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FRA GIOVANNI AGNOLO MONTORSOLI

Part 2


Giorgio Vasari's Lives of the Artists


Finally Fra Giovanni Agnolo departed from Genoa and went to Naples, where he set up in the place already mentioned the tomb of Sannazzaro, which is composed in this fashion. At the lower corners are two pedestals, on each of which are carved the arms of Sannazzaro, and between them is a slab of one braccio and a half on which is carved the epitaph that Jacopo wrote for himself, supported by two little boys. Next, on each of the said pedestals is a seated statue of marble in the round, four braccia in height, these being Minerva and Apollo; and between them, set off by two ornamental consoles that are at the sides, is a scene two braccia and a half square, in which are carved in low-relief Fauns, Satyrs, Nymphs, and other figures that are playing and singing, after the manner which that most excellent man has described in the pastoral verses of his most learned Arcadia. Above this scene is placed a sarcophagus of a very beautiful shape in the round, all carved and very ornate, in which are the remains of that poet; and upon it, on a base in the centre, is his head taken from life, with these words at the foot ACTIUS SINCERUS; accompanied by two boys with wings in the manner of Loves, who have some books about them. And in two niches that are at the sides, in the other two walls of the chapel, there are on two bases two upright figures of marble in the round, each of three braccia or little more; these being S. James the Apostle and S. Nazzaro. When this work had been built up in the manner that has been described, the above- mentioned lords, the executors, were completely satisfied with it, and all Naples likewise.

The Frate then remembering that he had promised Prince Doria that he would return to Genoa to make his tomb for him in S. Matteo and to adorn the whole church, he departed straightway from Naples and set out for Genoa. Having arrived there, he made the models of the work that he was to execute for that lord, which pleased him vastly; and then he set his hand to it, with a good allowance of money and a good number of masters. And thus, dwelling in Genoa, the Frate made many friendships with noblemen and men of distinction, and in particular with some physicians, who were of much assistance to him; for, helping one another, they made anatomical studies of many human bodies, and gave their attention to architecture and perspective, and so Fra Giovanni attained to the greatest excellence. Besides this, the Prince, going very often to the place where he was working, and much liking his discourse, conceived a very great affection for him. At that time, also, of two nephews that he had left in charge of Maestro Zaccheria, one, called Agnolo, was sent to him, a young man of beautiful genius and exemplary character; and shortly afterwards there was sent to him by the same Zaccheria another young man called Martino, the son of one Bartolommeo, a tailor. Of both these young men, teaching them as if they were his sons, the Frate availed himself in the work that he had in hand. And when he had finally come to the end of it, he built up the chapel, the tomb, and the other ornaments that he had made for that church, which forms a cross at the head of the central nave and three crosses down along the length of the nave, and has the high altar standing isolated at the head and in the centre. The chapel, then, is supported at the corners by four large pilasters, which likewise uphold the great cornice that runs right round, over which curve four semi- circular arches that lie in line with the pilasters.

Of these arches, three are adorned in their central space with windows of no great size; and over the arches curves a round cornice that forms four angles between one arch and another at the corners, while above it rises a vaulting in the form of a basin. After the Frate, then, had made many ornaments of marble about the altar on all four sides, he placed upon the altar a very rich and beautiful vase of marble for the most Holy Sacrament, between two Angels of the size of life, likewise of marble. Next, around the whole runs a pattern of different kinds of stone let into the marble with a beautiful and well-varied arrangement of variegated marbles and rare stones, such as serpentines, porphyries, and jaspers. And in the principal wall, at the head of the chapel, he made another pattern from the level of the floor to the height of the altar, with similar kinds of variegated marble and stone, which forms a base to four pilasters of marble that enclose three spaces. In the central space, which is larger than the others, there is in a tomb the body of I know not what Saint, and in those at the sides are two statues of marble, representing two Evangelists.

Above that range of pilasters is a cornice, and above the cornice four other smaller pilasters; and these support another cornice, which is divided into compartments to hold three little tablets that correspond to the spaces below. In the central compartment, which rests upon the great cornice, is a Christ of marble rising from the dead, in full-relief, and larger than life. On the walls at the sides the same order of columns is repeated; and above that tomb, in the central space, is a Madonna in half- relief, with the Dead Christ : which Madonna is between King David and S. John the Baptist; and on the other side are S. Andrew and Jeremiah the Prophet. The lunettes of the arches above the great cornice, wherein are two windows, are in stucco-work, with two children that appear to be adorning the windows. In the angles below the tribune are four Sibyls, likewise of stucco, even as the whole vaulting is also wrought in grotesques of various manners. Beneath this chapel is built a subterranean chamber, wherein, after descending to it by a marble staircase, one sees at the head a sarcophagus of marble with two children upon it, in which was to be placed as I believe was done after his death the body of Signer Andrea Doria himself. And on an altar opposite to the sarcophagus, within a most beautiful vase of bronze, which was made and polished divinely well by him who cast it, whoever he may have been, is a piece of the wood of that most holy Cross upon which our Blessed Jesus Christ was crucified; which wood was presented to Prince Doria by the Duke of Savoy. The walls of that tomb are all encrusted with marble, and the vaulting wrought in stucco and gold, with many stories of the noble deeds of Doria; and the pavement is all divided into compartments with different kinds of variegated stone, to correspond with the vaulting. Next, on the walls of the cross of the nave, at the head, are two tombs of marble with two tablets in half-relief; in one is buried Count Filippino Doria, and in the other Signer Giannettino of the same family. Against the pilasters at the beginning of the central nave are two very beautiful pulpits of marble, and at the sides of the aisles there are distributed along the walls in a fine order of architecture some chapels with columns and many other ornaments, which make that church a truly rich and magnificent edifice.

The church finished, the same Prince Doria ordained that work should be begun on his Palace, and that new additions of buildings should be made to it, with very beautiful gardens. These were executed under the direction of the Frate, who, having at the last constructed a fish-pond in front of that Palace, made a sea monster of marble in full-relief, which pours water in great abundance into that fish-pond; and after the likeness of that monster he made for those lords another, which was sent into Spain to Granvela. He also executed a great Neptune in stucco, which was placed on a pedestal in the garden of the Prince ; and he made in marble two portraits of the same Prince and two of Charles V, which were taken by Covos to Spain.

Much the friends of the Frate, while he was living in Genoa, were Messer Cipriano Pallavicino, who, being a man of great judgment in the matters of our arts, has always associated readily with the most excellent craftsmen, and has shown them every favour; the Lord Abbot Negro, Messer Giovanni da Montepulciano, the Lord Prior of S. Matteo, and, in a word, all the first lords and gentlemen of that city, in which he acquired both fame and riches.

Having finished the works described above, Fra Giovanni Agnolo departed from Genoa and went to Rome to visit Buonarroti, whom he had not seen for many years past, and to try if he could by some means pick up again the thread of his connection with the Duke of Florence and return to complete the Hercules that he had left unfinished. But, after arriving in Rome, where he bought himself the title of Chevalier of S. Pietro, he heard by letters received from Florence that Bandinelli, pretending to be in want of marble, and giving out that the above-named Hercules was a piece of marble spoiled, had broken it up, with the leave of Riccio the majordomo, and had used it to make cornices for the tomb of Signor Giovanni, on which he was then at work; and at this he felt such disdain, that for the time being he would not on any account return to visit Florence, since it appeared to him that the presumption, arrogance, and insolence of that man were too easily endured.

While the Frate was thus passing his time in Rome, the people of Messina, having determined to erect on the Piazza of their Duomo a fountain with a very great enrichment of statues, had sent men to Rome to seek out some excellent sculptor. These men had secured Raffaello da Montelupo, but he fell ill at the very moment when he was about to depart with them for Messina, so that they made another choice and took the Frate, who had sought with all insistence, and even with some interest, to obtain that work. Having therefore apprenticed as a carpenter in Rome his nephew Agnolo, who had proved to be less gifted than he had expected, he set out with Martino, and they arrived in Messina in the month of September, 1547. There, having been provided with rooms, he set his hand to making the conduit for the waters, which come from a distance, and to having marble sent from Carrara; and with great promptitude, assisted by many stone-cutters and carvers, he finished that fountain, which is made in the following manner.

The fountain, I say, has eight sides namely, four large, the principal sides, and four smaller. The principal sides are divided, and two of these, projecting outwards, form an angle in the middle, and two, receding inwards, join a straight face that belongs to the four smaller sides, so that in all there are eight. The four angular sides, which jut outwards, making a projection, give space for the four straight sides, which recede inwards; and in each enclosed space is a basin of some size, which receives water in great abundance from one of four River Gods of marble that are placed on the edge of the basin of the whole fountain, so as to command all the eight sides already described. The fountain stands on a base of four steps, which form twelve sides; eight longer sides, which contain the angles, and f our* smaller sides, where the basins are, under the four River Gods. The borders of the fountain are five palms high, and at each of the corners (which in all cover twenty sides) there is a terminal figure as an ornament. The circumference of the first basin with eight sides is one hundred and two palms, and the diameter is thirty-four; and in each of the above-named twenty sides is a little scene of marble in low-relief, with poetical subjects appropriate to water and fountains, such as the horse Pegasus creating the Castalian Fount, Europa passing over the sea, Icarus flying and falling into the same, Arethusa transformed into a fount, Jason crossing the sea with the Golden Fleece, Narcissus changed into a fount, and Diana in the water and transforming Actason into a stag, with other suchlike stories. At the eight angles that divide the projections of the steps of the fountain, which rises two steps towards the basins and River Gods, and four towards the angular sides, are eight Sea Monsters, lying on certain dados, with their front paws resting on some masks that pour water into some vases.

The River Gods which are on the border, and which rest within the basin on dados so high that they appear as if sitting in the water, are the Nile with seven little boys, the Tiber surrounded by an infinite number of palms and trophies, the Ebro with many victories of Charles V, and the River Gumano, near Messina, from which the waters for the fountain are taken; with some stories and Nymphs executed with beautiful conceptions. Up to this level of ten palms there are sixteen jets of water, very abundant; eight come from the masks already mentioned, four from the River Gods, and four from some fishes seven palms high, which, standing upright in the basin, with their heads out, spout water towards the larger sides. In the centre of the octagonal basin, on a pedestal four palms high, are Sirens with wings in place of arms, one at each corner; and above these Sirens, which are twined together in the centre, are four Tritons eight palms high, which likewise have their tails twined together, and with their arms they support a great tazza, into which water is poured by four masks superbly carved. From the centre of that tazza rises a round shaft that supports two most hideous masks, representing Scylla and Charybdis, which are trodden under foot by three nude Nymphs, each six palms high, above whom is placed the last tazza, which is upheld by them with their arms. In that tazza four Dolphins, with their heads down and their tails raised on high, forming a base, support a ball, from the centre of which, through four heads, there issues water that spouts upwards, and so also from the Dolphins, upon which are mounted four naked little boys. On the topmost summit, finally, is a figure in armor representing the constellation of Orion, which has on the shield the arms of the city of Messina, of which Orion is said, or rather is fabled, to have been the founder.

Such, then, is that fountain of Messina, although it is not so easy to describe it in words as it would be to picture it in drawing. And since it much pleased the people of Messina, they caused him to make another on the shore, where the Customs-house is ; which also proved to be beautiful and very rich. Now, although that fountain has in like manner eight sides, it is nevertheless different from that described above; for it has four straight sides that rise three steps, and four others, smaller, that are semicircular, and upon these stands the fountain with its eight sides. The borders of the great basin on the lowest level have at each angle a carved pedestal of an equal height, and in the centre of four of them, on the front face, is another pedestal. On each side where the steps are semicircular there is an elliptical basin of marble, into which water pours in great abundance through two masks that are on the parapet below the carved border. In the centre of the great basin of the fountain is a pedestal high in proportion, on which are the arms of Charles V; at each angle of that pedestal is a Sea-horse, which spouts water on high from between its feet; and in the frieze of the same, beneath the upper cornice, are eight great masks that pour jets of water downwards. And on the summit is a Neptune of five braccia, who holds the trident in his hand, and has the right leg planted beside a Dolphin. At the sides, also, upon two other pedestals, are Scylla and Charybdis in the forms of two monsters, fashioned very well, with heads of Dogs and Furies about them.

That work, likewise, when finished, much pleased the people of Messina, who, having found a man to their liking, made a beginning, when the fountains were completed, with the fa$ade of the Duomo, and carried it to some extent forward. And then they ordained that twelve chapels in the Corinthian Order should be made in that Duomo, six on either side, with the twelve Apostles in marble, each of five braccia. Of these chapels only four were finished by the Frate, who also made with his own hand a S. Peter and a S. Paul, which were two large and very good figures. He was also commissioned to make a Christ of marble for the head of the principal chapel, with a very rich ornament all around, and a scene in low-relief beneath each of the statues of the Apostles; but at that time he did nothing more. On the Piazza of the same Duomo he directed the building of the Temple of S. Lorenzo, in a beautiful manner of architecture, which won him much praise; and on the shore there was built under his direction the Beacon tower. And while these works were being carried forward, he caused a chapel to be erected for the Captain Cicala in S. Domenico, for which he made a Madonna of marble as large as life; and for the chapel of Signer Agnolo Borsa, in the cloister of the same church, he executed a scene of marble in low-relief, which was held to be beautiful, and was wrought with much diligence. He also caused water to be conducted by way of the wall of S. Agnolo for a fountain, and made for it with his own hand a large boy of marble, which pours water into a vase that is very ornate and beautifully contrived; which was held to be a lovely work. At the Wall of the Virgin he made another fountain, with a Virgin by his own hand, which pours water into a basin; and for that which is erected at the Palace of Sign or Don Filippo Laroca, he made a boy larger than life, of a kind of stone that is used at Messina, which boy, surrounded by certain monsters and other products of the sea, pours water into a vase. And he made a statue in marble of four braccia, a very beautiful figure of S. Catharine the Martyr, which was sent to Taormina, a place twenty-four miles distant from Messina.

Friends of Fra Giovanni Agnolo, while he was living at Messina, were the above-named Signor Don Filippo Laroca, and Don Francesco of the same family; Messer Bardo Corsi, Giovan Francesco Scali, and M. Lorenzo Borghini, all three Florentine gentlemen then in Messina; Serafino da Fermo, and the Grand Master of Rhodes, which last many times sought to draw him to Malta and to make him a Knight; but he answered that he did not wish to confine himself in that island, besides which, feeling that he was doing ill not to be wearing the habit of his Order, he thought at times of going back to it. And, in truth, I know that even if he had not been in a manner forced to do it, he was determined to resume the habit and to go back to live like a good Churchman. When, therefore, in the time of Pope Paul IV, in the year 1557, all the apostates, or rather, friars who had thrown off the habit, were constrained to return to their Orders under threat of the severest penalties, Fra Giovanni Agnolo abandoned the works that he had in hand, leaving his disciple Martino in his place, and went in the month of May from Messina to Naples, intending to return to his Servite Monastery in Florence.

But before doing any other thing, wishing to devote himself entirely to God, he set about thinking how he might dispose of his great gains most suitably. And so, after having given in marriage certain nieces who were poor girls, and others from his native country and from Montorsoli, he ordained that a thousand crowns should be given to his nephew Agnolo, of whom mention has been already made, in Rome, and that a knighthood of the Lily should be bought for him. To each of two hospitals in Naples he gave a good sum of money in alms. To his own Servite Convent he left a thousand crowns to buy a farm, and also that at Montorsoli which had belonged to his forefathers, on the condition that twenty-five crowns should be paid to each of two nephews of his own, friars of the same Order, every year during their lifetime, together with other charges that will be mentioned later. All these matters being arranged, he showed himself in Rome and resumed the habit, with much joy to himself and to his fellow-friars, and particularly to Maestro Zaccheria. Then, having gone to Florence, he was received and welcomed by his relatives and friends with incredible pleasure and gladness. But, although the Frate had determined that he would spend the rest of his life in the service of our Lord God and the salvation of his soul, and live in peace and quietness, enjoying a knighthood that he had reserved for himself, he did not succeed in this so easily. For he was summoned to Bologna with great insistence by Maestro Giulio Bovio, the uncle of Vascone Bovio, to the end that he might make the high altar in the Church of the Servites, which was to be all of marble and isolated, and in addition a tomb with figures, richly decorated with variegated stone and incrustations of marble; and he was not able to refuse him, particularly because that work was to be executed in a church of his Order. Having therefore gone to Bologna, he set his hand to the work and executed it in twenty- eight months, making that altar, which shuts off the choir of the friars from one pilaster to the other, all of marble both within and without, with a nude Christ of two braccia and a half in the centre, and with some other statues at the sides. That work is truly beautiful in architecture, well designed and distributed, and so well put together, that nothing better could be done; the pavement, also, wherein there is the tomb of Bovio on the level of the ground, is wrought in a beautifully ordered pattern ; certain candelabra of marble, with some little figures and scenes, are passing well contrived; and every part is rich in carving. But the figures, besides that they are small, on account of the difficulty that is found in conveying large pieces of marble to Bologna, are not equal to the architecture, nor much worthy to be praised.

While Fra Giovanni Agnolo was executing that work in Bologna, he was ever pondering, as one who was not yet firmly resolved in the matter, in what place, among those of his Order, he might be able most conveniently to spend his last years; when Maestro Zaccheria, his very dear friend, who was then Prior of the Nunziata in Florence, desiring to attract him to that place and to settle him there, spoke of him to Duke Cosimo, recalling to his memory the excellence of the Frate, and praying that he should deign to make use of him. To which the Duke having answered graciously, saying that he would avail himself of the Frate as soon as he had returned from Bologna, Maestro Zaccheria wrote to him of the whole matter, and then sent him a letter of Cardinal Giovanni de' Medici, in which that lord exhorted him that he should return to his own country to execute some important work with his own hand. Having received these letters, the Frate, remembering that Messer Pier Francesco Riccio, after having been mad many years, had died, and that Bandinelli also had left the world, which men had seemed to be little his friends, wrote back that he would not fail to return as soon as he might be able, in order to serve his most illustrious Excellency, and to execute under his protection not profane things, but some sacred work, since he had a mind wholly turned to the service of God and of His Saints.

Finally, then, having returned to Florence in the year 1561, he went off with Maestro Zaccheriato Pisa, where the Lord Duke and the Cardinal were, to do reverence to their most illustrious lordships; and after he had been received with much kindness and favor by those lords, and informed by the Duke that after his return to Florence he would be given a work of importance to execute, he went back. Then, having obtained leave from his fellow-friars of the Nunziata by means of Maestro Zaccheria, he erected in the centre of the chapter-house of that convent, where many years before he had made the Moses and S. Paul of stucco, has been related above, a very beautiful tomb for himself and for all such men of the arts of design, painters, sculptors, and architects, as had not a place of their own in which to be buried; intending to arrange by a contract, as he did, that those friars, in return for the property that he was to leave to them, should be obliged to say Mass on some feast days and ordinary days in that chapterhouse, and that every year, on the day of the most Holy Trinity, a solemn festival should be held there, and on the following day an office of the dead for the souls of those buried in that place.

This design having then been imparted by Fra Giovanni Agnolo and Maestro Zaccheria to Giorgio Vasari, who was very much their friend, they discoursed together on the affairs of the Company of Design, which had been created in the time of Giotto, and had a home in S. Maria Nuova in Florence, which it had possessed from that time down to our own, as may still be seen at the present day from a record at the high altar of that Hospital; and they thought with this occasion to revive it and set it up again. For that Company had been removed from the above-mentioned high altar, as has been related in the Life of Jacopo di Casentino, to a place under the vaulting of the same Hospital at the corner of the Via della Pergola, and finally had been removed and driven from that place also by Don Isidoro Montaguti, the Director of the Hospital, so that it was almost entirely dispersed, and no longer assembled. Now, after Fra Giovanni Agnolo, Maestro Zaccheria, and Giorgio had thus discoursed at some length of the condition of that Company, and the Frate had spoken of it with Bronzino, Francesco da San Gallo, Ammanati, Vincenzio de' Rossi, Michele di Ridolfo, and many other sculptors and painters of the first rank, and had declared his mind to them, when the morning of the most Holy Trinity came, all the most noble and excellent craftsmen of the arts of design, to the number of forty-eight, were assembled in the above-named chapterhouse, where a most beautiful festival had been prepared, and where the tomb was already finished, and the altar so far advanced that there were wanting only some figures of marble that were going into it. There, after a most solemn Mass had been said, a beautiful oration was made by one of those fathers in praise of Fra Giovanni Agnolo, and of the magnificent liberality that he was showing to the Company by presenting to them that chapterhouse, that tomb, and that chapel, in order to take possession of which, he said in conclusion, it had been already arranged that the body of Pontormo, which had been placed in a vault in the first little cloister of the Nunziata, should be laid in the new tomb before any other. When, therefore, the Mass and the oration were finished, they all went into the church, where there were on a bier the remains of that Pontormo; and then, having placed the bier on the shoulders of the younger men, with a taper for each and also some torches, they passed around the Piazza and carried it into the chapterhouse, which, previously draped with cloth of gold, they found all black and covered with painted corpses and other suchlike things; and thus was Pontormo laid in the new tomb.

The Company then dispersing, the first meeting was ordained for the next Sunday, when, besides settling the constitution of the Company, they were to make a selection of the best and create an Academy, with the assistance of which those without knowledge might learn, and those with knowledge, spurred by honorable and praiseworthy emulation, might proceed to make greater proficience. Giorgio, meanwhile, had spoken of these matters with the Duke, and had besought him that he should favour the study of these noble arts, even as he had favored the study of letters by reopening the University of Pisa, creating a college for scholars, and making a beginning with the Florentine Academy; and he found him as ready to assist and favor that enterprise as he could have desired. After these things, the Servite Friars, having thought better over the matter, came to a resolution, which they made known to the Company, that they would not have their chapterhouse used by them save for holding festivals, offices, and burials, and would not have their convent disturbed by the Company's meetings and assemblies, or in any other way. Of which Giorgio having spoken with the Duke, demanding some place from him, his Excellency said that he had thought of providing them with one wherein they might not only be able to erect a building for the Company, but also have room enough to work and demonstrate their worth.

And shortly afterwards he wrote through M. Lelio Torelli to the Prior and Monks of the Angeli, giving them to understand that they were to accommodate the above-named Company in the temple that had been begun in their monastery by Filippo Scolari, called Lo Spano. The monks obeyed, and the Company was provided with certain rooms, in which they assembled many times with the gracious leave of those fathers, who received them sometimes even in their own chapter-house with much courtesy. But the Duke having been informed afterwards that some of those monks were not altogether content that the Company's building should be erected in their precincts, because the monastery would be encumbered thereby, and the above-named temple, which the craftsmen said that they wished to fill with their works, would do very well as it was, so far as they were concerned, his Excellency made it known to the men of the Academy, which had already made a beginning and had held the festival of S. Luke in that temple, that the monks, so he understood, were not very willing to have them in their house, and that therefore he would not fail to provide them with another place. The same Lord Duke also said, like the truly magnanimous Prince that he is, that he wished not only always to favor that Academy, but also to be himself its chief, guide, and protector, and that for that reason he would appoint year by year a Lieutenant who might be present in his stead at all their meetings.

Acting on this promise, he chose as the first the reverend Don Vincenzio Borghini, the Director of the Hospital of the Innocenti; and for these favors and courtesies shown by the Lord Duke to his new Academy, he was thanked by ten of the oldest and most excellent of its members. But since the reformation of the Company and the rules of the Academy are described at great length in the statutes that were drawn up by the men elected and deputed for that purpose as reformers by the whole body (who were Fra Giovanni Agnolo, Francesco da San Gallo, Agnolo Bronzino, Giorgio Vasari, Michele di Ridolfo, and Pier Francesco di Jacopo di Sandro), in the presence of the said Lieutenant, and with the approval of his Excellency, I shall say no more about it in this place. I must mention, however, that since the old seal and arms, or rather, device of the Company, which was a winged ox lying down, the animal of S. Luke the Evangelist, displeased many of them, it was ordained that each one should give in words his suggestion for a new one, or show it in a drawing, and then there were seen the most beautiful inventions and the most lovely and extravagant fantasies that could be imagined. But for all that it is not yet completely determined which of them is to be accepted.

Meanwhile Martino, the disciple of the Frate, having come from Messina to Florence, died in a few days, and was buried in the above-named tomb that had been made by his master. And not long afterwards, in 1564, the good father himself, Fra Giovanni Agnolo, who had been so excellent a sculptor, was buried in the same tomb with most honorable obsequies, a very beautiful oration being delivered in his praise in the Temple of the Nunziata by the very reverend and most learned Maestro Michelagnolo. Truly great is the debt that our arts for many reasons owe to Fra Giovanni Agnolo, in that he bore infinite love to them and likewise to their craftsmen; and of what great service has been and still is that Academy, which may be said to have received its origin from him in the manner that has been described, and which is now under the protection of the Lord Duke Cosimo, and assembles by his command in the new sacristy of S. Lorenzo, where there are so many works in sculpture by Michelagnolo, may be recognized from this, that not only in the obsequies of that Buonarroti (which, thanks to our craftsmen and to the assistance of the Prince, were not merely magnificent, but little less than regal, and which will be described in his Life), but also in many other undertakings, the same men, from emulation, and from a desire not to be unworthy of their Academy, have achieved marvellous things, and particularly in the nuptials of the most illustrious Lord, Don Francesco de' Medici, Prince of Florence and Siena, and of her Serene Highness, Queen Joanna of Austria, which have been described fully and in due order by others, and will be described again by us at great length in a more convenient place.

And since not only in this good father, but also in many others of whom we have spoken above, it has been seen, as it still continues to be, that good Churchmen are useful and serviceable to the world in the arts and in the other more noble exercises no less than in letters, in public instruction, and in sacred councils, and that they have no reason to fear comparison in this respect with others, it may be said that there is probably no truth whatever in that which certain persons, influenced more by anger or by some private spite than by reason and love of truth, declare so freely of them namely, that they devote themselves to such a life because from poverty of spirit they have not, like other men, the power to make a livelihood; for which may God forgive them. Fra Giovanni Agnolo lived fifty-six years, and died on the last day of August, 1563.



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