
  • Willem van Antwerp, 269
  • Wouter Crabeth, 269
  • Zaccheria Zacchi (Zaccheria da Volterra), 189, 190
  • Zanobi Lastricati, 125, 132
  • Zeuxis, 133
  • Zuccati, Valerio, 182, 183
  • Zuccati, Vincenzio, 182, 183
  • Zucchi, Jacopo, 134




[1] 1534.

[2] Piacenza.

[3] Busybody, or Jack-of-all-Trades.

[4] Drum.

[5] Begarelli.

[6] See note on p. 132, vol. ii.

[7] Sammacchini.

[8] Priuli.

[9] Zuccati.

[10] After the death of Jacopo Sansovino in 1570, Vasari published a separate Life of him, containing an account of his death and other additional information. Such passages as contain information that is new or expressed differently from that of the Edition of 1568 will be found in the notes at the end of this Life.

[11] Via Flaminia.

[12] A "canna" is equal to about four braccia.

[13] Hunchback.

[14] The story runs that in the year 1533 Queen Maria attacked and destroyed the Castle of Folembrai, and that in the following year King Henry of France, out of revenge, destroyed the fortress of Binche in Upper Hainault, leaving on the ruined walls the words "Voilà Folembrai"; which in the Italian have been corrupted into "Vela fole Maria."

[15] See last line on p. 112.

[16] Hans Memling.



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