The Pope having resolved that the pictures which had been painted there by the masters before him in the time of Sixtus should be destroyed, Michaelangelo was forced by the greatness of the undertaking to ask aid, and sent to Florence for men. And having begun and finished the cartoons, and never having colored before in fresco, he brought from Florence some of his friends to aid hlm, and that he might see their method of working in freseo, among whom were Granacci, Bugiardini, and others. So he set them to begin the work, but their efforts being far from satisfying him, one morning he resolved to destroy all that they had done, and shutting himself up in the chapel, would not open the door for them, nor show himself to them at home. They therefore, after this had gone on some time, were offended, and took leave and went back to Florence with shame. Then Michaelangelo prepared to do the whole work himself, and brought it to a successful termination with great labor and study, nor would he let any one see it, by which means the desire grew strong in all. When the half was done and uncovered, all Rome went to see it, the Pope the first; and Raffaello da Urbino, who was excellent in imitating, having seen it, changed his manner. Then Bramante sought to persuade the Pope to give the other half to Raffaello. But the Pope, seeing every day the powers of Michaelangelo, judged that he should finish the other half. So he brought it to an end in twenty months by himself without even the help of a man to grind the colors. Michaelangelo complained that from the haste of the Pope he could not finish it as he would, for the Pope constantly asked him when it would be finished. Once he answered, "It will be finished when I have satisfied myself." "But we will" replied the Pope, "that you should satisfy us in our desire to have it quickly." And he added that if it was not done soon he would have him thrown from his scaffold. The Pope used often to tell Michaelangelo to make the chapel rich in color and gold, but Michaelangelo would answer the Holy Father, "In those times men did not wear gold, and those whom I am painting were never very rich, but holy men despising riches."
The work was done in great discomfort from constantly looking up, and it so injured his sight that he could only read or look at drawings in the same position, an effect which lasted many months. But in the ardor of labor he felt no fatigue and cared for no discomfort. The work has been, indeed, a light of our art, illuminating the world which had been so many centuries in darkness. Oh, truly happy age, and oh, blessed artists, who at such a fountain can purge away the dark films from your eyes. Give thanks to Heaven, and imitate Michaelangelo in all things.
So when it was uncovered every one from every part ran to see it, and gazed in silent astonishment; and the Pope, inspired by it and encouraged to greater undertakings, rewarded him liberally with money and rich gifts. The great favors that the Pope showed him proved that he recognised his talents, and if sometimes he did him an injury, he healed it with gifts and signal favors; as when, for instance, Michaelangelo once asked leave of him to go to work in S. Giovanni in Florence, and requested money for the purpose, and he said, "Well, and this chapel, when will it be finished?" "When I can, Holy Father." The Pope having a stick in his hand struck Michaelangelo, saying, "When I can! when I can! I will make you finish it!" Michaelangelo therefore returned to his house and prepared to leave for Florence, but the Pope in haste sent his chamberlain after him with five hundred crowns to pacify him, and ordered him to make his excuses and say it was all done in love and kindness. And he, seeing it was the nature of the Pope and really loving him, took it in good part and laughed at it, finding also that it turned to his profit, for the Pope would do anything to keep him his friend.
But when the chapel was finished, and before the Pope died, he gave orders to Cardinal Santiquattro and Cardinal Aginense, his nephew, that in the case of his death they were to complete his monument, but after a less magnificent design than the first. So Michaelangelo returned again to his work upon the tomb, hoping to carry it out to the end without hindrance, but it was to him the cause of more annoyance and trouble than anything else he did in his life. At that time befell the death of Julius, and the whole plan was abandoned upon the creation of Pope Leo X. For he having a mind and talents no less splendid than those of Julius, desired to leave in his native city, of which he was the first pontiff, such a marvellous work in memory of himself and of the divine artist, his fellowcitizen, as a great prince like himself was able to produce. So he gave orders that the facade of S. Lorenzo in Florence, a church built by the house of Medici, should be erected, and he commanded that the sepulchre of Julius should be abandoned that Michaelangelo might prepare plans and designs for this work. Michaelangelo made all the resistance he could, alleging that he was bound to Santiquattro and Aginense for the tomb. But the Pope replied that he was not to think about that, for he had already considered that, and had procured their consent to his departure. So the matter was settled to the displeasure both of the cardinals and Michaelangelo, and he departed weeping. He consumed many years in procuring marble, though in the meantime he made models in wax and other things for the work; but the matter was so delayed that the money set apart for it was consumed in the war of Lombardy, and the work was left unfinished at the death of Leo.
At this time, in the year 1525, Giorgio Vasari was brought as a boy to Florence by the Cardinal of Cortona and put with Michaelangelo to learn the art. But he being called by Pope Clement VII to Rome, determined that Vasari should go to Andrea del Sarto, and went himself to Andrea's workshop to recommend him to his care.
When Clement VII was made pope he sent for Michaelangelo, and he agreed with the Pope to finish the sacristy and library of S. Lorenzo, and to make four tombs for the bodies of the fathers of the two Popes, Lorenzo and Giuliano, his brother, and for Giuliano, brothcr of Leo, and Duke Lorenzo, his nephew. At this time befell the sack of Rome and the banishment of the Medici from Florence. Those who governed the city desired to refortify it, and made Michaelangelo commissary general of all the fortifications. He surrounded the hill of S. Miniato with bastions and fortified the city in many places, and he was sent to Ferrara to view the fortifications of Duke Alfonso, who received him with much courtesy, and prayed him at his leisure to make some work of art for him. Returning to Florence, and engaged again upon the fortifications, he nevertheless found time both to make a painting of Leda in tempera for the duke, and to work upon the statues for the monument in S. Lorenzo. Of this monument, partly finished, there are seven statues. The first is Our Lady, and though it is not finished, the excellence of the work may be seen. Then there are the four statues of Night and Day, Dawn and Twilight, most beautiful, and sufficient of themselves, if art were lost, to restore it to light. The other statues are the two armed captains, the one the pensive Duke Lorenzo, and the other the proud Duke Giuliano.
Meanwhile the siege of Florence began, and the enemy closing round the city, and the hope of aid failing, Michaelangelo determined to leave Florence and go to Venice. So he departed secretly without anyone knowing of it, taking with him Antonio Mini his pupil, and his faithful friend Piloto the goldsmith, wearing each one their money in their quilted doublets. And they came to Ferrara and rested there. And it happened because of the war that Duke Alfonso had given orders that the names of those who were at the inns and of all strangers should be brought him every day. So it came about that Michaelangelo's coming was made known to the duke. And he sent some of the chief men of his court to bring him to the palace, with his horses and all he had, and give him good lodging. So Michaelangelo, finding himself in the power of another, was forced to obey and went to the duke. And the duke received him with great honour, and making him rich gifts, desired him to tarry in Ferrara. But he would not remain, though the duke, praying him not to depart while the war lasted, offered him all in his power. Then Michaelangelo, not willing to be outdone in courtesy, thanked him much, and turning to his two companions, said that he had brought to Ferrara twelve thousand crowns, and that they were quite at his service.
And the duke took him through his palace and showed him all his treasures, especially his portrait by the hand of Titian, which Michaelangelo commended much; but he would not stop at the palace, and returned to the inn, and the host where he lodged received from the duke an infinite number of things with which to do him honor, and command to take nothing from him for his lodging.
He proceeded thence to Venice, but many desiring to make his acquaintance, for which he had no wish, he departed from the Giudecca where he had lodged. It is said that he made a design for the bridge of the Rialto at the request of the Doge Gritti, a design most rare for invention and ornament.
But Michaelangelo was recalled by his native city, and earnestly implored not to abandon her, and they sent him a safe conduct. At last, overcome by his love for her, he returned, not without peril of his life. He restored the tower of S. Miniato, which did much injury to the enemy, so they battered it with great cannon, and would have overthrown it, but Michaelangelo defended it, hanging bales of wool and mattresses to shield it.
When the peace was made, Baccio Valore was commissioned by the Pope to seize some of the ringleaders, and they sought for Michaelangelo, but he had fled secretly to the house of a friend, where he lay hid many days. When his anger was passed, Pope Clement remembered his great worth, and bade them seek him, ordering them to say nothing to him, but that he should have his usual provision and should go on with his work at S. Lorenzo.
Then Duke Alfonso of Ferrara, having heard that he had completed a rare piece of work for him, sent one of his gentlemen to him that he might not lose such a jewel, and he came to Florence and presented his letters of credence. Then Michaelangelo showed him the Leda, and Castor and Pollux coming out of the eggbut the messenger of the duke thought he ought to have produced some great work, not understanding the skill and excellence of the thing, and he said to Michaelangelo, "Oh, this is a little thing." Then Michael Angelo asked him what was his trade, for he knew that none are such good judges of a thing as those who have some skill in it themselves. He replied contemptuously, "I am a merchant", thinking that Michaelangelo did not know he was a gentleman; and so, being rather offended by the question, he expressed some contempt for the industry of the Florentines. Michaelangelo, who perfectly understood his meaning, answered, "You have shown yourself a bad merchant this time, and to your master's damage; take yourself off." Afterwards, Anton Mini, his pupil, having two sisters about to be married, asked him for the picture, and he gave it to him willingly, together with the greater part of his drawings and cartoons, and also two chests of models. And when Mini went into France he took them with him there, and the Leda he sold to King Francis, but the cartoons and drawings were lost, for he died in a short time and they were stolen.
Afterwards the Pope desired Michaelangelo to come to him in Rome and paint the walls of the Sistine Chapel. Clement wished that he should paint the Last Judgment and Lucifer driven out of heaven for his pride, for which many years before he had made sketches and designs. However, in 1533 followed the death of Pope Clement, and Michael Angelo again thought himself free to finish the tomb of Julius II But when Paul III was made pope, it was not long before he sent for him, and desired him to come into his service. Then Michaelangelo refused, saying he was bound by contract to the Duke of Urbino to finish the tomb of Julius II. But the Pope in anger cried out, "I have desired this for thirty years, and now that I am Pope I will not give it up. I will destroy the contract, and am determined that you shall serve me." Michaelangelo thought of departing from Rome, but fearing the greatness of the Pope, and seeing him so old, thought to satisfy him with words. And the Pope came one day to his house with ten cardinals, and desired to see all the statues for the tomb of Julius, and they appeared to him miraculous, particularly the Moses; and the Cardinal of Mantua said this figure alone was enough to do honor to Pope Julius. And when he saw the cartoons and drawings for the chapel, the Pope urged him again to come into his service, promising to order matters so that the Duke of Urbino should be contented with three statues the others being made from his designs by good masters.
The new contract, therefore, being confirmed by the duke, the work was completed and set up, a most excellent work, but very far from the first design; and Michaelangelo since he could do no other, resolved to serve Pope Paul, who desired him to carry out the commands of Clement without altering anything. When Michaelangelo had completed about three quarters of the work, Pope Paul went to see it, and Messer Biagio da Cesena, the master of the ceremonies, was with him, and when he was asked what he thought of it, he answered that he thought it not right to have so many naked figures in the Pope's chapel. This displeased Michaelangelo, and to revenge himself, as soon as he was departed, he painted him in the character of Minos with a great serpent twisted round his legs. Nor did Messer Biagio's entreaties either to the Pope or to Michaelangelo himself, avail to persuade him to take it away. At this time it happened that the master fell from the scaffold, from no little height, and hurt one of his legs, but would not be doctored for it. Thereupon Master Baccio Rontini, the Florentine, his friend and a clever doctor, feeling pity for him, went one day and knocked at his door, and receiving no answer, made his way to the room of Michaelangelo, who had been given over, and would not leave him until he was cured. When he was healed, returning to his painting, he worked at it continually, until in a few months it was brought to an end, and the words of Dante verified, "The dead seem dead and the living living." And when this Last Judgment was uncovered, he was seen to have vanquished not only all the painters who had worked there before, but even to have surpassed his own work on the ceiling. He labored at this work eight years, and uncovered it in the year 1541, on Christmas Day, I think, to the marvel of all Rome, or rather all the world; and 1 who went that year to Rome was astounded.
Afterwards he painted for Pope Paul the Conversion of S. Paul and the Crucifixion of S. Peter. These were the last pictures he painted, at the age of seventy-five, and with great fatigue, as he told me; for painting, and especially working in fresco, is not an art for old men. But his spirit could not remain without doing something, and since he could not paint, he set to work upon a piece of marble, to bring out of it four figures larger than life, for his amusement and pastime, and as he said, because working with the hammer kept him healthy in body. It represented the dead Christ, and was left unfinished, although he had intended it to be placed over his grave.
It happened in 1546 that Antonio de Sangallo died, and one being wanted in his place to superintend the building of S. Peter's, his Holiness sent for Michaelangelo and desired to put him in the office, but he refused, saying that architecture was not his proper art. Finally, entreaties availing nothing, the Pope commanded him to accept it, and so, to his great displeasure and against his will, he was obliged to enter upon this office. Then one day going to S. Peter's to see the model of wood which Sangallo had made, he found the whole Sangallo party there. They coming up to him said they were glad that the charge of the work was to be his, adding that the model was a field which would never fail to provide pasture. "You say the truth", answered Michaelangelo, meaning to infer, as he told a friend, "for sheep and oxen, who do not understand art." And he used to say publicly that Sangallo held more to the German manner than to the good antique, and besides that fifty years' labor might be spared and 300,000 crowns' expense, and yet the building might be carried out with more grandeur and majesty. And he showed what he meant in a model which made every one acknowledge his words to be true. This model cost him twenty-five crowns, and was made in fifteen days. Sangallo's model cost more than four thousand, it is said, and took many years to make, for he seemed to think that this building was a way of making money, to be carried on with no intention of its being finished. This seemed to Michaelangelo dishonest, and when the Pope was urging him to become the architect, he said one day openly to all those connected with the building, that they had better do everything to prevent him having the care of it, for he would have none of them in the building; but these words, as may be supposed, did him much harm, and made him many enemies, who were always seeking to hinder him. But at last the Pope issued his commands, and created him the head of the building with all authority. Then Michaelangelo, seeing the Pope's trust in him, desired that it should be put into the agreement that he served for the love of God and without any reward. But when a new Pope was made, the set that was opposed to him in Rome began again to trouble him; therefore the Duke Cosimo desired that he should leave Rome and return to Florence, but he, being sick and infirm, could not travel. At that time Paul IV thought to have the Last Judgment amended which when Michaelangelo heard he bade them tell the Pope that this was a little matter, and might easily be amended; let him amend the world, and then the pictures would soon amend themselves.
The same year befell the death of Urbino his servant, or rather, to speak more truly, his companion. He had come to him in Florence after the siege in 1530, and during twenty-six years served him with such faithfulness that Michaelangelo made him rich, and loved him so much that when he was ill he nursed him and lay all night in his clothes to watch him. After he was dead, Vasari wrote to him to comfort him, and he replied in these words:-
"MY DEAR MESSER GIORGIO,-It is hard for me to write; nevertheless, in reply to your letter, I will say something. You know that Urbino is dead, to my great loss and infinite grief, but in the great mercy of God. The mercy is that dying he has taught me how to die, not in sorrow, but with desire of death. I have had him twenty-six years, and have found him most rare and faithful; and now that I had made him rich, and hoped that he would have been the support of my old age, he has left me, and nothing remains but the hope of meeting him again in Paradise. And of this God gave me promise in the happy death he died, for he regretted, far more than death, leaving me in this treacherous world with so many infirmities, although the chief part of me is gone with him, and nothing remains but infinite misery."
Until this time Michaelangelo worked almost every day at that stone of which we have spoken before, with the four figures, but now he broke it, either because the stone was hard or because his judgment was now so ripe that nothing he did contented him. His finished statues were chiefly made in his youth; most of the others were left unfinished, for if he discovered a mistake, however small, he gave up the work and applied himself to another piece of marble. He often said this was the reason why he had finished so few statues and pictures. This Pieta', broken as it was, he gave to Francesco Bandini. Tiberio Calcagni, the Florentine sculptor, had become a great friend of Michaelangelo's through Bandini, and being one day in Michaelangelo's house, and seeing this Pieta broken, he asked him why he had broken it, and spoilt so much marvellous work. He answered it was because of his servant Urbino's importunity, who was always urging him to finish it, and besides that, among other things, he had broken a piece off the Virgin's arm, and before that he had taken a dislike to it, having many misfortunes because of a crack there was in it; so at last, losing patience, he had broken it, and would have destroyed it altogether if his servant Antonio had not begged him to give it him as it was. Then Tiberio spoke to Bandini about it, for Bandini desired to have a work of Michaelangelo's, and he prayed Michaelangelo to allow Tiberio to finish it for him, promising that Antonio should have two hundred crowns of gold, and he being content, made them a present of it. So Tiberio took it away and joined it together, but it was left unfinished at his death. However, it was necessary for Michaelangelo to get another piece of marble, that he might do a little carving every day.
The architect Pirro Ligorio had entered the service of Paul IV, and was the cause of renewed vexation to Michaelangelo, for he went about everywhere saying that he was becoming childish. Indignant at this treatment, Michaelangelo would willingly have returned to Florence, and Giorgio urged him to do so. But he felt he was getting old, having already reached the age of eighty-one, and he wrote to Vasari saying he knew he was at the end of his life, as it were in the twenty-fourth hour, and that no thought arose in his mind on which death was not carved. He sent also a sonnet, by which it may be seen that his mind was turning more and more towards God, and away from the cares of his art. Duke Cosimo also commanded Vasari to encourage him to return to his native place; but though his will was ready, his infirmity of body kept him in Rome.
Many of his friends, seeing that the work at S. Peter's proceeded but slowly, urged him at least to leave a model behind him. He was for many months undecided about it, but at last he began, and little by little made a small clay model, from which, with the help of his plans and designs, Giovanni Franzese made a larger one of wood.
When Pius V became pope, he showed Michaelangelo much favor, and employed him in many works, particularly in making the design of a monument for the Marquis Marignano, his brother. The work was entrusted by his Holiness to Lione Lioni, a great friend of Michaelangelo's, and about the same time Lione portrayed Michaelangelo on a medallion, putting at his wish on the reverse a blind man led by a dog, with the words, "Docebo iniquos vias tuas, et impii ad te convertentur"; and because the thing pleased him much, Michaelangelo gave him a model in wax of Hercules and Antaus. There are only two painted portraits of Michaelangelo, the one by Bugiardini and the other by Jacopo del Conte, besides one in bronze by Daniello Ricciarelli, and this one of Lione's, of which there have been so many copies made that I have seen a great number in Italy and elsewhere.
About a year before his death, Vasari, seeing that Michaelangelo was much shaken, prevailed upon the Pope to give orders concerning the care of him, and concerning his drawings and other things, in case anything should befall him. His nephew Lionardo desired to come to Rome that Lent, as if foreboding that Michaelangelo was near his end, and when he fell sick of a slow fever, he wrote for him to come. But the sickness increasing, in the presence of his physician and other friends, in perfect consciousness, he made his will in three words, leaving his soul in the hands of God, his body to the earth, and his goods to his nearest relations, charging his friends when passing out of this life to remember the sufferings of Jesus Christ; and so, on the seventeenth day of February, at twenty-three o'clock of the year 1563, according to the Florentine style, which after the Roman would be 1564, he expired to go to a better life.
Michaelangelo's imagination was so perfect that, not being able to express with his hands his great and terrible conceptions, he often abandoned his works and destroyed many of them. I know that a little before his death he burnt a great number of drawings and sketches. It should appear strange to none that Michaelangelo delighted in solitude, being as it were in love with art. Nevertheless he held dear the friendship of many great and learned persons, among whom were many cardinals and bishops. The great Cardinal Ippolito de' Medici loved him much, and once, having heard that Michaelangelo was greatly pleased with a Turkish horse of his, he sent it to him as a gift with ten mules' burden of hay and a servant to keep it. He loved the society of artists, and held intercourse with them; and those who say he would not teach are wrong, for he was ready to give counsel to any one who asked. But he was unfortunate with those pupils who lived in his house; for Piero Urbano was a man of talent, but would never do anything to tire himself; Antonio Mini would have done anything, but he had not a brain capable of much, and when the wax is hard you cannot get a good impression; Ascanio dalla Ripa Transone worked very hard, but nothing came of it: he spent years over a picture of which Michaelangelo had given him the drawing, but at last all the great expectations that had been formed of him went off into smoke, and I remember Michaelangelo had so much compassion for his difficulty in painting that he helped him with his own hand.
He has often said to me that he would have written something for the help of artists, but feared not being able to express in writing what he wished. But he delighted much in reading the poets, particularly Dante and Petrarca, and in making madrigals and sonnets. And he sent much, both in rhyme and prose, to the illustrious Marchioness of Pescara, of whose virtues he was greatly enamored, and she of his. Many times she went from Viterbo to Rome to visit him, and Michaelangelo made many things for her. He delighted much in the sacred scriptures, like the good Christian he was, and held in veneration the works of Fr. Girolamo Savonarola, having heard him preach. In his manner of life he was most abstemious, being content when young with a little bread and wine while at his work, and until he had finished the Last Judgment he always waited for refreshment till the evening, when he had done his work. Though rich he lived poorly, never taking presents from any one. He took little sleep, but often at night he would rise to work, having made himself a paper cap, in the middle of which he could fix his candle, so that he could have the use of his hands. Vasari, who often saw this cap, noticed that he did not use wax candles, but candles made of goats' tallow, and so he sent him four bundles, which would be 40 lbs. His servant took them to him in the evening, and when Michaelangelo refused to take them, he answered, "Sir, carrying them here has almost broken my arms, and I will not carry them back again; but there is some thick mud before your door in which they will stand straight enough, and I will set light to them all." Upon which Michaelangelo answered, "Put them down here, then, for I will not have you playing tricks before my door." He told me that often in his youth he had slept in his clothes, too worn out with his labors to undress himself. Some have accused him of being avaricious, but they are mistaken, for he freely gave away his drawings and models and pictures, for which he might have obtained thousands of crowns. And then, as for the money earned by the sweat of his brow, bv his own study and labour-can any one be called avaricious who remembered so many poor as he did, and secretly provided for the marriage of many girls, and enriched his servant Urbino? He had served him long, and once Michael Angelo asked him, "If I die, what will you do?" He answered, "I shall serve another." "Oh, poor fellow!" answered Michaelangelo, "I will mend your poverty." And he gave him at once two thousand crowns, a gift for a Caesar or a great pontiff.
He had a most tenacious memory; he could remember and make use of the works of others when he had only once seen them; while he never repeated anything of his own, because he remembered all he had done. In his youth, being one evening with some painters, his friends, it was proposed that they should try who could make a figure without any drawing in it, like those things that ignorant fellows draw on the walls, and the one that could make the best should have a supper given him. He remembered having seen one of these rude drawings on a wall, and drew it as if he had it in front of him, and so surpassed all the other painters--a difficult thing for a man to do who had such knowledge of drawing.
He felt very strongly against those who had done him an injury, but he never had recourse to vengeance. His conversation was full of wisdom and gravity, mixed with clever or humorous sayings. Many of these have been noted down, and I will give some. A friend of his was once talking to him about death, and saying that he must dread it very much because he was so continually laboring in his art; but he answered, "All that was nothing, and if life pleased us, death was a work from the hand of the same Master, and ought not to displease us." A citizen found him once at Orsanmichele in Florence, looking at the statue of S. Mark by Donatello, and asked him what he thought of it. He answered that he had never seen a more honest face, and that if S. Mark was like that, we might believe all that he had written. A painter had painted a picture in which the best thing was an ox, and some one asked why it was that the painter had made the ox more lifelike than anything else? Michael Angelo answered, "Every painter can portray himself well."
He took pleasure in certain men like Il Menighella, a common painter, who would come to him and get him to make a drawing for a S. Rocco or a S. Antonio, which he was to paint for some peasant. And Michael Angelo, who could hardly be persuaded to work for kings, would at once lay aside his work, and make simple designs suited to Il Menighella's wishes. He was also attached to Topolino, a stonecutter, who fancied hin1self a sculptor of worth. He resided for many years in the mountains of Carrara for the purpose of sending marble to Michaelangelo, and he never sent a boatload without three or four roughly hewn figures of his own carving, which used to make Michaelangelo die with laughing. After he came back from Carrara he set himself to finish a Mercury which he had begun in marble, and one day, when it was nearly completed, he asked Michael Angelo to look at it and give him his opinion on it. "You are a fool" said Michaelangelo, "to try to make figures. Don't you see that this Mercury is the third part of a braccio too short from the knee to the foot-that you have made him a lame dwarf?." "Oh, that is nothing! If that is all, I will soon remedy that." Michaelangelo laughed again at his simplicity, but when he was gone Topolino took a piece of marble, and having cut Mercury under the knees, inserted the marble, joining it neatly, and giving Mercury a pair of boots, the top of which hid the join. When he showed his work to Michaelangelo he laughed again, but marvelled that ignorant fellows like him, when driven by necessity, should be capable of doing daring things which sculptors of real worth would not think of.
Michaelangelo was a very healthy man, thin and muscular, although as a boy he was sickly. When grown up he had also two serious illnesses; nevertheless he could support any amount of fatigue. He was of middle height, wide across the shoulders, but the rest of his body in good proportion.
Certainly he was sent into the world to be an example to men of art, that they should learn from his life and from his works; and I, who have to thank God for felicity rare among men of our profession, count among my greatest blessings that I was born in the time when Michaelangelo was alive, and was counted worthy to have him for my master, and to be treated by him as a familiar friend, as every one knows.
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