History of Literature







Giorgio Vasari



"Lives of the Most Eminent Painters,

Sculptors, and Architects"




PART I   PART II   PART III   PART IV





"Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects"
 

PART IV

 

         
  Jacopo da Pontormo Simone Mosca Girolamo and Bartolommeo Genga, and G. Battista San Marino Michele Sanmicheli
         
  Il Sodoma Bastiano, called
Aristotile da San Gallo
Benvenuto Garofalo Girolamo Da Carpi
         
  Lombard Sculptors and Painters Sofonisba Anguisciuola and Others Milanese Artists Ridolfo, David and
Benedetto Ghirlandai
o
         
  Giovanni da Udine Battista Franco Jacopo Tintoretto Andrea Schiavone
         
  Giovan Francesco Rustici Fra Giovann' Agnolo Montorsoli Francesco Salviati Daniele da Volterra (Ricciarelli)
         
  Taddeo Zucchero Michelangelo Francesco Primaticcio Titian
         
  Paris Bordone Jacopo Sansovino Solosmeo da Settignano and Jacopo Colonna Tiziano da Padova [Minio] and
Pietro da Salo
         
  Alessandro Vittoria Tommaso da Lugano and Jacopo Bresciano Bartolommeo Ammanati Danese Cattaneo
         
  Andrea Palladio Leone Leoni and others Giulio Clovio Other Italian Artists
         

 

 

JACOPO DA PONTORMO, (1494-1557)

Painter of Florence

Giorgio Vasari's Lives of the Artists

 

THE ancestors or rather, the elders of Bartolommeo di Jacopo di Martino, the father of Jacopo da Pontormo, whose Life we are now about to write had their origin, so some declare, in Ancisa, a township in the Upper Valdarno, famous enough because from it the ancestors of Messer Francesco Petrarca likewise derived their origin. But, whether it was from there or from some other place that his elders came, the above-named Bartolommeo, who was a Florentine, and, so I have been told, of the family of the Carrucci, is said to have been a disciple of Domenico Ghirlandajo, and, after executing many works in the Valdarno, as a painter passing able for those times, to have finally made his way to Empoli to carry out certain labours, living there and in the neighbouring places, and taking to wife at Pontormo a most virtuous girl of good condition, called Alessandra, the daughter of Pasquale di Zanobi and of his wife Monna Brigida. To this Bartolommeo, then, there was born in the year 1493 our Jacopo. But the father having died in the year 1499, the mother in the year 1504, and the grandfather in the year 1506, Jacopo was left to the care of his grandmother, Monna Brigida, who kept him for several years at Pontormo, and had him taught reading, writing, and the first rudiments of Latin grammar; and finally, at the age of thirteen, he was taken by the same guardian to Florence, and placed with the Pupilli, to the end that his small property might be safeguarded and preserved by that board, as is the custom. And after settling the boy himself in the house of one Battista, a shoemaker distantly related to him, Monna Brigida returned to Pontormo, taking with her a sister of Jacopo's. But not long after that, Monna Brigida herself having died, Jacopo was forced to bring that sister to Florence, and to place her in the house of a kinsman called Niccolaio, who lived in the Via de' Servi; and the girl, also, following the rest of her family, died in the year 1512, before ever she was married.

But to return to Jacopo; he had not been many months in Florence when he was placed by Bernardo Vettori with Leonardo da Vinci, and shortly afterwards with Mariotto Albertinelli, then with Piero di Cosimo, and finally, in the year 1512, with Andrea del Sarto, with whom, likewise, he did not stay long, for the reason that, after Jacopo had executed the cartoons of the little arch for the Servites, of which there will be an account below, it appears that Andrea never again looked favourably upon him, whatever may have been the reason. The first work, then, that Jacopo executed at that time was a little Annunciation for one his friend, a tailor; but the tailor having died before the work was finished, it remained in the hands of Jacopo, who was at that time with Mariotto, and Mariotto took pride in it, and showed it as a rare work to all who entered his workshop. Now Raffaello da Urbino, coming in those days to Florence, saw with infinite marvel the work and the lad who had done it, and prophesied of Jacopo that which was afterwards seen to come true. Not long afterwards, Mariotto having departed from Florence and gone to Viterbo to execute the panel-picture that Fra Bartolommeo had begun there, Jacopo, who was young, solitary, and melancholy, being thus left without a master, went by himself to work under Andrea del Sarto, at the very moment when Andrea had finished the stories of S. Filippo in the court of the Servites, which pleased Jacopo vastly, as did all his other works and his whole manner and design. Jacopo having then set himself to make every effort to imitate him, no long time passed before it was seen that he had made marvellous progress in drawing and colouring, insomuch that from his facility it seemed as if he had been many years in art.

Now Andrea had finished in those days a panel picture of the Annunciation for the Church of the Friars of S. Gallo, which is now destroyed, as has been related in his Life; and he gave the predella of that panel picture to Jacopo to execute in oils. Jacopo painted in it a Dead Christ, with two little Angels who are weeping over Him and illuminating Him with two torches, and, in two round pictures at the sides, two Prophets, which were executed by him so ably, that they have the appear- ance of having been painted not by a mere lad but by a practised master; but it may also be, as Bronzino says, that he remembers having heard from Jacopo da Pontormo himself that Rosso likewise worked on this predella. And even as Andrea was assisted by Jacopo in executing the predella, so also was he aided by him in finishing the many pictures and works that Andrea continually had in hand.

In the meantime, Cardinal Giovanni de' Medici having been elected Supreme Pontiff under the title of Leo X, there were being made all over Florence by the friends and adherents of that house many escut- cheons of the Pontiff, in stone, in marble, on canvas, and in fresco. Wherefore the Servite Friars, wishing to give some sign of their service and devotion to that house and Pontiff, caused the arms of Leo to be made in stone, and placed in the centre of the arch in the first portico of the Nunziata, which is on the piazza; and shortly afterwards they arranged that it should be overlaid with gold by the painter Andrea di Cosimo, and adorned with grotesques, of which he was an excellent master, and with the devices of the house of Medici, and that, in addition, on either side of it there should be painted a Faith and a Charity. But Andrea di Cosimo, knowing that he was not able to execute all these things by himself, thought of giving the two figures to some other to do ; and so, having sent for Jacopo, who was then not more than nineteen years of age, he gave him those two figures to execute, although he had no little trouble to persuade him to undertake to do it, seeing that, being a mere lad, he did not wish to expose himself at the outset to such a risk, or to work in a place of so much importance. However, having taken heart, although he was not as well practised in fresco as in oil-painting, Jacopo undertook to paint those two figures. And, withdrawing for he was still working with Andrea del Sarto to draw the cartoons at S. Antonio by the Porta a Faenza, where he lived, in a short tune he carried them to completion; which done, one day he took his master Andrea to see them. Andrea, after seeing them with infinite marvel and amazement, praised them vastly; but afterwards, as has been related, whether it was from envy or from some other reason, he never again looked with a kindly eye on Jacopo; nay, Jacopo going several times to his workshop, either the door was not opened to him or he was mocked at by the assistants, insomuch that he retired altogether by himself, beginning to live on the least that he could, for he was very poor, and to study with the greatest assiduity.

When Andrea di Cosimo, then, had finished gilding the escutcheon and all the eaves, Jacopo set to work all by himself to finish the rest; and being carried away by the desire to make a name, by his joy in working, and by nature, which had endowed him with extraordinary grace and fertility of genius, he executed that work with incredible rapidity and with such perfection as could not have been surpassed by an old, well-practised, and excellent master. Wherefore, growing in courage through this experience, and thinking that he could do a much better work, he took it into his head that he would throw to the ground all that he had done, without saying a word to anyone, and paint it all over again after another design that he had in his brain. But in the meantime the friars, having seen that the work was finished and that Jacopo came no more to his labour, sought out Andrea, and so pestered him that he resolved to uncover it. Having therefore looked for Jacopo, in order to ask him whether he wished to do any more to the work, and not finding him, for the reason that he stayed shut up over his new design and would not answer to anyone, Andrea had the screen and scaffolding removed and the work uncovered. The same evening Jacopo, having issued from his house in order to go to the Servite convent, and, when it should be night, to throw to the ground the work that he had done, and to put into execution the new design, found the scaffolding taken away and every- thing uncovered, and a multitude of people all around gazing at the work. Whereupon, full of fury, he sought out Andrea, and complained of his having uncovered it without his consent, going on to describe what he had in mind to do. To which Andrea answered, laughing: "You are wrong to complain, because the work that you have done is so good that, if you had it to do again, you may take my word for it that you would not be able to do it better. You will not want for work, so keep these designs for another occasion." That work, as may be seen, was of such a kind and so beautiful, what with the novelty of the manner, the sweet- ness in the heads of those two women, and the loveliness of the graceful and lifelike children, that it was the most beautiful work in fresco that had ever been seen up to that time; and, besides the children with the Charity, there are two others in the air holding a piece of drapery over the escutcheon of the Pope, who are so beautiful that nothing better could be done/ ot to mention that all the figures have very strong relief and are so ey ;uted in colouring and in every other respect that one is not able to j> aise them enough. And Michelagnolo Buonarroti, seeing the work one day, and reflecting that a youth of nineteen had done it, said: " This young man, judging from what may be seen here, will become such that, if he lives and perseveres, he will exalt this art to the heavens." This renown and fame being heard by the men of Pontormo, they sent for Jacopo, and commissioned him to execute in their stronghold, over a gate placed on the main road, an escutcheon of Pope Leo with two little boys, which was very beautiful; but already it has been little less than ruined by rain.

At the Carnival in the same year, all Florence being gay and full of rejoicing at the election of the above-named Leo X, many festive spectacles were ordained, and among them two of great beauty and extraordinary cost, which were given by two companies of noblemen and gentlemen of the city. One of these, which was called the Diamante,* had for its head the brother of the Pope, Signor Giuliano de' Medici, who had given it that name because the diamond had been a device of his father, the elder Lorenzo; and the head of the other, which had as name and device the Broncone,f was Signor Lorenzo, the son of Piero de' Medici, who had for his device a Broncone that is, a dried trunk of laurel growing green again with leaves, as it were to signify that he was reviving and restoring the name of his grandfather.

By the Company of the Diamante, then, a commission was given to M. Andrea Dazzi, who was then lecturing on Greek and Latin Letters * Diamond. | Trunk or branch. at the Studio in Florence, to look to the invention of a triumphal procession; whereupon he arranged one similar to those that the Romans used to have for their triumphs, with three very beautiful cars wrought in wood, and painted with rich and beautiful art. In the first was Boyhood, with a most beautiful array of boys. In the second was Manhood, with many persons who had done great things in their manly prime. And in the third was Old Age, with many famous men who had performed great achievements in their last years. All these persons were very richly apparelled, insomuch that it was thought that nothing better could be done. The architects of these cars were Raffaello delle Vivole, II Carota the wood-carver, the painter Andrea di Cosimo, and Andrea del Sarto; those who arranged and prepared the dresses of the figures were Ser Piero da Vinci, the father of Leonardo, and Bernardino di Giordano, both men of beautiful ingenuity; and to Jacopo da Pontormo alone it fell to paint all the three cars, wherein he executed various scenes in chiaroscuro of the Transformations of the Gods into different forms, which are now in the possession of Pietro Paolo Galeotto, an excellent goldsmith. The first car bore, written in very clear characters, the word " Erimus," the second "Sumus," and the third "Fuimus" that is, "We shall be," " We are," and " We have been." The song began, "The years fly on. . . ."

Having seen these triumphal cars, Signer Lorenzo, the head of the Company of the Broncone, desiring that they should be surpassed, gave the charge of the whole work to Jacopo Nardi, a noble and most learned gentleman, to whom, for what he afterwards became, his native city of Florence is much indebted. This Jacopo prepared six triumphal cars, in order to double the number of those executed by the Diamante. The first, drawn by a pair of oxen decked with herbage, represented the Age of Saturn and Janus, called the Age of Gold; and on the summit of the car were Saturn with the Scythe, and Janus with the two heads and with the key of the Temple of Peace in the hand, and at his feet a figure of Fury bound, with a vast number of things around appertaining to Saturn, all executed most beautifully in different colours by the genius of Pontormo. Accompanying this car were six couples of Shepherds, naked but for certain parts covered by skins of marten and sable, with footwear of various kinds after the ancient manner, and with their wallets, and on their heads garlands of many kinds of leaves. The horses on which these Shepherds sat were without saddles, but covered with skins of lions, tigers, and lynxes, the paws of which, overlaid with gold, hung at their sides with much grace and beauty. The ornaments of their croups and of the grooms were of gold cord, the stirrups were heads of rams, dogs, and other suchlike animals, and the bridles and reins made with silver cord and various kinds of verdure. Each Shepherd had four grooms in the garb of shepherd-boys, dressed more simply in other skins, with torches fashioned in the form of dry trunks and branches of pine, which made a most beautiful sight.

Upon the second car, drawn by two pairs of oxen draped in the richest cloth, with garlands on their heads and great paternosters hanging from their gilded horns, was Numa Pompilius, the second King of Rome, with the books of religion and all the sacerdotal instruments and the things appertaining to sacrifices, for the reason that he was the originator and first founder of religion and sacrifices among the Romans. This car was accompanied by six priests on most beautiful she-mules, their heads covered with hoods of linen embroidered with silver and gold in a masterly pattern of ivy-leaves; and on their bodies they had sacerdotal vestments in the ancient fashion, with borders and fringes of gold all round, and in the hands one had a thurible, another a vase of gold, and the rest other similar things. At their stirrups they had attendants in the guise of Levites, and the torches that these had in their hands were after the manner of ancient candelabra, and wrought with beautiful artistry.

The third car represented the Consulate of Titus Manlius Torquatus, who was Consul after the end of the first Carthaginian war, and governed in such a manner, that in his time there flourished in Rome every virtue and every blessing. That car, upon which was Titus himself, with many ornaments executed by Pontormo, was drawn by eight most beautiful horses, and before it went six couples of Senators clad in the toga, on horses covered with cloth of gold, accompanied by a great number of grooms representing Lictors, with the fasces, axes, and other things appertaining to the administration of justice.

The fourth car, drawn by four buffaloes disguised as elephants, represented Julius Caesar in Triumph for the victory gained over Cleopatra, the car being all painted by Pontormo with his most famous deeds. That car was accompanied by six couples of men-at-arms clad in rich and brightly shining armour all bordered with gold, with their lances on their hips; and the torches that the half-armed grooms carried had the form of trophies, designed in various ways.

The fifth car, drawn by winged horses that had the form of gryphons, bore upon it Caesar Augustus, the Lord of the Universe, accompanied by six couples of Poets on horseback, all crowned, as was also Caesar, with laurel, and dressed in costumes varying according to their provinces; and these were there because poets were always much favoured by Caesar Augustus, whom they exalted with their works to the heavens. And to the end that they might be recognized, each of them had across his forehead a scroll after the manner of a fillet, on which was his name.

On the sixth car, drawn by four pairs of heifers richly draped, was Trajan, that just Emperor, before whom, as he sat on the car, which was painted very well by Pontormo, there rode upon beautiful and finely caparisoned horses six couples of Doctors of Law, with togas reaching to their feet and with capes of miniver, such as it was the ancient custom for Doctors to wear. The grooms who carried their torches, a great number, were scriveners, copyists, and notaries, with books and writings in their hands.

After these six came the car, or rather, triumphal chariot, of the Age or Era of Gold, wrought with the richest and most beautiful artistry, with many figures in relief executed by Baccio Bandinelli, and very beautiful paintings by the hand of Pontormo; among those in relief the four Cardinal Virtues being highly extolled. From the centre of the car rose a great sphere in the form of a globe of the world, upon which there lay prostrate on his face, as if dead, a man clad in armour all eaten with rust, who had the back open and cleft, and from the fissure there issued a child all naked and gilded, who represented the new birth of the age of gold and the end of the age of iron, from which he was coming forth into that new birth by reason of the election of that Pontiff; and this same significance had the dry trunk putting forth new leaves, although some said that the matter of that dry trunk was an allusion to the Lorenzo de' Medici who became Duke of Urbino. I should mention that the gilded boy, who was the son of a baker, died shortly after- wards through the sufferings that he endured in order to gain ten crowns.

The chant that was sung in that masquerade, as is the custom, was composed by the above-named Jacopo Nardi, and the first stanza ran thus:

Colui che da le leggi alia Natura

E i varii stati e secoli dispone,

D'ogni bene e cagione;

E il mal, quanto permette, al Mondo dura;

Onde questa figura

Contemplando si vede,

Come con certo piede

L' un secol dopo 1' altro al Mondo viene

E muta il bene in male, e 'l male in bene.
From the works that he executed for this festival Pontormo gained, besides the profit, so much praise, that probably few young men of his age ever gained as much in that city ; wherefore, Pope Leo himself after- wards coming to Florence, he was much employed in the festive prepara- tions that were made, for he had attached himself to Baccio da Montelupo, a sculptor advanced in years, who made an arch of wood at the head of the Via del Palagio, at the steps of the Badia, and Pontormo painted it all with very beautiful scenes, which afterwards came to an evil end through the scant diligence of those who had charge of them. Only one remained, that in which Pallas is tuning an instrument into accord with the lyre of Apollo, with great grace and beauty; from which scene one is able to judge what excellence and perfection were in the other works and figures. For the same festivities Ridolfo Ghirlandajo had received the task of fitting up and embellishing the Sala del Papa, which is attached to the Convent of S. Maria Novella, and was formerly the residence of the Pontiffs in the city of Florence; but being pressed for tune, he was forced to avail himself in some things of the work of others, and thus, after having adorned all the other rooms, he laid on Jacopo da Pontormo the charge of executing some pictures in fresco in the chapel where his Holiness was to hear Mass every morning. Whereupon, setting his hand to the work, Jacopo painted there a God the Father with many little Angels, and a Veronica who had the Sudarium with the image of Jesus Christ; which work, thus executed by Jacopo in so short a time, was much extolled.

He then painted in fresco, in a chapel of the Church of S. Ruffillo, behind the Archbishop's Palace in Florence, Our Lady with her Son in her arms between S. Michelagnolo and S. Lucia, and two other Saints kneeling; and, in the lunette of the chapel, a God the Father with some Seraphim about Him. Next, having been commissioned by Maestro Jacopo, a Servite friar, as he had greatly desired, to paint a part of the court of the Servites, because Andrea del Sarto had gone off to France and left the work of that court unfinished, he set himself with much study to make the cartoons. But since he was poorly provided with the things of this world, and was obliged, while studying in order to win honour, to have something to live upon, he executed over the door of the Hospital for Women behind the Church of the Priest's Hospital, between the Piazza di S. Marco and the Via di S. Gallo, and exactly opposite to the wall of the Sisters of S. Catharine of Siena two most beautiful figures in chiaroscuro, with Christ in the guise of a pilgrim awaiting certain women in order to give them hospitality and lodging; which work was deservedly much extolled in those days, as it still is, by all good judges. At this same time he painted some pictures and little scenes in oils for the Masters of the Mint, on the Carro della Moneta, which goes every year in the procession of S. John; the workmanship of which car was by the hand of Marco del Tasso. And over the door of the Company of Cecilia, on the heights of Fiesole, he painted a S. Cecilia with some roses in her hand, coloured in fresco, and so beautiful and so well suited to that place, that, for a work of that kind, it is one of the best paintings in fresco that there are to be seen.

These works having been seen by the above-named Servite friar, Maestro Jacopo, he became even more ardent in his desire, and he determined at all costs to cause Jacopo to finish the work in that court of the Servites, thinking that in emulation of the other masters who had worked there he would execute something of extraordinary beauty in the part that remained to be painted. Having therefore set his hand to it, from a desire no less of glory and honour than of gain, Jacopo painted the scene of the Visitation of the Madonna, in a manner a little freer and mffie lively than had been his wont up to that time; which circumstance gave "aiTinnnite excellence to the work, in addition to its other extraordinary beauties, in that the women, little boys, youths, and old men are executed in fresco with such softness and such harmony of colouring, that it is a thing to marvel at, and the flesh-colours of a little boy who is seated on some steps, and, indeed, those likewise of all the other figures, are such that they could not be done better or with more softness in fresco. This work, then, after the others that Jacopo had executed, gave a sure earnest of his future perfection to the craftsmen, comparing them with those of Andrea del Sarto and Franciabigio. Jacopo delivered the work finished in the year 1516, and received in payment sixteen crowns and no more.

Having then been allotted by Francesco Pucci, if I remember rightly, the altarpiece of a chapel that he had caused to be built in S. Michele Bisdomini in the Via de' Servi, Jacopo executed the work in so beautiful a manner, and with a colouring so vivid, that it seems almost impossible to credit it. In this altar-piece Our Lady, who is seated, is handing the Infant Jesus to S. Joseph, in whose countenance there is a smile so animated and so lifelike that it is a marvel ; and very beautiful, likewise, is a little boy painted to represent S. John the Baptist, and also two other little children, naked, who are upholding a canopy. There may be seen also a S. John the Evangelist, a most beautiful old man, and a S. Francis kneeling, who is absolutely alive, for, with the fingers of one hand interlocked with those of the other, and wholly intent in contemplating fixedly with his eyes and his mind the Virgin and her Son, he appears really to be breathing. And no less beautiful is the S. James who may be seen beside the others. Wherefore it is no marvel that this is the most beautiful altarpiece that was ever executed by this truly rare painter.

I used to believe that it was after this work, and not before, that the same Jacopo had painted in fresco the two most lovely and graceful little boys who are supporting a coat of arms over a door within a passage on the Lungarno, between the Ponte S. Trinita and the Ponte alia Carraja, for Bartolommeo Lanfredini; but since Bronzino, who may be supposed to know the truth about these matters, declares that they were among the first works that Jacopo executed, we must believe that this is so without a doubt, and praise Pontormo for them all the more, seeing that they are so beautiful that they cannot be matched, and yet were among the earliest works that he did.

But to resume the order of our story: after these works, Jacopo executed for the men of Pontormo an altar-piece wherein are S. Michel agnolo and S. John the Evangelist, which was placed in the Chapel of the Madonna in S. Agnolo, their principal church. At this time one of two young men who were working under Jacopo that is, Giovan Maria Pichi of Borgo a S. Sepolcro, who was acquitting himself passing well, and who afterwards became a Servite friar, and executed some works in the Borgo and in the Pieve a S. Stefano while still working, I say, under Jacopo, painted in a large picture a nude S. Quentin in martyrdom, in order to send it to the Borgo. But since Jacopo, like a loving master to his disciple, desired that Giovan Maria should win honour and praise, he set himself to retouch it, and so, not being able to take his hands off it, and retouching one day the head, the next day the arms, and the day after the body, the retouching became such that it may almost be said that the work is entirely by his hand. Wherefore it is no marvel that this picture, which is now in the Church of the Observantine Friars of S. Francis in the Borgo, is most beautiful.

The second of the two young men, who was Giovanni Antonio Lappoli of Arezzo, of whom there has been an account in another place, like a vain fellow had taken a portrait of himself with a mirror, also while he was working under Jacopo. But his master, thinking that the portrait was a poor likeness, took it in hand himself, and executed a portrait that is so good that it has the appearance of life; which portrait is now at Arezzo, in the house of the heirs of that Giovanni Antonio.

Pontormo also portrayed in one and the same picture two of his dearest friends one the son-in-law of Beccuccio Bicchieraio, and another, whose name likewise I do not know; it is enough that the portraits are by the hand of Pontormo. He then executed for Bartolommeo Ginori, in anticipation of his death, a string of pennons, according to the custom of the Florentines; and in the upper part of all these, on the white taffeta, he painted a Madonna with the Child, and on the coloured fringe below he painted the arms of that family, as is the custom. For the centre of the string, which was of twenty-four pennons, he made two all of white taffeta without any fringe, on which he painted two figures of S. Bartholomew, each two braccia high. The size of all these pennons and their almost novel manner caused all the others that had been made up to that time to appear poor and mean ; and this was the reason that they began to be made of the size that they are at the present day, with great grace and much less expense for gold.

At the head of the garden and vineyard of the Friars of S. Gallo, without the gate that is called after that Saint, in a chapel that is in a line with the central entrance, he painted a Dead Christ, a Madonna weeping, and two little Angels in the air, one of whom was holding the Chalice of the Passion in his hands, and the other was supporting the fallen head of Christ. On one side was S. John the Evangelist, all tearful, with the arms stretched out, and on the other S. Augustine in episcopal robes, who, leaning with the left hand on the pastoral staff, stood in an attitude truly full of sorrow, contemplating the Dead Saviour. And for Messer Spina, the familiar friend of Giovanni Salviati, he executed in a courtyard, opposite to the principal door of his house, the coat of arms of that Giovanni (who had been made a Cardinal in those days by Pope Leo), with the red hat above and two little boys standing works in fresco which are very beautiful, and much esteemed by Messer Filippo Spina, as being by the hand of Pontormo.

Jacopo also worked, in competition with other masters, on the ornamentation in wood that was formerly executed in a magnificent manner, as has been related elsewhere, in some apartments of Pier Francesco Borgherini; and, in particular, he painted there with his own hand on two coffers some stories from the life of Joseph in little figures, which were truly most beautiful. And whoever wishes to see the best work that he ever did in all his life, in order to consider how able and masterly was Jacopo in giving liveliness to heads, in grouping figures, in varying attitudes, and in beauty of invention, let him look at a scene of some size, likewise in little figures, in the corner on the left hand as one enters through the door, in the chamber of Borgherini, who was a nobleman of Florence; in which scene is Joseph in Egypt, as it were a Prince or a King, in the act of receiving his father Jacob with all his brethren, the sons of that Jacob, with extraordinary affection. Among these figures he portrayed at the foot of the scene, seated upon some steps, II Bronzino, who was then a boy and his disciple a figure with a basket, which is lifelike and beautiful to a marvel. And if this scene were on a greater scale, on a large panel or a wall, instead of being small, I would venture to say that it would not be possible to find another picture executed with the grace, excellence, and even perfection wherewith this one was painted by Jacopo; wherefore it was rightly regarded by all craftsmen as the most beautiful picture that Pontormo ever executed. Nor is it to be wondered at that Borgherini should have prized it as he did, and should have been besought to sell it by great persons as a present for mighty lords and princes.

On account of the siege of Florence Pier Francesco retired to Lucca, and Giovan Battista della Palla, who desired to obtain, together with other things that he was transporting into France, the decorations of this chamber, so that they might be presented to King Francis in the name of the Signoria, received such favours, and went to work so effectively with both words and deeds, that the Gonfalonier granted a commission that they should be taken away after payment to the wife of Pier Francesco. Whereupon some others went with Giovan Battista to execute the will of the Signori; but, when they arrived at the house of Pier Francesco, his wife, who was in the house, poured on Giovan Battista the greatest abuse that was ever spoken to any man. "So you make bold, Giovan Battista," said she, "you vile slop-dealer, you little two- penny pedlar, to strip the ornaments from the chambers of noblemen and despoil our city of her richest and most honoured treasures, as you have done and are always doing, in order to embellish with them the countries of foreigners, our enemies ! At you I do not marvel, you, a base plebeian and the enemy of your country, but at the magistrates of this city, who aid and abet you in these shameful rascalities. This bed, which you would seize for your own private interest and for greed of gain, although you keep your evil purpose cloaked with a veil of righteousness, this is the bed of my nuptials, in honour of which my husband's father, Salvi, made ah 1 these magnificent and regal decorations, which I revere in memory of him and from love for my husband, and mean to defend with my very blood and with life itself. Out of this house with these your cut-throats, Giovan Battista, and go to those who sent you with orders that these things should be removed from their places, for I am not the woman to surfer a single thing to be moved from here. If they who believe in you, a vile creature of no account, wish to make presents to King Francis of France, let them go and strip their own houses, and take the ornaments and beds from their own chambers, and send them to him. And you, if you are ever again so bold as to come to this house on such an errand, I will make you smart sorely for it, and teach you what respect should be paid by such as you to the houses of noblemen." Thus spoke Madonna Margherita, the wife of Pier Francesco Borgherini, and the daughter of Ruberto Acciaiuoli, a most noble and wise citizen; and she, a truly courageous woman and a worthy daughter of such a father, with her noble ardour and spirit, was the reason that those gems are still preserved in that house.

Giovan Maria Benintendi, about this same time, had adorned an antechamber in his house with many pictures by the hands of various able men; and after the work executed for Borgherini, incited by hearing Jacopo da Pontormo very highly praised, he caused a picture to be painted by him with the Adoration of the Magi, who went to Bethlehem to see Christ; which work, since Jacopo devoted to it much study and diligence, proved to be well varied and beautiful in the heads and in and to be truly worthy of all praise. Afterwards he executed for Messer Goro da Pistoia, then Secretary to the Medici, a picture with the portrait of the Magnificent Cosimo de' Medici, the elder, from the knees upwards, which is indeed worthy to be extolled; and this portrait is now in the house of Messer Ottaviano de' Medici, in the possession of his son, Messer Alessandro, a young man besides the distinction and nobility of his blood of most upright character, well lettered, and the worthy son of the Magnificent Ottaviano and of Madonna Francesca, the daughter of Jacopo Salviati and the maternal aunt of the Lord Duke Cosimo.

By means of this work, and particularly this head of Cosimo, Pontormo became the friend of Messer Ottaviano; and the Great Hall at Poggio a Caiano having then to be painted, there were given to him to paint the two ends where the round openings are that give light that is, the windows from the vaulting down to the floor. Whereupon, desiring to do himself honour even beyond his wont, both from regard for the place and from emulation of the other painters who were working there, he set himself to study with such diligence, that he overshot the mark, for the reason that, destroying and doing over again every day what he had done the day before, he racked his brains in such a manner that it was a tragedy; but all the time he was always making new discoveries, which brought credit to himself and beauty to the work. Thus, having to execute a Vertumnus with his husbandmen, he painted a peasant seated with a vine-pruner in his hand, which is so beautiful and so well done that it is a very rare thing, even as certain children that are there are lifelike and natural beyond all belief. On the other side he painted Pomona and Diana, with other Goddesses, enveloping them perhaps too abundantly with draperies. However, the work as a whole is beautiful and much extolled; but while it was being executed Leo was overtaken by death, and so it remained unfinished, like many other similar works at Rome, Florence, Loreto, and other places; nay, the whole world was left poor, being robbed of the true Maecenas of men of talent. Having returned to Florence, Jacopo painted in a picture a seated figure of S. Augustine as a Bishop, who is giving the benediction, with two little nude Angels flying through the air, who are very beautiful; which picture is over an altar in the little Church of the Sisters of S. Clemente in the Via di S. Gallo. He carried to completion, likewise, a picture of a Pieta with certain nude Angels, which was a very beautiful work, and held very dear by certain merchants of Ragusa, for whom he painted it; but most beautiful of all in this picture was a landscape taken for the most part from an engraving by Albrecht Diirer. He also painted a picture of Our Lady with the Child in her arms, and some little Angels about her, which is now in the house of Alessandro Neroni; and for certain Spaniards he executed another like it that is, of the Madonna but different from the one described above and in another manner, which picture, being for sale in a second-hand dealer's shop many years after, was bought by Bartolommeo Panciatichi at the suggestion of Bronzino.

Then, in the year 1522, there being a slight outbreak of plague in Florence, and many persons therefore departing in order to avoid that most infectious sickness and to save themselves, an occasion presented itself to Jacopo of flying the city and removing himself to some distance, for a certain Prior of the Certosa, a place built by the Acciaiuoli three miles away from Florence, had to have some pictures painted in fresco at the corners of a very large and beautiful cloister that surrounds a lawn, and Jacopo was brought to his notice; whereupon the Prior had him sought out, and he, having accepted the work very willingly at such a time, went off to Certosa, taking with him only Bronzino. There, after a trial of that mode of life, that quiet, that silence, and that solitude all things after the taste and nature of Jacopo he thought with such an occasion to make a special effort in the matters of art, and to show to the world that he had acquired greater perfection and a different manner since those works that he had executed before. Now not long before there had come from Germany to Florence many sheets printed from engravings done with great subtlety with the burin by Albrecht Diirer, a most excellent German painter and a rare engraver of plates on copper and on wood; and, among others, many scenes, both large and small, of the Passion of Jesus Christ, in which was all the perfection and excellence of engraving with the burin that could ever be achieved, what with the beauty and variety of the vestments and the invention. Jacopo, having to paint at the corners of those cloisters scenes from the Passion of the Saviour, thought to avail himself of the above-named inventions of Albrecht Diirer, in the firm belief that he would satisfy not only himself but also the greater part of the craftsmen of Florence, who were all proclaiming with one voice and with common consent and agreement the beauty of those engravings and the excellence of Albrecht. Setting himself therefore to imitate that manner, and seeking to give to the expressions of the heads of his figures that liveliness and^variety which Albrecht had given to his, he caught it so thoroughly, that the charm of his own early manner, which had been given to him by nature, all full of sweetness and grace, suffered a great change from that new study and labour, and was so impaired through his stumbling on that German manner, that in all these works, although they are all beautiful, there is but a sorry remnant to be seen of that excellence and grace that he had given up to that time to all his figures.

At the entrance to the cloister, then, in one corner, he painted Christ in the Garden, counterfeiting so well the darkness of night illumined by the light of the moon, that it appears almost like daylight; and while Christ is praying, not far distant are Peter, James, and John sleeping, executed in a manner so similar to that of Diirer, that it is a marvel. Not far away is Judas leading the Jews, likewise with a countenance so strange, even as the features of all those soldiers are depicted in the German manner with bizarre expressions, that it moves him who beholds it to pity for the simplicity of the man, who sought with such patience to learn that which others avoid and seek to lose, and all to lose the manner that surpassed all others in excellence and gave infinite pleasure to everyone. Did not Pontormo know, then, that the Germans and Flemings came to these parts to learn the Italian manner, which he with such effort sought to abandon as if it were bad ?

Beside this scene is one in which is Christ led by the Jews before Pilate, and in the Saviour he painted all the humility that could possibly be imagined in the Person of Innocence betrayed by the sins of men, and in the wife of Pilate that pity and dread for themselves which those have who fear the divine judgment; which woman, while she pleads the cause of Christ before her husband, gazes into His countenance with pitying wonder. Round Pilate are some soldiers so characteristic in the expressions of the faces and in the German garments, that one who knew not by whose hand was that work would believe it to have been_ executed in reality by ultramontanes. It is true, indeed, that in the distance in this scene there is a cup-bearer of Pilate's that is descending some steps with a basin and a ewer in his hands, carrying to his master the means to wash the hands, who is lifelike and very beautiful, having in him something of the old manner of Jacopo.

Having next to paint the Resurrection of Christ in one of the other corners, the fancy came to Jacopo, as to one who had no steadfastness in his brain and was always cogitating new things, to change his colour- ing; and so he executed that work with a colouring in fresco so soft and so good, that, if he had done the work in another manner than that same German, it would certainly have been very beautiful, for in the heads of those soldiers, who are in various attitudes, heavy with sleep, and as it were dead, there may be seen such excellence, that one cannot believe that it is possible to do better.

Then, continuing the stories of the Passion in another of the corners, he painted Christ going with the Cross upon His shoulder to Mount Calvary, and behind Him the people of Jerusalem, accompanying Him; and in front are the two Thieves, naked, between the ministers of justice, who are partly on foot and partly on horseback, with the ladders, the inscription for the Cross, hammers, nails, cords, and other suchlike instru- ments. And in the highest part, behind a little hill, is the Madonna with the Maries, who, weeping, are awaiting Christ, who has fallen to the ground in the middle of the scene, and has about Him many Jews that are smiting Him, while Veronica is offering to Him the Sudarium, accom- panied by some women both young and old, all weeping at the outrage that they see being done to the Saviour. This scene, either because he was warned by his friends, or perhaps because Jacopo himself at last became aware, although tardily, of the harm that had been done to his own sweet manner by the study of the German, proved to be much better than the others executed in the same place, for the reason that certain naked Jews and some heads of old men are so well painted in fresco, that it would not be possible to do more, although the same German manner may be seen constantly maintained in the work as a whole.

After these he was to have gone on with the Crucifixion and the Deposition from the Cross in the other corners; but, putting them aside for a time, with the intention of executing them last, he painted in their stead Christ taken down from the Cross, keeping to the same manner, but with great harmony of colouring. In this scene, besides that the Magdalene, who is kissing the feet of Christ, is most beautiful, there are two old men, representing Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus, who, although they are in the German manner, have the most beautiful expressions and heads of old men, with beards feathery and coloured with marvellous softness, that there are to be seen.

Now Jacopo, besides being generally slow over his works, was pleased with the solitude of the Certosa, and he therefore spent several years on these labours; and, after the plague had finished and he had returned to Florence, he did not for that reason cease to frequent that place constantly, and was always going and coming between the Certosa and the city. Proceeding thus, he satisfied those fathers in many things, and, among others, he painted in their church, over one of the doors that lead into the chapels, in a figure from the waist upwards, the portrait of a lay-brother of that monastery, who was alive at that time and one hundred and twenty years old, executing it so well and with such finish, such vivacity, and such animation, that through it alone Pontormo deserves to be excused for the strange and faniaatic new manner with which he was saddled by that solitude and by living far from the commerce of men.

Besides this, he painted for the Prior of that place a picture of the Nativity of Christ, representing Joseph as giving light to Jesus Christ in the darkness of the night with a lantern, and this in pursuit of the same notions and caprices which the German engravings put into his head. Now let no one believe that Jacopo is to blame because he imitated Albrecht Duerer in his inventions, for the reason that this is no error, and many painters have done it and are continually doing it; but only because he adopted the unmixed German manner in everything, in the draperies, in the expressions of the heads, and in the attitudes, which he should have avoided, availing himself only of the inventions, since he had the modern manner in all the fullness of its beauty and grace.*] For ' the Stranger's Apartment of the same monks he painted a large picture on canvas and in oil-colours, without straining himself at all or forcing his natural powers, of Christ at table with Cleophas and Luke, figures of the size of life; and since in this work he followed the bent of his own genius, it proved to be truly marvellous, particularly because he portrayed among those who are serving at that table some lay-brothers of the convent, whom I myself have known, in such a manner that they could not be either more lifelike or more animated than they are.

Bronzino, meanwhile (that is, while his master was executing the works described above in the Certosa), pursuing with great spirit the studies of painting, and encouraged all the time by Pontormo, who was very loving with his disciples, executed on the inner side over an arch above the door of the cloister that leads into the church, without having ever seen the process of painting in oil-colours on the wall, a nude S. Laurence on the gridiron, which was so beautiful that there began to be seen some indication of that excellence to which he has since attained, as will be related in the proper place; which circumstance gave infinite satisfaction to Jacopo, who already saw whither that genius would arrive.

Not long afterwards there returned from Rome Lodovico di Gino Capponi, who had bought that chapel in S. Felicita, on the right hand of the entrance into the church, which the Barbadori had formerly caused to be built by Filippo di Ser Brunellesco ; and he resolved to have all the vaulting painted, and then to have an altar-piece executed for it, with a rich ornament. Having therefore consulted in the matter with M. Niccold Vespucci, knight of Rhodes, who was much his friend, the knight, who was also much the friend of Jacopo, and knew, into the bargain, the talent and worth of that able man, did and said so much that Lodovico allotted that work to Pontormo. And so, having erected an enclosure, which kept that chapel closed for three years, he set his hand to the work. On the vaulted ceiling he painted a God the Father, who has about Him four very beautiful Patriarchs ; and in the four medallions at the angles he depicted the four Evangelists, or rather, he executed three of them with his own hand, and Bronzino one all by himself. And with this occasion I must mention that Pontormo used scarcely ever to allow himself to be helped by his assistants, or to suffer them to lay a hand on that which he intended to execute with his own hand; and when he did wish to avail himself of one of them, chiefly in order that they might learn, he allowed them to do the whole work by themselves, as he allowed Bronzino to do here.

In the works that Jacopo executed in the said chapel up to this point, it seemed almost as if he had returned to his first manner; but he did not follow the same method in painting the altarpiece, for, thinking always of new things, he executed it without shadows, and with a colouring so bright and so uniform, that one can scarcely distinguish the lights from the middle tints, and the middle tints from the darks. In this altar-piece is a Dead Christ taken down from the Cross and being carried to the Sepulchre. There is the Madonna who is swooning, and the Maries, all executed in a fashion so different from his first work, that it is clearly evident that his brain was always busy investigating new conceptions and fantastic methods of painting, not being content with, and not fixing on, any single method. In a word, the composition of this altarpiece is altogether different from the figures on the vaulting, and likewise the colouring; and the four Evangelists, which are in the medallions on the spandrels of the vaulting, are much better and in a different manner.

On the wall where the window is are two figures in fresco, on one side the Virgin, and on the other the Angel, who is bringing her the Annunciation, but so distorted, both the one and the other, that it is evident that, as I have said, that bizarre and fantastic brain was never content with anything. And in order to be able to do as he pleased in this, and to avoid having his attention distracted by anyone, all the time that he was executing this work he would never allow even the owner of the chapel himself to see it, insomuch that, having painted it after his own fancy, without any of his friends having been able to give him a single hint, when it was finally uncovered and seen, it amazed all Florence. For the same Lodovico he executed a picture of Our Lady in that same manner for his chamber, and in the head of a S. Mary Magda- lene he made the portrait of a daughter of Lodovico, who was a very beautiful young woman.

Near the Monastery of Boldrone, on the road that goes from there to Castello, and at the corner of another that climbs the hill and goes to Cercina (that is, at a distance of two miles from Florence), he painted in fresco in a shrine Christ Crucified, Our Lady weeping, S. John the Evangelist, S. Augustine, and S. Giuliano; all which figures, his caprice not being yet satisfied, and the German manner still pleasing him, are not very different from those that he executed at the Certosa. He did the same, also, in an altar-piece that he painted for the Nuns of S. Anna, at the Porta a S. Friano, in which altar-piece is Our Lady with the Child in her arms, and S. Anne behind her, with S. Peter, S. Benedict, and other Saints, and in the predella is a small scene with little figures, which represent the Signoria of Florence as it used to go in procession with trumpeters, pipers, mace-bearers, messengers, and ushers, with the rest of the household; and this he did because the commission for that altar-piece was given to him by the Captain and the household of the Palace.

The while that Jacopo was executing this work, Alessandro and Ippolito de' Medici, who were both very young, having been sent to Florence by Pope Clement VII under the care of the Legate, Silvio Passerini, Bishop of Cortona, the Magnificent Ottaviano, to whom the Pope had straitly recommended them, had the portraits of both of them taken by Pontormo, who served him very well, and made them very good likenesses, although he did not much depart from the manner that he had learned from the Germans. In the portrait of Ippolito he also painted a favourite dog of that lord, called Rodon, and made it so characteristic and so natural, that it might be alive. He took the portrait, likewise, of Bishop Ardinghelli, who afterwards became a Cardinal; and for Filippo del Migliore, who was much his friend, he painted in fresco in his house on the Via Larga, in a niche opposite to the principal door, a woman representing Pomona, from which it appeared that he was beginning to seek to abandon in part his German manner.

Now Giovan Battista della Palla perceived that by reason of many works the name of Jacopo was becoming every day more celebrated; and, since he had not succeeded in sending to King Francis the pictures executed by that same master and by others for Borgherini, he resolved, knowing that the King had a desire for them, at all costs to send him something by the hand of Pontormo. Whereupon he so went to work that he persuaded Jacopo to execute a most beautiful picture of the Raising of Lazarus, which proved to be one of the best works that he ever painted and that was ever sent by Giovan Battista, among the vast number that he sent, to King Francis of France. For, besides that the heads were most beautiful, the figure of Lazarus, whose spirit as he returned to life was re-entering his dead flesh, could not have been more marvellous, for about the eyes he still had the hue of corruption, and the flesh cold and dead at the extremities of the hands and feet, where the spirit had not yet come.

In a picture of one braccio and a half he painted for the Sisters of the Hospital of the Innocenti, with an infinite number of little figures, the story of the eleven thousand Martyrs who were condemned to death by Diocletian and all crucified in a wood. In this Jacopo represented a battle of horsemen and nude figures, very beautiful, and some most lovely little Angels flying through the air, who are shooting arrows at the ministers of the crucifixion; and in like manner, about the Emperor, who is pronouncing the condemnation, are some most beautiful nude figures who are going to their death. This picture, which in every part is worthy to be praised, is now held in great price by Don Vincenzio Borghini, the Director of that Hospital, who once was much the friend of Jacopo. Another picture similar to that described above he painted for Carlo Neroni, but only with the Battle of the Martyrs and the Angel baptizing them; and then the portrait of Carlo himself. He also executed a portrait, at the time of the siege of Florence, of Francesco Guardi in the habit of a soldier, which was a very beautiful work; and on the cover of this picture Bronzino afterwards painted Pygmalion praying to Venus that his statue, receiving breath, might spring to life and become as, according to the fables of the poets, it did flesh and blood. At this time, after much labour, there came to Jacopo the fulfilment of a desire that he had long had, in that, having always felt a wish to have a house that might be his own, so that he should no longer live in the house of another, but might occupy his own and live as pleased himself, finally he bought one in the Via della Colonna, opposite to the Nuns of S. Maria degli Angeli.

The siege finished, Pope Clement commanded Messer Ottaviano de' Medici that he should cause the hall of Poggio a Caiano to be finished. Whereupon, Franciabigio and Andrea del Sarto being dead, the whole charge of this was given to Pontormo, who, after having the staging and the screens made, began to execute the cartoons; but, for the reason that he went off into fantasies and cogitations, beyond that he never set a hand to the work. This, perchance, would not have happened if Bronzino had been in those parts, who was then working at the Imperiale, a place belonging to the Duke of Urbino, near Pesaro; which Bronzino, although he was sent for every day by Jacopo, nevertheless was not able to depart at his own pleasure, for the reason that, after he had executed a very beautiful naked Cupid on the spandrel of a vault in the Imperiale, and the cartoons for the others, Prince Guidobaldo, having recognized the young man's genius, ordained that his own portrait should be taken by him, and, seeing that he wished to be portrayed in some armour that he was expecting from Lombardy, Bronzino was forced to stay with that Prince longer than he could have wished. During that time he painted the case of a harpsichord, which much pleased the Prince, and finally Bronzino executed his portrait, which was very beautiful, and the Prince was well satisfied with it. Jacopo, then, wrote so many times, and employed so many means, that in the end he brought Bronzino back ; but for all that the man could never be induced to do any other part of this work than the cartoons, although he was urged to it by the Magnificent Ottaviano and by Duke Alessandro. In one of these cartoons, which are now for the most part in the house of Lodovico Capponi, is a Hercules who is crushing Antaeus, in another a Venus and Adonis, and in yet another drawing a scene of nude figures playing football.

In the meantime Signor Alfonso Davalos, Marchese del Vasto, having obtained from Michelagnolo Buonarroti by means of Fra Niccolo della Magna a cartoon of Christ appearing to the Magdalene in the garden, moved heaven and earth to have it executed for him in painting by Pontormo, Buonarroti having told him that no one could serve him better than that master. Jacopo then executed that work to perfection, and it was accounted a rare painting by reason both of the grandeur of Michelagnolo's design and of Jacopo's colouring. Wherefore Signor Alessandro Vitelli, who was at that time Captain of the garrison of soldiers in Florence, having seen it, had a picture painted for himself from the same cartoon by Jacopo, which he sent to Citta di Castello and caused to be placed in his house. It thus became evident in what estimation Michelagnolo held Pontormo, and with what diligence Pontormo carried to completion and executed excellently well the designs and cartoons of Michelagnolo, and Bartolommeo Bettini so went to work that Buonar- roti, who was much his friend, made for him a cartoon of a nude Venus with a Cupid who is kissing her, in order that he might have it executed in painting by Pontormo and place it in the centre of a chamber of his own, in the lunettes of which he had begun to have painted by Bronzino figures of Dante, Petrarca, and Boccaccio, with the intention of having there all the other poets who have sung of love in Tuscan prose and verse. Jacopo, then, having received this cartoon, executed it to perfection at his leisure, as will be related, in the manner that all the world knows without my saying another word in praise of it. These designs of Michel- agnolo's were the reason that Pontormo, considering the manner of that most noble craftsman, took heart of grace, and resolved that by hook or by crook he would imitate and follow it to the best of his ability. And then it was that Jacopo recognized how ill he had done to allow the work of Poggio a Caiano to slip through his hands, although he put the blame in great measure on a long and very troublesome illness that he had suffered, and finally on the death of Pope Clement, which brought that undertaking completely to an end.

Jacopo having executed after the works described above a picture with the portrait from life of Amerigo Antinori, a young man much beloved in Florence at that time, and that portrait being much extolled by everyone, Duke Alessandro had him informed that he wished to have his portrait taken by him in a large picture. And Jacopo, for the sake of convenience, executed his portrait for the time being in a little picture of the size of a sheet of half-folio, and with such diligence and care, that the works of the miniaturists do not in any way come up to it; for the reason that, besides its being a very good likeness, there is in that head all that could be desired in the rarest of paintings. From that little picture, which is now in the guardaroba of Duke Cosimo, Jacopo afterwards made a portrait of the same Duke in a large picture, with a style in the hand, drawing the head of a woman; which larger portrait Duke Alessandro afterwards presented to Signora Taddea Malespina, the sister of the Marchesa di Massa. Desiring at all costs to reward liberally the genius of Jacopo for these works, the Duke sent him a message by Niccolo da Montaguto, his servant, that he should ask whatever he wished, and it would be granted to him. But such was the poor spirit or the exces- sive respect and modesty of the man, I know not which to call it, that he asked for nothing save as much money as would suffice him to redeem a cloak that he had pledged; which having heard, the Duke, not without laughing at the character of the man, commanded that fifty gold crowns should be given and a salary offered to him; and even then Niccolo had much ado to make him accept it.

Meanwhile Jacopo had finished painting the Venus from the cartoon belonging to Bettini, which proved to be a marvellous thing, but it was not given to Bettini at the price for which Jacopo had promised it to him, for certain tuft-hunters, in order to do Bettini an injury, took it almost by force from the hands of Jacopo and gave it to Duke Alessandro, restoring the cartoon to Bettini. Which having heard, Michelagnolo felt much displeasure for love of the friend for whom he had drawn the cartoon, and he bore a grudge against Jacopo, who, although he received fifty crowns for it from the Duke, nevertheless cannot be said to have defrauded Bettini, seeing that he gave up the Venus at the command of him who was his lord. But of all this some say that Bettini himself was in great measure the cause, from his asking too much.

The occasion having thus presented itself to Pontormo, by means of these moneys, to set his hand to the fitting up of his house, he made a beginning with his building, but did nothing of much importance. i Indeed, although some persons declare that he had it in mind to spend largely, according to his position, and to make a commodious dwelling and one that might have some design, it is nevertheless evident that what he did, whether this came from his not having the means to spend i or from some other reason, has rather the appearance of a building erected by an eccentric and solitary creature than of a well-ordered habitation, for the reason that to the room where he used to sleep and at times to work, he had to climb by a wooden ladder, which, after he had gone in, he would draw up with a pulley, to the end that no one might go up to him without his wish or knowledge. But that which most displeased other men in him was that he would not work save when and for whom he pleased, and after his own fancy; wherefore on many occasions, being sought out by noblemen who desired to have some of his work, and once in particular by the Magnificent Ottaviano de' Medici, he would not serve them; and then he would set himself to do anything in the world for some low and common fellow, at a miserable price. Thus the mason Rossino, a person of no small ingenuity considering his calling, by playing the simpleton, received from him in payment for having paved certain rooms with bricks, and for having done other mason's work, a most beautiful picture of Our Lady, in executing which Jacopo toiled and laboured as much as the mason did in his building. And so well did the good Rossino contrive to manage his business, that, in addition to the above-named picture, he got from the hands of Jacopo a most beautiful portrait of Cardinal Giulio de' Medici, copied from one by the hand of Raffaello, and, into the bargain, a very beautiful little picture of a Christ Crucified, which, although the above-mentioned Magnificent Ottaviano bought it from the mason Rossino as a work by the hand of Jacopo, nevertheless is known for certain to be by the hand of Bronzino, who executed it all by himself while he was working with Jacopo at the Certosa, although it afterwards remained, I know not why, in the posses- sion of Pontormo. All these three pictures, won by the industry of the mason from the hands of Jacopo, are now in the house of M. Alessandro de' Medici, the son of the above-named Ottaviano.

Now, although this procedure of Jacopo's and his living solitary and after his own fashion were not much commended, that does not mean that if anyone wished to excuse him he would not be able, for the reason that for those works that he did we should acknowledge our obligation to him, and for those that he did not choose to do we should not blame or censure him. No craftsman is obliged to work save when and for whom he pleases ; and, if he suffered thereby, the loss was his. As for solitude, I have always heard say that it is the greatest friend of study ; and, even if it were not so, I do not believe that much blame is due to him who lives in his own fashion without offence to God or to his neighbour, dwelling and employing his time as best suits his nature.

But to return, leaving these matters on one side, to the works of Jacopo: Duke Alessandro had caused to be restored in some parts the Villa of Careggi, formerly built by the elder Cosimo de' Medici, at a distance of two miles from Florence, and had carried out the ornamentation of the fountain and the labyrinth, which wound through the centre of an open court, into which there opened two loggie, and his Excellency ordained that those loggie should be painted by Jacopo, but that company should be given him, to the end that he might finish them the quicker, and that conversation with others, keeping him cheerful, might be a means of making him work without straying so much into vagaries and dis- tilling away his brains. Nay, the Duke himself sent for Jacopo and besought him that he should strive to deliver that work completely finished as soon as possible. Jacopo, therefore, having summoned Bronzino, caused him to paint a figure on each of five spandrels of the vaulting, these being Fortune, Justice, Victory, Peace, and Fame; and on the other spandrel, for they are in all six, Jacopo with his own hand painted a Love. Then, having made the design for some little boys that were going in the oval space of the vaulting, with various animals in their hands, and all foreshortened to be seen from below, he caused them all, with the exception of one, to be executed in color by Bronzino, who acquitted himself very well. And since, while Jacopo and Bronzino were painting these figures, the ornaments all around were executed by Jacone, Pier Francesco di Jacopo, and others, the whole of that work was finished in a short time, to the great satisfaction of the Lord Duke. His Excellency wished to have the other loggia painted, but he was not in time, for the reason that the above-named work having been finished on the I3th of December in the year 1536, on the 6th of the January following that most illustrious lord was assassinated by his kinsman Lorenzino; and so this work and others remained without their completion.

The Lord Duke Cosimo having then been elected, and the affair of Montemurlo having passed off happily, a beginning was made with the works of Castello, according as has been related in the Life of Tribolo, and his most illustrious Excellency, in order to gratify Signora Donna Maria, his mother, ordained that Jacopo should paint the first loggia, which one finds on the left hand in entering the Palace of Castello. Whereupon, setting to work, Jacopo first designed all the ornaments that were to be painted there, and had them executed for the most part by Bronzino and the masters who had executed those of Careggi. Then, shutting himself up alone, he proceeded with that work after his own fancy and wholly at his leisure, studying with all diligence, to the end that it might be much better than that of Careggi, which he had not executed entirely with his own hand. This he was able to do very con- veniently, having eight crowns a month for it from his Excellency, whom he portrayed, young as he was, in the beginning of that work, and like- wise Signora Donna Maria, his mother. Finally, after that loggia had been closed for five years, no one being able to have even a glance at what Jacopo had done, one day the above-named lady became enraged against him, and commanded that the staging and the screen should be thrown to the ground. But Jacopo, having begged for grace and having obtained leave to keep it covered for a few days more, first retouched it where it seemed to him to be necessary, and then caused a cloth of his own contriving to be made, which should keep that loggia covered when those lords were not there, to the end that the weather might not, as it had done at Careggi, eat away those pictures, which were executed in oils on the dry plaster; and at last he uncovered it, amid the lively expectation of everyone, all thinking that in that work Jacopo must have surpassed himself and done something altogether stupendous. But the effect did not correspond completely to the expectations, for the reason that, although many parts of the work are good, the general proportion of the figures appears very poor in form, and certain distorted attitudes that are there seem to be wanting in measure and very strange. But Jacopo excused himself by saying that he had never worked very willingly in that place, for the reason that, being without the city, it seemed much exposed to the fury of the soldiery and to other suchlike dangers ; but there was no need for him to be afraid of that, seeing that time and the weather, from the work having been executed in the manner already described, are eating it away little by little.

In the center of the vaulting, then, he painted a Saturn with the Sign of Capricorn, and a Hermaphrodite Mars in the Sign of the Lion and of the Virgin, and some little Angels who are flying through the air, like those of Careggi. He then painted in certain gigantic women, almost entirely nude, Philosophy, Astrology, Geometry, Music, Arithmetic, and a Ceres ; with some little scenes in medallions, executed with various tints of colour and appropriate to the figures. Although this work, so fatiguing and so laboured, did not give much satisfaction, or, if a certain measure of satisfaction, much less than was expected, yet his Excellency declared that it pleased him, and availed himself of Jacopo on every occasion, chiefly because that painter was held in great venera- tion by the people on account of the very good and beautiful works that he had executed in the past.

The Lord Duke then brought to Florence the Flemings, Maestro I Giovanni Rosso and Maestro Niccol6, excellent masters in arras- tapes tries, 1 to the end that the art might be learned and practised by the Florentines, and he ordained that tapestries in silk and gold should be executed for the Council Hall of the Two Hundred at a cost of 60,000 crowns, and that Jacopo and Bronzino should make the cartoons with the stories of Joseph. But, when Jacopo had made two of them, in one of which is the scene when the death of Joseph is announced to Jacob and the bloody garments are shown to him, and in the other the Flight of Joseph from the wife of Potiphar, leaving his garment behind, they did not please either the Duke or those masters who had to put them into execu- tion, for they appeared to them to be strange things and not likely to be successful when executed in woven tapestries. And so Jacopo did not go on to make any more cartoons, but returned to his usual labours and painted a picture of Our Lady, which was presented by the Duke to Signer Don . . . [SIC], who took it to Spain.

Now his Excellency, following in the footsteps of his ancestors, has always sought to embellish and adorn his city; and he resolved, the necessity having come to his notice, to cause to be painted all the principal chapel of the magnificent Temple of S. Lorenzo, formerly built by the great Cosimo de' Medici, the elder. Whereupon he gave the charge of this to Jacopo da Pontormo, either of his own accord, or, as was said, at the instance of Messer Pier Francesco Ricci, his major-domo; and Jacopo was very glad of that favour, for the reason that, although the greatness of the work, he being well advanced in years, gave him food for thought and perhaps dismayed him, on the other hand he reflected how, in a work of such magnitude, he had a fair field to show his ability and worth. Some say that Jacopo, finding that the work had been allotted to him notwithstanding that Francesco Salviati, a painter of great fame, was in Florence and had brought to a happy conclusion the painting of that hall in the Palace which was once the audience-chamber of the Signoria, must needs declare that he would show the world how to draw and paint, and how to work in fresco, and, besides this, that the other painters were but ordinary hacks, with other words equally insolent and overbearing. But I myself always knew Jacopo as a modest person, who spoke of everyone honourably and in a manner proper to an orderly and virtuous craftsman, such as he was, and I believe that these words were imputed to him falsely, and that he never let slip from his mouth any such boastings, which are for the most part the marks of vain men who presume too much upon their merits, in which manner of men there is no place for virtue or good breeding. And, although I might have kept silent about these matters, I have not chosen to do so, because to proceed as I have done appears to me the office of a faithful and veracious his- torian; it is enough that, although these rumours went around, and particularly among our craftsmen, nevertheless I have a firm belief that they were the words of malicious persons, Jacopo having always been in the experience of everyone modest and well-behaved in his every action.

Having then closed up that chapel with walls, screens of planks, and curtains, and having given himself over to complete solitude, he kept it for a period of eleven years so well sealed up, that excepting himself not a living soul entered it, neither friend nor any other. It is true, indeed, that certain lads who were drawing in the sacristy of Michel- agnolo, as young men will do, climbed by its spiral staircase on to the roof of the church, and, removing some tiles and the plank of one of the gilded rosettes that are there, saw everything. Of which having heard, Jacopo took it very ill, but took no further notice beyond closing up everything with greater care ; although some say that he persecuted those young men sorely, and sought to make them regret it.

Imagining, then, that in this work he would surpass all other painters, and perchance, so it was said, even Michelagnolo, he painted in the upper part, in a number of scenes, the Creation of Adam and Eve, the Eating of the Forbidden Fruit, their Expulsion from Paradise, the Tilling of the Earth, the Sacrifice of Abel, the Death of Cain, the Blessing of the Seed of Noah, and the same Noah designing the plan and the measurements of the Ark. Next, on one of the lower walls, each of which is fifteen braccia in each direction, he painted the inundation of the Deluge, in which is a mass of dead and drowned bodies, and Noah speaking with God. On the other wall is painted the Universal Resurrection of the Dead, which has to take place on the last and final day ; with such variety and confusion, that the real resurrection will perhaps not be more confused, or more full of movement, in a manner of speaking, than Pontormo painted it. Opposite to the altar and between the windows that is, on the central wall there is on either side a row of nude figures, who, clinging to each other's bodies with hands and legs, form a ladder where- with to ascend to Paradise, rising from the earth, where there are many dead in company with them, and at the end, on either side, are two dead bodies clothed with the exception of the legs and also the arms, with which they are holding two lighted torches. At the top, in the centre of the wall, above the windows, he painted in the middle Christ on high in His Majesty, who, surrounded by many Angels all nude, is raising those dead in order to judge them.

But I have never been able to understand the significance of this scene, although I know that Jacopo had wit enough for himself, and also associated with learned and lettered persons; I mean, what he could have intended to signify in that part where there is Christ on high, raising the dead, and below His feet is God the Father, who is creating Adam and Eve. Besides this, in one of the corners, where are the four Evangelists, nude, with books in their hands, it does not seem to me that in a single place did he give a thought to any order of composition, or measure- ment, or time, or variety in the heads, or diversity in the flesh-colors, l \ [SIC] or, in a word, to any rule, proportion, or law of perspective; for the whole work is full of nude figures with an order, design, invention, com- position, colouring, and painting contrived after his own fashion, and with such melancholy and so little satisfaction for him who beholds the work, that I am determined, since I myself do not understand it, although I am a painter, to leave all who may see it to form their own judgment, for the reason that I believe that I would drive myself mad with it and would bury myself alive, even as it appears to me that Jacopo in the period of eleven years that he spent upon it sought to bury himself and all who might see the painting, among all those extraordinary figures. And although there may be seen in this work some bit of a torso with the back turned or facing to the front and some attachments of flanks, exe- cuted with marvellous care and great labour by Jacopo, who made finished models of clay in the round for almost all the figures, nevertheless the work as a whole is foreign to his manner, and, as it appears to almost every man, without proportion, the torsi for the most part being large and the legs and arms small, to say nothing of the heads, in which there is not a trace to be seen of that singular excellence and grace that he used to give to them, so greatly to the satisfaction of those who examine his other pictures. Wherefore it appears that in this work he paid no atten- tion to anything save certain parts, and of the other more important parts he took no account whatever. In a word, whereas he had thought in this work to surpass all the paintings in the world of art, he failed by a great measure to equal his own works that he had executed in the past; whence it is evident that he who seeks to strive beyond his strength and, as it were, to force nature, ruins the good qualities with which he may have been liberally endowed by her. But what can we or ought we to do save have compassion upon him, seeing that the men of our arts are as much liable to error as others ? And the good Homer, so it is said, even he sometimes nods ; nor shall it ever be said that there is a single work of Jacopo's, however he may have striven to force his nature, in which there is not something good and worthy of praise.

He died shortly before finishing the work, and some therefore declare that he died of grief, ending his life very much dissatisfied with himself; but the truth is that, being old and much exhausted by making portraits and models in clay and labouring so much in fresco, he sank into a dropsy, which finally killed him at the age of sixty-five. After his death there were found in his house many designs, cartoons, and models in clay, all very beautiful, and a picture of Our Lady executed by him excellently well and in a lovely manner, to all appearance many years before, which was sold by his heirs to Piero Salviati. Jacopo was buried in the first cloister of the Church of the Servite Friars, beneath the scene of the Visitation that he had formerly painted there; and he was followed to the grave by an honourable company of the painters, sculptors, and architects.

Jacopo was a frugal and sober man, and in his dress and manner of life he was rather miserly than moderate; and he lived almost always by himself, without desiring that anyone should serve him or cook for him. In his last years, indeed, he kept in his house, as it were to bring him up, Battista Naldini, a young man of fine spirit, who took such care of Jacopo's life as Jacopo would allow him to take; and under his master's discipline he made no little proficiency in design, and became such, indeed, that a very happy result is looked for from him. Among Pontormo's friends, particularly in this last period of his life, were Pier Francesco Vernacci and Don Vincenzio Borghini, with whom he took his recreation, sometimes eating with them, but rarely. But above all others, and always supremely beloved by him, was Bronzino, who loved him as dearly, being grateful and thankful for the benefits that he had received from him.

Pontormo had very beautiful manners, and he was so afraid of death, that he would not even hear it spoken of, and avoided having to meet dead bodies. He never went to festivals or to any other places where people gathered together, so as not to be caught in the press ; and he was solitary beyond all belief. At times, going out to work, he set himself to think so profoundly on what he was to do, that he went away without having done any other thing all day but stand thinking. And that this happened to him times without number in the work of S. Lorenzo may readily be believed, for the reason that when he was determined, like an able and well-practised craftsman, he had no difficulty in doing what he desired and had resolved to put into execution.

 

 

 

SIMONE MOSCA (1492-1553)

Vasari's Lives of the Artists




FROM the times of the ancient Greek and Roman sculptors to our own, no modern carver has equaled the beautiful and difficult works that they executed in their bases, capitals, friezes, cornices, festoons, trophies, masks, candelabra, birds, grotesques, or other carved cornice work, save only Simone Mosca of Settignano, who in our own days has worked in such a manner in those kinds of labor, that he has made it evident by his genius and art that all the diligence and study of the modern carvers who had come before him had not enabled them up to that time to imitate the best work of those ancients or to adopt the good method in their carvings, for the reason that their works incline to dryness, and the turn of their foliage to spikiness and crudeness. He, on the other hand, has executed foliage with great boldness, rich and abundant in new curves, the leaves being carved in various manners with beautiful indentations and with the most lovely flowers, seeds and creepers that there are to be seen, not to speak of the birds that he has contrived to carve so gracefully in various forms among his foliage and festoons, insomuch that it may be affirmed that Simone alone 9be it said without offense to the others 9has been able to remove from the marble that hardness which craftsmen are wont very often to leave in their sculptures, and has brought his works by his handling of the chisel to such a point that they have the appearance of things real to the touch, and the same may be said of the cornices and other suchlike labors, executed by him with most beautiful grace and judgment.

This Simone, having given his attention to design in his childhood with much profit, and having then become well-practiced in carving, was taken by Maestro Antonio da San Gallo, who recognized his genius and noble spirit, to Rome, where he caused him to execute, as his first works, some capitals and bases and several friezes of foliage for the Church of San Giovanni de¹ Fiorentini, and some works for the Palace of Alessandro, the first Cardinal Farnese. Simone meanwhile devoting himself, particularly on feast-days, and whenever he could snatch the time, to drawing the antiquities of that city, no long time passed before he was drawing and tracing ground-plans with more grace and neatness than did Antonio himself, insomuch that, having applied himself heart and soul to the study of designing foliage in the ancient manner, of giving a bold turn to the leaves, and of perforating his works in such a way as to make them perfect, taking the best from the best examples, one thing from one and one from another, in a few years he formed a manner of composition so beautiful and so catholic, that afterwards he did everything well, whether in company or by himself.

This may be seen in some coats of arms that were to be placed in the above-named Church of San Giovanni in the Strada Giulia; in one of which coats of arms, making a great lily, the ancient emblem of the Commune of Florence, he carved upon it some curves of foliage with creepers and seeds executed so well that they made everyone gasp with wonder. Nor had any long time passed when Antonio da San Gallo 9who was directing for Messer Agnolo Cesis the execution of the marble ornaments of a chapel and tomb for himself and his family, which were afterwards erected in the year 1550 in the Church of Santa Maria della Pace 9caused part of certain pilasters and socles covered with friezes, which were going into that work, to be wrought by Simone, who executed them so well and with such beauty, that they make themselves known among the others, without my saying which they are, by their grace and perfection; nor is it possible to see any altars for the offering of sacrifices after the ancient use more beautiful and fanciful than those that he made on the base of that work. Afterwards the same San Gallo, who was superintending the execution of the mouth of the well in the cloister of San Pietro in Vincula, caused Mosca to make the borders with some large masks of great beauty.

Not long afterwards he returned one summer to Florence, having a good name among craftsmen, and Baccio Bandinelli, who was making the Orpheus of marble that was placed in the court of the Medici Palace, after having the base for that work carried out by Benedetto da Rovezzano, caused Simone to execute the festoons and other carvings therein, which are very beautiful, although one festoon is unfinished and only worked over with the gradine. Having then done many works in gray sandstone, of which there is no need to make record, he was planning to return to Rome, when in the meantime the sack took place, and he did not go after all. But, having taken a wife, he was living in Florence with little to do: wherefore, being obliged to support his family, and having no income, he was occupying himself with any work that he could obtain. Now in those days there arrived in Florence one Pietro di Subisso, a master-mason of Arezzo, who always had under him a good number of workmen, for the reason that all the building in Arezzo passed through his hands; and he took Simone, with many others, to Arezzo. There he set Simone to making a chimney-piece of gray sandstone and a water-basin of no great cost, for a hail in the house of the heirs of Pellegrino da Fossombrone, a citizen of Arezzo; which house had been formerly erected by M. Piero Geri, an excellent astrologer, after the design of Andrea Sansovino, and had been sold by his nephews.

Setting to work, therefore, and beginning with the chimney-piece, Simone placed it upon two pilasters, making two niches in the thickness of the wall, in the direction of the fire, and laying upon those pilasters architrave. frieze, and great cornice, and over all a pediment with festoons and with the arms of that family. And thus, proceeding with it, he executed it with carvings of such a kind and so well varied, and with such subtle craftsmanship, that, although that work was of gray sandstone, under his hands it became more beautiful than if it had been of marble, and more astounding; which, indeed, came to pass the more readily because that one is not as hard as marble and, if anything, rather sandy. Putting extraordinary diligence, therefore, into the work, he executed on the pilasters trophies in half relief and low relief, than which nothing more bizarre or more beautiful could be done, with helmets, buskins, shields, quivers, and various other arms; and he likewise made there masks, sea monsters, and other graceful fantasies, all so well figured and cut out that they have the appearance of silver. The frieze that is between the architrave and the great cornice he made with a most beautiful turn of foliage, all pierced through and full of birds that are executed so web, that they seem to be flying through the air; and it is a marvelous thing to see their little legs, no larger than life, and yet completely in the round and detached from the stone in such a way as one cannot believe to be possible; and, in truth, the work seems rather a miracle than a product of human art. Besides all this, he made there in a festoon some leaves and fruits so web cut out, and wrought with such delicacy and care, that in a certain sense they surpass the reality. Lastly, the work is finished off by some great masks and candelabra, which are truly most beautiful. Although Simone need not have given such care to a work of that kind, for which he was to be but poorly paid by those patrons, who could not afford much, yet, drawn by the love that he bore to art and by the pleasure that a man feels in working web, he chose to do so; but he did not do the same with the water-basin for the same patrons, for he made it beautiful enough, but simple.

At the same time he assisted Pietro di Subisso, who did not know much, to make many designs of buildings and plans of houses, doors, windows, and other things appertaining to that profession. On the Canto degli Albergotti, below the school and university of the Commune, there is a window of considerable beauty constructed after his design; and there are two of them in the house of Ser Bernardino Serragli in the Pelliceria. On the corner of the Palazzo de¹ Priori there is a large escutcheon of Pope Clement VII in gray sandstone, by the hand of the same master; and under his direction, and partly by his hand, was executed for Bernardino di Cristofano da Giuovi a chapel of gray sandstone in the Corinthian Order, which was erected in the Abbey of Santa Fiore, a passing handsome monastery of Black Friars in Arezzo. For this chapel the patron wished to have the altarpiece painted by Andrea del Sarto, and then by Rosso, but in this he never succeeded, seeing that, being hindered now by one thing and now by another, they were not able to serve him.

Finally Bernardino turned to Giorgio Vasari, but with him also he had difficulties, and there was much trouble in finding a way of arranging the matter, for the reason that, the chapel being dedicated to St. James and St. Christopher, he wished to have in the picture Our Lady with the Child in her arms, and also the giant St. Christopher with another little Christ on his shoulder; which composition, besides that it appeared monstrous, could not be accommodated, nor was it possible to paint a giant of six braccia in an altarpiece of four braccia. Giorgio, then, being desirous to serve Bernardino, made him a design in this manner: he placed Our Lady upon some clouds, with a sun behind her back, and on the ground he painted St. Christopher kneeling on one side of the picture, with one leg in the water, and with the other in the act of moving in order to rise, while Our Lady is placing upon his shoulders the Infant Christ with the globe of the world in His hands. In the rest of the altarpiece, also, were to be St. James and the other Saints, accommodated in such a manner that they would not have been in the way; and this design, pleasing Bernardino, would have been put into execution, but Bernardino in the meantime died, and the chapel was left in that condition to his heirs, who have not done anything more.

Now, while Simone was laboring at that chapel, there passed through Arezzo Antonio da San Gallo, who was returning from the work of fortifying Parma and was going to Loreto to finish the work of the Chapel of the Madonna, to which he had sent Tribolo, Raffaello da Montelupo, the young Francesco da San Gallo, Girolamo da Ferrara, Simone Cioli, and other carvers, masons, and stonecutters, in order to finish that which Andrea Sansovino at his death had left incomplete; and he contrived to take Simone to work there. He ordained that Simone should have charge not only of the carvings, but also of the architecture and of the other ornaments of that work; in which commissions Mosca acquitted himself very well, and, what is more, executed many things perfectly with his own hands, particularly some little boys of marble in the round, which are on the pediments of the doors; and although there are also some by the hand of Simone Cioli, the best 9-and rare indeed they are- 9are all by Mosca. He made, likewise, all the festoons of marble that are around all that work, with most beautiful artistry and carvings full of grace and worthy of all praise; wherefore it is no marvel that these works are so esteemed and admired, that many craftsmen from distant parts have set off in order to go to see them.

Antonio da San Gallo, then, recognizing how much Mosca was worth, made use of him in any undertaking of importance, with the intention of remunerating him some day when the occasion might present itself, and of giving him to know how much he loved him for his abilities. When, therefore, after the death of Pope Clement, a new Supreme Pontiff had been elected in Paul III of the Farnese family, who ordained that, the mouth of the well at Orvieto having remained unfinished, Antonio should have charge of it. Antonio took Mosca thither, to the end that he might carry that work to completion, which presented some difficulties, and particularly in the ornamentation of the doors, for the reason that, the curve of the mouth being round, convex without and concave within, those two circles conflicted with each other and caused a difficulty in accommodating the squared doors with the ornaments of stone.

But the virtue of that singular genius of Simone¹s solved every difficulty, and executed the whole work with such grace and perfection, that no one could see that there had ever been any difficulty. He finished off the mouth and border of the well in gray sandstone, filled in with bricks, together with some very beautiful inscriptions on white stone and other ornaments, making the doors correspond with one another. He also made there in marble the arms of the above-named Pope Paul Farnese, or rather, where they had previously been made of balls for Pope Clement, who had carried out that work, Mosca was forced 9and he succeeded excellently well 9to make lilies out of the balls in relief, and thus to change the arms of the Medici into those of the house of Farnese; notwithstanding, as I have said (for so do things go in this world), that the author of that vast, regal, and magnificent work was Pope Clement VII, of whom in this last and most imposing part no mention whatever was made.

While Simone was engaged in finishing this well, the Wardens of Works of Santa Maria, the Duomo of Orvieto, desiring to give completion to the chapel of marble that had been carried as far as the socle under the direction of Michele San Michele of Verona, with some carvings, besought Simone, whom they had come to know as a master of true excellence, that he should attend to it. Whereupon they came to terms, and Simone, liking the society of the people of Orvieto, brought his family thither, in order to live in greater comfort; and then he set himself to work with a quiet and composed mind, being greatly honored by everyone in that place. When, therefore, as it were by way of sample, he had made a beginning with some pilasters and friezes, the excellence and ability of Simone were recognized by those men, and there was assigned to him a salary of two hundred crowns of gold a year, and with this, continuing to labor, he carried that work well forward. Now in the center, to fill up the ornaments, there was to go a scene of marble in half relief, representing the Adoration of the Magi; and there was summoned at the suggestion of Simone his very dear friend Raffaello da Montelupo, the Florentine sculptor, who, as has been related, executed half of that scene in a very beautiful manner.

In the ornamentation of this chapel, then, are certain socles, each two and a half braccia in breadth, which are on either side of the altar, and upon these are pilasters five braccia high, two on either side, between which is the story of the Magi; and on the pilasters next to the story, of which two of the faces are seen, are carved some candelabra, with friezes of grotesques, masks, little figures, and foliage, which are things divine. In the predella at the foot, which runs right over the altar from pilaster to pilaster, is a little half-length Angel who is holding an inscription with his hands, with festoons over all, between the capitals of the pilasters, where the architrave, frieze and great cornice project to the extent of the depth of the pilasters. Above those in the center, in a space equal to their breadth, curves an arch that serves as an ornament to the above-named story of the Magi, and in this, namely, in the lunette, are many Angels; and above the arch is a cornice, which runs from one pilaster to another, that is, from those on the outside, which form a frontispiece to the whole work. In this part is a God the Father in half relief; and at the sides, where the arch rises over the pilasters, are two Victories in half relief. All this work, then, is so well composed, and executed with such a wealth of carvings, that one cannot have enough of examining the minute details of the perforations and the excellence of all the things that are in the capitals, cornices, masks, festoons, and candelabra in the round, which form the completion of a work truly worthy to be admired as something rare.

Simone Mosca thus dwelling in Orvieto, a son of his called Francesco, and as a bye-name il Moschino, a boy fifteen years of age, who had been produced by nature with chisels in his hand, as it were, and with so beautiful a genius, that he did with supreme grace whatsoever thing he desired to do, executed in this work under the discipline of his father, miraculously, so to speak, the Angels that are holding the inscriptions between the pilasters, then the God the Father in the pediment, as well as the Angels that are in the lunette of that work, above the Adoration of the Magi executed by Raffaello da Montelupo, and finally the Victories at the sides of the lunette; by which works he caused everyone to wonder and marvel. All this was the reason that, when the chapel was finished, Simone was commissioned by the Wardens of Works of the Duomo to make another similar to it, on the other side, to the end that the space of the Chapel of the High Altar might be suitably set off, on the understanding that the figures should be varied without varying the architecture, and that in the center there should be the Visitation of Our Lady, which was allotted to the above-named Moschino.

Then, having made an agreement about every matter, the father and son set their hands to the work; and, while they were engaged upon it, Mosca was very helpful and useful to that city, making for many citizens architectural designs of houses and many other edifices. Among other things, he executed in that city the groundplan and facade of the house of Messer Raffaello Gualtieri, father of the Bishop of Viterbo, and of Messer Felice, both noblemen and lords of great excellence and reputation; and likewise the ground-plans of some houses for the honorable Counts della Cervara. He did the same in many places near Orvieto, and made, in particular, the models of many structures and buildings for Signor Pirro Colonna da Stripicciano.

The Pope then causing the fortress to be built in Perugia where there had stood the houses of the Baglioni, Antonio da San Gallo, having sent for Mosca, gave him the charge of making the ornaments; where there were executed after his designs all the doors, windows, chimney pieces, and other suchlike things, and in particular two large and very beautiful escutcheons of his Holiness. In that work Simone formed a connection with M. Tiberio Crispo, who was Castellan there; and he was sent by M. Tiberio to Bolsena, where, on the highest point of that stronghold, overlooking the lake, he arranged a large and beautiful habitation, partly on the old structure and partly founding anew, with a very handsome flight of steps and many ornaments of stone. Nor did any long time pass before Messer Tiberio, having been made Castellan of the Castello di Sant¹ Angelo, caused Mosca to go to Rome, where he made use of him in many matters in renovating the apartments of that castle; and, among other things, he caused him to make over the arches that rise over the new loggia, which faces towards the meadows, two escutcheons of the above-named Pope in marble, which are so well wrought and perforated in the mitre, or rather, triple crown, in the keys, and in certain festoons and little masks, that they are marvelous.

Having then returned to Orvieto in order to finish the work of the chapel, he labored there continuously all the time that Pope Paul was alive, executing it in such a manner that it proved to be, as may be seen, no less excellent than the first, and perhaps even better. For Mosca, as has been said, bore such love to art, and took such pleasure in working, that he could never have enough of it, almost striving after the impossible, and that rather from a desire for glory than from any wish to accumulate gold, for he was more pleased to work well at his profession than to acquire property.

Finally, Julius III having been elected Pope in the year 1550, and all men thinking that work would be begun in earnest on the building of San Pietro, Mosca went off to Rome and sought to obtain at a fixed price from the superintendents of that building the commission for some capitals of marble, but more to accommodate Gian Domenico, his son-in-law, than for any other reason. Now Giorgio Vasari, who always bore love to Mosca, found him in Rome, whither he also had been summoned to the service of the Pope, and he thought that without fail he would have some work to offer him, for the reason that the old Cardinal dal Monte, when he died, had left directions with his heirs that a tomb of marble should be built for him in San Pietro a Montorio, and the above-named Pope Julius, his nephew and heir, had ordained that this should be done, and had given the charge of the matter to Vasari; and Giorgio wished that in that tomb Mosca should execute some extraordinary work in carving But, after Giorgio had made some models for that tomb, the Pope discussed the whole matter with Michelangelo Buonarroti before he would make up his mind; whereupon Michelangelo told his Holiness that he should not involve himself with carvings, saying that, although they enrich a work, they confuse the figures, whereas squared work, when it is well done, is much more beautiful than carving and is a better accompaniment for the figures, for the reason that figures do not brook other carvings about them: and even so did his Holiness order the work to be done. Wherefore Vasari was not able to give Mosca anything to do in that work, and he was dismissed; and the tomb was finished without any carvings, which made it much better than it would have been with them.

Simone having then returned to Orvieto, arrangements were made to erect after his designs, in the cross at the head of the church, two great tabernacles of marble, works truly graceful, beautiful, and well-proportioned, for one of which Raffaello da Montelupo made in marble a nude Christ with the Cross on His shoulder in a niche, and for the other Moschino made a St. Sebastian, likewise nude. Work being then continued on the execution of the Apostles for the church, Moschino made a St. Peter and a St. Paul of the same size, which were held to be creditable statues. Meanwhile the work of the above-mentioned Chapel of the Visitation was not abandoned, and it was carried so far forward during the lifetime of Mosca, that there was nothing left to do save two birds, and even these would not have been wanting, had not M. Bastiano Gualtieri, Bishop of Viterbo, as has been related, kept Simone occupied with an ornament of marble in four pieces, which, when finished, he sent to France to the Cardinal of Lorraine, who held it very dear, for it was beautiful to a marvel, all full of foliage and wrought with such diligence, that it is believed to have been one of the best that Simone ever executed.

Not long after he had finished that work, in the year 1554, Simone died, at the age of fifty-eight, to the no small loss of that church of Orvieto, in which he was buried with honor.

Francesco Moschino was then elected to his father's place by the Wardens of Works of that same Duomo, but, thinking nothing of it, he left it to Raffaello da Montelupo, and went to Rome, where he finished for M. Ruberto Strozzi two very graceful figures in marble, the Mars and Venus, namely, which are in the court of his house in the Banchi. Afterwards he executed a scene with little figures, almost in full-relief, in which is Diana bathing with her Nymphs, who changes Actaeon into a stag, and he is devoured by his own hounds; and then Francesco came to Florence, and gave the work to the Lord Duke Cosimo, whom he much desired to serve. Whereupon his Excellency, having accepted and much commended it, did not disappoint the desire of Moschino, even as he has never disappointed anyone who has sought to work valiantly in any calling. For he was attached to the Works of the Duomo at Pisa, and has labored up to the present day with great credit to himself in the Chapel of the Nunziata, formerly built by Stagio da Pietrasanta, executing the Angel and the Madonna in figures of four braccia, together with the carvings and every other thing; in the center, Adam and Eve, who have the apple-tree between them; and a large God the Father with certain little boys on the vaulting of that chapel, which is all of marble, as are also the two statues, which have gained for Moschino no little fame and honor. And since that chapel is little less than finished, his Excellency has given orders that the chapel opposite to it should be taken in hand, which is called the Chapel of the Incoronata and stands immediately at the entrance of the church, on the left hand. The same Moschino, in connection with the nuptial festivities of her most serene Majesty. Queen Joanna and the most illustrious Prince of Florence, has acquitted himself very well in those works that were given him to do.

 

 

 

GIROLAMO GENGA
with the Lives of Bartolommeo Genga and G. Battista San Marino

Vasari's Lives of the Artists




GIROLAMO GENGA, who was of Urbino, was apprenticed by his father at the age of ten to the wool trade, but he followed it with the greatest ill-will, and, according as he could find time and place, he was for ever drawing in secret with charcoal or an ordinary pen. Which circumstance being observed by some friends of his father, they exhorted him to remove the boy from that trade and to set him to painting; wherefore he placed Girolamo with certain masters of little reputation in Urbino. But, having seen his beautiful manner, and that he was like to make proficience, when the boy was fifteen years of age the father apprenticed him to Maestro Luca Signorelli of Cortona, an excellent master in painting of that time; with whom he stayed many years, following him to the March of Ancona, to Cortona, and to many other places where he executed works, and in particular to Orvieto, in the Duomo of which city, as has been related, Luca painted a chapel of Our Lady with an infinite number of figures. At this our Girolamo worked continually, and he was always one of the best disciples that Luca had.

Then, having parted from Signorelli, he placed himself with Pietro Perugino, a much esteemed painter, with whom he stayed about three years, giving considerable attention to perspective, which was so well grasped and understood by him, that it may be said that he became very excellent therein, even as is evident from his works in painting and architecture. This was at the same time that there was with Pietro the divine Raffaello da Urbino, who was much the friend of Girolamo.

After leaving Pietro, he went off to live in Florence, where he studied for some considerable time. Then, having gone to Siena, he stayed there for months and even years with Pandolfo Petrucci, in whose house he painted many rooms, which, from their being very well designed and colored in a pleasing manner, were rightly admired and praised by all the people of Siena, and particularly by the above-named Pandolfo, by whom he was always looked upon with great favor and cherished most dearly. Pandolfo having died, he then returned to Urbino, where Guidobaldo, the second Duke, retained him for a considerable time, causing him to paint horse¹s caparisons, such as were used in those times, in company with Timoteo da Urbino, a painter of passing good name and much experience, together with whom he painted a chapel of San Martino in the Vescovado for Messer Giovan Piero Arrivabene of Mantua, then Bishop of Urbino. In this, both the one and the other of them gave proof of very beautiful genius, as the work itself demonstrates, in which is a portrait of the above-named Bishop, which has all the appearance of life. Genga was also particularly employed by the same Duke to execute scenery and settings for comedies, which, since he had a very good understanding of perspective and was well-grounded in architecture, he made marvelously beautiful.

He then departed from Urbino and went to Rome, where he executed in painting, in S. Caterina da Siena on the Strada Giulia, a Resurrection of Christ, wherein he made himself known as a rare and excellent master, having done it with good design and with figures foreshortened in beautiful attitudes and well colored, to which those who are of the profession and have seen it are able to bear ample testimony. While living in Rome, he gave much attention to measuring the antiquities there, as is proved by writings in the possession of his heirs.

At this time, Duke Guido having died, and having been succeeded by Francesco Maria, third Duke of Urbino, Girolamo was recalled from Rome by Francesco Maria, and constrained to return to Urbino at the time when the above-named Duke took to wife and brought into his dominions Leonora Gonzaga, the daughter of the Marquis of Mantua; and he was employed by his Excellency in making triumphal arches, festive preparations, and scenery for comedies, which were all so well arranged and carried into execution by him, that Urbino could be likened to a Rome in triumph; from which he gained very great fame and honor. Afterwards, in due course, the Duke was expelled from his state for the last time, when he went to Mantua, and Girolamo followed him, even as he had already done in his other periods of exile, always sharing one and the same fortune with him; and he retired with his family to Cesena.

There he painted for the high-altar of Sant' Agostino an altarpiece in oils at the top of which is an Annunciation, and below that a God the Father and still lower down a Madonna with the Child in her arms, between the four Doctors of the Church 9a work truly beautiful and worthy to be esteemed. He then painted in fresco a chapel on the right hand in S. Francesco at Forli, containing the Assumption of the Madonna, with many Angels and other figures 9Prophets, namely, and Apostles 9 around; in this, also, it is evident how admirable was his genius, and this work was judged to be very beautiful. He also painted there the story of the Holy Spirit, which he finished in the year 1512, for Messer Francesco Lombardi, a physician; and other works throughout Romagna, for all which he gained honor and rewards.

The Duke having then returned to his state, Girolamo also returned and was retained by him and employed as architect in restoring an old palace on the Monte dell' Imperiale, above Pesaro, and adding to it another tower. That palace was adorned with scenes in painting from the actions of the Duke, after the directions and designs of Girolamo, by Francesco da Forli and Raffaello dal Borgo, painters of good repute, and by Camillo Mantovano, a very rare master in painting landscapes and verdure; and the young Florentine Bronzino also worked there, among others, as has been related in the Life of Pontormo. Thither, likewise, were summoned the Dossi of Ferrara, and a room was assigned to them to paint; but since, when they had finished that room, it did not please the Duke, he had it thrown down and repainted by the masters mentioned above.

Girolamo then erected the tower there, one hundred and twenty feet in height, with thirteen flights of wooden steps whereby to ascend to the top, so well fitted and concealed in the walls, that they can be withdrawn with ease from story to story, which renders that tower very strong and marvelous. A desire afterwards came to the Duke to fortify Pesaro, and he caused Pier Francesco da Viterbo, a most excellent architect, to be sent for; and Girolamo always taking part in the discussions that arose about the fortifications, his discourse and his opinions were held to be good and full of judgment. Wherefore, if I may be allowed to say it, the design of that fortress came rather from Girolamo than from any other, although that sort of architecture was always little esteemed by him, appearing to him to be of small value and dignity.

The Duke, then, perceiving how rare a genius he had at his command. determined to build on the above-named Monte dell' Imperiale, near the old palace, a new palace; and so he built that to be seen there at the present day, which being a very beautiful and well-planned fabric, and full of apartments, colonnades, courts, loggie, fountains, and most delightful gardens, there is no Prince passes that way that does not go to see it. Wherefore it was right fitting that Pope Paul III, on his way to Bologna with all his Court, should go to see it and find it entirely to his satisfaction. From the design of this same master, the Duke caused the Palace at Pesaro to be restored, and also the little park, making within it a house representing a ruin, which is a very beautiful thing to see. Among other things there, is a staircase similar to that of the Belvedere in Rome, which is very handsome. By means of him the Duke had the fortress of Gradara restored, and likewise the Palace at Castel Durante, insomuch that all that is good in those works came from that admirable genius. Girolamo also built the corridor of the Palace at Urbino, above the garden, and he enclosed a courtyard on one side with perforated stone-work executed with great diligence.

From the design of the same master, likewise, were begun the Convent of the Frati Zoccolanti at Monte Baroccio and Santa Maria delle Grazie at Sinigaglia, which in the end remained unfinished by reason of the death of the Duke. And about the same time was begun after his directions and design the Vescovado of Sinigaglia, of which the model, made by him, is still to be seen. He also executed some works in sculpture and figures of clay and wax in the round, beautiful enough, which are in the house of his family at Urbino. For the Imperiale he made some Angels in clay, which he afterwards caused to be cast in bronze and placed over the doors of the rooms decorated with stucco-work in the new palace; and these are very beautiful. For the Bishop of Sinigaglia he executed some fantasies in wax in the form of drinking-cups, which were afterwards to be made in silver; and with greater diligence he made some others, most beautiful, for the Duke¹s credence. He showed fine invention in masquerades and costumes, as was seen in the time of the above-named Duke, by whom he was passing well rewarded, as he deserved, for his rare parts and good qualities.

His son, Guidobaldo, who reigns at the present day, having then succeeded him as Duke, caused a beginning to be made by the above-named Genga with the Church of S. Giovan Battista at Pesaro, which, having been carried out according to the model of Girolamo by his son Bartolommeo, is of very beautiful architecture in every part, for he imitated the antique considerably, and made it in such a manner that it is the most beautiful temple that there is in those parts, as the work itself clearly demonstrates, being able to challenge comparison with the most famous buildings in Rome. After his designs and directions, likewise, there was executed in S. Chiara at Urbino by the Florentine sculptor Bartolommeo Ammanati, who was then very young, the tomb of Duke Francesco Maria, which, for a simple work of little cost, proved to be very beautiful. In like manner, the Venetian painter Battista Franco was summoned by him to paint the great chapel of the Duomo at Urbino, at the time when there was being made after his design the ornament of the organ of that Duomo, which is not yet finished.

Shortly afterwards, the Cardinal of Mantua having written to the Duke that he should send him Girolamo, because he wished to restore the Vescovado of that city. Girolamo went thither and fitted it up very well with lights and with all that the above-named lord desired. Besides this, the Cardinal, wishing to make a beautiful facade for the Duomo, caused him to prepare a model for it, which was executed by him in such a manner, that it may be said that it surpassed all the architectural works of his time, for the reason that in it may be seen grandeur, proportion, grace, and great beauty of composition. Having then returned from Mantua, now an old man, he went to live at a villa of his own, called Le Valle, in the territory of Urbino, in order to rest and enjoy the fruits of his labors; in which place, not wishing to remain idle, he executed in chalk a Conversion of St. Paul with figures and horses of considerable size and in very beautiful attitudes which was finished by him with such patience and diligence, that a greater could be either described or seen, as is evident from the work itself now in the possession of his heirs, by whom it is treasured as a very dear and precious thing.

There, while living with a tranquil mind, he was attacked by a terrible fever, and, after he had received all the Sacrament of the Church, finished the course of his life, to the infinite grief of his wife and children, on the 11th of July in the year 1551, at the age of about seventy-five. Having been carried from that place to Urbino, he was buried with honor in the Vescovado, in front of the Chapel of S. Martino formerly painted by him; and his death caused extraordinary sorrow to his relatives and to all the citizens.

Girolamo was always an excellent man, insomuch that nothing was ever heard of any bad action committed by him. He was not only a painter, sculptor, and architect, but also a good musician and a fine talker, and his society was very agreeable. He was full of courtesy and lovingness towards his relatives and friends; and, what entitles him to no little praise, he laid the foundation of the house of Genga at Urbino with his good name and property. He left two sons, one of whom followed in his footsteps and gave his attention to architecture, in which, if he had not been hindered by death, he was like to become most excellent, as his beginnings demonstrate; and the other, who devoted himself to the cares of the family, is still alive at the present day.

A disciple of Girolamo, as has been related, was Francesco Menzochi of Forli, who first began to draw by himself when still a child, imitating and copying an altarpiece in the Duomo of Forli, by the hand of Marco Parmigiano of Forli, containing a Madonna, St. Jerome, and other Saints, and held at that time to be the best of the modern pictures; and he occupied himself likewise with imitating the works of Rondinino da Ravenna, a painter more excellent than Marco, who a little time before had placed on the high-altar of the above-named Duomo a most beautiful altarpiece, in which was painted Christ giving the Communion to the Apostles, and in a lunette above it a Dead Christ, and in the predella of that altarpiece very graceful scenes with little figures from the life of St. Helen. These works brought him forward in such a manner, that, when Girolamo Genga went, as we have said, to paint the chapel in San Francesco at Forli for M. Bartolommeo Lombardino, Francesco at that time went to live with Genga, seizing that opportunity of learning, and did not cease to serve him as long as he lived. There, and also at Urbino and in the work of the Imperiale at Pesaro, he labored continually, as has been related, esteemed and beloved by Genga, because he acquitted himself very well, as many altarpieces by his hand bear witness that are dispersed throughout the city of Forli, and particularly three of them which are in S. Francesco, besides that there are some scenes of his in fresco in the hall of the Palace.

He painted many works throughout Romagna; and at Venice, also, for the very reverend Patriarch Grimani, he executed four large pictures in oils that were placed in the ceiling of a little hail in his house, round an octagon that Francesco Salviati painted; in which pictures are the stories of Psyche, held to be very beautiful. But the place where he strove to do his utmost and to put forth all his powers, was the Chapel of the most holy Sacrament in the Church of Loreto, in which he painted some Angels round a tabernacle of marble wherein rests the Body of Christ, and two scenes on the walls of that chapel, one of Melchizedek and the other of the Manna raining down, both executed in fresco; and over the vaulting he distributed fifteen little scenes of the Passion of Jesus Christ, nine of which he executed in painting, and six in half relief.

This was a rich work and well conceived, and he won for it such honor, that he was not suffered to depart until he had decorated another chapel of equal size in the same place, opposite to the first, and called the Chapel of the Conception, with the vaulting all wrought with rich and very beautiful stucco-work; in which he taught the art of stucco-work to his son Pietro Paolo, who has since done him honor and has become a well-practiced master in that field. Francesco, then, painted in fresco on the walls the Nativity and the Presentation of Our Lady, and over the altar. he painted St. Anne and the Virgin with the Child in her arms, and two Angels that are crowning her. And, in truth, his works are much extolled by the craftsmen, and likewise his ways and his life, which was that of a true Christian; and he lived in peace, enjoying that which he had gained with his labors.

A pupil of Genga, also, was Baldassarre Lancia of Urbino, who, having given his attention to many ingenious matters, has since practiced his hand in fortifications, at which he worked on a salary for the Signoria of Lucca, in which place he stayed for some time. He then attached himself to the most illustrious Duke Cosimo de¹ Medici, whom he came to serve in the fortifications of the states of Florence and Siena; and the Duke has employed and still employs him in many ingenious works, in which Baldassarre has labored valiantly and with honor, winning remunerations from that grateful lord.

Many others also served Girolamo Genga, of whom, from their not having attained to any great excellence, there is no need to speak. To the above-named Girolamo, at Cesena, in the year 1518, the while that he was accompanying the Duke his master in exile, there was born a son called Bartolommeo, who was brought up by him very decently, and then, when he was well grown, placed to learn grammar, in which he made more than ordinary proficience. Afterwards, when he was eighteen years of age, the father, perceiving that he was inclined more to design than to letters, caused him to study design under his own discipline for about two years: which finished, he sent him to study design and painting in Florence, where he knew that the true study of that art was to be found, on account of the innumerable works by excellent masters that are there, both ancient and modern. Living in that place, and attending to design and to architecture, Bartolommeo formed a friendship with Giorgio Vasari, the painter and architect of Arezzo, and with the sculptor Bartolommeo Ammanati, from whom he learned many things appertaining to art.

Finally, after having been three years in Florence, he returned to his father, who was then attending to the building of San Giovanni Battista at Pesaro. Whereupon, the father having seen the designs of Bartolommeo, it appeared to him that he acquitted himself much better in architecture, for which he had a very good inclination, than in painting; wherefore, keeping him under his own care some months, he taught him the methods of perspective. And afterwards he sent him to Rome, to the end that he might see the marvelous buildings, both ancient and modern, that are there, of which, in the four years that he stayed there, he took the measurements, and made therein very great proficience. Then, on his way back to Urbino, passing through Florence in order to see Francesco San Marino, his brother-in-law, who was living there as engineer to the Lord Duke Cosimo, Signor Stefano Colonna da Palestrina, at that time general to that lord, having heard of his ability, sought to engage him with himself, with a good salary. But he, being much indebted to the Duke of Urbino, would not attach himself to others, and returned to Urbino, where he was received by that Duke into his service, and ever afterwards held very dear.

Not long afterwards, the Duke taking to wife Signora Vittoria Farnese, Bartolommeo received from the Duke the charge of executing the festive preparations for those nuptials, which he did in a truly honorable and magnificent manner. Among other things, he made a triumphal arch in the Borgo di Valbuona, so beautiful and so well wrought, that there is none larger or more beautiful to be seen; whence it became evident how much knowledge of architecture he had acquired at Rome. Then the Duke, having to go into Lombardy, as General to the Signoria of Venice, to inspect the fortresses of that dominion, took with him Bartolommeo, of whom he availed himself much in preparing designs and sites of fortresses, and in particular at the Porta Santa Felice in Verona.

Now, while Bartolommeo was in Lombardy, the King of Bohemia, who was returning from Spain to his kingdom, passed through that province and was received with honor by the Duke at Verona; and he saw those fortresses. And, since they pleased him, after he had become acquainted with Bartolommeo, he wished to take him to his kingdom, in order to make use of him in fortifying his territories, with a good salary; but the Duke would not give him leave, and the matter went no further.

When they had returned to Urbino, no long time passed before Girolamo, the father, came to his death; whereupon Bartolommeo was set by the Duke in the place of his father over all the buildings of the state, and sent to Pesaro, where he continued the building of San Giovanni Battista, after the model of Girolamo. During that time he built in the Palace of Pesaro, over the Strada de' Mercanti, a suite of rooms which the Duke now occupies; a fine work, with most beautiful ornaments in the form of doors, staircases, and chimney-pieces, of which things he was an excellent architect. Which having seen, the Duke desired that in the Palace of Urbino as well he should make another suite of apartments, almost entirely on the facade that faces towards S. Domenico; and this, when finished, proved to be the most beautiful suite in that court, or rather, palace, and the most ornate that is there. Not long afterwards, the Signori of Bologna having asked for him for some days from the Duke, his Excellency granted him to them very readily; and he, having gone, served them in what they desired in such a manner, that they remained very well satisfied and showed him innumerable courtesies.

He then made for the Duke, who desired to construct a seaport at Pesaro, a very beautiful model; and this was taken to Venice, to the house of Count Giovan Giacomo Leonardi, at that time the Duke's Ambassador in that place, to the end that it might be seen by many of the profession who often assembled, with other choice spirits, to hold discussions and disputations on various matters in the house of the above-named Count, who was a truly remarkable man. There, then, after that model had been seen and the fine discourse of Genga had been heard, the model was held by all without exception to be masterly and beautiful, and the master who had made it a man of the rarest genius. But, when he had returned to Pesaro, the model after all was not carried into execution, because new circumstances of great importance drove that project out of the Duke's mind.

About that time Genga made the design of the Church of Monte L¹Abbate, and also that of the Church of San Piero in Mondavio, which was carried into execution by Don Pier Antonio Genga in such a manner, that, for a small work, I do not believe that there is anything better to be seen. These works finished, no long time passed before, Pope Julius III having been elected, and the Duke of Urbino having been created by him Captain General of Holy Church, his Excellency went to Rome, and Genga with him. There, his Holiness wishing to fortify the Borgo, at the request of the Duke Genga made some very beautiful designs, which, with a number of others, are in the collection of his Excellency at Urbino. For these reasons the fame of Bartolommeo spread abroad, and the Genoese, while he was living with the Duke in Rome, asked for him from his Excellency, in order to make use of him in some fortifications of their own; but the Duke would not grant him to them, either at that time or on another occasion when they again asked for him, after his return to Urbino.

In the end, when he was near the close of his life, there were sent to Pesaro by the Grand Master of Rhodes two knights of that Order of Jerusalem, to beseech his Excellency that he should deign to lend them Bartolommeo, to the end that they might take him to the Island of Malta, in which they wished to construct not only very large fortifications wherewith to defend themselves against the Turks, but also two cities, so as to unite many villages that were there into one or two places. Whereupon the Duke, whom the above-named knights in two months had not been able to induce to grant them Bartolommeo, although they had availed themselves of the good services of the Duchess and others, finally complied with their request for a fixed period, at the entreaty of a good Capuchin father, to whom his Excellency bore a very great affection, and refused nothing that he asked; and the artifice that was used by that holy man, who made it a matter of conscience with the Duke, saying that it was in the interest of the Christian Republic, was not otherwise than highly commendable and worthy of praise.

And thus Bartolommeo, who had never received any favor greater than this, departed with the above-named knights from Pesaro on the 20th of January, 1558; but they lingered in Sicily, being delayed by the fortune of the sea, and they did not reach Malta, where they were received with rejoicing by the Grand Master, until the fifth of March. Having then been shown what he was to do, he acquitted himself so well in those fortifications, that it could not be expressed in words; insomuch that to the Grand Master and all those noble knights it appeared that they had found another Archimedes, and this they proved by making him most honorable presents and holding him, as a rare master, in supreme veneration.

Then, after having made the models of a city, of some churches, and of the palace and residence of the same Grand Master, with most beautiful invention and design, he fell sick of his last illness, for, having set himself one day in the month of July, the heat in that island being very great, between two doors to refresh himself, he had not been there long when he was assailed by insufferable pains of the body and by a cruel flux, which killed him in seventeen days, to the infinite sorrow of the Grand Master and to those most honorable and valiant knights, to whom it appeared that they had found a man after their own hearts, when he was snatched from them by death. The Lord Duke of Urbino, having been advised of this sad news, felt indescribable sorrow, and bewailed the death of poor Genga; and then, having resolved to demonstrate to the five children whom he had left behind him the love that he bore to him, he took them under his particular and loving protection.

Bartolommeo showed beautiful invention in masquerades, and was a rare master in making scenic settings for comedies. He delighted to write sonnets and other compositions in verse and prose, and in none was he better than in the ottava rima, in which manner of writing he was an author of passing good renown. He died at the age of forty, in the year 1558.

Giovan Battista Bellucci of San Marino having been the son-in-law of Girolamo Genga, I have judged that it would not be well to withhold what I have to say of him, after the Lives of Girolamo and Bartolommeo Genga, and particularly in order to show that men of fine intellect, if only they be willing, succeed in every thing, even if they set themselves late in life to difficult and honorable enterprises; for study, when added to natural inclination, has often been seen to accomplish marvelous things. Giovan Battista, then, was born in San Marino on the 27th of September, 1506, to Bartolommeo Bellucci, a person of passing good family in that place; and after he had learned the first rudiments of the humanities, when eighteen years of age, he was sent by that same Bartolommeo, his father, to Bologna, to attend to the pursuit of commerce under Bastiano di Ronco, a merchant of the Guild of Wool.

Having been there about two years, he returned to San Marino sick of a quartan fever, which hung upon him two years; of which being finally cured, he set up a wool business of his own, with which he continued up to the year 1535, at which time his father, perceiving that Giovan Battista was in good circumstances, gave him for a wife in Cagli a daughter of Guido Peruzzi, a person of considerable standing in that city. But she died not long afterwards, and Giovan Battista went to Rome to seek out Domenico Peruzzi, his brother-in-law, who was equerry to Signor Ascanio Colonna; and by means of him Giovan Battista lived for two years with that lord as a gentleman. He then returned home; and it came about that, as he frequented Pesaro, Girolamo Genga, having come to know him as an excellent and well-behaved young man, gave him a daughter of his own for wife and took him into his house. Whereupon Giovan Battista, being much inclined to architecture, and giving his attention with much diligence to the architectural works that his wife¹s father was executing, began to gain a very good grasp of the various manners of building, and to study Vitruvius; and thus, what with that which he acquired by himself and that which Genga taught him, he became a good architect, and particularly in the matter of fortifications and other things relating to war.

Then, in the year 1541, his wife died, leaving him two boys; and he remained until 1543 without coming to any further resolution about his life. At that time, in the month of September, there appeared in San Marino one Signor Gustamante, a Spaniard, sent by his Imperial Majesty to that Republic on some affairs. Giovan Battista was recognized by him as an excellent architect, and at his instance he entered not long afterwards into the service of the most illustrious Lord Duke Cosimo, as engineer. And thus, having arrived in Florence, his Excellency made use of him for all the fortifications of his dominion, according to the necessities that arose every day; and, among other things, the fortress of the city of Pistoia having been begun many years before, San Marino, by the desire of the Duke, completely finished it, with great credit to himself, although it is no great work.

Then, under the direction of the same architect, a very strong bastion was built at Pisa. Wherefore, his method of work pleasing the Duke, his Excellency caused him to construct 9where, as has been related, there had been built on the hill of San Miniato, without Florence, the wall that curves from the Porta San Niccolo to the Porta San Miniato 9the fortification that encloses a gate by means of two bastions, and guards the Church and Monastery of San Miniato; making on the summit of that hill a fortress that dominates the whole city and looks on the outer side towards the east and the south, a work that was vastly extolled. The same Giovan Battista made many designs and ground-plans of various fortifications for places in the states of his Excellency, and also various rough models in clay, which are in the possession of the Lord Duke. And since San Marino was a man of fine genius and very studious, he wrote a little book on the methods of fortifications; which work, a beautiful and useful one, is now in the possession of Messer Bernardo Puccini, a gentleman of Florence, who learned many things with regard to the matters of architecture and fortification from San Marino, who was much his friend.

Giovan Battista, after having designed in the year 1554 many bastions that were to be built round the walls of the city of Florence, some of which were begun in earth, went with the most illustrious lord, Don Garzia di Toledo, to Monte Alcino, where, having made some trenches, he mined under a bastion and so shattered it, that he threw down the breastwork; but as it was falling to the ground a harquebusball struck San Marino in the thigh. Not long afterwards, his wound being healed, he went secretly to Siena and took the ground-plan of that city, and of the earthworks that the people of Siena had made at the Porta Camollia; which plan of fortifications he then showed to the Lord Duke and to the Marchese di Marignano, making it clear to them that the work was not difficult to capture or to secure afterwards on the side towards Siena. That this was rue was proved by the fact, the night that it was taken by the above-named Marquis, with whom Giovan Battista had gone by order and commission of the Duke.

On that account, then, the Marquis, having conceived an affection for him and knowing that he had need of his judgment and ability in the field (that is, in the war against Siena), so went to work with the Duke, that his Excellency sent Giovan Battista off as captain of a strong company of foot-soldiers; whereupon he served from that day onward in the field, as a valiant soldier and an ingenious architect. Finally, having been sent by the Marquis to Aiuola, a fortress in the Chianti, while disposing the artillery he was wounded in the head by a harquebus-ball; wherefore he was taken by his soldiers to the Pieve di San Paolo, which belongs to Bishop da Ricasoli, and died in a few days, and was carried to San Marino, where he received honorable burial from his children.

Giovan Battista deserves to be highly extolled, for the reason that, besides having been excellent in his profession, it is a marvelous thing that, having set himself to give attention to it late in life, at the age of thirty-five, he should have made in it the proficience that he did make; and it may be believed that if he had begun younger, he would have become a very rare master. Giovan Battista was something obstinate, so that it was a serious undertaking to move him from any opinion. He took extraordinary pleasure in reading stories, and turned them to very great advantage, writing down with great pains the most notable things in them. His death much grieved the Duke and his innumerable friends; wherefore his son Gian Andrea, coming to kiss his Excellency¹s hands, was received kindly by him and welcomed most warmly with very generous offers, on account of the ability and fidelity of the father, who died at the age of forty-eight.

 

 

 

MICHELE SANMICHELI (1484-1559)

Vasari's Lives of the Artists





MICHELE SANMICHELI, who was born at Verona in the year 1484, and learned the first principles of architecture from his father Giovanni and his uncle Bartolommeo, both excellent architects, went off at sixteen years of age to Rome, leaving his father and two brothers of fine parts, one of whom, called Jacopo, devoted himself to letters, and the other, named Don Camillo, was a Canon Regular and General of that Order. Having arrived there, he studied the ancient remains of architecture in such a manner, and with such diligence, observing and measuring every thing minutely, that in a short time he became renowned and famous not only in Rome, but throughout all the places that are around that city. Moved by his fame, the people of Orvieto summoned him as architect to their celebrated temple, with an honorable salary; and while he was employed in their service, he was summoned for the same reason to Monte Fiascone, as architect for the building of their principal temple; and thus, serving both the one and the other of these places, he executed all that there is to be seen in these two cities in the way of good architecture. Among other works, a most beautiful tomb was built after his design in S. Domenico at Monte Fiascone, I believe, for one of the Petrucci, a nobleman of Siena,which cost a great sum of money, and proved to be marvelous. Besides all this, he made an infinite number of designs for private houses in those places, and made himself known as a man of great judgment and excellence.

Thereupon Pope Clement VII, proposing to make use of him in the most important operations of the wars that were stirring at that time throughout all Italy, gave him as a companion to Antonio da San Gallo, with a very good salary, to the end that they might go together to inspect all the places of greatest importance in the States of the Church, and, wherever necessary, might see to the construction of fortifications; above all, at Parma and Piacenza, because those two cities were most distant from Rome, and nearest and most exposed to the perils of war. Which duty having been executed by Michele and Antonio to the full satisfaction of the Pontiff, there came to Michele a desire, after all those years, to revisit his native city and his relatives and friends, and even more to see the fortresses of the Venetians. Wheref ore, after he had been a few days in Verona, he went to Treviso to see the fortress there, and then to to Padua for the same purpose; but the Signori of Venice, having been been warned of this, became suspicious that Sanmicheli might be going about about inspecting those fortresses with a hostile intent. Having therefore been arrested at Padua at their command and thrown into prison, he was examined at great length; but, when it was found that he was an honest man, he was not only liberated by them, but also entreated that he should consent to enter the service of those same Signori of Venice, with honor able rank and salary. He excused himself by saying that he was not able to do that for the present, being engaged to his Holiness; but he gave them fair promises, and then took his leave of them.

Now he had not been away long, when he was forced to depart from Rome,to such purpose did those Signori go to work in order to secure him, and to go, with the gracious leave of the Pope, whom he first satisfied in full, to serve those most illustrious noblemen, his natural lords. Abiding with them, he gave soon enough a proof of his judgment and knowledge by making at Verona (after many difficulties which the work appeared to present) a very strong and beautiful bastion, which gave infinite satisfaction to those Signori and to the Lord Duke of Urbino, their Captain After these things, the same Signori, having determined to fortify Legnago and Porto, places most important to their dominion and situated upon the River Adige, one on one side and the other on the opposite side, but joined by a bridge, commissioned Sanmicheli to show them by of a model how it appeared to him that those places could and should be fortified. Which having been done by him, his design gave infinite satisfaction to the Signori and teost the Duke of Urbino. Whereupon, arrangements having been made for all that had to be done, Sanmicheli executed the fortifications of those two places in such a manner, that among works of that kind there is nothing better to be seen, or more beautiful, or more carefully considered, or stronger, as whoever has seen them well knows.

This done, he fortified in the Bresciano, almost from the foundations, Orzinuovo, a fortress and port similar to Legnago. Sanmicheli being then sought for with great insistence by Signor Francesco Sforza, last Duke of Milan, the Signori consented to grant him leave, but for three months only. Having therefore gone to Milan, he inspected all the fortresses of that State, and gave directions in every place for all that it seemed to him necessary to do, and that with such credit and so much to the satisfaction of the Duke, that his Excellency, besides thanking the Signori of Venice, presented five hundred crowns to Sanmicheli. And with this occasion, before returning to Venice, Michele went to Casale di Monferrato, in order to see that very strong and beautiful fortress and city, the architecture of which was the work of Matteo Sanmicheli, an excellent architect, his cousin; and also an honored and very beautiful tomb of marble erected in San Francesco in the same city, likewise under the direction of Matteo.

Having then returned home, he had no sooner arrived than he was sent with the above-named Duke of Urbino to inspect La Chiusa, a fortress and pass of much importance, above Verona, and then all the places in Friuli, Bergamo, Vicenza, Peschiera, and others, of all which, and of what seemed to him to be required, he gave minute information in writing to the Signori. Having next been sent by the same Signori to Dalmatia, to fortify the cities and other places of that province, he inspected every thing, and carried out restorations with great diligence wherever he saw the necessity to be greatest; and, since he could not himself dispatch all the work, he left there Gian Girolamo, his kinsman, who, after fortifying Zara excellently well, erected from the foundations the marvelous fortress of San Niccolo over the mouth of the harbor of Sebenico. Meanwhile Michele was sent in great haste to Corfu, and restored the fortress there in many parts; and he did the same in all the places in Cyprus and Candia. Even so, not long afterwards,on account of a fear that the island might be lost, by reason of the war with the Turks, which was imminent, he was forced to return there, after having inspected the fortresses of the Venetian dominion in Italy, to fortify, with incredible rapidity, Canea, Candia, Retimo, and Settia, but Particularly Canea and Candia, which he rebuilt from the foundations and made impregnable. Napoli di Romania being then besieged by the Turks, what with the diligence of Sanmicheli in fortifying it and furnishing it with bastions, and the valor of Agostino Chisoni of Verona, a very valiant captain. in defending it with arms, it was not after all taken by the enemy or forced to surrender.

These wars finished, Sanmicheli went with the Magnificent M. Tommaso Mozzenigo, Captain General of the Fleet, to fortify Corfu once again; and they then returned to Sebenico, where the diligence of Gian Girolamo, shown by him in constructing the above-mentioned fortress of San Niccolo was much commended. Sanmicheli having then returned to Venice, where he was much extolled for the works executed in the Levant in the service of that Republic, the Signori resolved to build a fortress on the Lido, at the mouth of the port of Venice. Wherefore, giving the charge of this to Sanmicheli, they said to him that, if he had done such great things far away from Venice, he should think how much it was his duty to do in a work of such importance, which was to lie for ever under the eyes of the Senate and of so many great lords; and that in addition, besides beauty and strength in the work, there was expected of him particular industry in founding truly and well in a marshy spot, which was surrounded on all sides by the sea and exposed to the ebb and flow of the tide, a pile of such importance. Sanmicheli having therefore not only made a very beautiful and solid model, but also considered the method of laying the foundations and carrying it into effect, orders were given to him that he should set his hand to the work without delay.

Whereupon, after receiving from those Signori all that was required, he prepared the materials for filling in the foundations, and, besides this, caused great numbers of piles to be sunk in double rows, and then, with a vast number of persons well acquainted with those waters, he set himself to make the excavations, and to contrive by means of pumps and other instruments to keep the water pumped out, which was seen continually rising from below, because the site was in the sea. One morning, finally, resolving to make a supreme effort to begin the foundations, and assembling as many men fit for the purpose as could be obtained, with all the porters of Venice, and many of the Signori being present, in a moment, with incredible assiduity and promptitude, the waters were mastered for a little to such purpose, that the first stones of the foundations were thrown instantly upon the piles already driven in; which stones, being very large, took up much space and made an excellent foundation. And so, continuing to keep the water pumped out without losing any time, almost in a flash those foundations were laid, contrary to the expectation of many who had looked upon that work as absolutely impossible.

The foundations, when finished, were allowed sufficient time to settle, and then Michele erected upon them a mighty andmarvelous fortress, building it on the outer side all in rustic work, withvery large stones from Istria, which are of an extreme hardness and able to with stand wind, frost, and the worst of weather. Wherefore that fortress, besides being marvelous with regard to the site on which it is built, is also, from the beauty of the masonry and from its incredible cost, one of the most stupendous that there are in Europe at the present day, rivalling the grandeur and majesty of the most famous edifices erected by the greatness of the Romans; for, besides other things, it appears as if made all from one block, and as though a mountain of living rock had been carved and given that form, so large are the blocks of which it is built, and so well joined and united together, not to speak of the ornaments ments and other things that are there, seeing that one would never be able to say enough to do them justice. Within Michele afterwards made a piazza, divided by pilasters and arches of the Rustic Order, which would have proved to be a very rare work, if it had not been left unfinished.

This vast pile having been carried to the condition that has been described, some malign and envious persons said to the Signoria that, although it was very beautiful and built with every possible consideration, nevertheless it would be useless for any purpose, and perhaps even dangerous, for the reason that on discharging the artillery,on account of the great quantity and weight of artillery that the place required, it was almost inevitable that the edifice should split open and fall to the ground. It therefore appeared to those prudent Signori that it would be well to make certain of this, the matter being one of great importance; and they caused to be taken there a vast quantity of artillery, the heaviest that could be found in the Arsenal. Then, all the embrasures both above and below having been filled with cannon, and the cannon charged more heavily than was usual, they were all fired off together; whereupon such were the noise, the thunder, and the earthquake that resulted, that it seemed as if the world had burst to pieces, and the fortress, with all those flaming cannon, had the appearance of a volcano and of Hell itself. But for all that the building stood firm in its former strength and solidity, whereby the Senate was convinced of the great worth of Sanmicheli, and the evil-speakers were put to scorn as men of little judgment, although they had put such terror into everyone, that the ladies then pregnant, fearing some great disaster, had withdrawn from Venice.

Not long afterwards a place of no little importance on the coast near Venice, called Marano, having returned under the dominion of the Venetians, was restored and fortified with promptitude and diligence under the direction of Sanmicheli. And about the same time, the fame of Michele and of his kinsman, Gian Girolamo, spreading ever more widely, they were requested many times, both the one and the other, to go to live with the Emperor Charles V and with King Francis of France; but, although they were invited under most honorable conditions, they would not leave their own masters to enter into the service of foreigners. Indeed, continuing in their offices, they went about inspecting and restoring every year, wherever it was necessary, all the cities and fortresses of the State of Venice. But more than all the rest did Michele fortify and adorn his native city of Verona, making there, besides other things, those most beautiful gates of the city, which have no equal in any other place. One was the Porta Nuova, all in the Dorico-rustic Order, which in its solidity and massive firmness corresponds to the strength of the site, being all built of tufa and pietra viva, and having within it rooms for the soldiers who mount guard there, and many other conveniences never before added to that kind of building.

That edifice, which isquadrangular and open above serving with its embrasures as a cavalier, defends two great bastions, or rather, towers, which stand one on either side of the gate at proper distances; and all is done with so much judgment, cost, and magnificence, that no one thought that for the future there could be executed any work of greater grandeur or better design, even as none such had been seen in the past. But a few years afterwards the same Sanmicheli founded and carried upwards the gate commonly called the Porta dal Palio, which is in no way inferior to that described above, but equally beautiful, grand, and magnificent, or even more so, and designed excellently well. And, in truth, in these two gates the Signori of Venice may be seen to have equaled, by means of the genius of this architect, the edifices and fabrics of the ancient Romans.

This last gate, then, is on the outer side of the Doric Order, with immense projecting columns, all fluted according to the manner of that Order; and these columns, which are eight in all, are placed in pairs. Four serve to enclose the gate, with the arms of the Rectors of the city, between one and another, on either side, and the other four, likewise in pairs, make a finish to the angles of the gate, the facade of which is very wide and all of bosses, or rather, blocks, not rough, but made smooth, with very beautiful ornamentation; and the opening, or rather passage, through the gate, is left quadrangular, but of an architecture that is new, bizarre, and most beautiful. Above it is a great and very rich Doric cornice, with all its appurtenances , over which, as may be seen from the model, was to go a fronton with all its ornaments, forming a parapet for the artillery, since this gate, like the other, was to serve as a cavalier. Within the gate are very large rooms for the soldiers, with other apart ments and conveniences.

On the front that faces towards the city, Sanmicheli made a most beautiful loggia, all of the Dorico-rustic Order on the outer side, and on the inner all in rustic work, with very large piers that have as ornaments columns round on the outside and on the inside square and projecting to the half of their thickness, and all made of pieces in rustic masonry, with Doric capitals without bases; and at the top is a great cornice, likewise Doric, and carved, passing along the whole loggia, which is of great length, both within and without. In a word, this work is marvelous; wherefore it was well and truly spoken by the most illustrious Signor Sforza Pallavicino, Captain General of the Venetian forces, when he said that there was not to be found in all Europe any structure that could in any way compare with it. This was the last of Michele's marvels, for the reason that he had scarcely erected the whole of the first range described above, when he finished the course of his life. Wherefore the work remained unfinished, nor will it ever be finished at all, for there are not wanting certain malignant persons, as always happens with great works,who censure it, striving to diminish the glory of others by their malignity and evil-speaking, since they fail by a great measure to achieve similar things with their own powers.

The same master built another gate at Verona, called the Porta di San Zeno, which is very beautiful; in any other place, indeed, it would be marvelous, but in Verona its beauty and artistry are obscured by the two others described above. A work of Michele's, likewise, is the bastion, or rather rampart, that is near this gate, and also another that is lower down, opposite to San Bernardino, and another between them, called Dell' Acquaio, which is opposite to the Campo Marzio; and also that surpassing all the others in size, which is placed by the Chain, where the Adige enters the city.

At Padua he built the bastion called the Cornaro, and likewise that of Santa Croce, which are both of marvelous size, and constructed in the modern manner, according to the order invented by Michele himself. For the method of making bastions with angles was the invention of Michele, and before his day they were made round; and whereas that kind of bastion was very difficult to defend, at the present day , having an obtuse angle on the outer side, they can be defended with ease, either from the cavalier erected between the two bastions and near to them, or, indeed, from the other bastion, provided that it be near the one attacked and the ditch wide. His invention, also, was the method of making bastions with three platforms, whereby the two at the sides guard and defend the ditch and the curtains, with their open embrasures, and the merlon in 'the center defends itself and attacks the enemy in front. This method of fortification has since been imitated by everyone, causing the abandonment of the ancient fashion of subterranean embrasures, called casemates, in which, on account of the smoke and other impediments, the artillery could not be well handled; not to mention that they often weakened the foundations of the towers and walls.

The same Michele built two very beautiful gates at Legnago. He directed at Peschiera the work of the first foundation of that fortress, and likewise many works at Brescia; and he always did everything with such diligence and such good foundations, that not one of his buildings ever showed a crack. Finally, he restored the fortress of La Chiusa above Verona, making it possible for persons to pass by without entering the fortress, but yet in such a manner that, on the raising of a bridge by those who are within, no one can pass by against their will, or even show himself on the road, which is very narrow and cut out of the rock. He also built at Verona, just after he had returned from Rome, the very beautiful bridge over the Adige, called the Ponte Nuovo, doing this at the commission of Messer Giovanni Emo, at that time Podesta of that city; which bridge was on account of its strength, as it still is, a marvellous thing.

Michele was excellent not only in fortifications, but also in private buildings and in temples, churches, and monasteries, as may be seen from many buildings at Verona and other places, and particularly from the most ornate and beautiful Chapel of the Guareschi in San Bernardino, which is round after the manner of a temple, and in the Corinthian Order, with all the ornaments which that manner admits. That chapel, I say, he built all of that white pietra viva, which, from the sound that it makes when it is being worked, is called in that city "Bronzo "; and, in truth, that kind of stone, after fine marble, is the most beautiful that has been found down to our own times, being absolutely solid and with out holes or spots that might spoil it. Since that chapel, then, is built on the inside all of that most beautiful stone, and wrought by excellent masters of carving, and put together very well, it is considered that among works of that kind there is at the present day no other more beautiful in all Italy.

For Michele made the whole work curve in a circle in such a manner, that three altars which are in it, with their pediments and cornices, and likewise the space of the door, all turn in a perfect round, almost after the likeness of the entrances that Filippo Brunelleschi made in the Chapels of the Temple of the Angeli in Florence; which is a very difficult thing to do. Michele then made therein a gallery over the first range of columns, which circles right round the chapel, and there are to be seen most beautiful carvings in the form of columns, capitals, foliage, grotesques, little pilasters, and other things, carved with incredible diligence. The door of that chapel he made quadrangular on the outer side, of the Corinthian Order and very beautiful, and similar to an ancient door that he saw, so he used to say, in some place at Rome. It is true, indeed, that this work, after having been left unfinished by Michele, I know not for what reason , was given, either from avarice or from lack of judgment, to certain others to be finished, who spoiled it, to the infinite vexation of Michele, who in his lifetime saw it ruined before his very eyes, without being able to prevent it; wherefore he used to complain at times to his friends, but only on this account, that he had not thousands of ducats wherewith to buy it from the avaricious hands of a woman who, by spending less than she was able, was shamefully spoiling it.

A work of Michele's was the design of the round Temple of the Madonna di Campagna, near Verona, which was very beautiful, although the parsimony, weakness, and little judgment of the Wardens of that building have since disfigured it in many parts; and even worse would they have done, if Bernardino Brugnuoli, a kinsman of Michele, had not had charge of it and made a complete model, after which the building of that temple, as well as of many others, is now being carried forward. For the Friars of Santa Maria in Organo, or rather, the Monks of Monte Oliveto in Verona, he made a design of the Corinthian Order, which was most beautiful, for the facade of their church. This facade, after being carried to a certain height by Paolo Sanmicheli, was left not long since in that condition, on account of many expenses that were incurred by those monks in other matters, but even more by reason of the death of him who had begun it, Don Cipriano of Verona, a man of saintly life and of much authority in that Order, of which he was twice General. At San Giorgio in Verona , a convent of the Regular Priests of San Giorgio in Alega, the same Michele directed the building of the cupola of that church, which was a very beautiful work, and succeeded against the expectations of many who did not think that the structure would ever remain standing, on account of the weakness of its supports; but these were then so strengthened by Michele, that there is no longer anything to fear. In the same convent he made the design and laid the foundations of a very beautiful campanile of hewn stone, partly tufa and partly pietra viva, which was carried well forward by him, and is now being continued by the above-mentioned Bernardino, his nephew, who is employed in carrying it to completion.

Monsignor Luigi Lippomani, Bishop of Verona, having resolved to carry to completion the campanile of his church, which had been begun a hundred years before, caused a design for this to be made by Michele, who did it very beautifully, taking into consideration the preserving of the old part and the expense that the Bishop was able to incur. But a certain Messer Domenico Porzio, a Roman, and his vicar, a person with little knowledge of building, although otherwise a worthy man, allowed himself to be imposed upon by one who also knew little about it, and gave him the charge of carrying on that fabric. Whereupon that person built it of unprepared stone from the mountains, and made the stairs in the thickness of the walls, doing all this in such a manner, that everyone who was even slightly conversant with architecture foretold that which afterwards happened; namely, that the structure would not remain standing. And, among others, the very reverend Fra Marco de' Medici of Verona, who, in addition to his other more serious studies, has always delighted in architecture, as he still does, predicted what would happen to such a building; but he was answered thus: "Fra Marco counts for much in his own profession of letters, philosophy, and theology, wherein he is public lecturer, but in architecture he does not fish so deeply as command belief."

Finally, that campanile, having risen to the level where the bells were to be, opened out in four parts in such a manner, that, after having spent many thousands of crowns in building it, they had to give three hundred crowns to the builders to throw it to the ground, lest it should fall by itself, as it would have done in a few days, and destroy everything all around. And it is only right that this should happen to those who desert good and eminent masters, and mix themselves up with bunglers. The above-named Monsignor Luigi having afterwards been chosen Bishop of Bergamo, Monsignor Agostino Lippo mani was made Bishop of Verona in his place, and he commissioned Michele to reconstruct almost anew the model of that campanile, and to set to work. And after him, according to the same model, Monsignor Girolamo Trivisani, a friar of St. Dominic, who succeeded the last-named Lippomani in the bishopric, has caused that work to be continued, which is now progressing passing slowly. The model is very beautiful, and the stairs are being accommodated within the tower in such a manner, that the fabric remains stable and very strong.

For the noble Counts della Torre of Verona, Michele built a very beautiful chapel in the manner of a round temple, with the altar in the center, at their villa of Fumane. And in the Church of the Santo, at Padua, a very handsome tomb was built under his direction for Messer Alessandro Contarini, Procurator of St. Mark, who had been Proveditor to the Venetian forces; in which tomb it would seem that Michele sought to show in what manner such works should be done, departing from a kind of commonplace method which, in his opinion, had in it more of the altar or chapel than of the tomb. This work, which is very rich in ornaments mentation, solid in composition, and warlike in character, has as ornaments a Thetis and two prisoners by the hand of Alessandro Vittoria, which are held to be good figures, and a head, or rather, effigy from life of the above-named lord, with armor on the breast, executed in marble by Danese da Carrara. There are, in addition, other ornaments in abundance; prisoners, trophies, spoils of war, and others, of which there is no need to make mention.

In Venice he made the model of the Convent of the Nuns of San Biagio Catoldo, which was much extolled. It was then resolved at Verona to rebuild the Lazzaretto, a dwelling, or rather, hospital, which serves for the sick in times of plague, the old one having been destroyed together with other edifices that had been in the suburbs; and Michele was completion. missioned to make a design for this (which proved to be beautiful beyond all expectations), to the end that it might be put into execution on a spot near the river, at some distance from the city and beyond the esplanade. But this design, truly most beautiful and excellently well considered in every part, which is now in the possession of the heirs of Luigi Brugnuoli, Michele's nephew, was not carried completely into execution by certain persons, by reason of their little judgment and poverty of spirit, but much restricted, curtailed, and reduced to mean proportions by those persons, who used the authority that they had received in the matter from the public in disfiguring the work, in consequence of the untimely death of some gentlemen who were in charge of it at the beginning, and who had a greatness of spirit equal to their nobility of blood.

A work of Michele's likewise, was the very beautiful palace that the noble Counts of Canossa have at Verona, which was built at the completion. mission of the very reverend Monsignor di Bajus, who once was Count Lodovico Canossa, a man so much celebrated by all the writers of his time. For the same Monsignor Michele built another magnificent palace in the Villa of Grezzano, in the Veronese territory. Under the direction of the same architect the facade of the Counts Bevilacqua was reconstructed, and all the apartments were restored in the castle of those lords, called La Bevilacqua. And at Verona, likewise, he built the house and facade of the Lavezzoli, which were much extolled. In Venice he built from the foundations the very rich and magnificent cent palace of the Cornaro family, near San Polo, and restored another palace, also of the Cornaro family, which is by San Benedetto all' Albore, for M. Giovanni Cornaro, of whom Michele was much the friend; and this led to Giorgio Vasari painting nine pictures in oils for the ceiling of a magnificent apartment, all adorned with woodwork carved and richly overlaid with gold, in that palace. In like manner, he restored the house of the Bragadini, opposite to Santa Marina, and made it very commodious and ornate. And in the same city he founded and raised above the ground after a model of his own, at incredible cost, the marvelous palace of the most noble M. Girolamo Grimani, near San Luca, on the Grand Canal; but Michele, being overtaken by death, was not able to carry it to completion himself, and the other architects chosen in his stead by that nobleman altered his design and model in many parts.

Near Castelfranco, on the borders of the territories of Padua and Treviso, there was built under the direction of the same Michele the most famous Palace of the Soranzi , called by that family La Soranza; which palace is held to be, for a country residence, the most beautiful and the most commodious that had been built in those parts up to that time. He also built the Casa Cornara at Piombino, in that territory, and so many other private houses, that it would make too long a story to attempt to speak of them all; let it be enough to have made mention of the most important. I will not , indeed, refrain from recording that he made most beautiful gates for two palaces, one of which was that of the Rectors and of the Captain, and the other that of the Palazzo del Podesta, both in Verona and worthy of the highest praise, although the latter, which is in the Ionic Order, with double columns and very ornate intercolumniations, and some Victories at the angles, has a somewhat dwarfed appear by reason of the lowness of the site where it stands, particularly because it is without pedestals and very wide on account of the double columns; but such was the wish of Messer Giovanni Delfini, who had it made.

While Michele was enjoying a tranquil ease in his native place, and the reputation and renown that his honorable labors had brought him, there came to him a piece of news that so afflicted him, that it finished the course of his life. But to the end that the whole may be better understood, and that all the beautiful works of the Sanmicheli family may be made known in this Life, I shall say something of Gian Girolamo, the kinsman of Michele. This Gian Girolamo, then, was the son of Paolo, the cousin of Michele,and, being a young man of very beautiful genius, was instructed with such diligence by Michele in the matters of architecture, and so beloved by him, that he would always have the young man with him in all under takings of importance, and particularly in fortifications. Having there fore become in a short time so excellent, with the help of such a master, that the most difficult work of fortification could be entrusted to him, in which manner of architecture he took particular delight, his ability was recognized by the Signori of Venice, and he was placed with a good salary among the number of their architects, although he was very young, and then sent now to one place and now to another, to inspect and restore the fortresses of their dominion, and at times to carry into execution the designs of his kinsman Michele.

And, among other places, he took part with much judgment and labor in the fortification of Zara, and in the marvelous fortress of San Niccolo at Sebenico, placed, as has been mentioned, at the mouth of the port; which fortress, erected by him from the very foundations, is held to be, for a private fortress, one of the strongest and best designed that there are to be seen. He also reconstructed after his own designs, with the advice of his kinsman, the great fortress of Corfu, which is considered the key of Italy on that side. In this fortress, I say, Gian Girolamo rebuilt the two great towers that face towards the land, making them much larger and stronger than they were before, with open embrasures and platforms that flank the ditch in the modern manner , after the invention of his kinsman. He then caused the ditches to be made much wider than they were before, and had a hill leveled, which, being near the fortress, appeared to command it. But, besides the many other works that he did there with great consideration, what gave most satisfaction was that in one corner of the fortress he made a place of great size and strength, in which in time of siege the people of that island can stay in safety without any danger of being captured by the enemy.

On account of these works Gian Girolamo came into such credit with the above-named Signori, that they ordained him a salary equal to that of his kinsman, judging him to be not inferior to Michele, and even superior in that work of fortification: which gave the greatest contentment to Sanmicheli, who saw his own art advancing in the person of his relative in proportion as old age was taking away from himself the power to go further. Gian Girolamo, besides his great judgment in recognizing the nature of different sites, showed much industry in having them represented by designs and models in relief, insomuch that he enabled his patrons to see even the most minute details of his fortifications in very beautiful models of wood that he would cause to be made; which diligence pleased them vastly, for without leaving Venice they saw every day how matters were proceeding in the most distant parts of their State. In order that they might be the more readily seen by everyone, these models were kept in the Palazzo del Principe, in a place where the Signori could examine them at their convenience; and to the end that Gian Girolamo might continue to pursue that course, they not only reimbursed him the expenses that he incurred in making the above-mentioned models, but also showed him many other courtesies.

Gian Girolamo could have gone to serve many lords, with large salaries, but he would never leave his Venetian Signori; nay, at the advice of his father and his kinsman Michele, he took a wife in Verona, a noble young woman of the Fracastoro family, with the intention of always living in those parts. But he had been not more than a few days with his beloved bride, who was called Madonna Ortensia, when he was summoned by his patrons to Venice, and thence sent in great haste to Cyprus to inspect every place in that island, orders having been given to all the officials that they should provide him with all that he might require for any purpose. Having then arrived in that island, in three months Gian Girolamo went all round it and diligently inspected every thing, putting every detail into writing and drawing, in order to be able to give an account of the whole to his masters. But, while he was attending with too much care and solicitude to his office, paying little regard to his own life, in the burning heat which prevailed at that time in the island he fell sick of a pestilential fever, which robbed him of life in six days; although some said that he had been poisoned. However that may have been, he died content in being in the service of his masters and employed by them in works of importance, knowing that they had trusted more in his fidelity and his skill in fortification than in those of any other man. The moment that he fell sick, knowing that he was dying, he gave all the drawings and writings that he had prepared on the works in that island into the hands of the architect Luigi Brugnuoli, his kinsman by marriage (who was then engaged in the fortification of Famagosta, which is the key of that kingdom), to the end that he might carry them to his masters.

When the news of Gian Girolamo's death arrived in Venice, there was not one of the Senate who did not feel indescribable sorrow at the loss of such a man, who had been so devoted to that Republic. Gian Girolamo died at the age of forty-five, and received honorable burial from his above-named kinsman in San Niccolo at Famagosta. Then, having returned to Venice, Brugnuoli presented Gian Girolamo's drawings and writings; which done, he was sent to give completion to the fortifications of Legnago, where he had spent many years in executing the designs and models of his uncle. But he had not been long in that place when he died, leaving two sons, who are men of passing good ability in design and in the practice of architecture. Bernardino, the elder, has now many undertakings on his hands, such as the building of the campanile of the Duomo, that of San Giorgio, and that of the church called the Madonna di Campagna, in which and other works that he is directing at Verona and other places, he is succeeding excellently well; and particularly in the ornamental work of the principal chapel of San Giorgio at Verona, which is of the composite order, and such that in size, design, and workmanship, the people of Verona declare that they do not believe that there is one equal to it to be found in Italy.

This work, which follows the curve of the recess, is of the Corinthian Order, with completion. posite capitals and double columns in full relief, and pilasters behind. In like manner, the frontispiece which surmounts the whole also curves in very masterly fashion according to the shape of the recess, and has all the ornaments which that Order embraces. Wherefore Monsignor Barbaro, Patriarch-elect of Aquileia, a man with a great knowledge of the profession, who has written of it, on his return from the Council of Trent saw not without marvel all that had been done in that work, andthat which was being done every day; and, after considering it several times, he had to say that he had never seen the like, and that better could be done. And let this suffice as a proof of what may be expected from the genius of Bernardino, who was born on the mother's side from the Sanmicheli family. But let us return to Michele, from whom we digressed, not without purpose reason, some little time back. He was struck by such grief at the death of Gian Girolamo, in whom he saw the house of Sanmicheli become extinct, since his kinsman left no children, that, although he strove to conquer or conceal it, in a few days he was overcome by a malignant fever, to the inconsolable sorrow of his country and of his most illustrious patron. Sanmicheli died in the year 1559, and was buried in San Tommaso, a church of Carmelite Friars, where there is the ancient burial-place of his forefathers; and at the present day Messer Niccolo Sanmicheli, a physician, has set his hand to erecting him an honorable tomb, which is even now being carried into execution.

Michele was a man of most upright life, and most honorable in his every action. He was a cheerful person, yet with an admixture of seriousness. He feared God, and was very religious, insomuch that he would never set himself to do anything in the morning without having first heard Mass devoutly and said his prayers; and at the beginning of any undertaking of importance, in the morning, before doing any other thing, he would always have the Mass of the Holy Spirit or of the Madonna solemnly chanted. He was very liberal, and so courteous with his friends, that they were as much masters of his possessions as he was himself. And I will not withhold a proof of his great loyalty and goodness, which I believe few others know besides myself. When Giorgio Vasari, of whom, as has been told, he was much the friend, parted from him for the last time in Venice, Michele said to him: "I would have you know, Messer Giorgio, that, when I was in my youth at Monte Fiascone, I became enamored, as fortune would have it, of the wife of a stone-cutter, and received from her complaisance all that I desired; but no one ever heard of it from me. Now, having heard that the poor woman has been left a widow, with a daughter ready for a husband, whom she says she conceived by me, I wish, although it may well be that this is not true, and such is my belief,that you should take to her these fifty crowns of gold and give them to her on my part, for the love of God, to the end that she may use them for her advantage and settle her daughter according to her station." Giorgio, therefore, going to Rome, and arriving at Monte Fiascone, although the good woman freely confessed to him that the girl was not the daughter of Michele, insisted, in obedience to Michele's command, on paying her the fifty crowns, which were as welcome to that poor woman as five hundred would have been to another.

Michele, then, was courteous beyond the courtesy of any other man, insomuch that he no sooner heard of the needs and desires of his friends, than he sought to gratify them. even to the spending of his life; nor did any person ever do him a service that was not repaid many times over. Giorgio Vasari once made for him in Venice, with the greatest diligence at his command, a large drawing in which the proud Lucifer and his followers lowers , vanquished by the Angel Michael, could be seen raining headlong down from Heaven into the horrible depths of Hell; and at that time Michele did not do anything but thank Giorgio for it when he took leave of him. But not many days after, returning to Arezzo, Giorgio found that Sanmicheli had sent long before to his mother, who lived at Arezzo, a quantity of presents beautiful and honorable enough to be the gifts of a very rich nobleman, with a letter in which he did her great honor for love of her son.

Many times the Signori of Venice offered toincrease his salary, but he refused, always praying that they should increase his kinsmen's salaries instead of his own. In short, Michele was in his every action so gentle, courteous, and loving, that he made himself rightly beloved by innumerable lords; by Cardinal de' Medici, who became Pope Clement VII, while he was in Rome; by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, who became Paul III; by the divine Michelangelo Buonarroti; by Signor Francesco Maria, Duke of Urbino; and by a vast number of noblemen and senators of Venice. At Verona he was much the friend of Fra Marco de'Medici, a man of great learning and infinite goodness, and of many others of whom there is no need at present to make mention.

Now, in order not to have to turn back in a short time to speak of the Veronese, taking the opportunity presented by the masters men tioned above, I shall make mention in this place of some painters from that country, who are still alive and worthy to be named, and by no means to be passed over in silence. The first of these is Domenico del Riccio, who has painted in fresco, mostly in chiaroscuro and partly in color, three facades of the house of Fiorige della Seta at Verona, on the Ponte Nuovo,that is, the three that do not look out upon the bridge, the house standing by itself. In one, over the river, are battles of sea- monsters, in another the battles of the Centaurs and many rivers, and in the third two pictures in color. In the first of these, which is over the door, is the Table of the Gods, and in the other, over the river, is the fable able of the nuptials between the Benacus, called the Lake of Garda, and the Nymph Caris, in the person of Garda, from whom is born the River Mincio, which in fact issues from that lake. In the same house is a large frieze wherein are some Triumphs in color, executed in a beautiful and masterly manner. In the house of Messer Pellegorino Ridolfi, also at Verona, the same master painted the Coronation of the Emperor Charles V, and the scene when, after being crowned in Bologna, he rides with the Pope through the city in great pomp.

In oils he has painted the principal altarpiece of the church that the Duke of Mantua has built recently near the Castello, in which is the Beheading and Martyrdom of Santa Barbara, painted with much diligence and judgment. And what moved the Duke to have that altarpiece executed by Domenico was his having seen and much liked his manner in an altarpiece that Domenico had painted long before for the Chapel of Santa Margherita in the Duomo of Mantua, in competition with Paolino, who painted that of San Antonio, with Paolo Farmnato, who executed that of San Martino, and with Battista del Moro, who painted that of the Magdalene; all which four Veronese had been summoned thither by Cardinal Ercole of Mantua, in order to adorn that church, which had been reconstructed by him after the design of Giulio Romano. Other works has Domenico executed in Verona, Vicenza, and Venice, but it must suffice to have spoken of those named. He is an honest and excellent craftsman, and, in addition to his painting, he is a very fine musician , and one of the first in the most noble Philharmonic Academy of Verona.

Not inferior to him will be his son Felice, who, although still young, has proved himself a painter out of the ordinary in an altarpiece that he has executed for the Church of the Trinita, in which are the Madonna and six other Saints, all of the size of life. Nor is this any marvel, for the young man learned his art in Florence, living in the house of Bernardo Canigiani, a Florentine gentleman and a crony of his father Domenico. In the same Verona, also, lives Bernardino, called L' India {Bernardino India], who, besides many other works, has painted the Fable of Psyche in most beautiful figures on the ceiling of a chamber in the house of Count Marc' Antonio del Tiene. And he has painted another chamber, with beautiful inventions and a lovely manner of painting, for Count Girolamo of Canossa. A much extolled painter, also, is Eliodoro Forbicini, a young man of most beautiful genius and of considerable skill in every manner of painting, but particularly in making grotesques, as may be seen in the two chambers mentioned above and in other places where he has worked.

In like manner Battista da Verona, who is called thus, and not otherwise, out of his own country, after having learned the first rudiments of painting from an uncle at Verona, placed himself with the excellent Tiziano in Venice, under whom he has become a very good painter. When a young man, this Battista painted in company with Paolino a hall in the Palace of the Paymaster and Assessor Portesco at Tiene in the territory of Vicenza; where they executed a vast number of figures, which acquired credit and repute for both the one and the other. With the same Paolino he executed many works in fresco in the Palace of the Soranza at Castelfranco, both having been sent to work there by Michele Sanmicheli, who loved them as his sons. And with him, also, he painted the facade of the house of M. Antonio Cappello, which is on the Grand Canal in Venice; and then, still together, they painted the ceiling, or rather, soffit in the Hall of the Council of Ten, dividing the pictures between them. Not long afterwards, having been summoned to Vicenza, Battista executed many works there, both within and around the city; and recently he has painted the facade of the Monte della Pieta, wherein he has executed an infinite number of nude figures in various attitudes , larger than life, with very good design, and all in so few months, that it has been a marvel. And if he has done so much at so early an age (for he is not vet past thirty) , everyone may imagine what may be expected of him in the course of his life.

A Veronese, likewise, is one Paolino [PaoloVeronese], a painter who is in very good repute in Venice at the present day, in that, although he is not yet more than thirty years of age, he has executed many works worthy of praise. This master, who was born at Verona to a stone-cutter, or, as they say in those parts, a stone-hewer, after having learned the rudiments of painting from Giovanni Caroto of Verona, painted in fresco, in company with the above-named Battista, the hall of the Paymaster and Assessor Portesco at Tiene, in the Vicentino; and afterwards at the Soranza, with the same companion, many works executed with good design and judgment and a beautiful manner. At Masiera, near Asolo in the Trevisano , he has painted the very beautiful house of Signor Daniello Barbaro, Patriarch-elect of Aquileia. At Verona, for the Refectory of San Nazzaro, a monastery of Black Friars, he has painted in a large picture on canvas the supper that Simon the Leper gave to Our Lord, when the woman of sin threw herself at His feet, with many figures, portraits from life, and very rare perspective-views; and under the table are two dogs so beautiful that they appear real and alive, and further away certain cripples executed excellently well.

By the hand of Paolino, in the Hall of the Council of Ten at Venice, in an oval that is larger than certain others that are there, placed, as the principal one, in the center of the ceiling, is a Jove who is driving away the Vices, in order to signify that that supreme and absolute tribunal drives away vice and chastises wicked and vicious men. The same master painted the soffit, or rather, ceiling of the Church of San Sebastiano, which is a very rare work, and the altarpiece of the principal chapel, together with some pictures that serve to adorn it, and likewise the doors of the organ; which are all pictures truly worthy of the highest praise. In the Hall of the Grand Council he painted a large picture of Frederick Barbarossa presenting himself to the Pope, with a good number of figures varied in their costumes and vestments, all most beautiful and representing worthily the Court of a Pope and an Emperor, and also a Venetian Senate, with many noblemen and Senators of that Republic, portrayed from life. In short, this work is such in its grandeur and design, and in the beauty and variety of the attitudes, that it is rightly extolled by everyone. After this scene, Paolino painted the ceilings of certain chambers, which are used by that Council of Ten, with figures in oils, which are much foreshortened and very rare.

In like manner, he painted in fresco the facade of the house of a merchant, which was a very beautiful work, on the road from San Maurizio to San Moise; but the wind from the sea is little by little destroying it. For Camillo Trevisani, at Murano, he painted a loggia and an apartment in fresco, which were much extolled. And in San Giorgio Maggiore at Venice, at the head of a large apartment, he painted in oils the Marriage of Cana in Galilee, which was a marvelous work for its grandeur, the number of figures, the variety of costumes, and the invention; and, if I remember right, there are to be seen in it more than one hundred and fifty heads, all varied and executed with great diligence. The same Paolino was commissioned by the Procurators of St. Mark to paint certain angular medallions that are in the ceiling of the Nicene Library, which was left to the Signoria by Cardinal Bessarion with a vast treasure of Greek books. Now the above-named lords, when they had the painting of that library begun, promised a prize of honor, in addition to the ordinary payment, to him who should acquit himself best in painting it; and the pictures were divided among the best painters that there were at that time in Venice. When the work was finished and the pictures painted had been very well considered, a chain of gold was placed round the neck of Paolino, he being the man who was judged to have done better than all the others.

The picture that gave him the victory and the prize of honor was that wherein he painted Music , in which are depicted three very beautiful young women, one of whom, the most beautiful, is playing a great bass-viol, looking down at the fingerboard of the instrument, the attitude of her person showing that her ear and her voice are fixed intently on the sound; and of the other two, one is playing a lute, and the other singing from a book. Near these women is a Cupid without wings, who is playing a harpsichord, signifying that Love is born from Music, or rather, that Love is always in company with Music; and, because he never parts from her, Paolino made him without wings. In the same picture he painted Pan, the God, according to the poets, of shepherds, with certain pipes made of the bark of trees, as it were consecrated to him as votive offerings by shepherds who have been victorious in playing them. Two other pictures Paolino painted in the same place; in one is Arithmetic, with certain Philosophers dressed in the ancient manner, and in the other is honor, seated on a throne, to whom sacrifices are being offered and royal crowns presented. But seeing that this young man is at this very moment at the height of his activity and not yet in his thirty-second year, I shall say nothing more of him for the present.

Likewise a Veronese is Paolo Farinato, an able painter, who, after having been a disciple of Niccolo Ursino, has executed many works at Verona. The most important are a hall in the house of the Fumanelli, which he filled with various scenes in fresco colors at the desire of Messer Antonio, a gentleman of that family, most famous as physician over all Europe, and two very large pictures in the principal chapel of Santa Maria in Organo. In one of these is the story of the Innocents, and in the other is the scene when the Emperor Constantine causes a number of children to be brought before him, intending to kill them and to bathe in their blood, in order to cure himself of his leprosy. Then in the recess of that chapel are two pictures, large, but smaller than the others, in one of which is Christ receiving St. Peter, who is walking towards Him on the water, and in the other the dinner that St. Gregory gives to certain poor men. In all these works, which are much to be extolled, is a vast number of figures, executed with good design, study, and diligence. By the hand of the same master is an altar-picture of San Martino that was placed in the Duomo of Mantua, which he executed in competition with others his compatriots, as has just been related. And let this be the end of the Lives of the excellent Michele Sanmicheli and of those other able men of Verona, so truly worthy of all praise on account of their excellence in the arts and their great talents.

 

 

 

GIOVANNI ANTONIO BAZZI, CALLED IL SODOMA
PAINTER OF VERCELLI (1477-1549)


Giorgio Vasari's Lives of the Artists

IF WERE TO RECOGNIZE their position when Fortune presents to them the opportunity to become rich, obtaining for them the favour of great persons, and were to exert themselves in their youth to make their merit equal to their good fortune, marvellous results would be seen to issue from their actions; whereas very often the contrary is seen to happen, for the reason that, even as it is true that he who trusts only in Fortune generally finds himself deceived, so it is very clear, as experience teaches us every day, that merit alone, likewise, if not accompanied by Fortune, does not do great things. If Giovanni Antonio of Vercelli, even as he had good fortune, had possessed an equal dower of merit, as he could have done if he had studied, he would not have been reduced to madness and miserable want in old age at the end of his life, which was always eccentric and beastly.

Now Giovanni Antonio was taken to Siena by some merchants, agents of the Spannocchi family, and his good fortune, or perhaps his bad fortune, would have it that, not finding any competition for a time in that city, he should work there alone; which, although it was some advantage to him, was in the end injurious, for the reason that he went to sleep, as it were, and never studied, but did most of his work by rule of thumb. And, if he did study a little, it was only in drawing the works of Jacopo della Fonte, which were much esteemed, and in little else. In the beginning he executed many portraits from life with that glowing manner of coloring which he had brought from Lombardy, and he thus made many friendships in Siena, more because that people is very kindly disposed towards strangers [foreigners] than because he was a good painter; and, besides this, he was a gay and licentious man, keeping others entertained and amused with his manner of living, which was far from creditable. In which life, since he always had about him boys and beardless youths, whom he loved more than was decent, he acquired the by-name of Sodoma; and in this name, far from taking umbrage or offence, he used to glory, writing about it songs and verses in terza rima, and singing them to the lute with no little facility. He delighted, in addition, to have about the house many kinds of extraordinary animals; badgers, squirrels, apes, marmosets, dwarf asses, horses, barbs for running races, little horses from Elba, jays, dwarf fowls, Indian turtledoves, and other suchlike animals, as many as he could lay his hands on. But, besides all these beasts, he had a raven, which had learned from him to speak so well, that in some things it imitated exactly the voice of Giovanni Antonio, and particularly in answering to anyone who knocked at the door, doing this so excellently that it seemed like Giovanni Antonio himself, as all the people of Siena know very well. In like manner, the other animals were so tame that they always flocked round anybody in the house, playing the strangest pranks and the maddest tricks in the world, insomuch that the man's house looked like a real Noah's Ark.

Now this manner of living and his eccentric ways, with his works and pictures, wherein he did indeed achieve something of the good, caused him to have such a name among the people of Siena that is, among the populace and the common herd, for the people of quality knew him better that he was held by many to be a great man. Whereupon, Fra Domenico da Lecco, a Lombard, having been made General of the Monks of Monte Oliveto, Sodoma went to visit him at Monte Oliveto di Chiusuri, the principal seat of that Order, distant fifteen miles from Siena; and he so contrived with his persuasive words, that he was commissioned to finish the stories of the life of S. Benedict, part of which had been executed on a wall by Luca Signorelli of Cortona. This work he finished for a small enough price, besides the expenses that he incurred, and those of certain lads and color grinders who assisted him nor would it be possible to describe the amusement that he gave while he was labouring at that place to those fathers, who called him II Mattaccio,* [* Madcap or buffoon.] in the mad pranks that he played.

But to return to the work. Having executed there certain scenes, which he hurried over mechanically and without diligence, and the General complaining of this, Mattaccio said that he worked as he felt inclined, and that his brush danced to the tune of money, so that, if the General consented to spend more, he was confident that he could do much better. The General having therefore promised that he would pay him better for the future, Giovanni Antonio painted three scenes, which still remained to be executed in the corners, with so much more study and diligence than he had shown in the others, that they proved to be much finer. In one of these is S. Benedict departing from Norcia and from his father and mother, in order to go to study in Rome; in the second, S. Mauro and S. Placido as children, presented to him and offered to God by their fathers; and in the third, the Goths burning Monte Cassino. For the last, in order to do despite to the General and the Monks, he painted the story of the priest Fiorenzo, the enemy of S. Benedict, bringing many loose women to dance and sing around the monastery of that holy man, in order to tempt the purity of those fathers. In this scene Sodoma, who was as shameless in his painting as in his other actions, painted a dance of nude women, altogether lewd and shameful; and, since he would not have been allowed to do it, as long as he was at work he would never let any of the monks see it. Wherefore, when the scene was uncovered, the General wished by hook or by crook to throw it to the ground and utterly destroy it; but Mattaccio, after much foolish talk, seeing that father in anger, clothed all the naked women in that work, which is one of the best that are there. Under each of these scenes he painted two medallions, and in each medallion a friar, to represent all the Generals who had ruled that congregation. And, since he had not their portraits from life, Mattaccio did most of the heads from fancy, and in some he portrayed old friars who were in the monastery at that time, and in the end he came to paint the head of the above-named Fra Domenico da Lecco, who was their General in those days, as has been related, and was causing him to execute that work. But, after some of those heads had lost the eyes, and others had been damaged, Fra Antonio Bentivogli, the Bolognese, caused them all to be removed, for good reasons.

Now, while Mattaccio was executing these scenes, there had gone thither, to assume the habit of a monk, a Milanese nobleman, who had a yellow cloak trimmed with black cords, such as was worn at that time; and, after he had put on the monk's habit, the General gave that cloak to Mattaccio, who, by means of a mirror, painted a portrait of himself with it on his back in one of the scenes, wherein S. Benedict, still almost a child, miraculously puts together and mends the corn-measure, or rather, tub, of his nurse, which she had broken. At the feet of the portrait he painted a raven, an ape, and others of his animals. This work finished, he painted the story of the five loaves and two fishes, with other figures, in the Refectory of the Monastery of S. Anna, a seat of the same Order, distant five miles from Monte Oliveto; which work completed, he returned to Siena. There, at the Postierla, he painted in fresco the facade of the house of M. Agostino de' Bardi of Siena, in which were some things worthy of praise, but for the most part they have been consumed by time and the weather.

During this time there arrived in Siena Agostino Chigi, a very rich and famous merchant of that city, and he became acquainted with Giovanni Antonio, both on account of his follies and because he had the name of a good painter. Wherefore he took him in his company to Rome, where Pope Julius II was then causing the Papal apartments in the Palace of the Vatican, which Pope Nicholas V had formerly erected, to be painted; and Chigi so went to work with the Pope, that some painting was given also to Sodoma. Now Pietro Perugino, who was painting the ceiling of an apartment that is beside the Borgia Tower, was working at his ease, like the old man that he was, and was not able to set his hand to anything else, as he had been at first commanded to do: and there was given to Giovanni Antonio to paint another apartment, which is beside the one that Perugino was painting. Having therefore set his hand to it, he made the ornamentation of that ceiling with cornices, foliage, and friezes; and then, in some large medallions, he executed certain passing good scenes in fresco. But this animal, devoting his attention to his beasts and his follies, would not press the work forward; and therefore, after Raffaello da Urbino had been brought to Rome by the architect Bramante, and it had become known to the Pope how much he surpassed the others, his Holiness ordained that neither Perugino nor Giovanni Antonio should work any more in the above-named apartments; indeed, that everything should be thrown to the ground. But Raffaello, who was goodness and modesty in person, left standing all that had been done by Perugino, who had once been his master; and of Mattaccio's he destroyed nothing save the inner work and the figures of the medallions and scenes, leaving the friezes and the other ornaments, which are still round the figures that Raffaello painted there, which were Justice, Universal Knowledge, Poetry, and Theology.

But Agostino, who was a gentleman, without paying any attention to the affront that Giovanni Antonio had received, commissioned him to paint in one of his principal apartments, which opens into the great hall in his Palace in the Trastevere, the story of Alexander going to sleep with Roxana. In that work, besides other figures, he painted a good number of Loves, some of whom are unfastening Alexander's cuirass, some are drawing off his boots, or rather, buskins, some are removing his helmet and dress, and putting them away; others scattering flowers over the bed, and others, again, doing other suchlike offices. Near the chimney piece he painted a Vulcan forging arrows, which was held at that time to be a passing good and praiseworthy work; and if Mattaccio, who had beautiful gifts and was much assisted by Nature, had given his attention, after that reversal of fortune, to his studies, as any other man would have done, he would have made very great proficience. But he had his mind always set on his amusements, and he worked by caprice, caring for nothing so earnestly as for dressing in pompous fashion, wearing doublets of brocade, cloaks all adorned with cloth of gold, the richest caps, necklaces, and other suchlike fripperies only fit for clowns and charlatans; in which things Agostino, who liked the man's humour, found the greatest amusement in the world.

Julius II having then come to his death, and Leo X having been elected, who took pleasure in eccentric and light-headed figures of fun such as our painter was, Mattaccio felt the greatest possible joy, particularly because he had an ill-will against Julius, who had done him that affront, wherefore, having set to work in order to make himself known to the new Pontiff, he painted in a picture the Roman Lucrece, nude, who was stabbing herself with a dagger; and, since Fortune takes care of madmen and sometimes aids the thoughtless, he succeeded in executing a most beautiful female body, and a head that was breathing. Which work finished, at the instance of Agostino Chigi, who was on terms of strait service with the Pope, he presented it to his Holiness, by whom he was made a Chevalier and rewarded for so beautiful a picture. Whereupon Giovanni Antonio, believing that he had become a great man, began to be disinclined to work any more, save when he was driven by necessity. But, after Agostino had gone on some business to Siena, taking Giovanni Antonio with him, while staying there he was forced, being a Chevalier without an income, to set himself to painting; and so he painted "an altar-piece containing a Christ taken down from the Cross, on the ground Our Lady in a swoon, and a man in armour who, having his back turned, shows his front reflected in a helmet that is on the ground, bright as a mirror. This work, which was held to be, as it is, one of the best that he ever executed, was placed in S. Francesco, on the right hand as one enters the church. Then in the cloister that is beside the above-named church, he painted in fresco Christ scourged at the Column, with many Jews around Pilate, and with a range of columns drawn in perspective after the manner of wing- walls; in which work Giovanni Antonio made a portrait of himself without any beard that is, shaven and with the hair long, as it was worn at that time.

Not long afterwards he executed some pictures for Signer Jacopo VI of Piombino, and, while living with him at that place, some other works on canvas. Wherefore by his means, besides many courtesies and presents that he received from him, Giovanni Antonio obtained from his island of Elba many little animals such as that island produces, all of which he took to Siena.

Arriving next in Florence, a monk of the Brandolini family, Abbot of the Monastery of Monte Oliveto, which is without the Porta a S. Friano, caused him to paint some pictures in fresco on the wall of the refectory; but since, like a careless fellow, he did them without study, they proved to be such that he was derided and mocked at for his follies by those who were expecting that he would do some extraordinary work. Now, while he was engaged on that work, having taken a Barbary horse with him to Florence, he set it to run in the race of S. Barnaba; and, as fortune would have it, the horse ran so much better than the others, that it won. Whereupon, the boys having, as is the custom, to call out the name or by-name of the owner of the horse that had won, after the running of the race and the fanfare of trumpets, Giovanni Antonio was asked what name they were to call out ; and, after he had replied, " Sodoma, Sodoma," the boys called out that name. But some honest old men, having heard that filthy name, began to protest against it and to say, " What filthy thing is this, and what ribaldry, that so vile a name should be cried through our city ?" Insomuch that, a clamour arising, poor Sodoma came within an ace of being stoned by the boys and the populace, with his horse and the ape that he had with him on the crupper. Having in the space of many years got together many prizes, won in the same way by his horses, he took the greatest pride in the world in them, and showed them to all who came into his house; and very often he made a show of them at his windows.

But to return to his works: he painted for the Company of S. Bastiano in Camellia, beyond the Church of the Umiliati, on a banner of cloth which is carried in processions, in oils, a nude S. Sebastian, bound to a tree, who is standing on the right leg, with the left in fore- shortening, and raises the head towards an Angel who is placing a crown upon it. This work is truly beautiful, and much to be praised. On the reverse side is Our Lady with the Child in her arms, and below her are S. Gismondo, S. Rocco, and some Flagellants kneeling on the ground. It is said that some merchants of Lucca offered to give three hundred crowns of gold to the men of that Company for that picture, but did not obtain it, because the others did not wish to deprive their Company and the city of so rare a painting. And, in truth, in certain works whether it was study, or good fortune, or chance Sodoma acquitted himself very well; but of such he did very few. In the Sacristy of the Friars of the Carmine is a picture by the hand of the same master, wherein is a very beautiful Nativity of Our Lady, with some nurses; and on the corner near the Piazza de' Tolomei he painted in fresco, for the Guild of Shoemakers, a Madonna with the Child in her arms, S. John, S. Francis, S. Rocco, and S. Crispino, the Patron Saint of the men of that Guild, who has a shoe in his hand. In the heads of these figures, and in all the rest, Giovanni Antonio acquitted himself very well.

In the Company of S. Bernardino of Siena, beside the Church of S. Francesco, he executed some scenes in fresco in competition with Girolamo del Pacchia, a Sienese painter, and Domenico Beccafumi namely, the Presentation of Our Lady in the Temple, when she goes to visit S. Elizabeth, her Assumption, and when she is crowned in Heaven. In the angles of the same Company he painted a Saint in episcopal robes, S. Louis, and S. Anthony of Padua; but the best figure of all is a S. Francis, who, standing on his feet and raising his head, is gazing at a little Angel, who appears to be in the act of speaking to him; the head of which S. Francis is truly marvellous. In the Palazzo de' Signori at Siena, likewise, in a hall, he painted some little tabernacles full of columns and little children, with other ornaments; and within these tabernacles are various figures. In one is S. Vittorio armed in the ancient fashion, with the sword in his hand; near him, in the same manner, is S. Ansano, who is baptizing certain persons; in another is S. Benedict; and all are very beautiful. In the lower part of that Palace, where salt is sold, he painted a Christ who is returning to life, with some soldiers about the Sepulchre, and two little Angels, held to be passing beautiful in the heads. Farther on, over a door, is a Madonna with the Child in her arms, painted by him in fresco, and two Saints.

In S. Spirito he painted the Chapel of S. Jacopo, which he did at the commission of the men of the Spanish colony, who have their place of burial there ; depicting there an image of the Madonna after the ancient manner, with S. Nicholas of Tolentino on the right hand, and, on the left, the Archangel S. Michael, who is slaying Lucifer. Above these, in a lunette, he painted Our Lady placing the sacerdotal habit upon a Saint, with some Angels around. Over all these figures, which are in oils on panel, there is painted in fresco, in the semicircle of the vaulting, a S. James in armour on a galloping horse, who has grasped his sword with a fiery gesture, and below him are many Turks, dead and wounded. Below all this, on the sides of the altar, are painted in fresco S. Anthony the Abbot and a nude S. Sebastian at the Column, which are held to be passing good works.

In the Duomo of the same city, on the right hand as one enters the church, there is upon an altar a picture in oils by his hand, in which there are Our Lady with the Child on her knee, S. Joseph on one side, and S. Calixtus on the other; which work is likewise held to be very beautiful, because it is evident that in colouring it Sodoma showed much more diligence than he used to devote to his works. He also painted for the Company of the Trinity a bier for carrying the dead to burial, which was very beautiful; and he executed another for the Company of Death, which is held to be the most beautiful in Siena; and I believe that the latter is the finest that there is to be seen, for, besides that it is indeed much to be extolled, it is very seldom that such works are executed at much cost or with much diligence. In the Church of S. Domenico, in the Chapel of S. Caterina da Siena, where there is in a tabernacle the head of that Saint, enclosed in one of silver, Giovanni Antonio painted two scenes, which are one on either side of that tabernacle. In one, on the right hand, is that Saint when, having received the Stigmata from Jesus Christ, who is in the air, she lies half-dead in the arms of two of her sisters, who are supporting her; of which work Baldassarre Peruzzi, the painter of Siena, after considering it, said that he had never seen anyone represent better the expression of persons fainting and half-dead, or with more similitude to the reality, than Giovanni Antonio had contrived to do. And in truth it is so, as may be seen, apart from the work itself, from the design by Sodoma' s own hand which I have in my book of drawings. On the left hand,

in the other picture, is the scene when the Angel of God carries to the same Saint the Host of the most Holy Communion, and she, raising her head to Heaven, sees Jesus Christ and Mary the Virgin, while two of her sisters, her companions, stand behind her. In another scene, which is on the wall on the right hand, is painted the story of a criminal, who, going to be beheaded, would not be converted or commend himself to God, despairing of His mercy; when, the above- named Saint praying for him on her knees, her prayers were so acceptable to the goodness of God, that, when the felon's head was cut off, his soul was seen ascending to Heaven; such power with the mercy of God have the prayers of those saintly persons who are in His grace. In this scene is a very great number of figures, as to which no one should marvel if they are not of the highest perfection, for the reason that I have heard as a fact that Giovanni Antonio had sunk to such a pitch in his negligence and slothfulness, that he would make neither designs nor cartoons when he had any work of that kind to execute, but would attack the work by designing it with the brush directly on the plaster, which was a strange thing ; in which method it is evident that this scene was executed by him. The same master also painted the arch in front of that chapel, making therein a God the Father. The other scenes in that chapel were not finished by him, partly from his own fault, he not choosing to work save by caprice, and partly because he had not been paid by him who was having the chapel painted. Below this is a God the Father, who has beneath Him a Virgin in the ancient manner, on panel, with S. Dominic, S. Gismondo, S. Sebastian, and S. Catharine.

For S. Agostino, in an altarpiece that is on the right hand at the entrance into the church, he painted the Adoration of the Magi, which was held to be, and is, a good work, for the reason that, besides the Madonna, which is much extolled, the first of the three Magi, and certain horses, there is a head of a shepherd between two trees which has all the appearance of life. Over a gate of the city, called the Porta di S. Viene, he painted in fresco, in a large tabernacle, the Nativity of Jesus Christ, with some Angels in the air ; and on the arch of that gate a child in foreshorten- ing, very beautiful and in strong relief, which is intended to signify that the Word has been made Flesh. In this work Sodoma made a portrait of himself, with a beard, being now old, and with a brush in his hand, which is pointing to a scroll that says " Feci."

He painted likewise in fresco the Chapel of the Commune at the foot of the Palace, in the Piazza, representing there Our Lady with the Child in her arms, upheld by some little Angels, S. Ansano, S. Vittorio, S. Augustine, and S. James; and above this, in a triangular lunette, he painted a God the Father with some Angels about Him. From this work it is evident that when he executed it he was beginning, as it were, to have no more love for art, having lost that certain quality of excellence that he used to have in his better days, by means of which he gave a certain air of beauty to his heads, which made them graceful and lovely. And this is manifestly true, for some works that he executed long before this one have quite another grace and another manner, as may be seen above the Postierla, from a wall in fresco over the door of the Captain Lorenzo Mariscotti, where there is a Dead Christ in the lap of His Mother, who has a marvellous divinity and grace. In like manner, a picture in oils of Our Lady, which he painted for Messer Enea Savini della Costerella, is much extolled, and also a canvas that he executed for Assuero Rettori of S. Martino, in which is the Roman Lucrece stabbing herself, while she is held by her father and her husband, all painted with much beauty of attitude and marvellous grace in the heads.

Finally, perceiving that the devotion of the people of Siena was all turned to the talents and excellent works of Domenico Beccafumi, and possessing neither house nor revenues in Siena, and having by that time consumed almost all his property and become old and poor, Giovanni Antonio departed from Siena almost in despair and went off to Volterra. And there, as his good fortune would have it, chancing upon Messer Lorenzo di Galeotto de' Medici, a rich and honored nobleman, he proceeded to live under his protection, with the intention of staying there a long time. And so, dwelling in the house of that nobleman, he painted for him on a canvas the Chariot of the Sun, which, having been badly guided by Phaethon, is falling into the Po; but it is easy to see that he did that work to pass the time, and hurried through it by rule of thumb, without giving any thought to it, so entirely commonplace is it and so ill- considered. Then, having grown weary of living at Volterra and in the house of that nobleman, as one who was accustomed to being free, he departed and went off to Pisa, where, at the instance of Battista del Cervelliera, he executed two pictures for Messer Bastiano della Seta, the Warden of Works of the Duomo, which were placed in the recess behind the high altar of that Duomo, beside those of Sogliani and Beccafumi. In one is the Dead Christ with Our Lady and the other Maries, and in the other Abraham sacrificing his son Isaac; but since these pictures did not succeed very well, the Warden, who had intended to make him paint some altarpieces for the church, dismissed him, knowing that men who do not study, once they have lost in old age the quality of excellence that they had in their youth from nature, are left with a kind of facility of manner that is generally little to be praised. At that same time Giovanni Antonio finished an altarpiece that he had previously begun in oils for S. Maria della Spina, painting in it Our Lady with the Child in her arms, with S. Mary Magdalene and S. Catharine kneeling before her, and S. John, S. Sebastian, and S. Joseph standing at the sides; in all which figures he acquitted himself much better than in the two pictures for the Duomo.

Then, having nothing more to do at Pisa, he made his way to Lucca, where, at S. Ponziano, a seat of the Monks of Monte Oliveto, an Abbot of his acquaintance caused him to paint a Madonna on the ascent of a staircase that leads to the dormitory. That work finished, he returned weary, old, and poor to Siena, where he did not live much longer; for he fell ill, through not having anyone to look after him or any means of sustenance, and went off to the Great Hospital, and there in a few weeks he finished the course of his life.

Giovanni Antonio, when young and in good repute, took for his wife in Siena a girl born of a very good family, and had by her in the first year a daughter. But after that, having grown weary of her, because he was a beast, he would never see her more; and she, therefore, withdrawing by herself, lived always on her own earnings and on the interest of her dowry, bearing with great and endless patience the beastliness and the follies of that husband of hers, who was truly worthy of the name of Mattaccio which, as has been related, the Monks of Monte Oliveto gave him.

Riccio of Siena, the disciple of Giovanni Antonio, a passing able and well-practised painter, having taken as his wife his master's daughter, who had been very well and decently brought up by her mother, became the heir to all the possessions connected with art of his wife's father. This Riccio, I say, has executed many beautiful and praiseworthy works at Siena and elsewhere, and has decorated with stucco and pictures in fresco a chapel in the Duomo of the above-named city, on the left hand as one enters the church; and he now lives at Lucca, where he has done, as he still continues to do, many beautiful works worthy to be extolled.

A pupil of Giovanni Antonio, likewise, was a young man who was called Giomo del Sodoma; but, since he died young, and was not able to give more than a small proof of his genius and knowledge, there is no need to say more about him.

Sodoma lived seventy-five years, and died in the year 1554.

 

 

 

BASTIANO DA SAN GALLO, CALLED ARISTOTILE
PAINTER AND SCULPTOR OF FLORENCE

Giorgio Vasari's Lives of the Artists



WHEN Pietro Perugino, by that time an old man, was painting the altarpiece of the high altar of the Servites at Florence, a nephew of Giuliano and Antonio da San Gallo, called Bastiano, was placed with him to learn the art of painting. But the boy had not been long with Perugino, when he saw the manner of Michelagnolo in the cartoon for the Hall, of which we have already spoken so many times, in the house of the Medici, and was so struck with admiration, that he would not return any more to Pietro' s workshop, considering that his manner, beside that of Buonarroti, was dry, petty, and by no means worthy to be imitated. And since, among those who used to go to paint that cartoon, which was for a time the school of all who wished to attend to painting, the most able of all was held to be Ridolfo Ghirlandajo, Bastiano chose him as his companion, in order to learn colouring from him, and so they became fast friends. But not ceasing therefore to give his attention to that cartoon and to work at those nudes, Bastiano copied all together in a little cartoon the whole composition of that mass of figures, which not one of all those who had worked at it had ever drawn as a whole. And since he applied himself to it with all the earnestness that was in him, it proved that he was afterwards able on any occasion to render an account of the attitudes, muscles, and movements of those figures, and of the reasons that had caused Buonarroti to depict certain difficult postures ; in doing which he would speak slowly and sententiously, with great gravity, so that a company of able craftsmen gave him the name of Aristotile, which, moreover, sat upon him all the better because it appeared that according to an ancient portrait of that supreme philosopher and confidant of Nature, Bastiano much resembled him.

But to return to the little cartoon drawn by Aristotile; he held it always so dear, that, after Buonarroti's original had perished, he would never let it go either at a price or on any other terms, or allow it to be copied; indeed, he would not show it, save only as a man shows precious things to his dearest friends, as a favour. Afterwards, in the year 1542, this drawing was copied in oils by Aristotile, at the persuasion of Giorgio Vasari, who was much his friend, in a picture in chiaroscuro, which was sent through Monsignor Giovio to King Francis of France, who held it very dear, and gave a handsome reward to San Gallo. This Vasari did in order that the memory of that work might be preserved, seeing that drawings perish very readily.

In his youth, then, Aristotile delighted, as the others of his house have done, in the matters of architecture, and he therefore gave his attention to measuring the ground-plans of buildings and with great diligence to the study of perspective; in doing which he was much assisted by a brother of his, called Giovan Francesco, who was employed as architect in the building of S. Pietro, under Giuliano Leno, the proveditor. Giovan Francesco, having drawn Aristotile to Rome, employed him to keep the accounts in a great business that he had of furnaces for lime and works in pozzolana and tufa, which brought him very large profits; and in this way Bastiano lived for a time, without doing anything but draw in the Chapel of Michelagnolo, and resort, by means of M. Giannozzo Pandolfini, Bishop of Troia, to the house of Raffaello da Urbino. After a time, Raffaello having made for that Bishop the design of a palace which he wished to erect in the Via di S. Gallo at Florence, the above- named Giovan Francesco was sent to put it into execution, which he did with all the diligence wherewith it is possible for such a work to be carried out. But in the year 1530, Giovan Francesco being dead, and the siege of Florence in progress, that work, as we shall relate, was left unfinished. Its completion was afterwards entrusted to his brother Aristotile, who, as will be told, had returned to Florence many and many a year before, after having amassed a large sum of money under the above-named Giuliano Leno, in the business that his brother had left him in Rome; with a part of which money Aristotile bought, at the persuasion of Luigi Alamanni and Zanobi Buondelmonte, who were much his friends, a site for a house behind the Convent of the Servites, near Andrea del Sarto, where, with the intention of taking a wife and living at leisure, he afterwards built a very commodious little house.

After returning to Florence, then, Aristotile, being much inclined to perspective, to which he had given his attention under Bramante in Rome, appeared to delight in scarcely any other thing; but nevertheless, besides executing a portrait or two from the life, he painted in oils, on two large canvases, the Eating of the Fruit by Adam and Eve and their Expulsion from Paradise, which he did after copies that he had made from the works painted by Michelagnolo on the vaulting of the Chapel in Rome. These two canvases of Aristotile's, because of his having taken them bodily from that place, were little extolled; but, on the other hand, he was well praised for all that he did in Florence for the entry of Pope Leo, making, in company with Francesco Granacci, a triumphal arch opposite to the door of the Badia, with many scenes, which was very beautiful. In like manner, at the nuptials of Duke Lorenzo de' Medici, he was of great assistance in all the festive preparations, and particularly in some prospect-views for comedies, to Franciabigio and Ridolfo Ghirlandajo, who had charge of everything.

He afterwards executed many pictures of Our Lady in oils, partly from his own fancy, and partly copied from the works of others; and among them he painted one similar to that which Raffaello executed for S. Maria del Popolo in Rome, with the Madonna covering the Child with a veil, which now belongs to Filippo dell' Antella. And another is in the possession of the heirs of Messer Ottaviano de' Medici, together with the portrait of the above-named Lorenzo, which Aristotile copied from that which Raffaello had executed. Many other pictures he painted about the same time, which were sent to England. But, recognizing that he had no invention, and how much study and good grounding in design painting required, and that for lack of these qualities he would not be able to achieve any great excellence, Aristotile resolved that his pro- fession should be architecture and perspective, executing scenery for comedies, to which he was much inclined, on every occasion that might present itself to him. And so, the above-mentioned Bishop of Troia having once more set his hand to his palace in the Via di S. Gallo, the charge of this was given to Aristotile, who in time carried it with much credit to himself to the condition in which it is now to be seen.

Meanwhile Aristotile had formed a great friendship with Andrea del Sarto, his neighbor, from whom he learned to do many things to perfection, attending with much study to perspective; wherefore he was afterwards employed in many festivals that were held by certain companies of gentlemen who were living at Florence in those peaceful times. Thus, when the Mandragola, a most amusing comedy, was to be performed by the Company of the Cazzuola in the house of Bernardino di Giordano, on the Canto a Monteloro, Andrea del Sarto and Aristotile executed the scenery, which was very beautiful; and not long afterwards Aristotile executed the scenery for another comedy by the same author, in the house of the furnace-master Jacopo at the Port a S. Friano. From that kind of scenery and prospect-views, which much pleased the citizens in general, and in particular Signor Alessandro and Signer Ippolito de' Medici (who were in Florence at that time, under the care of Silvio Passerini, Cardinal of Cortona), Aristotile acquired so great a name, that it was ever afterwards his principal profession; indeed, so some will have it, his name of Aristotile was given him because he appeared in truth to be in perspective what Aristotle was in philosophy.

But, as it often happens that from the height of peace and tranquillity one falls into wars and discords, with the year 1527 all peace and gladness in Florence were changed into sorrow and distress, for by that time the Medici had been driven out, and then came the plague and the siege, and for many years life was anything but gay; wherefore no good could be done then by craftsmen, and Aristotile lived in those days always in his own house, attending to his studies and fantasies. Afterwards, however, when Duke Alessandro had assumed the government of Florence, and matters were beginning to clear up a little, the young men of the Company of the Children of the Purification, which is opposite to S. Marco, arranged to perform a tragi-comedy taken from the Book of Kings, of the tribulations that ensued from the violation of Tamar, which had been composed by Giovan Maria Primerani. Thereupon the charge of the scenery and prospect-views was given to Aristotile, and he prepared the most beautiful scenery, considering the capacity of the place, that had ever been made. And since, besides the beauty of the setting, the tragi-comedy was beautiful in itself and well performed, and very pleasing to Duke Alessandro and his sister, who heard it, their Excellencies caused the author, who was in prison, to be liberated, on the condition that he should write another comedy, but after his own fancy. Which having been done by him, Aristotile made in the loggia of the garden of the Medici, on the Piazza di S. Marco, a very beautiful scene and prospect-view, full of colonnades, niches, tabernacles, statues, and many other fanciful things that had not been used up to that time in festive settings of that kind; which all gave infinite satisfaction, and greatly enriched that sort of painting. The subject of the piece was Joseph falsely accused of having sought to violate his mistress, and therefore imprisoned, and then liberated after his interpretation of the King's dream.

This scenery having also much pleased the Duke, he ordained, when the time came, that for his nuptials with Madama Margherita of Austria another comedy should be performed, with scenery by Aristotile, in the Company of Weavers, which is joined to the house of the Magnificent Ottaviano de' Medici, in the Via di S. Gallo. To which having set his hand with all the study, diligence, and labour of which he was capable, Aristotile executed all those preparations to perfection. Now Lorenzo di Pier Francesco de' Medici, having himself written the piece that was to be performed, had charge of the whole representation and the music; and, being such a man that he was always thinking in what way he might be able to kill the Duke, by whom he was so much favoured and beloved, he thought to find a way of bringing him to his end in the preparations for the play. And so, where the steps of the prospect-view and the floor of the stage ended, he caused the wing-walls on either side to be thrown down to the height of eighteen braccia, intending to build up in that space a room in the form of a purse-shaped recess, which was to be of considerable size, and a stage on a level with the stage proper, which might serve for the choral music. Above this first stage he wished to make another for harpsichords, organs, and other suchlike instruments that cannot be moved or changed about with ease; and the space where he had pulled down the walls, in front, he wished to have covered with curtains painted with prospect-views and buildings.

All which pleased Aristotile, because it enriched the proscenium, and left the stage free of musicians, but he was by no means pleased that the rafters upholding the roof, which had been left without the walls below to support them, should be arranged otherwise than with a great double arch, which should be very strong; whereas Lorenzo wished that it should be sustained by some props, and by nothing else that could in any way interfere with the music. Aristotile, knowing that this was a trap certain to fall headlong down on a multitude of people, would not on any account agree in the matter with Lorenzo, who in truth had no other intention but to kill the Duke in that catastrophe. Wherefore, perceiving that he could not drive his excellent reasons into Lorenzo's head, he had determined that he would withdraw from the whole affair, when Giorgio Vasari, who was the protege of Ottaviano de' Medici, and was at that time, although a mere lad, working in the service of Duke Alessandro, hearing, while he was painting on that scenery, the disputes and differences of opinion that there were between Lorenzo and Aristotile, set himself dexterously between them, and, after hearing both the one and the other and per- ceiving the danger that Lorenzo's method involved, showed that without making any arch or interfering in any other way with the stage for the music, those rafters of the roof could be arranged easily enough. Two double beams of wood, he said, each of fifteen braccia, should be placed along the wall, and fastened firmly with clamps of iron beside the other rafters, and upon them the central rafter could be securely placed, for in that way it would lie as safely as upon an arch, neither more nor less. But Lorenzo, refusing to believe either Giorgio, who proposed the plan, or Aristotile, who approved it, did nothing but oppose them with his cavillings, which made his evil intention known to everyone.

Whereupon Giorgio, having seen what a terrible disaster might result from this, and that it was nothing less than an attempt to kill three hundred persons, said that come what might he would speak of it to the Duke, to the end that he might send to examine and render safe the whole fabric. Hearing this, and fearing to betray himself, Lorenzo, after many words, gave leave to Aristotile that he should follow the advice of Giorgio; and so it was done. This scenery, then, was the most beautiful not only of all that Aristotile had executed up to that time, but also of all that had ever been made by others, for he made in it many corner pieces in relief, and also, in the opening of the stage, a representation of a most beautiful triumphal arch in imitation of marble, covered with scenes and statues, not to mention the streets receding into the distance, and many other things wrought with marvellous invention and incredible diligence and study.

After Duke Alessandro had been killed by the above-named Lorenzo, and Cosimo had been elected Duke; in 1536, there came to be married to him Signora Leonora di Toledo, a lady in truth most rare, and of such great and incomparable worth, that she may be likened without ques- tion, and perchance preferred, to the most celebrated and renowned woman in ancient history. And for the nuptials, which took place on the 27th of June in the year 1539, Aristotile made in the great court of the Medici Palace, where the fountain is, another scenic setting that represented Pisa, in which he surpassed himself, ever improving and achieving variety; wherefore it will never be possible to put together a more varied arrangement of doors and windows, or fagades of palaces more fantastic and bizarre, or streets and distant views that recede more beautifully and comply more perfectly with ,the rules of perspective. And he depicted there, besides all this, the Leaning Tower of the Duomo, the Cupola, and the round Temple of S. Giovanni, with other features of that city. Of the flights of steps that he made in the work, and how everyone was deceived by them, I shall say nothing, lest I should appear to be saying the same that has been said at other times; save only this, that the flight of steps which appeared to rise from the ground to the stage was octagonal in the centre and quadrangular at the sides an artifice extraordinary in its simplicity, which gave such grace to the prospect- view above, that it would not be possible to find anything better of that kind. He then arranged with much ingenuity a lantern of wood in the manner of an arch, behind all the buildings, with a sun one braccio high, in the form of a ball of crystal rilled with distilled water, behind which were two lighted torches, which rendered the sky of the scenery and prospect-view so luminous, that it had the appearance of the real and natural sun. This sun, which had around it an ornament of golden rays that covered the curtain, was drawn little by little by means of a small windlass that was there, in such a manner that at the beginning of the performance the sun appeared to be rising, and then, having climbed to the centre of the arch, it so descended that at the end of the piece it was setting and sinking below the horizon.

The author of the piece was Antonio Landi. a gentleman of Florence, and the interludes and music were in the hands of Giovan Battista Strozzi. a man of very beautiful genius, who was then very young. But since enough was written at that time about the other things that adorned the performance, such as the interludes and music. I shall do no more than mention who they were who executed certain pictures, and it must suffice for the present to know that all the other things were carried out by the above-named Giovan Battista Strozzi, Tribolo. and Aristotile. Below the scenery of the comedy, the walls at the sides were divided into six painted pictures, each eight braccia in height and rive in breadth, and each having around it an ornamental border one braccio and two-thirds in width, which formed a frieze about it and was moulded on the side next the picture, containing four medallions in the form of a cross, with two Latin mottoes for each scene, and in the rest were suitable devices. Over all. right round, ran a frieze of blue baize, save where the scene was. above which was a canopy, likewise of baize, which covered the whole court. On that frieze of baize, above every painted story, were the arms of some of the most illustrious families with which the house of Medici had kinship.

Beginning with the eastern side, then, next to the stage, in the first picture, which was by the hand of Francesco Ubertini, called II Bacchiacca. was the Return from Exile of the Magnificent Cosimo de' Medici: the device consisted of two Doves on a Golden Bouqh, and the amis in the frieze were those of Duke Cosimo. In the second, which was by the same hand, was the Journey of the Magnificent Lorenzo to Naples; the device a Pelican, and the arms those of Duke Lorenzo namely, Medici and Savoy. In the third picture, painted by Pier Francesco di Jacopo di Sandro, was Pope Leo X on his visit to Florence, being carried by his fellow-citizens under the baldachin; the device was an Upright Arm, and the arms those of Duke Giuliano Medici and Savoy. In the fourth picture, by the same hand, was Biegrassa taken by Signer Giovanni, who was to be seen issuing victorious from that city; the device was Jove's Thunderbolt, and the arms in the frieze were those of Duke Alessandro Austria and Medici. In the fifth, Pope Clement was crowning Charles V at Bologna; the device was a Serpent that was biting its own tail, and the arms were those of France and Medici. That picture was by the hand of Domenico Conti, the disciple of Andrea del Sarto, who proved that he had no great ability, being deprived of the assistance of certain young men whose services he had thought to use, since all, both good and bad, were employed; wherefore he was laughed at, who, much presuming, at other times with little discretion had laughed at others. In the sixth scene, the last on that side, by the hand of Bronzino, was the Dispute that took place at Naples, before the Emperor, between Duke Alessandro and the Florentine exiles, with the River Sebeto and many figures, and this was a most beautiful picture, and better than any of the others; the device was a Palm, and the arms those of Spain.

Opposite to the Return of Cosimo the Magnificent (that is, on the other side), was the happy day of the birth of Duke Cosimo; the device was a Phoenix, and the arms those of the city of Florence namely, a Red Lily. Beside this was the Creation, or rather, Election of the same Cosimo to the dignity of Duke; the device was the Caduceus of Mercury, and in the frieze were the arms of the Castellan of the Fortress; and this scene, which was designed by Francesco Salviati, who had to depart in those days from Florence, was finished excellently well by Carlo Portelli of Loro. In the third were the three proud Campanian envoys, driven out of the Roman Senate for their presumptuous demand, as Titus Livius relates in the twentieth book of his history; and in that place they represented three Cardinals who had come to Duke Cosimo, but in vain, with the intention of removing him from the government; the device was a Winged Horse, and the arms those of the Salviati and the Medici. In the fourth was the Taking of Monte Murlo; the device an Egyptian Horn-owl over the head of Pyrrhus, and the arms those of the houses of Sforza and Medici; in which scene, painted by Antonio di Donnino, a bold painter of things in motion, might be seen in the distance a skirmish of horsemen, which was so beautiful that this picture, by the hand of a person reputed to be feeble, proved to be much better than the works of some others who were able men only by report. In the fifth could be seen Duke Alessandro being invested by his Imperial Majesty with all the devices and insignia of a Duke; the device was a Magpie, with leaves of laurel in its beak, and in the frieze were the arms of the Medici and of Toledo; and that picture was by the hand of Battista Franco the Venetian. In the last of all those pictures were the Espousals of the same Duke Alessandro, which took place at Naples; the devices were two Crows, the ancient symbols of marriage, and in the frieze were the arms of Don Pedro di Toledo, Viceroy of Naples; and that picture, which was by the hand of Bronzino, was executed with such grace, that, like the first-named, it surpassed the scenes of all the others.

By the same Aristotile, likewise, there was executed over the loggia a frieze with other little scenes and arms, which was much extolled, and which pleased his Excellency, who rewarded him liberally for the whole work. Afterwards, almost every year, he executed scenery and prospect- views for the comedies that were performed at Carnival time; and he had in that manner of painting such assistance from nature and such practice, that he had determined that he would write of it and teach others; but this he abandoned, because the undertaking proved to be more difficult than he had expected, but particularly because afterwards commissions to execute prospect-views were given by new men in authority at the Palace to Bronzino and Francesco Salviati, as will be related in the proper place. Aristotile, therefore, perceiving that many years had passed during which he had not been employed, went off to Rome to find Antonio da San Gallo, his cousin, who, immediately after his arrival, having received and welcomed him very warmly, set him to press on certain buildings, with a salary of ten crowns a month, and then sent him to Castro, where he stayed some months, being commissioned by Pope Paul III to execute a great part of the buildings there after the designs and directions of Antonio. But, because Aristotile, having been brought up with Antonio from childhood, had become accustomed to treat him too familiarly, it is said that Antonio kept him at a distance, since Aristotile had never been able to accustom himself to calling him "you," insomuch that he gave him the "thou" even if they were before the Pope, to say nothing of a circle of nobles and gentlemen, even as is still done by Florentines used to the ancient fashions and to giving the "thou" to everyone, as if they were from Norcia, without being able to accommodate themselves to modern ways of life as others do, who march step by step with the times. And how strange this circumstance appeared to Antonio, accustomed as he was to be honored by Cardinals and other great men, everyone may imagine for himself. Having therefore grown weary of his stay at Castro, Aristotile besought Antonio that he should enable him to return to Rome; in which Antonio obliged him very readily, but said to him that he must behave towards him in a different manner and with better breeding, particularly whenever they were in the presence of great persons.

One year, at the time of the Carnival, when Ruberto Strozzi was giving a banquet at Rome to certain lords, his friends, and a comedy was to be performed at his house, Aristotile made for him in the great hall a prospect-scene, which, considering the little space at his disposal, was so pleasing, so graceful, and so beautiful, that Cardinal Farnese, among others, not only was struck with astonishment at it, but caused him to make one in his Palace of S. Giorgio, where is the Cancelleria, in one of those mezzanine halls that look out on the garden; but in such a way that it might remain there permanently, so that he might be able to make use of it whenever he so wished or required. This work, then, was carried out by Aristotile with all the study in his power and knowledge, and in such a manner, that it gave the Cardinal and the men of the arts infinite satisfaction. Now the Cardinal commissioned Messer Curzio Frangipane to remunerate Aristotile ; and he, as a man of prudence, wishing to do what was right by him, but also not to overpay him, asked Perino del Vaga and Giorgio Vasari to value the work. This was very agreeable to Perino, because, feeling hatred for Aristotile, and taking it ill that he had executed that prospect-scene, which he thought should have fallen to him as the servant of the Cardinal, he was living in apprehension and jealousy, and all the more because the Cardinal had made use in those days not only of Aristotile but also of Vasari, and had given him a thousand crowns for having painted in fresco, in a hundred days, the Hall of "Parco Majori" in the Cancelleria. For these reasons, therefore, Perino intended to value that prospect-view of Aristotile's at so little, that he would have to repent of having done it. But Aristotile, having heard who were the men who had to value his prospect-view, went to seek out Perino, and at the first word, according to his custom, began to give him the "thou" to his face, for he had been his friend in youth; whereupon Perino, who had already an ill-will against him, flew into a rage and all but revealed, without noticing, the malicious thing that he had it in his mind to do. Aristotile having therefore told the whole story to Vasari, Giorgio told him that he should have no anxiety and should be of good cheer, for no wrong would be done to him.

Afterwards, Perino and Giorgio coming together to settle that affair, Perino, as the older man, began to speak, and set himself to censure that prospect-scene and to say that it was a work of a few halfpence, and that Aristotile, having received money on account and having been paid for those who had assisted him, had been overpaid, adding: "If I had been commissioned to do it, I would have done it in another manner, and with different scenes and ornaments from those used by that fellow; but the Cardinal always chooses to favour some person who does him little honor." From these words and others Giorgio recognized that Perino wished rather to avenge himself on Aristotile for the grievance that he had against the Cardinal than to ensure with friendly affection the remuneration of the talents and labours of a good craftsman; and he spoke these soft words to Perino: "Although I have not as much knowledge of such works as I might have, nevertheless, having seen some by the hands of those who know how to do them, it appears to me that this one is very well executed, and worthy to be valued at many crowns, and not, as you say, at a few halfpence. And it does not seem to me right that he who sits in his workroom drawing cartoons, in order afterwards to reproduce in great works such a variety of things in perspective, should be paid for the labor of his nights and perhaps for the work of many weeks into the bargain on the same scale as are paid the days of those who have to undergo no fatigue of the mind and hand, and little of the body, it being enough for them to imitate, without in any way racking their brains, as Aristotile has done. And if you, Perino, had executed it, as you say, with more scenes and ornaments, perhaps you might not have done it with that grace which has been achieved by Aristotile, who in that kind of painting has been esteemed with much judgment by the Cardinal to be a better master than you. Remember that in the end, by giving a wrong and unjust estimate, you do harm not so much to Aristotile as to art and excellence in general, and even more to your own soul, if you depart from what is right for the sake of some private grievance; not to mention that all who recognize the work as a good one, will censure not it but our weak judgment, and may even put it down to envy and malice in our natures. And whoever seeks to ingratiate himself with another, to glorify his own works, or to avenge himself for any injury by censuring or estimating at less than their true value the good works of others, is finally recognized by God and man as what he is, namely, as malignant, ignorant, and wicked. Consider, you who do all the work in Rome, how it would appear to you if others were to value your labors as you do theirs ? Put yourself, I beg you, in the shoes of this poor old man, and you will see how far you are from reason and justice."

Of such force were these and other words that Giorgio spoke lovingly to Perino, that they arrived at a just estimate, and satisfaction was given to Aristotile, who, with that money, with the payment for the picture sent, as was related at the beginning, to France, and with the savings from his salaries, returned joyously to Florence, notwithstanding that Michelagnolo, who was his friend, had intended to make use of him in the building that the Romans were proposing to erect on the Campidoglio. Having thus returned to Florence in the year 1547, Aristotile went to kiss the hands of the Lord Duke Cosimo, and besought his Excellency, since he had set his hand to many buildings, that he should assist him and make use of his services. And that lord, having received him graciously, as he has always received men of excellence, ordained that an allowance of ten crowns a month should be given to him, and said to him that he would be employed according as occasion might arise. With that allowance Aristotile lived peacefully for some years, without doing anything more, and then died at the age of seventy, on the last day of May in the year 1551, and was buried in the Church of the Servites. In our book are some drawings by the hand of Aristotile, and there are some in the possession of Antonio Particini; among which are some very beautiful sheets drawn in perspective.

There lived in the same times as Aristotile, and were his friends, two painters of whom I shall make brief mention here, because they were such that they deserve to have a place among these rare intellects, on account of some works executed by them that were truly worthy to be extolled. One was Jacone, and the other Francesco Ubertini, called II Bacchiacca. Jacone, then, did not execute many works, being one who lost himself in talking and jesting, and contented himself with the little that his fortune and his idleness allowed him, which was much less than what he required. But, since he was closely associated with Andrea del Sarto, he drew very well and with great boldness; and he was very fantastic and bizarre in the posing of his figures, distorting them and seeking to make them varied and different from those of others in all his compositions. In truth, he had no little design, and when he chose he could imitate the good. In Florence, when still young, he executed many pictures of Our Lady, many of which were sent by Florentine merchants into France. For S. Lucia, in the Via de' Bardi, he painted in an altarpiece God the Father, Christ, and Our Lady, with other figures, and at Montici, about a tabernacle on the corner of the house of Lodovico Capponi, he executed two figures in chiaroscuro. For S. Romeo, in an altarpiece, he painted Our Lady and two Saints.

Then, hearing once much praise spoken of the faades executed by Polidoro and Maturino at Rome, without anyone knowing about it he went off to that city, where he stayed some months and made some copies, gaining such proficience in matters of art, that he afterwards proved himself in many works a passing good painter. Wherefore the Chevalier Buondelmonte commissioned him to paint in chiaroscuro a house that he had built opposite to S. Trinita, at the beginning of the Borgo S. Apostolo; wherein Jacone painted stories from the life of Alexander the Great, very beautiful in certain parts, and executed with so much grace and design, that many believe that the designs for the whole work were made for him by Andrea del Sarto. To tell the truth, from the proof of his powers that Jacone gave in that work, it was thought that he was likely to produce some great fruits. But, since he always had his mind set more on giving himself a good time and every possible amusement, living in a round of suppers and f eastings with his friends, than on studying and working, he was for ever forgetting rather than learning. And that which was a thing to laugh at or to pity, I know not which, was that he belonged to a company, or rather, gang, of friends who, under the pretence of living like philosophers, lived like swine and brute-beasts; they never washed their hands, or face, or head, or beard; they did not sweep their houses, and never made their beds save only once every two months; they laid their tables with the cartoons for their pictures, and they drank only from the flask or the jug; and this miserable existence of theirs, living, as the saying goes, from hand to mouth, was held by them to be the finest life in the world. But, since the outer man is wont to be a guide to the inner, and to reveal what our minds are, I believe, as has been said before, that they were as filthy and brutish in mind as their outward appearance suggested.

For the festival of S. Felice in Piazza that is, the representation of the Annunciation of the Madonna, of which there has been an account in another place which was held by the Company of the Orciuolo in the year 1525, Jacone made among the outer decorations, according to the custom of those times, a most beautiful triumphal arch standing by itself, large, double, and very high, with eight columns, pilasters, and pediments; all of which he caused to be carried to completion by Piero da Sesto, a well-practised master in wood-work. On this arch, then, were painted nine scenes, part of which, the best, he executed himself, and the rest Francesco Ubertini, II Bacchiacca; and these scenes were all from the Old Testament, and for the greater part from the life of Moses. Having then been summoned by a Scopetine friar, his kinsman, to Cortona, Jacone painted two altarpieces in oils for the Church of the Madonna, which is without the city. In one of these is Our Lady with S. Rocco, S. Augustine, and other Saints, and in the other a God the Father who is crowning Our Lady, with two Saints at the foot, and in the centre is S. Francis, who is receiving the Stigmata; which two works were very beautiful. Then, having returned to Florence, he decorated for Bongianni Capponi a vaulted chamber in that city; and he executed certain others for the same man in his villa at Montici. And finally, when Jacopo da Pontormo painted for Duke Alessandro, in his villa at Careggi, that loggia of which there has been an account in his Life, Jacone helped to execute the greater part of the ornaments, such as grotesques, and other things. After this he occupied himself with certain insignificant works, of which there is no need to make mention.

The sum of the matter is that Jacone spent the best part of his life in jesting, in going off into cogitations, and in speaking evil of all and sundry. For in those days the art of design in Florence had fallen into the hands of a company of persons who paid more attention to playing jokes and to enjoyment than to working, and whose occupation was to assemble in shops and other places, and there to spend their time in criticizing maliciously, in their own jargon, the works of others who were persons of excellence and lived decently and like men of honor. The heads of this company were Jacone, the goldsmith Piloto, and the wood-carver Tasso; but the worst of them all was Jacone, for the reason that, among his other fine qualities, his every word was always a foul slander against somebody. Wherefore it was no marvel that from such a company there should have sprung in time, as will be related, many evil happenings, or that Piloto, on account of his slanderous tongue, was killed by a young man. And since their habits and proceedings were displeasing to honest men, they were generally to be found I do not say all of them, but some at least like wool-carders and other fellows of that kidney, playing at chuck-stones at the foot of a wall, or making merry in a tavern.

One day that Giorgio Vasari was returning from Monte Oliveto, a place without Florence, after a visit to the reverend and most cultured Don Miniato Pitti, who was then Abbot of that monastery, he found Jacone, with a great part of his crew, at the Canto de' Medici; and Jacone thought to attempt, as I heard afterwards, with some of his idle talk, speaking half in jest and half in earnest, to hit on some phrase insulting to Giorgio. And so, when Vasari rode into their midst on his horse, Jacone said to him: " Well, Giorgio, how goes it with you ?" "Finely, my Jacone," answered Giorgio. "Once I was poor like all of you, and now I find myself with three thousand crowns or more. You thought me a fool, and the priests and friars think me an able master. I used to be your servant, and here is a servant of my own, who serves me and looks after my horse. I used to dress in the clothes that beggarly painters wear, and here am I dressed in velvet. Once I went on foot, and now I go on horseback. So you see, my Jacone, it goes exceeding well with me. May God be with you."

When poor Jacone had heard all this recital in one breath, he lost all his presence of mind and stood confused, without saying another word, as if reflecting how miserable he was, and how often the engineer is hoist with his own petard. Finally, having become much reduced by an infirmity, and being poor, neglected, and paralysed in the legs, so that he could do nothing to better himself, Jacone died in misery in a little hovel that he had on a mean street, or rather, alley, called Codarimessa, in the year 1553.

Francesco Ubertini, called II Bacchiacca, was a diligent painter, and, although he was the friend of Jacone, he always lived decently enough and like an honest man. He was likewise a friend of Andrea del Sarto, and much assisted and favored by him in matters of art. Francesco, I say, was a diligent painter, and particularly in painting little figures, which he executed to perfection, with much patience, as may be seen from a predella with the story of the Martyrs, below the altarpiece of Giovanni Antonio Sogliani, in S. Lorenzo at Florence, and from another predella, executed very well, in the Chapel of the Crocifisso. For the chamber of Pier Francesco Borgherini, of which mention has already been made so many times, II Bacchiacca, in company with the others, executed many little figures on the coffers and the panelling, which are known by the manner, being different from the others. For the antechamber of Giovan Maria Benintendi, which likewise has been already mentioned, he painted two very beautiful pictures with little figures, in one of which, the most beautiful and the most abundant in figures, is the Baptist baptizing Jesus Christ in the Jordan. He also executed many others for various persons, which were sent to France and England. Finally, having entered the service of Duke Cosimo, since he was an excellent painter in counterfeiting all the kinds of animals, II Bacchiacca painted for his Excellency a cabinet all full of birds of various kinds, and rare plants, all of which he executed divinely well in oils. He then made, with a vast number of little figures, cartoons of all the months of the year, which were woven into most beautiful tapestries in silk and gold, with such industry and diligence that there is nothing better of that kind to be seen, by Marco, the son of Maestro Giovanni Rosto the Fleming. After these works, II Bacchiacca decorated in fresco the grotto of a water fountain that is at the Pitti Palace. Lastly, he made the designs for a bed that was executed in embroidery, all full of scenes and little figures. This is the most ornate work in the form of a bed, in such a kind of workmanship, that there is to be seen, the embroidering having been made rich with pearls and other things of price by Antonio Bacchiacca, the brother of Francesco, who is an excellent embroiderer; and, since Francesco died before the completion of the bed, which has served for the happy nuptials of the most illustrious Lord Prince of Florence, Don Francesco de' Medici, and of her serene Highness Queen Joanna of Austria, it was finished in the end after the directions and designs of Giorgio Vasari.

Francesco died at Florence in the year 1557.

 

 

Francesco Salviati (1510-1563)
Part Two

Giorgio Vasari's Lives of the Artists











Charity. Uffizi Gallery, Florence.

Pope Clement VII being dead and Paul III elected, M. Bindo Altoviti caused Francesco to paint on the fagade of his house at the Ponte S. Agnolo the arms of the new Pontiff, with some large nude figures, which gave infinite satisfaction. About the same time he made a portrait of that Messer Bindo, which was a very good figure and a beautiful portrait; and this was afterwards sent to his villa of S. Mizzano in the Valdarno, where it still is. He then painted for the Church of S. Francesco a Ripa a very beautiful altar-picture of the Annunciation in oils, which was executed with the greatest diligence. For the coming of Charles V to Rome in the year 1535, he painted for Antonio da San Gallo some scenes in chiaroscuro, which were placed on the arch that was made at S. Marco; and these pictures, as has been said in another place, were the best that there were in all those festive decorations.

Afterwards Signor Pier Luigi Farnese, who had been made Lord of Nepi at that time, wishing to adorn that city with new buildings and pictures, took Francesco into his service, giving him rooms in the Belvedere; and there Francesco painted for him on large canvases some scenes in gouache of the actions of Alexander the Great, which were afterwards carried into execution and woven into tapestries in Flanders. For the same Lord of Nepi he decorated a large and very beautiful bathroom with many scenes and figures executed in fresco. Then, the same lord having been created Duke of Castro, for his first entry rich and most beautiful decorations were made in that city under the direction of Francesco, and at the gate an arch all covered with scenes, figures, and statues, executed with much judgment by able men, and in particular by Alessandro, called Scherano, a sculptor of Settignano. Another arch, in the form of a facade, was made at the Petrone, and yet another on the Piazza, which arches, with regard to the woodwork, were executed by Battista Botticelli; and in these festive preparations, among other things, Francesco made a beautiful perspective-scene for a comedy that was performed.

About the same time, Giulio Camillo, who was then in Rome, having made a book of his compositions in order to send it to King Francis of France, had it all illustrated by Francesco Salviati, who put into it all the diligence that it is possible to devote to such a work. Cardinal Salviati, having a desire to possess a picture in tinted woods (that is, in tarsia) by the hand of Fra Damiano da Bergamo, a lay-brother of S. Domenico at Bologna, sent him a design done in red chalk by the hand of Francesco, as a pattern for its execution; which design, representing King David being anointed by Samuel, was the best thing that Cecchino Salviati ever drew, and truly most rare. After this, Giovanni da Cepperello and Battista Gobbo of San Gallo who had caused the Florentine painter Jacopo del Conte, then a young man, to paint in the Florentine Company of the Misericordia in S. Giovanni Decollate, under the Campidoglio at Rome, namely, in the second church where they hold their assemblies, a story of that same S. John the Baptist, showing the Angel appearing to Zacharias in the Temple commissioned Francesco to paint below that scene another story of the same Saint, namely, the Visitation of Our Lady to S. Elizabeth. That work, which was finished in the year 1538, he executed in fresco in such a manner, that it is worthy to be numbered among the most graceful and best conceived pictures that Francesco ever painted, in the invention, in the composition of the scene, in the method and the attention to rules for the gradation of the figures, in the perspective and the architecture of the buildings, in the nudes, in the draped figures, in the grace of the heads, and, in short, in every part ; wherefore it is no marvel if all Rome was struck with astonishment by it. Around a window he executed some bizarre fantasies in imitation of marble, and some little scenes that have marvellous grace. And since Francesco never wasted any time, while he was engaged on that work he executed many other things, and also drawings, and he colored a Phaethon with the Horses of the Sun, which Michelagnolo had drawn. All these things Salviati showed to Giorgio, who after the death of Duke Alessandro had gone to Rome for two months; saying to him that, once he had finished a picture of a young S. John that he was painting for his master Cardinal Salviati, a Passion of Christ on canvas that was to be sent to Spain, and a picture of Our Lady that he was painting for Raffaello Acciaiuoli, he wished to turn his steps to Florence in order to revisit his native place, his relatives, and his friends, for his father and mother were still alive, to whom he was always of the greatest assistance, and particularly in settling two sisters, one of whom was married, and the other is a nun in the Convent of Monte Domini.

Coming thus to Florence, where he was received with much re- joicing by his relatives and friends, it chanced that he arrived there at the very moment when the festive preparations were being made for the nuptials of Duke Cosimo and the Lady Donna Leonora di Toledo. Wherefore he was commissioned to paint one of the already mentioned scenes that were executed in the courtyard, which he accepted very willingly; and that was the one in which the Emperor was placing the Ducal crown on the head of Duke Cosimo. But being seized, before he had finished it, with a desire to go to Venice, Francesco left it to Carlo Portelli of Loro, who finished it after Francesco's design; which design, with many others by the same hand, is in our book.

Having departed from Florence and made his way to Bologna, Francesco found there Giorgio Vasari, who had returned two days before from Camaldoli, where he had finished the two altarpieces that are in the tramezzo* of the church, and had begun that of the high altar; and Vasari was arranging to paint three great panel pictures for the refectory of the Fathers of S. Michele in Bosco, where he kept Francesco with him for two days. During that time, some of his friends made efforts to obtain for him the commission for an altarpiece that was to be allotted by the men of the Delia Morte Hospital. But, although Salviati made a most beautiful design, those men, having little understanding, were not able to recognize the opportunity that Messer Domeneddio* had sent them of obtaining for Bologna a work by the hand of an able master. Wherefore Francesco went away in some disdain, leaving some very beautiful designs in the hands of Girolamo Fagiuoli, to the end that he might engrave them on copper and have them printed.

Having arrived in Venice, he was received courteously by the Patriarch Grimani and his brother Messer Vettorio, who showed him a thousand favors. For that Patriarch, after a few days, he painted in oils, in an octagon of four braccia, a most beautiful Psyche to whom, as to a Goddess, on account of her beauty, incense and votive offerings are presented; which octagon was placed in a hall in the house of that lord, wherein is a ceiling in the centre of which there curve some festoons executed by Camillo Mantovano, an excellent painter in representing landscapes, flowers, leaves, fruits, and other suchlike things. That octagon, I say, was placed in the midst of four pictures each two braccia and a half square, executed with stories of the same Psyche, as was related in the Life of Genga, by Francesco da Forli; and the octagon is not only beyond all comparison more beautiful than those four pictures, but even the most beautiful work of painting that there is in all Venice. After that, in a chamber wherein Giovanni Ricamatori of Udine had executed many works in stucco, he painted some little figures in fresco, both nude and draped, which are full of grace. In like manner, in an altarpiece that he executed for the Nuns of the Corpus Domini at Venice, he painted with much diligence a Dead Christ with the Maries, and in the air an Angel who has the Mysteries of the Passion in the hands. He made the portrait of M. Pietro Aretino, which, as a rare work, was sent by that poet to King Francis, with some verses in praise of him who had painted it. And for the Nuns of S. Cristina in Bologna, of the Order of Camaldoli, the same Salviati, at the entreaty of Don Giovan Francesco da Bagno, their Confessor, painted an altarpiece with many figures, a truly beautiful picture, which is in the church of that convent.

Then, having grown weary of the life in Venice, as one who remembered that of Rome, and considering that it was no place for men of design, Francesco departed in order to return to Rome. And so, making a detour by Verona and Mantua, in the first of which places he saw the many antiquities that are there, and in the other the works of Giulio Romano, he made his way back to Rome by the road through Romagna, and arrived there in the year 1541. There, having rested a little, the first works that he made were the portrait of Messer Giovanni Gaddi and that of Messer Annibale Caro, who were much his friends. Those finished, he painted a very beautiful altarpiece for the Chapel of the Clerks of the Chamber in the Pope's Palace. And in the Church of the Germans he began a chapel in fresco for a merchant of that nation, painting on the vault above the Apostles receiving the Holy Spirit, and in a picture that is half-way up the wall Jesus Christ rising from the dead, with the soldiers sleeping round the Sepulchre in various attitudes, fore- shortened in a bold and beautiful manner. On one side he painted S. Stephen, and on the other side S. George, in two niches; and at the foot he painted S. Giovanni Limosinario, who is giving alms to a naked beggar, with a Charity on one side of him, and on the other side S. Alberto, the Carmelite Friar, between Logic and Prudence. And in the great altar picture, finally, he painted in fresco the Dead Christ with the Maries.

Having formed a friendship with Piero di Marcone, a Florentine goldsmith, and having become his gossip, Francesco made to Piero' s wife, who was also his gossip, after her delivery, a present of a very beautiful design, which was to be painted on one of those round baskets in which food is brought to a newly-delivered woman. In that design there was the life of man, in a number of square compartments containing very beautiful figures, both on one side and on the other; namely, all the ages of human life, each of which rested on a different festoon appropriate to the particular age and the season. In that bizarre composition were included, in two long ovals, figures of the sun and moon, and between them Sais, a city of Egypt, standing before the Temple of the Goddess Pallas and praying for wisdom, as if to signify that on behalf of newborn children one should pray before any other thing for wisdom and goodness. That design Piero held ever afterwards as dear as if it had been, as indeed it was, a most beautiful jewel.

Not long afterwards, the above-named Piero and other friends having written to Francesco that he would do well to return to his native place, for the reason that it was held to be certain that he would be employed by the Lord Duke Cosimo, who had no masters about him save such as were slow and irresolute, he finally determined (trusting much, also, in the favour of M. Alamanno, the brother of the Cardinal and uncle of the Duke) to return to Florence. Having arrived, therefore, before attempting any other thing, he painted for the above-named M. Alamanno Salviati a very beautiful picture of Our Lady, which he executed in a room in the Office of Works of S. Maria del Fiore that was occupied by Francesco dal Prato, who at that time, from being a goldsmith and a master of tausia,* [* Damascening.] had set himself to casting little figures in bronze and to painting, with much profit and honor. In that same place, then, which that master held as the official in charge of the woodwork of the Office of Works, Francesco made portraits of his friend Piero di Marcone and of Avveduto del Cegia, the dresser of minever furs, who was also much his friend; which Avveduto, besides many other things by the hand of Francesco that he possesses, has a portrait of Francesco himself, executed in oils with his own hand, and very lifelike.

The above-mentioned picture of Our Lady, being, after it was finished, in the shop of the woodcarver Tasso, who was then architect of the Palace, was seen by many persons and vastly extolled; but what caused it even more to be considered a rare picture was that Tasso, who was accustomed to censure almost everything, praised it to the skies. And, what was more, he said to M. Pier Francesco, the major-domo, that it would be an excellent thing for the Duke to give Francesco some work of importance to execute; whereupon M. Pier Francesco and Cristofano Rinieri, who had the ear of the Duke, played their part in such a way, that M. Alamanno spoke to his Excellency, saying to him that Francesco desired to be commissioned to paint the Hall of Audience, which is in front of the Chapel of the Ducal Palace, and that he cared nothing about payment; and the Duke was content that this should be granted to him. Whereupon Francesco, having made small designs of the Triumph of Furius Camillus and of many stories of his life, set himself to contrive the division of that hall according to the spaces left by the windows and doors, some of which are high and some low; and there was no little difficulty in making that division in such a way that it might be well-ordered and might not disturb the sequence of the stories. In the wall where there is the door by which one enters into the hall, there were two large spaces, divided by the door.

Opposite to that, where there are the three windows that look out over the Piazza, there were four spaces, but not wider than about three braccia each. In the end- wall that is on the right hand as one enters, wherein are two windows that likewise look out on the Piazza, but in another direction, there were three similar spaces, each about three braccia wide; and in the end-wall that is on the left hand, opposite to the other, what with the marble door that leads into the chapel, and a window with a grating of bronze, there remained only one space large enough to contain a work of importance. On the wall of the chapel, then within an ornament of Corinthian columns that support an architrave, which has below it a recess, wherein hang two very rich festoons, and two pendants of various fruits, counter- feited very well, while upon it sits a naked little boy who is holding the Ducal arms, namely, those of the Houses of Medici and Toledo he painted two scenes; on the right hand Camillus, who is commanding that the schoolmaster shall be given up to the vengeance of his young scholars, and on the other the same Camillus, while the army is in combat and fire is burning the stockades and tents of the camp, is routing the Gauls. And beside that, where the same range of pilasters continues, he painted a figure of Opportunity, large as life, who has seized Fortune by the locks, and some devices of his Excellency, with many ornaments executed with marvellous grace. On the main wall, where there are two great spaces divided by the principal door, he painted two large and very beautiful scenes. In the first are the Gauls, who, weighing the gold of the tribute, add to it a sword, to the end that the weight may be the greater, and Camillus, full of rage, delivers himself from the tribute by force of arms; which scene is very beautiful, and crowded with figures, landscapes, antiquities, and vases counterfeited very well and in various manners in imitation of gold and silver. In the other scene, beside the first, is Camillus in the triumphal chariot, drawn by four horses; and on high is Fame, who is crowning him. Before the chariot are priests very richly apparelled, with the statue of the Goddess Juno, and holding vases in their hands, and with some trophies and spoils of great beauty. About the chariot are innumerable prisoners in various attitudes, and behind it the soldiers of the army in their armour, among whom Francesco made a portrait of himself, which is so good that it seems as if alive. In the distance, where the triumphal procession is passing, is a very beautiful picture of Rome, and above the door is a figure of Peace in chiaroscuro, who is burning the arms, with some prisoners; all which was executed by Francesco with such diligence and study, that there is no more beautiful work to be seen.

On the wall towards the west he painted in a niche in one of the larger spaces, in the center, a Mars in armour, and below that a nude figure representing a Gaul,* [* A play on the word Gallo, which means both Gaul and cock.] with a crest on the head similar to that of a cock; and in another niche a Diana with a skin about her waist, who is drawing an arrow from her quiver, with a dog. In the two corners next the other two walls are two figures of Time, one adjusting weights in a balance, and the other tempering the liquid in two vases by pouring one into the other. On the last wall, which is opposite to the chapel and faces towards the north, in a corner on the right hand, is the Sun figured in the manner wherein the Egyptians represent him, and in the other corner the Moon in the same manner. In the middle is Favor, represented as a nude young man on the summit of the wheel, with Envy, Hatred, and Malice on one side, and on the other side Honors, Pleasure, and all the other things described by Lucian. Above the windows is a frieze all full of most beautiful nudes, as large as life, and in various forms and attitudes; with some scenes likewise from the life of Camillus. And opposite to the Peace that is burning the arms is the River Arno, who, holding a most abundant horn of plenty, raises with one hand a curtain and reveals Florence and the greatness of her Pontiffs and the heroes of the House of Medici. He painted there, besides all that, a base that runs round below those scenes, and niches with some terminal figures of women that support festoons; and in the centre are certain ovals with scenes of people adorning a Sphinx and the River Arno.

Francesco put into the execution of that work all the diligence and study that are possible; and, although he had many contradictions, he carried it to a happy conclusion, desiring to leave in his native city a work worthy of himself and of so great a Prince. Francesco was by nature melancholy, and for the most part he did not care to have anyone about him when he was at work. But nevertheless, when he first began that undertaking, almost doing violence to his nature and affecting an open heart, with great cordiality he allowed Tasso and others of his friends, who had done him some service, to stand and watch him at work, showing them every courtesy that he was able. But when he had gained a footing at Court, as the saying goes, and it seemed to him that he was in good favour, returning to his choleric and biting nature, he paid them no attention. Nay, what was worse, he used the most bitter words according to his wont (which served as an excuse to his adversaries), censuring and decrying the works of others, and praising himself and his own works to the skies. These methods, which displeased most people and likewise certain craftsmen, brought upon him such odium, that Tasso and many others, who from being his friends had become his enemies, began to give him cause for thought and for action.

For, although they praised the excellence of the art that was in him, and the facility and rapidity with which he executed his works so well and with such unity, they were not at a loss, on the other hand, for something to censure. And since, if they had allowed him to gain a firm footing and to settle his affairs, they would not have been able afterwards to hinder or hurt him, they began in good time to give him trouble and to molest him. Whereupon many of the craftsmen and others, banding themselves together and forming a faction, began to disseminate among the people of importance a rumor that Salviati's work was not succeeding, and that he was laboring by mere skill of hand, and devoting no study to anything that he did. In which, in truth, they accused him wrongly, for, although he never toiled over the execution of his works, as they themselves did, yet that did not mean that he did not study them and that his works had not infinite grace and invention, or that they were not carried out excellently well. Not being able to surpass his excellence with their works,, those adversaries wished to overwhelm it with such words and reproaches; but in the end truth and excellence have too much force. At first Francesco made light of such rumors, but later, perceiving that they were growing beyond all reason, he complained of it many times to the Duke. But, since it began to be seen that the Duke, to all appearance, was not showing him such favours as he would have liked, and it seemed that his Excellency cared nothing for those complaints, Francesco began to fall from his position in such a manner, that his adversaries, taking courage from that, sent forth a rumor that his scenes in the hall were to be thrown to the ground, because they did not give satisfaction and had in them no particle of excellence. All these calumnies, which were pressed against him with incredible envy and malice by his adversaries, had reduced Francesco to such a state, that, if it had not been for the goodness of Messer Lelio Torelli, Messer Pasquino Bertini, and others of his friends, he would have retreated before them, which was exactly what they desired.

But the above-named friends, exhorting him continually to finish the work of the hall and others that he had in hand, restrained him, even as was done by many other friends not in Florence, to whom he wrote of these persecutions. And Giorgio Vasari, among others, answering a letter that Salviati wrote to him on the matter, exhorted him always to have patience, because excellence is refined by persecution as gold by fire; adding that a time was about to come when his art and his genius would be recognized, and that he should complain of no one but himself, in that he did not yet know men's humors, and how the people and the craftsmen of his own country were made. Thus, notwithstanding all these contradictions and persecutions that poor Francesco suffered, he finished that hall namely, the work that he had undertaken to execute in fresco on the walls, for the reason that on the ceiling, or rather, soffit, there was no need for him to do any painting, since it was so richly carved and all overlaid with gold, that among works of that kind there is none more beautiful to be seen. And as a finish to the whole the Duke caused two new windows of glass to be made, with his devices and arms and those of Charles V; and nothing could be better in that kind of work than the manner in which they were executed by Battista del Borro, an Aretine painter excellent in that field of art.

 

 

Francesco Salviati (1510-1563)
Part Three

Giorgio Vasari's Lives of the Artists











Charity. Uffizi Gallery, Florence.

After that, Francesco painted for his Excellency the ceiling of the hall where he dines in winter, with many devices and little figures in distemper; and a most beautiful study which opens out over the Green Chamber. He made portraits, likewise, of some of the Duke's children; and one year, for the Carnival, he executed in the Great Hall the scenery and prospect-view for a comedy that was performed, and that with such beauty and in a manner so different from those that had been done in Florence up to that time, that they were judged to be superior to them all. Nor is this to be marvelled at, since it is very certain that Francesco was always in all his works full of judgment, and well- varied and fertile in invention, and, what is more, he had a perfect knowledge of design, and had a more beautiful manner than any other painter in Florence at that time, and handled colours with great skill and delicacy. He also made a head, or rather, a portrait, of Signer Giovanni de' Medici, the father of Duke Cosimo, which was very beautiful; and it is now in the guardaroba of the same Lord Duke. For Cristofano Rinieri, who was much his friend, he painted a most beautiful picture of Our Lady, which is now in the Udienza della Decima. For Ridolfo Landi he executed a picture of Charity, which could not be more lovely than it is; and for Simone Corsi, likewise, he painted a picture of Our Lady, which was much extolled. For M. Donato Acciaiuoli, a knight of Rhodes, with whom he always maintained a particular intimacy, he executed certain little pictures that are very beautiful. And he also painted in an altarpiece Christ showing to S. Thomas, who would not believe that He had newly risen from the dead, the marks of the blows and wounds that He had received from the Jews; which altarpiece was taken by Tommaso Guadagni into France, and placed in the Chapel of the Florentines in a church at Lyons.

Francesco also depicted at the request of the above-named Cristofano Rinieri and of Maestro Giovanni Rosto, the Flemish master of tapestry, the whole story of Tarquinius and the Roman Lucretia in many cartoons, which, being afterwards put into execution in tapestries woven in silk, floss-silk, and gold, proved to be a marvellous work. Which hearing, the Duke, who was at that time having similar tapestries, all in silk and gold, made in Florence by the same Maestro Giovanni for the Sala de' Dugento, and had caused cartoons with the stories of the Hebrew Joseph to be executed by Bronzino and Pontormo, as has been related, commanded that Francesco also should make a cartoon, which was that with the interpretation of the dream of the seven fat and seven lean kine. Into that cartoon Francesco put all the diligence that could possibly be devoted to such a work, and that is required for pictures that are to be woven; for there must be fantastic inventions and variety of composition in the figures, and these must stand out one from another, so that they may have strong relief, and they must come out bright in coloring and rich in the costumes and vestments. That piece of tapestry and the others having turned out well, his Excellency resolved to establish the art in Florence, and caused it to be taught to some boys, who, having grown to be men, are now executing most excellent works for the Duke.

Francesco also executed a most beautiful picture of Our Lady, likewise in oils, which is now in the chamber of Messer Alessandro, the son of M. Ottaviano de' Medici. For the above-named M. Pasquino Bertini he painted on canvas yet another picture of Our Lady, with Christ and S. John as little children, who are smiling over a parrot that they have in their hands; which was a very pleasing and fanciful work. And for the same man he made a most beautiful design of a Crucifix, about one braccio high, with a Magdalene at the foot, in a manner so new and so pleasing that it is a marvel; which design M. Salvestro Bertini lent to Girolamo Razzi, his very dear friend, who is now Don Silvano, and two pictures were painted from it by Carlo of Loro, who has since executed many others, which are dispersed about Florence.

Giovanni and Piero d'Agostino Dini had erected in S. Croce, on the right hand as one enters by the central door, a very rich chapel of grey sandstone and a tomb for Agostino and others of their family; and they gave the commission for the altarpiece of that chapel to Francesco, who painted in it Christ taken down from the Cross by Joseph of Arimath^ea and Nicodemus, and at the foot the Madonna in a swoon, with Mary Magdalene, S. John, and the other Maries. That altarpiece was executed by Francesco with so much art and study, that not only the nude Christ is very beautiful, but all the other figures likewise are well disposed and coloured with relief and force; and although at first the picture was cen- sured by Francesco's adversaries, nevertheless it won him a great name with men in general, and those who have painted others after him out of emulation have not surpassed him. The same Francesco, before he departed from Florence, painted the portrait of the above-mentioned M. Lelio Torelli, and some other works of no great importance, of which I know not the particulars. But, among other things, he brought to completion a design of the Conversion of S. Paul that he had drawn long before in Rome, which is very beautiful; and he had it engraved on copper in Florence by Enea Vico of Parma, and the Duke was content to retain him in Florence until that should be done, with his usual salary and allowances. During that time, which was in the year 1548, Giorgio Vasari being at Rimini in order to execute in fresco and in oils the works of which we have spoken in another place, Francesco wrote him a long letter, informing him in exact detail how his affairs were passing in Florence, and, in particular, that he had made a design for the principal chapel of S. Lorenzo, which was to be painted by order of the Lord Duke, but that with regard to that work infinite mischief had been done against him with his Excellency, and, among other things, that he held it almost as certain that M. Pier Francesco, the major-domo, had not presented his design, so that the work had been allotted to Pontormo. And finally he said that for these reasons he was returning to Rome, much dissatisfied with the men and the craftsmen of his native country.

Having thus returned to Rome, he bought a house near the Palace of Cardinal Farnese, and, while he was occupying himself with executing some works of no great importance, he received from that Cardinal, through M. Annibale Caro and Don Giulio Clovio, the commission to paint the Chapel of the Palace of S. Giorgio, in which he executed an ornament of most beautiful compartments in stucco, and a vaulting in fresco with stories of S. Laurence and many figures, full of grace, and on a panel of stone, in oils, the Nativity of Christ, introducing into that work, which was very beautiful, the portrait of the above-named Car- dinal. Then, having another work allotted to him in the above-men- tioned Company of the Misericordia (where Jacopo del Conte had painted the Preaching and the Baptism of S. John, in which, although he had not surpassed Francesco, he had acquitted himself very well, and where some other works had been executed by the Venetian Battista Franco and by Pirro Ligorio), Francesco painted, on that part that is exactly beside his own picture of the Visitation, the Nativity of S. John, which, although he executed it excellently well, was nevertheless not equal to the first. At the head of that Company, likewise, he painted for M. Bartolommeo Bussotti two very beautiful figures in fresco S. Andrew and S. Bartholomew, the Apostles which are one on either side of the altar-piece, wherein is a Deposition from the Cross by the hand of the same Jacopo del Conte, which is a very good picture and the best work that he had ever done up to that time. In the year 1550, Julius III having been elected Supreme Pontiff, Francesco painted some very beautiful scenes in chiaroscuro for the arch that was erected above the steps of S. Pietro, among the festive prepara- tions for the coronation. And then, in the same year, a sepulchre with many steps and ranges of columns having been made in the Minerva by the Company of the Sacrament, Francesco painted upon it some scenes and figures in terretta, which were held to be very beautiful. In a chapel of S. Lorenzo in Damaso he executed two Angels in fresco that are holding a canopy, the design of one of which is in our book. In the refectory of S. Salvatore del Lauro at Monte Giordano, on the principal wall, he painted in fresco, with a great number of figures, the Marriage of Cana in Galilee, at which Jesus Christ turned water into wine; and at the sides some Saints, with Pope Eugenius IV, who belonged to that Order, and other founders. Above the door of that refectory, on the inner side, he painted a picture in oils of S. George killing the Dragon, and he executed that whole work with much mastery, finish, and charm of coloring. About the same time he sent to Florence, for M. Alamanno Salviati, a large picture in which are Adam and Eve beside the Tree of Life in the Earthly Paradise, eating the Forbidden Fruit, which is a very beautiful work.

For Signor Ranuccio, Cardinal Sant' Agnolo, of the House of Farnese, Francesco painted with most beautiful fantasy two walls in the hall that is in front of the great hall in the Farnese Palace. On one wall he depicted Signor Ranuccio the Elder receiving from Eugenius IV his baton as Captain-General of Holy Church, with some Virtues, and on the other Pope Paul III, of the Farnese family, who is giving the baton of the Church to Signor Pier Luigi, while there is seen approaching from a distance the Emperor Charles V, accompanied by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese and by other lords portrayed from life ; and on that wall, besides the things described above and many others, he painted a Fame and a number of other figures, which are executed very well. It is true, indeed, that the work received its final completion, not from him, but from Taddeo Zucchero of Sant' Agnolo, as will be related in the proper place. He gave completion and proportion to the Chapel of the Popolo, which Fra Sebastiano Veneziano had formerly begun for Agostino Chigi, but had not finished; and Francesco finished it, as has been described in the Life of Fra Sebastiano. For Cardinal Riccio of Montepulciano he painted a most beautiful hall in his Palace in the Strada Giulia, where he executed in fresco various pictures with many stories of David; and, among others, one of Bathsheba bathing herself in a bath, with many other women, while David stands gazing at her, is a scene very well composed and full of grace, and as rich in invention as any other that there is to be seen. In another picture is the Death of Uriah, in a third the Ark, before which go many musical instruments, and finally, after some others, a battle that is being fought between David and his enemies, very well composed. And, to put it briefly, the work of that hall is all full of grace, of most beautiful fantasies, and of many fanciful and ingenious inventions; the distribution of the parts is done with much consideration, and the coloring is very pleasing. To tell the truth, Francesco, feeling himself bold and fertile in invention, and having a hand obedient to his brain, would have liked always to have on his hands works large and out of the ordinary. And for no other reason was he strange in his dealings with his friends, save only for this, that, being variable and in certain things not very stable, what pleased him one day he hated the next; and he did few works of importance without having in the end to contend about the price, on which account he was avoided by many.

After these works, Andrea Tassini, having to send a painter to the King of France, in the year 1554 sought out Giorgio Vasari, but in vain, for he said that not for any salary, however great, or promises, or expectations, would he leave the service of his lord, Duke Cosimo; and finally Andrea came to terms with Francesco and took him to France, undertaking to recompense him in Rome if he were not satisfied in France. Before Francesco departed from Rome, as if he thought that he would never return, he sold his house, his furniture, and every other thing, excepting the offices that he held. But the venture did not succeed as he had expected, for the reason that, on arriving in Paris, where he was received kindly and with many courtesies by M. Francesco Primaticcio, painter and architect to the King, and Abbot of S. Martin, he was straightway recognized, so it is said, as the strange sort of man that he was, for he saw no work either by Rosso or by any other master that he did not censure either openly or in some subtle way. Everyone therefore expecting some great work from him, he was set by the Cardinal of Lorraine, who had sent for him, to execute some pictures in his Palace at Dampierre. Whereupon, after making many designs, finally he set his hand to the work, and executed some pictures with scenes in fresco over the cornices of chimney-pieces, and a little study full of scenes, which are said to have shown great mastery; but, whatever may have been the reason, these works did not win him much praise. Besides that, Francesco was never much liked there, because he had a nature altogether opposed to that of the men of that country, where, even as those merry and jovial men are liked and held dear who live a free life and take part gladly in assemblies and banquets, so those are, I do not say shunned, but less liked and welcomed, who are by nature, as Francesco was, melancholy, abstinent, sickly, and cross-grained. For some things he might have deserved to be excused, since his habit of body would not allow him to mix himself up with banquets and with eating and drinking too much, if only he could have been more agreeable in conversation. And, what was worse, whereas it was his duty, according to the custom of that country and that Court, to show himself and pay court to others, he would have liked, and thought that he deserved, to be himself courted by everyone.

In the end, the King being occupied with matters of war, and likewise the Cardinal, and himself being disappointed of his salary and promised benefits, Francesco, after having been there twenty months, resolved to return to Italy. And so he made his way to Milan, where he was courteously received by the Chevalier Leone Aretino in the house that he has built for himself, very ornate and all filled with statues ancient and modern, and with figures cast in gesso from rare works, as will be told in another place; and after having stayed there a fortnight and rested himself, he went on to Florence. There he found Giorgio Vasari and told him how well he had done not to go to France, giving him an account that would have driven the desire to go there, no matter how great, out of anyone. From Florence he returned to Rome, and there entered an action against those who had guaranteed his allowances from the Cardinal of Lorraine, and compelled them to pay him in full; and when he had received the money he bought some offices, in addition to others that he held before, with a firm resolve to look after his own life, knowing that he was not in good health and that he had wholly ruined his constitution. Notwithstanding that, he would have liked to be employed in great works ; but in this he did not succeed so readily, and he occupied himself for a time with executing pictures and portraits.

Pope Paul IV having died, Pius was elected, likewise the Fourth of that name, who, much delighting in building, availed himself of Pirro Ligorio in matters of architecture; and his Holiness ordained that Cardinals Alessandro Farnese and Emulio should cause the Great Hall, called the Hall of Kings, to be finished by Danielle da Volterra, who had begun it. That very reverend Farnese did his utmost to obtain the half of that work for Francesco, and in consequence there was a long contention between Danielle and Francesco, particularly because Michel - agnolo Buonarroti exerted himself in favor of Daniello, and for a time they arrived at no conclusion. Meanwhile, Vasari having gone with Cardinal Giovanni de' Medici, the son of Duke Cosimo, to Rome, Francesco related to him his many difficulties, and in particular that in which, for the reasons just given, he then found himself; and Giorgio, who much loved the excellence of the man, showed him that up to that time he had managed his affairs very badly, and that for the future he should let him (Vasari) manage them, for he would so contrive that in one way or another the half of that Hall of Kings would fall to him to execute, which Daniello was not able to finish by himself, being a slow and irresolute person, and almost certainly not as able and versatile as Francesco. Matters standing thus, and nothing more being done for the moment, not many days afterwards Giorgio himself was requested by the Pope to paint part of that Hall, but he answered that he had one three times larger to paint in the Palace of his master, Duke Cosimo, and, in addition, that he had been so badly treated by Pope Julius III, for whom he had executed many labours in the Vigna on the Monte and elsewhere, that he no longer knew what to expect from certain kinds of men; adding that he had painted for the Palace of the same Pontiff, without being paid, an altar-piece of Christ calling Peter and Andrew from their nets on the Sea of Tiberias (which had been taken away by Pope Paul IV from a chapel that Julius had built over the corridor of the Belvedere, and which was to be sent to Milan), and that his Holiness should cause it to be either paid for or restored to him. To which the Pope said in answer and whether it was true or not, I do not know that he knew nothing of that altarpiece, but wished to see it; whereupon it was sent for, and, after his Holiness had seen it, but in a bad light, he was content that it should be restored.

The discussion about the Hall being then resumed, Giorgio told the Pope frankly that Francesco was the first and best painter in Rome, that his Holiness would do well to employ him, since no one could serve him better, and that, although Buonarroti and the Cardinal of Carpi favored Daniello, they did so more from the motive of friendship, and perhaps out of animosity, than for any other reason. But to return to the altarpiece; Giorgio had no sooner left the Pope than he sent it to the house of Francesco, who afterwards had it taken to Arezzo, where, as we have related in another place, it has been deposited by Vasari with a rich, costly, and handsome ornament, in the Pieve of that city. The affairs of the Hall of Kings remaining in the condition that has been described above, when Duke Cosimo departed from Siena in order to go to Rome, Vasari, who had gene as far as that with his Excellency, recommended Salviati warmly to him, beseeching him to make interest on his behalf with the Pope, and to Francesco he wrote as to all that he was to do when the Duke had arrived in Rome. In all which Francesco departed in no way from the advice given him by Giorgio, for he went to do reverence to the Duke, and was welcomed by his Excellency with an aspect full of kindness, and shortly afterwards so much was said to his Holiness on his behalf, that the half of the above-mentioned Hall was allotted to him. Setting his hand to the work, before doing any other thing he threw to the ground a scene that had been begun by Daniello; on which account there were afterwards many contentions between them. The Pontiff was served in matters of architecture, as has been already related, by Pirro Ligorio, who at first had much favored Francesco, and would have continued to favor him; but Francesco paying no more attention either to Pirro or to any other after he had begun to work, this was the reason that Ligorio, from being his friend, became in a certain sort his adversary, and of this very manifest signs were seen, for Pirro began to say to the Pope that since there were many young painters of ability in Rome, and he wished to have that Hall off his hands, it would be a good thing to allot one scene to each of them, and thus to see it finished once and for all.

These proceedings of Pirro' s, to which it was evident that the Pope was favorable, so displeased Francesco, that in great disdain he retired from the work and all the contentions, considering that he was held in little estimation. And so, mounting his horse and not saying a word to anyone, he went off to Florence, where, like the strange creature that he was, without giving a thought to any of the friends that he had there, he took up his abode in an inn, as if he did not belong to the place and had no acquaintance there nor anyone who cared for him in any way. Afterwards, having kissed the hands of the Duke, he was received with such kindness, that he might well have looked for some good result, if only he had been different in nature and had adhered to the advice' of Giorgio, who urged him to sell the offices that he had in Rome and to settle in Florence, so as to enjoy his native place with his friends and to avoid the danger of losing, together with his life, all the fruits of his toil and grievous labours. But Francesco, moved by sensitiveness and anger, and by his desire to avenge himself, resolved that he would at all costs return to Rome in a few days. Meanwhile, moving from that inn at the entreaty of his friends, he retired to the house of M. Marco Finale, the Prior of S. Apostolo, where he executed a Pieta in colors on cloth of silver for M. Jacopo Salviati, as it were to pass the time, with the Madonna and the other Maries, which was a very beautiful work. He renewed in colors a medallion with the Ducal arms, which he had made on a former occasion and placed over a door in the Palace of Messer Alamanno. And for the above-named M. Jacopo he made a most beautiful book of bizarre costumes and various headdresses of men and horses for masquerades, for which he received innumerable courtesies from the liberality of that lord, who lamented the strange and eccentric nature of Francesco, whom he was never able to attract into his house on this occasion, as he had done at other times.

 

 

 

LIFE OF BENVENUTO GAROFALO (1481-1559)
Part 1 of:

THE LIVES OF BENVENUTO GAROFALO AND GIROLAMO DA CARPI PAINTERS OF FERRARA, AND OF OTHER LOMBARDS

Vasari's Lives of the Artists



IN THIS PART OF THE LIVES that we are about to write we shall give a brief account of the best and most eminent painters, sculptors, and architects who have lived in Lombardy in our time, after Mantegna, Costa, Boccaccino of Cremona, and Francia of Bologna ; for I am not able to write the life of each in detail, and it seems to me enough to enumerate their works. And even this I would not have set myself to do, nor to give a judgment on those works, if I had not first seen them; but since, from the year 1542 down to this present year of 1566, I had not travelled, as I did before, over almost the whole of Italy, nor seen the above-mentioned works and the others that had appeared in great numbers during that period of four-and-twenty years, I resolved, before writing of them, being almost at the end of this my labor, to see them and judge of them with my own eyes. Wherefore, after the conclusion of the above-mentioned nuptials of the most illustrious Lord Don Francesco de' Medici, Prince of Florence and Siena, my master, and of her serene Highness Queen Joanna of Austria, on account of which I had been much occupied for two years on the ceiling of the principal hall of their Palace, I resolved, without sparing any expense or fatigue, to revisit Rome, Tuscany, part of the March, Umbria, Romagna, Lombardy, and Venice with all her domain, in order to re-examine the old works and to see the many that have been executed from the year 1542 onward. And so, having made a record of the works that were most notable and most worthy to be put down in writing, in order not to do wrong to the talents of many craftsmen or depart from that sincere truthfulness which is expected from those who write history of any kind, I shall proceed without bias of mind to write down all that is wanting in any part of what has been already written, without disturbing the order of the story, and then to give an account of the works of some who are still living, and have worked or are still working excellently well; for it appears to me that so much is demanded by the merits of many rare and noble craftsmen.

Let me begin, then, with the men of Ferrara. Benvenuto Garofalo was born at Ferrara in the year 1481, to Piero Tisi, whose elders had their origin in Padua. He was born, I say, so inclined to painting, that, when still but a little boy, while going to school to learn reading, he would do nothing but draw; from which exercise his father, who looked on painting as a folly, sought to divert him, but was never able. Wherefore that father, having seen that he must second the inclination of that son of his, who would never do anything day and night but draw, finally placed him with Domenico Panetti, a painter of some repute at that time, although his manner was dry and laboured, in Ferrara. With that Domenico Benvenuto had been some little time, when, going once to Cremona, he happened to see in the principal chapel of the Duomo in that city, among other works by the hand of Boccaccio Boccaccino, a painter of Cremona, who had painted the tribune there in fresco, a Christ seated on a throne surrounded by four Saints, and giving the Benediction. Whereupon, that work having pleased him, he placed himself by means of some friends under Boccaccino, who was at that time executing in the same church, likewise in fresco, some stories of the Madonna, as has been said in his Life, in competition with the painter Altobello, who was painting in the same church, opposite to Boccaccino, some stories of Jesus Christ, which are very beautiful and truly worthy to be praised.

Now, after Benvenuto had been two years in Cremona, and had made much progress under the discipline of Boccaccino, he went off in the year 1500, at the age of nineteen, to Rome, where, having placed himself with Giovanni Baldini, a Florentine painter of passing good skill, who possessed many very beautiful drawings by various excellent masters, he was constantly practising his hand on those drawings whenever he had time, and particularly at night. Then, after he had been fifteen months with that master and had seen to his great delight the works of Rome, he travelled for a time over various parts of Italy, and finally made his way to Mantua. There he stayed two years with the painter Lorenzo Costa, serving him with such lovingness, that Lorenzo, after that period of two years, in order to reward him, placed him in the service of Francesco Gonzaga, Marquis of Mantua, for whom Costa himself was working. But Benvenuto had not been long with the Marquis, when, his father Piero falling ill in Ferrara, he was forced to return to that city, where he stayed afterwards for four years together, executing many works by himself alone, and some in company with the Dossi.

Then, in the year 1505, being sent for by Messer Geronimo Sagrato, a gentleman of Ferrara, who was living in Rome, Benvenuto returned there with the greatest willingness, and particularly from a desire to see the miracles that were being related of Raffaello da Urbino and of the Chapel of Julius painted by Buonarroti. But when Benvenuto had arrived in Rome, he was struck with amazement, and almost with despair, by seeing the grace and vivacity that the pictures of Raffaello revealed, and the depth in the design of Michelagnolo. Wherefore he cursed the manners of Lombardy, and that which he had learned with so much study and effort at Mantua, and right willingly, if he had been able, would he have purged himself of all that knowledge; but he resolved, since there was no help for it, that he would unlearn it all, and, after the loss of so many years, change from a master into a disciple. And so he began to draw from such works as were the best and the most difficult, and to study with all possible diligence those greatly celebrated manners, and gave his attention to scarcely any other thing for a period of two whole years ; by reason of which he so changed his method, transforming his bad manner into a good one, that notice was taken of him by the craftsmen. And, what was more, he so went to work with humility and every kind of loving service, that he became the friend of Raffaello da Urbino, who, being very courteous and not ungrateful, taught Benvenuto many things, and always assisted and favoured him.

If Benvenuto had pursued his studies in Rome, without a doubt he would have done things worthy of his beautiful genius; but he was constrained, I know not by what cause, to return to his own country. In taking leave of Raffaello, he promised that he would, as that master advised him, return to Rome, where Raffaello assured him that he would give him more than enough in the way of work, and that in honourable undertakings. Having then arrived in Ferrara, Benvenuto settled the affairs and despatched the business that had caused him to return; and he was preparing himself to make his way back to Rome, when the Lord Duke Alfonso of Ferrara set him to decorate a little chapel in the Castle, in company with other Ferrarese painters. That work finished, his departure was again delayed by the great courtesy of M. Antonio Costabili, a Ferrarese gentleman of much authority, who gave him an altar-piece to paint in oils for the high-altar of the Church of S. Andrea; which finished, he was forced to execute another for S. Bartolo, a convent of Cistercian Monks, wherein he painted the Adoration of the Magi, which was beautiful and much extolled. He then painted another for the Duomo, full of figures many and various, and two others that were placed in the Church of S. Spirito, in one of which is the Virgin in the air with the Child in her arms, and some other figures below, and in the other the Nativity of Jesus Christ.

In executing those works, remembering at times how he had turned his back on Rome, he felt the bitterest regret; and he had resolved at all costs to return thither, when, his father Piero's death taking place, all his plans were broken off; for, finding himself burdened with a sister ready for a husband and a brother fourteen years of age, and his affairs in disorder, he was forced to compose his mind and resign himself to live in his native place. And so, after parting company with the Dossi, who had worked with him up to that time, he painted by himself in the Church of S. Francesco, in a little chapel, the Raising of Lazarus, a work filled with a variety of good figures, and pleasant in colouring, with attitudes spirited and vivacious, which brought him much commendation. In another chapel in the same church he painted the Massacre of the Innocents, cruelly done to death by Herod, so well and with such spirited movements in the soldiers and other figures, that it was a marvel. Very well depicted, in addition, are different expressions in the great variety of heads, such as terror in the mothers and nurses, death in the infants, and cruelty in the slayers, and many other things, which gave infinite satisfaction. It is worthy of remark that in executing that work Benvenuto did a thing that up to that time had never been done in Lombardy namely, he made models of clay, the better to see the shadows and lights, and availed himself of a figure-model made of wood, jointed in such a way that the limbs moved in every direction, which he arranged as he wished, in various attitudes, with draperies over it. But what is most important is that he copied every least detail from life and nature, as one who knew that the true way is to observe and imitate the reality. For the same church he executed the altarpiece of a chapel; and on a wall he painted in fresco Christ taken by the multitude in the Garden.

For S. Domenico, in the same city, he painted two altarpieces in oils; in one is the Miracle of the Cross and S. Helen, and in the other is S. Peter Martyr with a good number of very beautiful figures, wherein it is evident that Benvenuto departed considerably from his first manner, making it bolder and less laboured. For the Nuns of S. Salvestro he painted an altar picture of Christ praying to His Father on the Mount, while the three Apostles are lower down, sleeping. For the Nuns of S. Gabriello he executed an Annunciation, and for those of S. Antonio, in the altarpiece of their high altar, the Resurrection of Christ. For the high altar of the Frati Ingesuati, in the Church of S. Girolamo, he painted Jesus Christ in the Manger, with a choir of Angels on a cloud, held to be very beautiful. In S. Maria del Vado, in an altarpiece by the same hand, very well conceived and colored, is Christ ascending into Heaven, with the Apostles standing in contemplation of Him. For the Church of S. Giorgio, a seat of the Monks of Monte Oliveto, without the city, he painted an altarpiece in oils of the Magi adoring Christ and offering to Him myrrh, incense, and gold; and this is one of the best works that Benvenuto ever executed in all his life.

All these works much pleased the people of Ferrara, by reason of which he executed pictures almost without number for their houses, and many others for monasteries and for the townships and villas round about the city; and, among others, he painted the Resurrection of Christ in an altarpiece for Bondeno. And, finally, he executed in fresco with beautiful and fantastic invention, in the Refectory of S. Andrea, many figures that are bringing the Old Testament into accord with the New. But, since the works of this master are numberless, let it be enough to have spoken of those that are the best.

Girolamo da Carpi having received his first instructions in painting from Benvenuto, as will be related in his Life, they painted in company the facade of the house of the Muzzarelli, in the Borgo Nuovo, partly in chiaroscuro and partly in colors, with some things done in imitation of bronze. They painted together, likewise, both within and without, the Palace of Coppara, a place of recreation belonging to the Duke of Ferrara; for which lord Benvenuto executed many other works, both by himself and in company with other painters.

Then, having lived a long time in the determination that he would not take a wife, in the end, after separating from his brother and growing weary of living alone, at the age of forty-eight he took one; but he had scarcely had her a year, when, falling grievously ill, he lost the sight of his right eye, and was in fear and peril of the other. However, having recommended himself to God and made a vow that he would always dress in grey, as he afterwards did, by the grace of God he preserved the sight of the other eye, insomuch that the works executed by him at the age of sixty-five were so well done, and with such diligence and finish, that it was a marvel. Wherefore on one occasion, when the Duke of Ferrara showed to Pope Paul III a Triumph of Bacchus in oils, five braccia in length, and the Calumny of Apelles, painted by Benvenuto at that age after the designs of Raffaello da Urbino, which pictures are now over certain chimney-pieces belonging to his Excellency, that Pontiff was struck with astonishment that an old man of such an age, with only one eye, should have executed works so large and so beautiful.

On every feast-day for twenty whole years Benvenuto worked for the love of God in the Convent of the Nuns of S. Bernardino, where he executed many works of importance in oils, in distemper, and in fresco; which was certainly a marvellous thing, and a great proof of his true and good nature, for in that place he had no competition, and nevertheless put no less study and diligence into his labour than he would have done at any other more frequented place. Those works are passing good in composition, with beautiful expressions in the heads, not confused, and executed in a truly sweet and good manner.

For all the disciples that Benvenuto had, although he taught them everything that he knew with no ordinary willingness, in order to make some of them excellent masters, he never had any success with a single one of them, and, in place of being rewarded by them for his lovingness at least with gratitude of heart, he never received anything from them save vexations; wherefore he used to say that he had never had any enemies but his own disciples and assistants. In the year 1550, being now old, and the malady returning to his eye, he became wholly blind, and he lived thus for nine years; which misfortune he bore with a patient mind, resigning himself completely to the will of God. Finally, when he had come to the age of seventy-eight, thinking at last that he had lived too long in that darkness, and rejoicing in death, in the hope of going to enjoy eternal light, he finished the course of his life on the 6th of September in the year 1559, leaving a son called Girolamo, who is a very gentle person, and a daughter.

Benvenuto was a very honest creature, fond of a jest, pleasant in his conversation, patient and calm in all his adversities. As a young man he delighted in fencing and playing the lute, and in his friendships he was loving beyond measure and prodigal with his services. He was the friend of the painter Giorgione da Castelfranco, Tiziano da Cadore, and Giulio Romano, and most affectionate towards all the men of art in general; and to this I can bear witness, for on the two occasions when I was at Ferrara in his time I received from him innumerable favors and courtesies. He was buried with honor in the Church of S. Maria del Vado, and was celebrated in verse and prose by many choice spirits no less than his talents deserved. But it has not been possible to obtain Benvenuto's portrait, and therefore there has been placed at the head of these Lives of the Lombard painters that of Girolamo da Carpi, whose Life we are now about to write.

 

 

LIFE OF GIROLAMO DA CARPI (1501-1556)
PAINTER OF FERRARA
Part 2 of:

THE LIVES OF BENVENUTO GAROFALO AND GIROLAMO DA CARPI PAINTERS OF FERRARA, AND OF OTHER LOMBARDS

Vasari's Lives of the Artists


GIROLAMO, then, called Da Carpi, who was a Ferrarese and a disciple of Benvenuto, was employed at first by his father Tommaso, who was a kind of house-painter, in his workshop, to paint strong-boxes, stools, mouldings, and other suchlike commonplace things. After Girolamo had made some proficience under the discipline of Benvenuto, he began to think that he should be removed by his father from those base labors; but Tommaso, as one who had need of money, would do nothing of the kind, and Girolamo resolved at all costs to leave him. And so he went to Bologna, where he received no little favor from the gentlemen of that city; wherefore, having made some portraits, which were passing good likenesses, he acquired so much credit that he earned much money and assisted his father more while living at Bologna than he had done when staying in Ferrara. At that time there was brought to the house of the noble Counts Ercolani at Bologna a picture by the hand of Antonio da Correggio, in which Christ is appearing to Mary Magdalene in the form of a gardener, executed with incredible softness and excellence; and that manner so took possession of Girolamo's heart, that, not content with having copied that picture, he went to Modena to see the other works by the hand of Correggio.
Having arrived there, besides being filled with marvel at the sight of them, one among them in particular struck him with amazement, and that was the great picture, a divine work, in which is the Madonna, with the Child in her arms marrying S. Catharine, a S. Sebastian, and other figures, with an air of such beauty in the heads, that they appear as if made in Paradise; nor is it possible to find more beautiful hair, more lovely hands, or any coloring more pleasing and natural. Having then received permission to copy it from the owner of the picture, Messer Francesco Grillenzoni, a doctor, who was much the friend of Correggio, Girolamo copied it with the greatest diligence that it is possible to imagine. After that he did the same with the altar-picture of S. Peter Martyr, which Correggio had painted for a Company of Secular Priests, who hold it in very great price, as it deserves, there being in it, in particular, besides other figures, an Infant Christ in the lap of His Mother, who appears as if breathing, and a most beautiful S. Peter Martyr; and another little altarpiece by the same hand, painted for the Company of S. Bastiano, and no less beautiful than the other. All these works, thus copied by Girolamo, were the reason that he so improved his manner, that it did not appear like his original manner, or in any way the same thing.

From Modena Girolamo went to Parma, where he had heard that there were some works by the same Correggio, and he copied some of the pictures in the tribune of the Duomo, considering them extraordinary works, particularly the beautiful foreshortening of the Madonna, who is ascending into Heaven, surrounded by a multitude of Angels, with the Apostles, who are standing gazing on her as she ascends, and four Saints, Protectors of that city, who are in the niches S. John the Baptist, who is holding a lamb; S. Joseph, the husband of Our Lady; S. Bernardo degli Uberti the Florentine, a Cardinal and Bishop of Florence; and another Bishop. Girolamo likewise studied the figures by the hand of the same Correggio in the recess of the principal chapel in S. Giovanni Evangelista namely, the Coronation of the Madonna, with S. John the Evangelist, the Baptist, S. Benedict, S. Placido, and a multitude of Angels who are about them; and the marvellous figures that are in the Chapel of S. Gioseffo in the Church of S. Sepolcro a divine example of panel painting.

Now, since it is inevitable that those who are pleased to follow some particular manner, and who study it with lovingness, should acquire it at least, in some degree (whence it also happens that many become more excellent than their masters) Girolamo caught not a little of Correggio's manner; wherefore, after returning to Bologna, he imitated him always, not studying any other thing but that manner and that altarpiece by the hand of Raffaello da Urbino which we mentioned as being in that city. And all these particulars I heard from Girolamo da Carpi, who was much my friend, at Rome in the year 1550; and he lamented very often to me that he had consumed his youth and his best years in Ferrara and Bologna, and not in Rome or some other place, where, without a doubt, he would have made much greater proficience. No little harm, also, did Girolamo suffer in matters of art from his having given too much attention to amorous delights and to playing the lute at the time when he might have been making progress in painting.

Having returned, then, to Bologna, he made a portrait, among others, of Messer Onofrio Bartolini, a Florentine, who was then in that city for his studies, and afterwards became Archbishop of Pisa; and that head, which is now in the possession of the heirs of that Messer Noferi, is very beautiful and in a manner full of grace. There was working in Bologna at this time a certain Maestro Biaglo, a painter, who, perceiving that Girolamo was coming into good repute, began to be afraid lest he might outstrip him and deprive him of all his profits. Wherefore, seizing a good occasion, he established a friendship with Girolamo, with the intention of hindering him in his work, and became his intimate companion to such purpose, that they began to work in company; and so they continued for a while. This friendship was harmful to Girolamo, not only in the matter of his earnings, but likewise with respect to art, for the reason that he followed in the footsteps of Maestro Biagio (who worked by rule of thumb, and took everything from the designs of one master or another), and he, also, put no more diligence into his pictures.

Now in the monastery of S. Michele in Bosco, without Bologna, a certain Fra Antonio, a monk of that convent, had painted a S. Sebastian of the size of life, besides executing an altarpiece in oils for a convent of the same Order of Monte Oliveto at Scaricalasino, and some figures in fresco in the Chapel of S. Scholastica, in the garden of Monte Oliveto Maggiore, and Abbot Ghiaccino, who had compelled him to stay that year in Bologna, desired that he should paint the new sacristy of his church there. But Fra Antonio, who did not feel it in him to do so great a work, and perchance was not very willing to undergo such fatigue, as is often the case with that kind of man, so contrived that the work was allotted to Girolamo and Maestro Biagio, who painted it all in fresco. In the compartments of the vaulting they executed some little boys and Angels, and at the head, in large figures, the story of the Transfiguration of Christ, availing themselves of the design of that which Raff aello da Urbino painted for S. Pietro in Montorio at Rome; and on the other walls they painted some Saints, in which, to be sure, there is something of the good. But Girolamo, having recognized that to stay in company with Maestro Biagio was not the course for him, and, indeed, that it was his certain ruin, broke up the partnership when that work was finished, and began to work for himself.

The first work that he executed on his own account was an altarpiece for the Chapel of S. Bastiano in the Church of S. Salvadore, in which he acquitted himself very well. But then, having heard of the death of his father, he returned to Ferrara, where for a time he did nothing save some portraits and works of little importance. Meanwhile, Tiziano Vecelli went to Ferrara to execute certain things for Duke Alfonso, as will be related in his Life, in a little closet, or rather, study, where Giovanni Bellini had already painted some pictures, and Dosso a Bacchanal rout of men which was so good, that, even if he had never done any other thing, for that alone he would deserve praise and the name of an excellent painter; and Girolamo, by means of Tiziano and others, began to have dealings with the Court of the Duke. And so, as it were to give a proof of his powers before he should do anything else, he copied the head of Duke Ercole of Ferrara from one by the hand of Tiziano, and counterfeited it so well, that it seemed the same as the original; wherefore it was sent, as a work worthy of praise, into France. Afterwards, having taken a wife and had children by her, sooner, perchance, than he should have done, Girolamo painted in S. Francesco at Ferrara, in the angles of the vaulting, the four Evangelists in fresco, which were passing good figures. In the same place he executed a frieze right round the church, which was a very large and abundant work, being full of half-length figures and little boys linked together in a very pleasing manner; and for that church, also, he painted an altar picture of S. Anthony of Padua, with other figures, and another altarpiece of Our Lady in the air with two Angels, which was placed on the altar of Signora Giulia Muzzarelli, whose portrait was executed very well therein by Girolamo.

At Rovigo, in the Church of S. Francesco, the same master painted the Holy Spirit appearing in Tongues of Fire, which was a work worthy of praise for the composition and for the beauty of the heads. At Bologna, for the Church of S. Martino, he painted an altarpiece of the three Magi, with most beautiful heads and figures; and at Ferrara, in company with Benvenuto Garofalo, as has been related, the fagade of the house of Signor Battista Muzzarelli, and also the Palace of Coppara, a villa of the Duke's, distant twelve miles from Ferrara; and, again, in Ferrara, the fa$ade of Piero Soncini in the Piazza near the Fishmarket, painting there the Taking of Goletta by the Emperor Charles V. The same Girolamo painted for S. Polo, a church of the Carmelite Friars in the same city, a little altarpiece in oils of S. Jerome with two other Saints, of the size of life; and for the Duke's Palace a great picture with a figure large as life, representing Opportunity, and executed with beau- tiful vivacity, movement and grace, and fine relief. He also painted a nude Venus, life-size and recumbent, with Love beside her, which was sent to Paris for King Francis of France; and I, who saw it at Ferrara in the year 1540, can with truth affirm that it was very beautiful. He also made a beginning with the decorations in the Refectory of S. Giorgio, a seat of the Monks of Monte Oliveto at Ferrara, and executed a great part of them ; but he left the work unfinished, and it has been completed in our own day by Pellegrino Pellegrini, a painter of Bologna.

Now, if we were to seek to make particular mention of the pictures that Girolamo executed for many lords and gentlemen, the story would be longer than is our desire, and I shall speak of two only, which are most beautiful. From a picture by the hand of Correggio that the Chevalier Baiardo has at Parma, beautiful to a marvel, in which Our Lady is putting a shirt on the Infant Christ, Girolamo made a copy so like it that it seems the very same picture, and he made another copy from one by the hand of Parmigiano, which is in the cell of the Vicar in the Certosa at Pavia, doing this so well and with such diligence, that there is no miniature to be seen that is wrought with more subtlety; and he executed innumerable others with great care. And since Girolamo delighted in architecture, and also gave his attention to it, in addition to many designs of buildings that he made for private persons, he served in that art, in particular, Cardinal Ippolito of Ferrara, who, having bought the garden at Monte Cavallo in Rome which had formerly belonged to the Cardinal of Naples, with many vineyards belonging to individuals around it, took Girolamo to Rome, to the end that he might serve him not only in the buildings, but also in the truly regal ornaments of woodwork in that garden. In this he acquitted himself so well, that everyone was struck with astonishment; and, indeed, I know not what other man could have done better than he did in executing in woodwork which has since been covered with most beautiful verdure works so fine and so pleasingly designed in various forms and in different kinds of temples, in which there may now be seen arranged the richest and most beautiful ancient statues that there are in Rome, some whole and some restored by Valerio Cioli, a Florentine sculptor, and by others.

By these works Girolamo came into very great credit in Rome, and in the year 1550 he was introduced by the above-named Cardinal, his lord, who loved him dearly, into the service of Pope Julius III, who made him architect over the works of the Belvedere, giving him rooms in that place and a good salary. But, since that Pontiff could never be satisfied in such matters, and, to make it worse, was hindered by understanding very little of design, and would not have in the evening a thing that had pleased him in the morning, and also because Girolamo had to be always contending with certain old architects, to whom it seemed strange to see a new man of little reputation preferred to themselves, he resolved, having perceived their envy and possible malignity, and also being rather cold by nature than otherwise, to retire. And so he chose, as the better course, to return to the service of the Cardinal at Monte Cavallo; for which action Girolamo was much commended, for it is too wretched a life to have to be always contending all day long and on every least detail with one person or another, and, as he used to say, it is at times better to enjoy peace of mind on bread and water than to sweat and strive amid grandeur and honors. Wherefore, after Girolamo had executed for his lord the Cardinal a very beautiful picture, which, when I saw it, pleased me very much, being now weary, he returned with him to Ferrara, to enjoy the peace of his home with his wife and children, leaving the hopes and rewards of fortune in the possession of his adversaries, who received from that Pope the same as he had done, neither more nor less.

While he was living thus at Ferrara, a part of the Castle was burned, I know not by what mischance, and Duke Ercole gave the charge of restoring it to Girolamo, who did it very well, adorning it as much as is possible in that district, which suffers from a great dearth of stone wherewith to make carvings and ornaments; for which he well deserved to be always held dear by that lord, who rewarded him liberally for his labors. Finally, after having executed these and many other works, Girolamo died in the year 1556, at the age of fifty-five, and was buried in the Church of the Angeli, beside his wife. He left two daughters, and also three sons, Giulio, Annibale, and another.

Girolamo was a blithe spirit, very sweet and pleasing in his conversation, and in his work somewhat slow and dilatory. He was of middle stature, and he delighted beyond measure in music, and more in the pleasures of love than was perhaps expedient. The buildings of his patrons have been carried on since his death by the Ferrarese architect Galasso, a man of the most beautiful genius, and of such judgment in matters of architecture, that, in so far as may be seen from the ordering of his designs, he would have demonstrated his worth much more than he has done, if he had been employed in works of importance.

 

 

LIVES OF LOMBARD SCULPTORS AND PAINTERS
Part 3 of:

THE LIVES OF BENVENUTO GAROFALO AND GIROLAMO DA CARPI PAINTERS OF FERRARA, AND OF OTHER LOMBARDS)

Vasari's Lives of the Artists


AN EXCELLENT SCULPTOR, and likewise a Ferrarese, has been Maestro Girolamo, who, living at Recanati, has executed many works in marble at Loreto after his master, Andrea Contucci [Sansovino], and has made many of the ornaments round that Chapel or House of the Madonna. This master since the departure from that place of Tribolo, who was the last there, after he had finished the largest scene in marble, which is at the back of the chapel, wherein are the Angels carrying that house from Sclavonia into the forest of Loreto has labored there continually from 1534 to the year 1560, executing many works. The first of these was a seated figure of a Prophet of three braccia and a half, which, being good and beautiful, was placed in a niche that is turned towards the west; which statue, having given satisfaction, was the reason that he afterwards made all the other Prophets, with the exception of one, that facing towards the east on the outer side, over against the altar, which is by the hand of Simone Cioli of Settignano, likewise a disciple of Andrea Sansovino. The rest of those Prophets, I say, are by the hand of Maestro Girolamo, and are executed with much diligence and study and good skill of hand.

For the Chapel of the Sacrament the same master has made the candelabra of bronze about three braccia in height, covered with foliage and figures cast in the round, which are so well wrought that they are things to marvel at. And a brother of Maestro Girolamo's, who is an able master in similar works of casting, has executed many things in company with him at Rome, and in particular a very large tabernacle of bronze for Pope Paul III, which was to be placed in the chapel that is called the Pauline in the Palace of the Vatican.

Among the Modenese, also, there have been at all times craftsmen excellent in our arts, as has been said in other places, and as may be seen from four panel pictures, of which no mention was made in the proper place because the master was not known; which pictures were executed in distemper a hundred years ago in that city, and, for those times, they are painted with diligence and very beautiful. The first is on the high altar of S. Domenico, and the others in the chapels that are in the tramezzo of that church. And there is living in the same country at the present day a painter called Niccolo, who in his youth painted many works in fresco about the Beccherie, which have no little beauty, and for the high altar of S. Piero, a seat of the Black Friars, in an altarpiece, the Beheading of S. Peter and S. Paul, imitating in the soldier who is cutting off their heads a similar figure by the hand of Antonio da Correggio, much renowned, which is in S. Giovanni Evangelista at Parma. Niccolo" has been more excellent in fresco-painting than in the other fields of painting, and, in addition to many works that he has executed at Modena and Bologna, I understand that he has painted some very choice pictures in France, where he still lives, under Messer Francesco Primaticcio, Abbot of S. Martin, after whose designs Niccolo has painted many works in those parts, as will be related in the Life of Primaticcio.

Giovan Battista, also, a rival of that Niccolo, has executed many works in Rome and elsewhere, and in particular he has painted at Perugia, in the Chapel of Signor Ascanio della Cornia, in S. Francesco, many pictures of the life of S. Andrew the Apostle, in which he has acquitted himself very well. In competition with the above-named Niccolo, the Fleming Arrigo. a master of glass windows, has painted in the same place an altarpiece in oils, containing the story of the Magi, which would be beautiful enough if it were not somewhat confused and overloaded with colours, which contlict with one another and destroy all the gradation; but he has acquitted himself better in a window of glass designed and painted by himself, and executed for the Chapel of S. Bernardino in S. Lorenzo, in the same city. Hut to return to Ciiovan Battista; having gone back after the above-named works to Modena, he has executed in the same S. Piero. for which Niccolo painted the altarpiece, two great scenes at the sides, of the actions of S. Peter and S. Paul, in which he has acquitted himself with no ordinary excellence.

In the same city of Modena there have also been some sculptors worthy to be numbered among the good craftsmen, for, in addition to Modanino, of whom mention has been made in another place, there has been a master called Il Modena, who has executed most beautiful works in figures of terracotta, of the size of life and even larger; among others, those of a chapel in S. Domenico at Modena, and for the centre of the dormitory of S. Piero (a monastery of Hlack Friars, likewise in Modena), a Madonna, S. Benedict, S. Giustina, and another Saint. To all these figures he has given so well the colour of marble, that they appear as if truly of that stone; not to mention that they all have beautiful expressions of countenance, lovely draperies, and admirable proportions. The same master has executed similar figures for the dormitory of S. Giovanni Evangelista at Parma; and he has made a good number of figures in the round and of the size of life for many niches on the outer side of S. Benedetto at Mantua, in the facade and under the portico, which are so fine that they have the appearance of marble.

In like manner Prospero iTemente, a sculptor of Modena, has been, and still is, an able man in his profession, as is evident from the tomb of Bishop Rangone, by his hand, in the Duomo of Reggio, wherein is a seated statue of that prelate, as large as life, with two little boys, all very well executed; which tomb he made at the commission of Signor Ercole Rangone. In the Duomo of Parma, likewise, in the vaults below, there is by the hand of Prospero the tomb of the Blessed Bernardo degli Uberti, the Florentine, Cardinal and Bishop of that city, which was finished in the year 1548, and much extolled.

Parma, also, has had at various times many excellent craftsmen and men of fine genius, as has been said above, for, besides one Cristofano Castelli, who painted a very beautiful altarpiece for the Duomo in the year 1499, and Francesco Mazzuoli [Parmigianino], whose Life has been written, there have been many other able men in that city. Mazzuoli, as has been related, executed certain works in the Madonna della Steccata, but left that undertaking unfinished at his death, and Giulio Romano, having made a coloured design on paper, which may be seen in that place by everyone, directed that a certain Michelagnolo Anselmi, a Sienese by origin, but a citizen of Parma by adoption, being a good painter, should carry that cartoon into execution, wherein is the Coronation of Our Lady. This he did excellently w r ell, in truth, so that he well deserved that there should be allotted to him a great niche one of four very large niches that are in that temple opposite to that in which he had executed the above-mentioned work after the design of Giulio. Whereupon, setting his hand to this, he carried well on towards completion there the Adoration of the Magi, with a good number of beautiful figures, making on the flat arch, as was related before in the Life of Mazzuoli, the Wise Virgins and the design of copper rosettes; but, when about a third of that work remained for him to do, he died, and so it was finished by Bernardo Soiaro of Cremona, as we shall relate in a short time. By the hand of that Michelagnolo is the Chapel of the Conception in S. Francesco, in the same city; and a Celestial Glory in the Chapel of the Cross in S. Pier Martire.

Girolamo Mazzuoli, the cousin of Francesco, as has been told, continuing the work in that Church of the Madonna, left unfinished by his kinsman, painted an arch with the Wise Virgins and adorned it with rosettes. Then, in the recess at the end, opposite to the principal door he painted the Holy Spirit descending in Tongues of Fire on the Apostles, and in the last of the flat arches the Nativity of Jesus Christ, which, although not yet uncovered, he has shown to us this year of 1566, to our great pleasure, since it is a truly beautiful example of work in fresco.

The great central tribune of the same Madonna della Steccata, which is being painted by Bernardo Soiaro, the painter of Cremona, will also be, when finished, a rare work, and able to compare with the others that are in that place. But of all these it cannot be said that the cause has been any other than Francesco Mazzuoli, who was the first who with beautiful judgment began the magnificent ornamentation of that church, which, so it is said, was built after the designs and directions of Bramante.

As for the masters of our arts in Mantua, besides what has been said of them up to the time of Giulio Romano, I must say that he sowed the seeds of his art in Mantua and throughout all Lombardy in such a manner that there have been able men there ever since, and his own works are every day more clearly recognized as good and worthy of praise. And although Giovan Battista Bertano, the principal architect for the buildings of the Duke of Mantua, has constructed in the Castle, over the part where there are the waters and the corridor, many apartments that are magnificent and richly adorned with stucco-work and pictures, executed for the most part by Fermo Ghisoni, the disciple of Giulio, and by others, as will be related, nevertheless he has not equalled those made by Giulio himself. The same Giovan Battista has caused Domenico Brusciasorzi to execute after his design for S. Barbara, the church of the Duke's Castle, an altarpiece in oils truly worthy to be praised, in which is the Martyrdom of that Saint. And, in addition, having studied Vitruvius, he has written and published a work on the Ionic volute, showing how it should be turned, after that author; and at the principal door of his house at Mantua he has placed a complete column of stone, and the flat module of another, with all the measurements of that Ionic Order marked, and also the palm, inch, foot, and braccio of the ancients, to the end that whoever so desires may be able to see whether those measurements are correct or not. In the Church of S. Piero, the Duomo of Mantua,which was the work and architecture of the above-named Giulio Romano, since in renovating it he gave it a new and modern form, the same Bertano has caused an altarpiece to be executed for each chapel by the hands of various painters; and two of these he has had painted after his own designs by the above-mentioned Fermo Ghisoni, one for the Chapel of S. Lucia, containing that Saint and two children, and the other for that of S. Giovanni Evangelista.

Another similar picture he caused to be executed by Ippolito Costa of Mantua, in which is S. Agata with the hands bound and between two soldiers, who are cutting and tearing away her breasts. Battista d' Agnolo del Moro of Verona painted for the same Duomo, as has been told, the altarpiece that is on the altar of S. Maria Maddalena, and Girolamo Parmigiano that of S. Tecla. Paolo Farinato of Verona Bertano commissioned to execute the altarpiece of S. Martino, and the above-named Domenico Brusciasorzi that of S. Margherita; and Giulio Campo of Cremona painted that of S. Gieronimo. And one that was better than any other, although all are very beautiful, in which is S. Anthony the Abbot beaten by the Devil in the form of a woman, who tempts him, is by the hand of Paolo Veronese. But of all the craftsmen of Mantua, that city has never had a more able master in painting than Rinaldo, who was a disciple of Giulio. By his hand is an altarpiece in S. Agnese in that city, wherein is Our Lady in the air, with S. Augustine and S. Jerome, which are very good figures; but him death snatched from the world before his time.

In a very beautiful antiquarium and study made by Signer Cesare Gonzaga, which is full of ancient statues and heads of marble, that lord has had the genealogical tree of the House of Gonzaga painted, in order to adorn it, by Fermo Ghisoni, who has acquitted himself very well in everything, and especially in the expressions of the heads. The same Signer Cesare has placed there, in addition, some pictures that are certainly very rare, such as that of the Madonna with the Cat which Raffaello da Urbino painted, and another wherein Our Lady with marvellous grace is washing the Infant Jesus. In another little cabinet made for medals, which has been beautifully wrought in ebony and ivory by one Francesco da Volterra, who has no equal in such works, he has some little antique figures in bronze, which could not be more beautiful than they are.

In short, between the last time that I saw Mantua and this year of 1566, when I have revisited that city, it has become so much more beautiful and ornate, that, if I had not seen it for myself, I would not believe it; and, what is more, the craftsmen have multiplied there, and they still continue to multiply. Thus, to that Giovan Battista Mantovano, an excellent sculptor and engraver of prints, of whom we have spoken in the Life of Giulio Romano and in that of Marc' Antonio Bolognese, have been born two sons, who engrave copper-plates divinely well, and, what is even more astonishing, a daughter, called Diana, who also engraves so well that it is a thing to marvel at; and I who saw her, a very gentle and gracious girl, and her works, which are most beautiful, was struck with amazement. Nor will I omit to say that in S. Benedetto, a very celebrated monastery of Black Friars at Mantua, renovated by Giulio Romano after a most beautiful design, are many works executed by the above-named craftsmen of Mantua and other Lombards, in addition to those described in the Life of the same Giulio. There are, then, works by Fermo Ghisoni, such as a Nativity of Christ, two altarpieces by Girolamo Mazzuoli, three by Lattanzio Gambara of Brescia, and three others by Paolo Veronese, which are the best. In the same place, at the head of the refectory, by the hand of a certain Fra Girolamo, a lay-brother of S. Dominic, as has been related elsewhere, is a picture in oils which is a copy of the very beautiful Last Supper that Leonardo painted in S. Maria delle Grazie at Milan, and copied so well, that I was amazed by it. Of which circumstance I make mention again very willingly, having seen Leonardo's original in Milan, this year of 1566, reduced to such a condition, that there is nothing to be seen but a mass of confusion ; wherefore the piety of that good father will always bear testimony in that respect to the genius of Leonardo da Vinci. By the hand of the same monk I have seen in the above-named house of the Mint, at Milan, a picture copied from one by Leonardo, in which are a woman that is smiling and S. John the Baptist as a boy, counterfeited very well.

Cremona, as was said in the Life of Lorenzo di Credi and in other places, has had at various times men who have executed in painting works worthy of the highest praise. And we have already related that when Boccaccio Boccaccino was painting the great recess of the Duomo at Cremona and the stories of Our Lady throughout the church, Bonifazio Bembi was also a good painter, and Altobello executed in fresco many stories of Jesus Christ with much more design than have those of Boccaccino. After these works Altobello painted in fresco a chapel in S. Agostino of the same city, in a manner full of beauty and grace, as may be seen by everyone. At Milan, in the Corte Vecchia that is, the courtyard, or rather, piazza of the Palace he painted a standing figure armed in the ancient fashion, much better than any of the others that were executed there by many painters about the same time. After the death of Bonifazio, who left unfinished the above-mentioned stories of Christ in the Duomo of Cremona, Giovanni Antonio Licinio of Pordenone, called in Cremona De' Sacchi, finished those stories begun by Bonifazio, painting there in fresco five scenes of the Passion of Christ with a grand manner in the figures, bold coloring, and foreshortenings that have vivacity and force; all which things taught the good method of painting to the Cremonese, and not in fresco only, but likewise in oils, for the reason that in the same Duomo, placed against a pilaster in the center of the church, is an altarpiece by the hand of Pordenone that is very beautiful. Camillo, the son of Boccaccino, afterwards imitated that manner in painting in fresco the principal chapel of S. Gismondo, without the city, and in other works, and so succeeded much better than his father had done. That Camillo, however, being slow and even dilatory in his work, did not paint much save small things and works of little importance.

But he who imitated most the good manners, and who profited most by the competition of the above-named masters, was Bernardo de' Gatti, called II Soiaro, of whom mention has been made in speaking of Parma. Some say that he was of Verzelli, and others of Cremona; but, wherever he may have come from, he painted a very beautiful altarpiece for the high altar of S. Piero, a church of the Canons Regular, and in their refectory the story of the miracle that Jesus Christ performed with the five loaves and two fishes, satisfying an infinite multitude, although he retouched it so much "a secco," that it has since lost all its beauty. That master also executed under a vault in S. Gismondo, without Cremona, the Ascension of Jesus Christ into Heaven, which was a pleasing work and very beautiful in coloring. In the Church of S. Maria di Campagna at Piacenza, in competition with Pordenone and opposite to the S. Augustine that has been mentioned, he painted in fresco a S. George in armor and on horseback, who is killing the Serpent, with spirit, movement, and excellent relief. That done, he was commissioned to finish the tribune of that church, which Pordenone had left unfinished, wherein he painted in fresco all the life of the Madonna; and although the Prophets and Sibyls that Pordenone executed there, with some children, are beautiful to a marvel, nevertheless Soiaro acquitted himself so well, that the whole of that work appears as if all by one and the same hand. In like manner, some little altarpieces that he has executed at Vigevano are worthy of considerable praise for their excellence. Finally, after he had betaken himself to Parma to work in the Madonna della Steccata, the great niche and the arch that were left incomplete through the death of Michelagnolo of Siena were finished by the hands of Soiaro. And to him, from his having acquitted himself well, the people of Parma have since given the charge of painting the great tribune that is in the centre of that church, where he is now constantly occupied in executing in fresco the Assumption of Our Lady, which, it is hoped, is to prove a most admirable work.

 

 

SOFONISBA ANGUISCIUOLA and OTHERS

Part 4 of:
THE LIVES OF BENVENUTO GAROFALO and GIROLAMO DA CARPI PAINTERS OF FERRARA, and OF OTHER LOMBARDS

Vasari's Lives of the Artists


While Boccaccino was still alive, but old, Cremona had another painter, called Galeazzo Campo, who painted the Rosary of the Madonna in a large chapel in the Church of S. Domenico, and the fagade at the back of S. Francesco, with other works and altarpieces by his hand that are in Cremona, all passing good. To him were born three sons, Giulio, Antonio, and Vincenzio; but Giulio, although he learned the first rudiments of art fron his father Galeazzo, nevertheless afterwards followed the manner of Soiaro, as being better, and studied much from some canvases executed in colours at Rome by the hand of Francesco Sal- viati, which were painted for the weaving of tapestries, and sent to Piacenza to Duke Pier Luigi Farnese. The first works that this Giulio executed in his youth at Cremona were four large scenes in the choir of the Church of S. Agata, containing the martyrdom of that virgin, which proved to be such, that a well-practised master might perhaps not have done them so well. Then, after executing some works in S. Margherita, he painted many faades of palaces in chiaroscuro, with good design. For the Church of S. Gismondo, without the city, he painted in oils the altarpiece of the high-altar, which was very beautiful on account of the diversity and multitude of the figures that he executed in it, in competition with the many painters who had worked in that place before him. After the altarpiece he painted there many things in fresco on the vaulting, and in particular the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles, who are foreshortened to be seen from below, with beautiful grace and great artistry. At Milan, for the Church of the Passione, a convent of Canons Regular, he painted a Christ Crucified on a panel in oils, with some Angels, the Madonna, S. John the Evangelist, and the other Maries. In the Nunnery of S. Paolo, a convent also in Milan, he executed four scenes, with the Conversion and other acts of that Saint. In that work he was assisted by Antonio Campo, his brother, who also painted for the Nunnery of S. Caterina at the Porta Ticinese, likewise in Milan, for a chapel in the new church, the architecture of which is by Lombardino, a picture in oils of S. Helen directing the search for the Cross of Christ, which is a passing good work. And Vincenzio, likewise, the third of those three brothers, having learned much from Giulio, as Antonio has also done, is a young man of excellent promise.

To the same Giulio Campo have been disciples not only his two above-named brothers, but also Lattanzio Gambara and others; but most excellent in painting, doing him more honor than any of the rest, has been Sofonisba Anguisciuola of Cremona, with her three sisters, which most gifted maidens are the daughters of Signer Amilcare Anguisciuola and Signora Bianca Punzona, both of whom belong to the most noble families in Cremona. Speaking, then, of Signora Sofonisba, of whom we said but little in the Life of Properzia of Bologna, because at that time we knew no more, I must relate that I saw this year in the house of her father at Cremona, in a picture executed with great diligence by her hand, portraits of her three sisters in the act of playing chess, and with them an old woman of the household, all done with such care and such spirit, that they have all the appearance of life, and are wanting in nothing save speech. In another picture may be seen, portrayed by the same Sofonisba, her father Signor Amilcare, who has on one side one of his daughters, her sister, called Minerva, who was distinguished in painting and in letters, and on the other side Asdrubale, their brother, the son of the same man; and these, also, are executed so well, that they appear to be breathing and absolutely alive. At Piacenza, in the house of the reverend Archdeacon of the principal church, are two very beautiful pictures by the same hand: in one is the portrait of the Archdeacon, and in the other that of Sofonisba herself, and each of those figures lacks nothing save speech. That lady, having been brought afterwards by the Duke of Alva, as was related above, into the service of the Queen of Spain, in which she still remains at the present day with a handsome salary and much honor, has executed a number of portraits and pictures that are things to marvel at. Moved by the fame of which works, Pope Pius IV had Sofonisba informed that he desired to have from her hand the portrait of her serene Highness the Queen of Spain; wherefore, having executed it with all the diligence in her power, she sent it to Rome to be presented to him, writing to his Holiness a letter in the precise form given below:

"HOLY FATHER,

"From the very reverend Nuncio of your Holiness I understood that you desired to have a portrait
by my hand of her Majesty the Queen, my Liege-lady. And since I accepted this commission as
a singular grace and favour, having thus to serve your Holiness, I asked leave of her Majesty, who
granted it very willingly, recognizing therein the fatherly affection that your Holiness bears to
her. Taking the opportunity presented by this Chevalier, I send it to you, and, if I shall have
satisfied therein the desire of your Holiness, I shall receive infinite compensation; but I must
not omit to tell you that if it were possible in the same way to present with the brush to the eyes
of your Holiness the beauties of the mind of this most gracious Queen, you would see the
most marvellous thing in all the world. But in those parts which can be portrayed by art, I have not
failed to use all the diligence in my power and knowledge, in order to present the truth to your
Holiness. And with this conclusion, in all reverence and humility, I kiss your most holy feet.
"From the most humble servant of your Holiness,

"SOFONISBA ANGUISCIUOLA.

"At Madrid, on the i6th of September, 1561."

To that letter his Holiness answered with that given below, which, having thought the portrait marvellously beautiful, he accompanied with gifts worthy of the great talents of Sofonisba:

"Pius PAPA IV DILECTA IN CHRISTO FILIA.
"We have received the portrait of the most gracious Queen of Spain, our dearest daughter, which
you have sent to us; and it has been most acceptable to us, both on account of the person therein
represented, whom we love with the love of a father by reason of her true piety and her other most
beautiful qualities of mind, to say nothing of other reasons, and also because it has been very
well and diligently executed by your hand. We thank you for it, assuring you that we shall hold
it among our dearest possessions, and commending this your art, which, although it is marvellous,
we understand to be the least of the many gifts that are in you. And with this conclusion we send
you once again our benediction. May our Lord God preserve you.

"Dat. Romse, die 15 Octob., 1561."

And let this testimony suffice to prove how great is the talent of Sofonisba.

A sister of hers, called Lucia, left at her death fame no less than that of Sofonisba, by means of some pictures by her hand that are no less beautiful and precious than those of her sister described above, as may be seen at Cremona from a portrait that she executed of Signer Pietro Maria, an eminent physician, but even more from another portrait, painted by that gifted maiden, of the Duke of Sessa, which was counterfelted by her so well, that it would seem impossible to do better or to make a portrait with a more animated likeness.

The third of the sisters Anguisciuola, called Europa, is still a child in age. To her, a girl all grace and talent, I have spoken this very year; and, in so far as one can see from her works and drawings, she will be in no way inferior to Sofonisba and Lucia, her sisters. This Europa has executed many portraits of gentlemen at Cremona, which are altogether beautiful and natural, and one of her mother, Signora Bianca, she sent to Spain, which vastly pleased Sofonisba and everyone of that Court who saw it. Anna, the fourth sister, although but a little girl, is also giving her attention with much profit to design: so that I know not what to say save that it is necessary to have by nature an inclination for art, and then to add to that study and practice, as has been done by those four noble and gifted sisters, so much enamored of every rare art, and in particular of the matters of design, insomuch that the house of Signor Amilcare Anguisciuola, most happy father of a fair and honorable family, appeared to me the home of painting, or rather, of all the arts. But, if women know so well how to produce living men, what marvel is it that those who wish are also so well able to create them in painting?

But to return to Giulio Campo, of whom I have said that those young women are the disciples; besides other works, a painting on cloth that he has made as a cover for the organ in the Cathedral Church, is executed with much study in distemper, with a great number of figures representing the stories of Esther and Ahasuerus and the Crucifixion of Haman. And in the same church there is a graceful altarpiece by his hand on the altar of S. Michael; but since Giulio is still alive, I shall say no more for the present about his works. Of Cremona, likewise, were the sculptor Geremia, who was mentioned by us in the Life of Filarete,* [* Really in the Life of Filippo Brunelleschi] and who has executed a large work in marble in S. Lorenzo, a seat of the Monks of Monte Oliveto; and Giovanni Pedoni, who has done many works at Cremona and Brescia, and in particular many things in the house of Signor Eliseo Raimondo, which are beautiful and worthy of praise.

In Brescia, also, there have been, and still are, persons most excellent in the arts of design, and, among others, Girolamo Romanino has executed innumerable works in that city. The altarpiece on the high altar of S. Francesco, which is a passing good picture, is by his hand, and so also the little shutters that enclose it, which are painted in distemper both within and without; and his work, likewise, is another altar-piece executed in oils that is very beautiful, wherein may be seen masterly imitations of natural objects. But more able than that Girolamo was Alessandro Moretto, who painted in fresco, under the arch of the Porta Brusciata, the Translation of the bodies of SS. Faustino and Jovita, with some groups of figures that are accompanying those bodies, all very well done. For S. Nazzaro, also in Brescia, he executed certain works, and others for S. Celso, which are passing good, and an altarpiece for S. Piero in Oliveto, which is full of charm. At Milan, in the house of the Mint, there is a picture by the hand of that same Alessandro with the Conversion of S. Paul, and other heads that are very natural, with beau- tiful adornments of draperies and vestments, for the reason that he much delighted to counterfeit cloth of gold and of silver, velvets, damasks, and other draperies of every kind, which he used to place on the figures with great diligence. The heads by the hand of that master are very lifelike, and hold to the manner of Raffaello da Urbino, and even more would they hold to it if he had not lived so far from Raffaello.

The son-in-law of Alessandro was Lattanzio Gambara, a painter of Brescia, who, having learned his art, as has been related, under Giulio Campo of Verona,* [* Rather, of Cremona] is now the best painter that there is in Brescia. By his hand, in the Black Friars Church of S. Faustino, are the altarpiece of the high altar, and the vaulting and walls painted in fresco, with other pictures that are in the same church. In the Church of S. Lorenzo, also, the altarpiece of the high altar is by his hand, with two scenes that are on the walls, and the vaulting, all painted in fresco almost in the same manner. He has also painted, besides many other fagades, that of his own house, with most beautiful inventions, and likewise the interior; in which house, situated between S. Benedetto and the Vescovado, I saw, when I was last in Brescia, two very beautiful portraits by his hand, that of Alessandro Moretto, his father-in-law, which is a very lovely head of an old man, and that of the same Alessandro' s daughter, his wife. And if the other works of Lattanzio were equal to those portraits, he would be able to compare with the greatest men of his art. But, since his works are without number, and he himself besides is still living, it must suffice for the present to have made mention of those named.

By the hand of Gian Girolamo Bresciano are many works to be seen in Venice and Milan, and in the above-mentioned house of the Mint there are four pictures of Night and of Fire, which are very beautiful. In the house of Tommaso da Empoli at Venice is a Nativity of Christ, a very lovely effect of night, and there are some other similar works of fantasy, in which he was a master. But, since he occupied himself only with things of that kind, and executed no large works, there is nothing more to be said of him save that he was a man of fanciful and inquiring mind, and that what he did deserves to be much commended.

Girolamo Mosciano of Brescia, after spending his youth in Rome, has executed many beautiful works in figures and landscapes, and at Orvieto, in the principal Church of S. Maria, he has painted two altarpieces in oils and some Prophets in fresco, which are good works; and the drawings by his hand that are published in engraving, are executed with good design. But, since he also is alive, serving Cardinal Ippolito d'Este in the buildings and restorations that he is carrying out in Rome, in Tivoli, and in other places, I shall say no more about him at present.

There has returned recently from Germany Francesco Ricchino, likewise a painter of Brescia, who, besides many other pictures that he has painted in various places, has executed some works of painting in oils in the above-named S. Piero in Oliveto at Brescia, which are done with much study and diligence.

The brothers Cristofano and Stefano [Rosa], painters of Brescia, have a great name among craftsmen for their facility in drawing in perspective; and, among other works in Venice, they have counterfeited in painting on the flat ceiling of S. Maria dell' Orto a corridor of double twisted columns, similar to those of the Porta Santa in S. Pietro at Rome, which, resting on certain great consoles that project outwards, form a superb corridor with groined vaulting right round that church. This work, when seen from the centre of the church, displays most beautiful foreshortenings, which fill with astonishment everyone who sees them, and make the ceiling, which is flat, appear to be vaulted; besides that it is accompanied by a beautiful variety of mouldings, masks, festoons, and some figures, which make a very rich adornment to the work, which deserves to be vastly extolled by everyone, both for its novelty and for its having been carried to completion excellently well and with great diligence. And, since this method gave much satisfaction to that most illustrious Senate, there was entrusted to the same masters another ceiling, similar, but small, in the Library of S. Marco, which, for a work of that kind, was very highly extolled.

Finally, those brothers have been summoned to their native city of Brescia to do the same with a magnificent hall which was begun on the Piazza many years ago, at vast expense, and erected over a theatre of large columns, under which is a promenade. This hall is sixty-two full paces long, thirty-five broad, and likewise thirty-five in height at the highest point of its elevation; although it appears much larger, being isolated on every side, and without any apartment or other building about it. On the ceiling of this magnificent and most honorable hall, then, those two brothers have been much employed, with very great credit to themselves; having made a roof truss for the roof (which is covered with lead) of beams of wood that are very large, composed of pieces well secured with clamps of iron, and having turned the ceiling with beautiful artistry in the manner of a basin-shaped vault, so that it is a rich work. It is true that in that great space there are included only three pictures painted in oils, each of ten braccia, which were painted by the old Tiziano; whereas many more could have gone there, with a richer, more beautiful, and better proportioned arrangement of compartments, which would have made that hall more cheerful, handsome, and ornate; but in every other part it has been made with much judgment.

 

 

MILANESE ARTISTS: BRAMANTINO, IL BAMBAJA, CRISTOFANO GOBBO, and OTHERS

Part 5 of
LIVES OF BENVENUTO GAROFALO AND GIROLAMO DA CARPI PAINTERS OF FERRARA, AND OF OTHER LOMBARDS

Vasari's Lives of the Artists


Now, having spoken in this part of our book, up to the present, of the craftsmen of design in the cities of Lombardy, it cannot but be well to say something about those of the city of Milan, the capital of that province, of whom no mention has been made here, although of some of them we have spoken in many other places in this our work. To begin, then, with Bramantino, of whom mention has been made in the Life of Piero della Francesca of the Borgo, I find that he executed many more works than I have enumerated above; and, in truth, it did not then appear to me possible that a craftsman so renowned, who introduced good design into Milan, should have executed works so few as those that had come to my notice. Now, after he had painted in Rome, as has been related, some apartments for Pope Nicholas V, and had finished over the door of S. Sepolcro, in Milan, the Christ in foreshortening, the Madonna who has Him on her lap, the Magdalene, and S. John, which was a very rare work, he painted in fresco, on a facade in the court of the Mint in Milan, the Nativity of Christ our Saviour, and, in the Church of S. Maria di Brera, in the tramezzo, the Nativity of Our Lady, with some Prophets on the doors of the organ, which are foreshortened very well to be seen from below, and a perspective-view which recedes with a beautiful gradation excellently contrived; at which I do not marvel, he having always much delighted in the studies of architecture, and having had a very good knowledge of them.

Thus I remember to have seen once in the hands of Valerio Vicentino a very beautiful book of antiquities, drawn with all the measurements by the hand of Bramantino, wherein were those of Lombardy and the groundplans of many well- known edifices, which I drew from that book, being then a lad. In it was the Temple of S. Ambrogio in Milan, built by the Lombards, and all full of sculptures and pictures in the Greek manner, with a round tribune of considerable size, but not well conceived in the matter of architecture; which temple was rebuilt in the time of Bramantino, after his design, with a portico of stone on one side, and with columns in the manner of trunks of trees that have been lopped, which have in them something of novelty and variety. There, likewise, was drawn the ancient portico of the Church of S. Lorenzo in the same city, built by the Romans, which is a great work, beautiful and well worthy of note; but the temple there, or rather, the church , is in the manner of the Goths. In the same book was drawn the Temple of S. Aquilino, which is very ancient, and covered with incrustations of marble and stucco, very well preserved, with some large tombs of granite. In like manner, there was the Temple of S. Piero in Ciel d' Oro at Pavia, in which place is the body of S. Augustine, in a tomb that is in the sacristy, covered with little figures, which, according to my belief, is by the hands of Agostino and Agnolo, the sculptors of Siena. There, also, was drawn the tower of brick built by the Goths, which is a beautiful work, for there may be seen in it, besides other things, some figures fashioned of terracotta after the antique, each six braccia high, which have remained in passing good preservation down to the present day. In that tower, so it is said, died Boetius, who was buried in the above- named S. Piero in Ciel d' Oro, now called S. Agostino, where there may be seen, even at the present day, the tomb of that holy man, with the inscription placed there by Aliprando, who restored and rebuilt the church in the year 1222. And, besides all these, there was in that book, drawn by the hand of Bramantino himself, the very ancient Temple of S. Maria in Pertica, round in shape, and built with fragments by the Lombards; in which place now lie the bones from the slaughter of the Frenchmen and others who were routed and slain before Pavia, when King Francis I of France was taken prisoner there by the Emperor Charles V.

But let us now leave drawings on one side: Bramantino painted in Milan the facade of the house of Signor Giovan Battista Latuate, with a most beautiful Madonna, and on either side of her a Prophet. On the facade of Signor Bernardo Scacalarozzo he painted four Giants in imitation of bronze, which are reasonably good; with other works that are in Milan, which brought him credit, from his having been the first light of a good manner of painting that was seen in Milan, and the reason that after him Bramante became, on account of the good form that he gave to his buildings and perspective-views, an excellent master in the matters of architecture; for the first things that Bramante studied were the works of Bramantino. Under the direction of Bramante was built the Temple of S. Satiro, which pleases me exceedingly, for it is a very rich work, adorned both within and without with columns, double corridors, and other ornaments, with the accompaniment of a most beautiful sacristy all full of statues. But above all does the central tribune of that place merit praise, the beauty of which, as has been related in the Life of Bramante, was the reason that Bernardino da Trevio followed that method in the Duomo of Milan, and gave his attention to architecture, although his first and principal art was painting; having executed, as has been related, in a cloister of the Monastery of S. Maria delle Grazie, four scenes of the Passion in fresco, and some others in chiaroscuro.

By that Bernardino was brought forward and much assisted the sculptor Agostino Busto, called II Bambaja, of whom there has been an account in the Life of Baccio da Montelupo. Agostino executed some works in S. Marta, a convent of nuns in Milan, among which, although it is difficult to obtain leave to enter that place, I have seen the tomb of Monsignor de Foix, who died at Pavia,* [* Ravenna.] in the form of many pieces of marble, wherein are about ten scenes with little figures, carved with much diligence, of the deeds, battles, victories, and triumphant assaults on strongholds of that lord, and finally his death and burial. To put it briefly, that work is such that I, gazing at it in amazement, stood for a while marvelling that it was possible for works so delicate and so extraordinary to be done with the hand and with tools of iron ; for there may be seen in that tomb, executed with the most marvellous carving, decorations of trophies, arms of every kind, chariots, artillery, and many other engines of war, and, finally, the body of that lord in armour, large as life, and almost seeming to be full of gladness, as he lies dead, at the victories that he had gained. And certainly it is a pity that this work, which is well worthy to be numbered among the most stupendous examples of the art, should be unfinished and left to lie on the ground in pieces, and not built up in some place; wherefore I do not marvel that some figures have been stolen from it, and then sold and set up in other places. The truth is that there is so little humanity, or rather, piety, to be found among men at the present day, that of all those who were benefited and beloved by De Foix not one has ever felt a pang for his memory or for the beauty and excellence of the work. By the hand of the same Agostino Busto are some works in the Duomo, and, as has been related, the tomb of the Biraghi in S. Francesco, with many others that are very beautiful in the Certosa of Pavia.

A rival of Agostino was one Cristofano Gobbo, who also executed many works in the facade of the above-named Certosa and in the church, and that so well, that he can be numbered among the best sculptors that there were in Lombardy at that time. And the Adam and Eve that are in the east front of the Duomo of Milan, which are by his hand, are held to be rare works, and such as can stand in comparison with any that have been executed by other masters in those parts.

Almost at the same time there lived at Milan another sculptor called Angelo, and by way of surname Ciciliano, who executed on the same side (of the Duomo), and of equal size, a S. Mary Magdalene raised on high by four little Angels, which is a very beautiful work, and by no means inferior to those of Cristofano. That sculptor also gave his attention to architecture, and executed, among other works, the portico of S. Celso in Milan, which was finished after his death by Tofano, called Lombardino, who, as was said in the Life of Giulio Romano, built many churches and palaces throughout all Milan, and, in particular, the convent, church, and facade of the Nuns of S. Caterina at the Porta Ticinese, with many other buildings similar to these.

Silvio da Fiesole, laboring at the instance of Tofano in the works of that Duomo, executed in the ornament of a door that faces between the west and the north, wherein are several scenes from the life of Our Lady, the scene containing her Espousal, which is very beautiful; and that of equal size opposite to it, in which is the Marriage of Cana in Galilee, is by the hand of Marco da Gra, a passing well-practised sculptor. The work of these scenes is now being continued by a very studious young man called Francesco Brambilari, who has carried one of them almost to completion, a very beautiful work, in which are the Apostles receiving the Holy Spirit. He has made, also, a drop-shaped console of marble, all in open-work, ith foliage and a group of children that are marvellous; and over that work, which is to be placed in the Duomo, there is to go a statue in marble of Pope Pius IV, one of the Medici, and a citizen of Milan.

If there had been in that place the study of those arts that there is in Rome and in Florence, those able masters would have done, and would still be doing, astonishing things. And, in truth, they are greatly indebted at the present day to the Chevalier Leone Lioni of Arezzo, who, as will be told, has spent much time and money in bringing to Milan casts of many ancient works, taken in gesso, for his own use and that of the other craftsmen.

But to return to the Milanese painters; after Leonardo da Vinci had executed there the Last Supper already described, many sought to imitate him, and these were Marco Oggioni and others, of whom mention has been made in Leonardo's Life. In addition to them, Cesare da Sesto, likewise a Milanese, imitated him very well; and, besides what has been mentioned in the Life of Dosso, he painted a large picture that is in the house of the Mint in Milan, a truly abundant and beautiful work, in which is Christ being baptized by John. By the same hand, also, in that place, is a head of Herodias, with that of S. John the Baptist in a charger, executed with most beautiful artistry. And finally he painted for S. Rocco, without the Porta Romana, an altarpiece containing that Saint as a very young man; with other pictures that are much extolled.

Gaudenzio, a Milanese painter, who in his lifetime was held to be an able master, painted the altarpiece of the high altar in S. Celso. In a chapel of S. Maria delle Grazie he executed in fresco the Passion of Jesus Christ, with figures of the size of life in strange attitudes; and then, in competition with Tiziano, he painted an altarpiece for a place below that chapel, in which, although he was very confident, he did not surpass the works of the others who had labored in that place.

Bernardino del Lupino, of whom some mention was made not very far back, painted in Milan, near S. Sepolcro, the house of Signer Gian Francesco Rabbia that is, the facade, loggie, halls, and apartments- depicting there many of the Metamorphoses of Ovid and other fables, with good and beautiful figures, executed with much delicacy. And in the Monastero Maggiore he painted all the great altar wall with different stories, and likewise, in a chapel, Christ scourged at the Column, with many other works, which are all passing good.

And let this be the end of the above-written Lives of various Lombard craftsmen.


 

 

 

MILANESE ARTISTS: BRAMANTINO, IL BAMBAJA, CRISTOFANO GOBBO, and OTHERS

Part 5 of
LIVES OF BENVENUTO GAROFALO AND GIROLAMO DA CARPI PAINTERS OF FERRARA, AND OF OTHER LOMBARDS

Vasari's Lives of the Artists


Now, having spoken in this part of our book, up to the present, of the craftsmen of design in the cities of Lombardy, it cannot but be well to say something about those of the city of Milan, the capital of that province, of whom no mention has been made here, although of some of them we have spoken in many other places in this our work. To begin, then, with Bramantino, of whom mention has been made in the Life of Piero della Francesca of the Borgo, I find that he executed many more works than I have enumerated above; and, in truth, it did not then appear to me possible that a craftsman so renowned, who introduced good design into Milan, should have executed works so few as those that had come to my notice. Now, after he had painted in Rome, as has been related, some apartments for Pope Nicholas V, and had finished over the door of S. Sepolcro, in Milan, the Christ in foreshortening, the Madonna who has Him on her lap, the Magdalene, and S. John, which was a very rare work, he painted in fresco, on a facade in the court of the Mint in Milan, the Nativity of Christ our Saviour, and, in the Church of S. Maria di Brera, in the tramezzo, the Nativity of Our Lady, with some Prophets on the doors of the organ, which are foreshortened very well to be seen from below, and a perspective-view which recedes with a beautiful gradation excellently contrived; at which I do not marvel, he having always much delighted in the studies of architecture, and having had a very good knowledge of them.

Thus I remember to have seen once in the hands of Valerio Vicentino a very beautiful book of antiquities, drawn with all the measurements by the hand of Bramantino, wherein were those of Lombardy and the groundplans of many well- known edifices, which I drew from that book, being then a lad. In it was the Temple of S. Ambrogio in Milan, built by the Lombards, and all full of sculptures and pictures in the Greek manner, with a round tribune of considerable size, but not well conceived in the matter of architecture; which temple was rebuilt in the time of Bramantino, after his design, with a portico of stone on one side, and with columns in the manner of trunks of trees that have been lopped, which have in them something of novelty and variety. There, likewise, was drawn the ancient portico of the Church of S. Lorenzo in the same city, built by the Romans, which is a great work, beautiful and well worthy of note; but the temple there, or rather, the church , is in the manner of the Goths. In the same book was drawn the Temple of S. Aquilino, which is very ancient, and covered with incrustations of marble and stucco, very well preserved, with some large tombs of granite. In like manner, there was the Temple of S. Piero in Ciel d' Oro at Pavia, in which place is the body of S. Augustine, in a tomb that is in the sacristy, covered with little figures, which, according to my belief, is by the hands of Agostino and Agnolo, the sculptors of Siena. There, also, was drawn the tower of brick built by the Goths, which is a beautiful work, for there may be seen in it, besides other things, some figures fashioned of terracotta after the antique, each six braccia high, which have remained in passing good preservation down to the present day. In that tower, so it is said, died Boetius, who was buried in the above- named S. Piero in Ciel d' Oro, now called S. Agostino, where there may be seen, even at the present day, the tomb of that holy man, with the inscription placed there by Aliprando, who restored and rebuilt the church in the year 1222. And, besides all these, there was in that book, drawn by the hand of Bramantino himself, the very ancient Temple of S. Maria in Pertica, round in shape, and built with fragments by the Lombards; in which place now lie the bones from the slaughter of the Frenchmen and others who were routed and slain before Pavia, when King Francis I of France was taken prisoner there by the Emperor Charles V.

But let us now leave drawings on one side: Bramantino painted in Milan the facade of the house of Signor Giovan Battista Latuate, with a most beautiful Madonna, and on either side of her a Prophet. On the facade of Signor Bernardo Scacalarozzo he painted four Giants in imitation of bronze, which are reasonably good; with other works that are in Milan, which brought him credit, from his having been the first light of a good manner of painting that was seen in Milan, and the reason that after him Bramante became, on account of the good form that he gave to his buildings and perspective-views, an excellent master in the matters of architecture; for the first things that Bramante studied were the works of Bramantino. Under the direction of Bramante was built the Temple of S. Satiro, which pleases me exceedingly, for it is a very rich work, adorned both within and without with columns, double corridors, and other ornaments, with the accompaniment of a most beautiful sacristy all full of statues. But above all does the central tribune of that place merit praise, the beauty of which, as has been related in the Life of Bramante, was the reason that Bernardino da Trevio followed that method in the Duomo of Milan, and gave his attention to architecture, although his first and principal art was painting; having executed, as has been related, in a cloister of the Monastery of S. Maria delle Grazie, four scenes of the Passion in fresco, and some others in chiaroscuro.

By that Bernardino was brought forward and much assisted the sculptor Agostino Busto, called II Bambaja, of whom there has been an account in the Life of Baccio da Montelupo. Agostino executed some works in S. Marta, a convent of nuns in Milan, among which, although it is difficult to obtain leave to enter that place, I have seen the tomb of Monsignor de Foix, who died at Pavia,* [* Ravenna.] in the form of many pieces of marble, wherein are about ten scenes with little figures, carved with much diligence, of the deeds, battles, victories, and triumphant assaults on strongholds of that lord, and finally his death and burial. To put it briefly, that work is such that I, gazing at it in amazement, stood for a while marvelling that it was possible for works so delicate and so extraordinary to be done with the hand and with tools of iron ; for there may be seen in that tomb, executed with the most marvellous carving, decorations of trophies, arms of every kind, chariots, artillery, and many other engines of war, and, finally, the body of that lord in armour, large as life, and almost seeming to be full of gladness, as he lies dead, at the victories that he had gained. And certainly it is a pity that this work, which is well worthy to be numbered among the most stupendous examples of the art, should be unfinished and left to lie on the ground in pieces, and not built up in some place; wherefore I do not marvel that some figures have been stolen from it, and then sold and set up in other places. The truth is that there is so little humanity, or rather, piety, to be found among men at the present day, that of all those who were benefited and beloved by De Foix not one has ever felt a pang for his memory or for the beauty and excellence of the work. By the hand of the same Agostino Busto are some works in the Duomo, and, as has been related, the tomb of the Biraghi in S. Francesco, with many others that are very beautiful in the Certosa of Pavia.

A rival of Agostino was one Cristofano Gobbo, who also executed many works in the facade of the above-named Certosa and in the church, and that so well, that he can be numbered among the best sculptors that there were in Lombardy at that time. And the Adam and Eve that are in the east front of the Duomo of Milan, which are by his hand, are held to be rare works, and such as can stand in comparison with any that have been executed by other masters in those parts.

Almost at the same time there lived at Milan another sculptor called Angelo, and by way of surname Ciciliano, who executed on the same side (of the Duomo), and of equal size, a S. Mary Magdalene raised on high by four little Angels, which is a very beautiful work, and by no means inferior to those of Cristofano. That sculptor also gave his attention to architecture, and executed, among other works, the portico of S. Celso in Milan, which was finished after his death by Tofano, called Lombardino, who, as was said in the Life of Giulio Romano, built many churches and palaces throughout all Milan, and, in particular, the convent, church, and facade of the Nuns of S. Caterina at the Porta Ticinese, with many other buildings similar to these.

Silvio da Fiesole, laboring at the instance of Tofano in the works of that Duomo, executed in the ornament of a door that faces between the west and the north, wherein are several scenes from the life of Our Lady, the scene containing her Espousal, which is very beautiful; and that of equal size opposite to it, in which is the Marriage of Cana in Galilee, is by the hand of Marco da Gra, a passing well-practised sculptor. The work of these scenes is now being continued by a very studious young man called Francesco Brambilari, who has carried one of them almost to completion, a very beautiful work, in which are the Apostles receiving the Holy Spirit. He has made, also, a drop-shaped console of marble, all in open-work, ith foliage and a group of children that are marvellous; and over that work, which is to be placed in the Duomo, there is to go a statue in marble of Pope Pius IV, one of the Medici, and a citizen of Milan.

If there had been in that place the study of those arts that there is in Rome and in Florence, those able masters would have done, and would still be doing, astonishing things. And, in truth, they are greatly indebted at the present day to the Chevalier Leone Lioni of Arezzo, who, as will be told, has spent much time and money in bringing to Milan casts of many ancient works, taken in gesso, for his own use and that of the other craftsmen.

But to return to the Milanese painters; after Leonardo da Vinci had executed there the Last Supper already described, many sought to imitate him, and these were Marco Oggioni and others, of whom mention has been made in Leonardo's Life. In addition to them, Cesare da Sesto, likewise a Milanese, imitated him very well; and, besides what has been mentioned in the Life of Dosso, he painted a large picture that is in the house of the Mint in Milan, a truly abundant and beautiful work, in which is Christ being baptized by John. By the same hand, also, in that place, is a head of Herodias, with that of S. John the Baptist in a charger, executed with most beautiful artistry. And finally he painted for S. Rocco, without the Porta Romana, an altarpiece containing that Saint as a very young man; with other pictures that are much extolled.

Gaudenzio, a Milanese painter, who in his lifetime was held to be an able master, painted the altarpiece of the high altar in S. Celso. In a chapel of S. Maria delle Grazie he executed in fresco the Passion of Jesus Christ, with figures of the size of life in strange attitudes; and then, in competition with Tiziano, he painted an altarpiece for a place below that chapel, in which, although he was very confident, he did not surpass the works of the others who had labored in that place.

Bernardino del Lupino, of whom some mention was made not very far back, painted in Milan, near S. Sepolcro, the house of Signer Gian Francesco Rabbia that is, the facade, loggie, halls, and apartments- depicting there many of the Metamorphoses of Ovid and other fables, with good and beautiful figures, executed with much delicacy. And in the Monastero Maggiore he painted all the great altar wall with different stories, and likewise, in a chapel, Christ scourged at the Column, with many other works, which are all passing good.

And let this be the end of the above-written Lives of various Lombard craftsmen.


 

 

 

GIOVANNI DA UDINE (1487-1564)
PAINTER


Vasari's Lives of the Artists

IN UDINE, a city of Friuli, lived a citizen called Giovanni, of the family of the Nanni, who was the first of that family to give attention to the practice of embroidery, in which his descendants afterwards followed him with such excellence, that their house was called no longer De' Nanni but De' Ricamatori.* [* Embroiderers.] Among them, then, one Francesco, who lived always like an honourable citizen, devoted to the chase and to other suchlike exercises, had in the year 1494 a son, to whom he gave the name Giovanni; and this son, while still a child, showed such inclination to design that it was a thing to marvel at, for, following behind his father in his hunting and fowling, whenever he had time he was for ever drawing dogs, hares, bucks, and, in short, all the kinds of birds and beasts that came into his hands; which he did in such a fashion that everyone was astonished. Perceiving this inclination, his father Francesco took him to Venice, and placed him to learn the art of design with Giorgione da Castelf ranco ; but, while working under him, the boy heard the works of Michelagnolo and Raffaello so extolled, that he resolved at all costs to go to Rome. And so, having obtained from Domenico Grimani, who was much his father's friend, letters of introduction to Baldassarre Castiglioni, the Secretary of the Duke of Mantua and a close friend of Raffaello da Urbino, he went off to that city. There, having been placed by that Castiglioni in the school of the young men of Raffaello, he learned excellently well the principles of art, a thing which is of great importance, for the reason that when a man begins by adopting a bad manner, it rarely happens that he can abandon it without great difficulty, in order to learn a better.

Giovanni, then, having been only a very short time under the discipline of Giorgione in Venice, when he had once seen the sweet, graceful, and beautiful manner of Raffaello, determined, like a young man of fine intelligence, that he would at all costs attach himself to that manner. And so, his brain and hand being equal to his noble intention, he made so much proficience, that in a short time he was able to draw very well and to work in colour with facility and grace, insomuch that, to put it in a few words, he succeeded in counterfeiting excellently well every natural object animals, draperies, instruments, vases, landscapes, buildings, and verdure ; in which not one of the young men of that school surpassed him. But, above all, he took supreme delight in depicting birds of every kind, insomuch that in a short time he filled a book with them, which was so well varied and so beautiful, that it was a recreation and a delight to Raffaello. Living with Raffaello was a Fleming called Giovanni, who was an excellent master in depicting fruits, leaves, and flowers with a very faithful and pleasing likeness to nature, although in a manner a little dry and laboured ; and from him Giovanni da Udine learned to make them as beautiful as his master, and, what is more, with a certain soft and pastose manner that enabled him to become, as will be related, supremely excellent in some fields of art. He also learned to execute landscapes with ruined buildings and fragments of antiquities, and likewise to paint landscapes and verdure in colors on cloth, in the manner that has been followed after him not only by the Flemings, but also by all the Italian painters.

Raffaello, who much loved the genius of Giovanni, in executing the altar picture of S. Cecilia that is in Bologna, caused him to paint the organ which that Saint has in her hand; and he counterfeited it so well from the reality, that it appears as if in relief, and also all the musical instruments that are at the feet of the Saint. But what was of much greater import was that he made his painting so similar to that of Raffaello, that the whole appears as if by one and the same hand. Not long afterwards, excavations being made at S. Pietro in Vincula, among the ruins and remains of the Palace of Titus, in the hope of finding figures, certain rooms were discovered, completely buried under the ground, which were full of little grotesques, small figures, and scenes, with other ornaments of stucco in low-relief. Whereupon, Giovanni going with Raffaello, who was taken to see them, they were struck with amazement, both the one and the other, at the freshness, beauty, and excellence of those works, for it appeared to them an extraordinary thing that they had been preserved for so long a time; but it was no great marvel, for they had not been open or exposed to the air, which is wont in time, through the changes of the seasons, to consume all things. These grotesques which were called grotesques from their having been discovered in the underground grottoes executed with so much design, with fantasies so varied and so bizarre, with their delicate ornaments of stucco divided by various fields of color, and with their little scenes so pleasing and beautiful, entered so deeply into the heart and mind of Giovanni, that, having devoted himself to the study of them, he was not content to draw and copy them merely once or twice; and he succeeded in executing them with facility and grace, lacking nothing save a know- ledge of the method of making the stucco on which the grotesques were wrought. Now many before him, as has been related, had exercised their wits on this, but had discovered nothing save the method of making the stucco, by means of fire, with gypsum, lime, colophony, wax, and pounded brick, and of overlaying it with gold; and they had not found the true method of making stucco similar to that which had been discovered in those ancient chambers and grottoes. But at that time works were being executed in lime and pozzolana, as was related in the Life of Bramante, for the arches and the tribune at the back in S. Pietro, all the ornaments of foliage, with the ovoli and other members, being cast in moulds of clay, and Giovanni, after considering that method of working with lime and pozzolana, began to try if he could succeed in making figures in low- relief; and so, pursuing his experiments, he contrived to make them as he desired in every part, save that the outer surface did not come out with the delicacy and finish that the ancient works possessed, nor yet so white. On which account he began to think that it might be necessary to mix with the white lime of travertine, in place of pozzolana, some substance white in colour; whereupon, after making trial of various materials, he caused chips of travertine to be pounded, and found that it answered passing well, but that still the work was of a livid rather than a pure white, and also rough and granular. But finally, having caused chips of the whitest marble that could be found to be pounded and reduced to a fine powder, and then sifted, he mixed it with white lime of travertine, and discovered that thus he had succeeded without any doubt in making the true stucco of the ancients, with all the properties that he had desired therein. At which rejoicing greatly, he showed to Raffaello what he had done; wherefore he, who was then executing by order of Pope Leo X, as has been related, the Loggie of the Papal Palace, caused Giovanni to decorate all the vaulting there in stucco, with most beautiful ornaments bordered by grotesques similar to the antique, and with very lovely and fantastic inventions, all full of the most varied and extravagant things that could possibly be imagined. Having executed the whole of that ornamentation in half-relief and low-relief, he then divided it up with little scenes, landscapes, foliage, and various friezes, in which he touched the highest level, as it w r ere, that art can reach in that field.

In all this he not only equalled the ancients, but also, in so far as one can judge from the remains that we have seen, surpassed them, for the reason that these works of Giovanni's, in beauty of design, in the invention of figures, and in colouring, whether executed in stucco or painted, are beyond all comparison superior to those of the ancients that are to be seen in the Colosseum, and to the paintings in the Baths of Diocletian and in other places. In what other place are there to be seen birds painted that are more lifelike and natural, so to speak, in colouring, in the plumage, and in all other respects, than those that are in the friezes and pilasters of the Loggie ? And they are there in as many varieties as Nature herself has been able to create, some in one manner and some in another; and many are perched on bunches, ears, and panicles, not only of corn, millet, and buckwheat, but of all the kinds of cereals, vegetables, and fruits that earth has produced from the beginning of time for the sustenance and nourishment of birds. As for the fishes, likewise, the sea-monsters, and all the other creatures of the water that Giovanni depicted in the same place, since the most that one could say would be too little, it is better to pass them over in silence rather than seek to attempt the impossible. And what should I say of the various kinds of fruits and flowers without number that are there, in all the forms, varieties, and colors that Nature contrives to produce in all parts of the world and in all the seasons of the year? What, likewise, of the various musical instruments that are there, all as real as the reality ? And who does not know as a matter of common knowledge that Giovanni having painted at the head of the Loggia, where the Pope had not yet determined what should be done in the way of masonry, some balusters to accompany the real ones of the Loggia, and over them a carpet who, I say, does not know that one day, a carpet being urgently required for the Pope, who was going to the Belvedere, a groom, who knew not the truth of the matter, ran from a distance to take one of those painted carpets, being completely deceived ? In short, it may be said, without offence to other craftsmen, that of all works of the kind this is the most beautiful, the most rare, and the most excellent painting that has ever been seen by mortal eye. And, in addition, I will make bold to say that this work has been the reason that not Rome only but also all the other parts of the world have been filled with this kind of painting, for, besides that Giovanni was the restorer and almost the inventor of grotesques in stucco and of other kinds, from this his work, which is most beautiful, whoever has wished to execute such things has taken his exemplar; not to mention that the young men that assisted Giovanni, who were many, and even, what with one time and another, innumerable, learned from the true master and filled every province with them.

Then, proceeding to execute the first range below those Loggie, Giovanni used another and quite different method in the distribution of the stucco-work and paintings on the walls and vaultings of the other Loggie; but nevertheless those also were very beautiful, by reason of the pleasing invention of the pergole of canes counterfeited in various compartments, all covered with vines laden with grapes, and with clematis, jasmine, roses, and various kinds of birds and beasts. Next, Pope Leo, wishing to have painted the hall where the guard of halberdiers have their quarters, on the level of the above-named Loggie, Giovanni, in addition to the friezes of children, lions, Papal arms, and grotesques that are round that hall, made some divisions on the walls with imitations of variegated marbles of different kinds, similar to the incrustations that the ancient Romans used to make on their baths, temples, and other buildings, such as may be seen in the Ritonda and in the portico of S. Pietro. In another hall beside that one, which was used by the Chamberlains, Raffaello da Urbino painted in certain tabernacles some Apostles in chiaroscuro, large as life and very beautiful; and over the cornices of that work Giovanni portrayed from life many parrots of various colours which his Holiness had at that time, and also baboons, marmosets, civet-cats, and other strange creatures. But this work had a short life, for the reason that Pope Paul IV destroyed that apartment in order to make certain small closets and little places of retirement, and thus deprived the Palace of a very rare work; which that holy man would not have done if he had possessed any taste for the arts of design. Giovanni painted the cartoons for those hangings and chamber-tapestries that were afterwards woven in silk and gold in Flanders, in which are certain little boys that are sporting around various festoons, and as ornaments the devices of Pope Leo and various animals copied from life. These tapestries, which are very rare works, are still in the Palace at the present day. He also executed the cartoons for some tapestries full of grotesques, which are in the first rooms of the Consistory.

While Giovanni was labouring at those works, the Palace of M. Giovan Battista dall' Aquila, which had been erected at the head of the Borgo Nuovo, near the Piazza di S. Pietro, had the greater part of the facade decorated in stucco by the hand of the same master, which was held to be a remarkable work. The same Giovanni executed the paintings and all the stucco-work in the loggia of the villa that Cardinal Giulio de' Medici caused to be built under Monte Mario, wherein are animals, grotesques, festoons, and friezes of such beauty, that it appears as if in that work Giovanni had sought to outstrip and surpass his own self. Wherefore he won from that Cardinal, who much loved his genius, in addition to many benefits that he received for his relatives, the gift of a canonicate for himself at Civitale in Friuli, which was afterwards given by Giovanni to a brother of his own. Then, having to make for the same Cardinal, likewise at that villa, a fountain with the water spouting through the trunk of an elephant's head in marble, he imitated in the whole work and in every detail the Temple of Neptune, which had been discovered a short time before among the ancient ruins of the Palazzo Maggiore, all adorned with lifelike products of the sea, and wrought excellently well with various ornaments in stucco; and i,e even surpassed by a great measure the artistry of that ancient hall by giving great beauty to those animals, shells, and other suchlike things without number, and arranging them very well. After this he made another fountain, but in a rustic manner, in the hollow of a torrent-bed surrounded by a wood; causing water to flow in drops and fine jets from sponge-stones and stalactites, with beautiful artifice, so that it had all the appearance of a work of nature. On the highest point of those hollow rocks and sponge - stones he fashioned a large lion's head, which had around it a garland formed of maidenhair and other plants, trained there with great artistry; and no one could believe what grace these gave to that wild place, which was most beautiful in every part and beyond all conception pleasing.

That work finished, after the Cardinal had made Giovanni a Chevalier of S. Pietro, he sent him to Florence, to the end that, when a certain chamber had been made in the Palace of the Medici (at that corner, namely, where the elder Cosimo, the builder of that edifice, had made a loggia for the convenience and assemblage of the citizens, as it was the custom at that time for the most noble families to do), he might paint and adorn it all with grotesques and stucco. That loggia having then been enclosed after the design of Michelagnolo Buonarroti, and given the form of a chamber, with two knee-shaped windows, which were the first to be made in that manner, with iron gratings, for the exterior of a palace, Giovanni adorned all the vaulting with stucco-work and painting, making in a medallion the six balls, the arms of the House of Medici, supported by three little boys executed in relief in attitudes of great beauty and grace. Besides this, he made there many most beautiful animals, and also many most lovely devices of gentlemen and lords of that illustrious house, together with some scenes in half-relief, executed in stucco; and on the field of the vaulting he did the rest of the work in pictures, counterfeiting them after the manner of cameos in black and white, and so well, that nothing better could be imagined. There remained four arches beneath the vaulting, each twelve braccia in breadth and six in height, which were not painted at that time, but many years afterwards by Giorgio Vasari, as a young man of eighteen years, when he was in the service of Duke Alessandro de' Medici, his first lord, in the year 1535; which Giorgio executed there stories from the life of Julius Caesar, in allusion to the above-named Cardinal Giulio, who had caused the work to be done. Giovanni then executed on a little barrel-shaped vault, beside that chamber, some works in stucco in the lowest of low- relief, and likewise some pictures, which are exquisite; but, although these pleased the painters that were in Florence at that time, being wrought with boldness and marvellous mastery, and filled with spirited and fantastic inventions, yet, since they were accustomed to a laboured manner of their own and to doing everything that they carried into execution with copies taken from life, they did not praise them without reserve, not being altogether decided in their minds, nor did they set themselves to imitate them, perhaps because they had not the courage.

Having then returned to Rome, Giovanni executed in the loggia of Agostino Chigi, which Raffaello had painted and was still engaged in carrying to completion, a border of large festoons right round the groins and squares of the vaulting, making there all the kinds of fruits, flowers, and leaves, season by season, and fashioning them with such artistry, that everything may be seen there living and standing out from the wall, and as natural as the reality ; and so many are the various kinds of fruits and plants that are to be seen in that work, that, in order not to enumerate them one by one, I will say only this, that there are there all those that Nature has ever produced in our parts. Above the figure of a Mercury who is flying, he made, to represent Priapus, a pumpkin entwined in bind-weed, which has for testicles two eggplants, and near the flower of the pumpkin he depicted a cluster of large purple figs, within one of which, over-ripe and bursting open, the point of the pumpkin with the flower is entering; which conceit is rendered with such grace, that no one could imagine anything better. But why say more ? To sum the matter up, I venture to declare that in that kind of painting Giovanni surpassed all those who have best imitated Nature in such works, for the reason that, besides all the other things, even the flowers of the elder, of the fennel, and of the other lesser plants are there in truly astonishing per- fection. There, likewise, may be seen a great abundance of animals in the lunettes, which are encircled by those festoons, and certain little boys that are holding in their hands the attributes of the Gods; and, among other things, a lion and a sea-horse, being most beautifully foreshortened, are held to be divine.

Having finished that truly extraordinary work, Giovanni executed a very beautiful bath-room in the Castello di S. Angelo, and in the Papal Palace, besides those mentioned above, many other small works, which for the sake of brevity are passed over. Raffaello having then died, whose loss much grieved Giovanni, and Pope Leo having also left this world, there was no more place in Rome for the arts of design or for any other art, and Giovanni occupied himself for many months on some works of little importance at the villa of the above-named Cardinal de' Medici. And for the arrival of Pope Adrian in Rome he did nothing but the small banners of the Castle, which he had renewed twice in the time of Pope Leo, together with the great standard that flies on the summit of the highest tower. He also executed four square banners when the Blessed Antonino, Archbishop of Florence, and S. Hubert, once Bishop of I know not what city of Flanders, were canonized as Saints by the above- mentioned Pope Adrian ; of which banners, one, wherein is the figure of that S. Antonino, was given to the Church of S. Marco in Florence, where the body of the Saint lies, another, wherein is the figure of S. Hubert, was placed in S. Maria de Anima, the church of the Germans in Rome, and the other two were sent to Flanders.

Clement VII having then been elected Supreme Pontiff, with whom Giovanni had a strait bond of service, he returned immediately from Udine, whither he had gone to avoid the plague, to Rome ; where having arrived, he was commissioned to make a rich and beautiful decoration over the steps of S. Pietro for the coronation of that Pope. And after- wards it was ordained that he and Perino del Vaga should paint some pictures on the vaulting of the old hall opposite to the lower apartments, which lead from the Loggie, which he had painted before, to the apart- ments of the Borgia Tower; whereupon Giovanni executed there a most beautiful design in stucco-work, with many grotesques and various animals, and Perino the cars of the seven planets. They had also to paint the walls of that same hall, on which Giotto, according as is written by Platina in the Lives of the Pontiffs, had formerly painted some Popes who had been put to death for the faith of Christ, on which account that hall was called for a time the Hall of the Martyrs. But the vaulting was scarcely finished, when there took place that most unhappy sack of Rome, and the work could not be pursued any further. Thereupon Giovanni, having suffered not a little both in person and in property, returned again to Udine, intending to stay there a long time; but in that he did not succeed, for the reason that Pope Clement, after returning from Bologna, where he had crowned Charles V, to Rome, caused Giovanni also to return to that city, where he commissioned him first to make anew the standards of the Castello di S. Angelo, and then to paint the ceiling of the great chapel, the principal one in S. Pietro, where the altar of that Saint is. Meanwhile, Fra Mariano having died, who had the office of the Piombo, his place was given to Sebastiano Viniziano, a painter of great repute, and to Giovanni a pension on the same of eighty chamber-ducats.

Then, after the troubles of the Pontiff had in great measure ceased and affairs in Rome had grown quiet, Giovanni was sent by his Holiness with many promises to Florence, to execute in the new sacristy of S. Lorenzo, which had been adorned with most excellent sculptures by Michelagnolo, the ornaments of the tribune, which is full of sunk squares that diminish little by little towards the central point. Setting his hand to this, then, Giovanni carried it excellently well to completion with the aid of many assistants, with most beautiful foliage, rosettes, and other ornaments of stucco and gold; but in one thing he failed in judgment, for the reason that on the flat friezes that form the ribs of the vaulting, and on those that run crossways, so as to enclose the squares, he made foliage, birds, masks, and figures that cannot be seen at all from the ground, although they are very beautiful, by reason of the distance, and also because they are divided up by other colours, whereas, if he had painted them in colours without any other elaboration, they would have been visible, and the whole work would have been brighter and richer. There remained no more of the work to be executed than he would have been able to finish in a fortnight, going over it again in certain places, when there came the news of the death of Pope Clement, and Giovanni was robbed of all his hopes, particularly of that which he expected from that Pontiff as the reward and guerdon of this work. Wherefore, having recognized, although too late, how fallacious in most cases are the hopes based on the favour of Courts, and how often those who put their trust in the lives of particular Princes are left disappointed, he returned to Rome; but, although he would have been able to live there on his offices and revenues, serving also Cardinal Ippolito de' Medici and the new Pontiff, Paul III, he resolved to repatriate himself and to return to Udine.

Carrying that intention into effect, therefore, he went back to live in his native place with that brother to whom he had given the canonicate, determined that he would never more handle a brush. But in this also he was disappointed, for the reason that, having taken a wife and had children by her, he was in a manner forced by the instinct that a man naturally feels to bring up his children and to leave them in good circumstances, to set himself once more to work. He painted, then, at the entreaty of the father of the Chevalier Giovan Francesco di Spilimbergo, a frieze in a hall, filling it with children, festoons, fruits, and other things of fancy. After that, he adorned with lovely paintings and works in stucco the Chapel of S. Maria at Civitale; and for the Canons of the Duomo of that place he executed two most beautiful standards. And for the Confraternity of S. Maria di Castello, at Udine, he painted on a rich banner Our Lady with the Child in her arms, and an Angel full of grace who is offering to her that Castello, which stands on a hill in the center of the city. At Venice, in the Palace of Grimani, the Patriarch of Aquileia, he decorated with stucco-work and paintings a very beautiful chamber in which are some lovely little scenes by the hand of Francesco Salviati.

Finally, in the year 1550, Giovanni went to Rome to take part in the most holy Jubilee, on foot and dressed poorly as a pilgrim, and in the company of humble folk; and he stayed there many days without being known by anyone. But one day, while going to S. Paolo, he was recognized by Giorgio Vasari, who was riding in a coach to the same Pardon in company with Messer Bindo Altoviti, who was much his friend. At first Giovanni denied that it was he, but finally he was forced to reveal himself and to confess that he had great need of Giorgio' s assistance with the Pope in the matter of the pension that he had from the Piombo, which was being denied to him by one Fra Guglielmo, a Genoese sculptor, who had received that office after the death of Fra Sebastiano. Giorgio spoke of this matter to the Pope, which was the reason that the bond was renewed, and afterwards it was proposed to exchange it for a canonicate at Udine for Giovanni's son. But afterwards, being again defrauded by that Fra Guglielmo, Giovanni went from Udine to Florence, after Pope Pius had been elected, in the hope of being assisted and favoured by his Excellency with that Pontiff, by means of Vasari. Having arrived in Florence, then, he was presented by Giorgio to his most illustrious Excellency, with whom he went to Siena, and then from there to Rome, whither there also went the Lady Duchess Leonora; and in such wise was he assisted by the kindness of the Duke, that he was not only granted all that he desired, but also set to work by the Pope with a good salary to give the final completion to the last Loggia, which is the one over that which Pope Leo had formerly caused him to decorate. That finished, the same Pope commissioned him to retouch all that first Loggia, which was an error and a thing very ill considered, for the reason that retouching it "a secco" caused it to lose all those masterly strokes that had been drawn by Giovanni's brush in all the excellence of his best days, and also the boldness and freshness that had made it in its original condition so rare a work.

After finishing that work, Giovanni, being seventy years of age, finished also the course of his life, in the year 1564, rendering up his spirit to God in that most noble city which had enabled him for many years to live with so much success and so great a name. Giovanni was always, but much more in his last years, a God-fearing man and a good Christian. In his youth he took pleasure in scarcely any other thing but hunting and fowling; and his custom when he was young was to go hunting on feast-days with his servant, at times roaming over the Campagna to a distance of ten miles from Rome. He could shoot very well with the fusil and the crossbow, and therefore rarely returned home without his servant being laden with wild geese, ringdoves, wild ducks, and other creatures such as are to be found in those marshy places. Giovanni, so many declare, was the inventor of the ox painted on canvas that is made for using in that pursuit, so as to fire off the fusil without being seen by the wild creatures; and on account of those exercises of hunting and fowling he always delighted to keep dogs and to train them by himself.

Giovanni, who deserves to be extolled among the greatest masters of his profession, chose to be buried in the Ritonda, near his master Raffaello da Urbino, in order not to be divided in death from him to whom in life his spirit was always attached; and since, as has been told, each of them was an excellent Christian, it may be believed that they are still together in eternal blessedness.

 

 

 

BATTISTA FRANCO
PAINTER OF VENICE

Vasari's Lives of the Artists




BATTISTA FRANCO of Venice, having given his attention in his early childhood to design, went off at the age of twenty, as one who aimed at perfection in that art, to Rome, where, after he had devoted himself for some time with much study to design, and had seen the manner of various masters, he resolved that he would not study or seek to imitate any other works but the drawings, paintings, and sculptures of Michelagnolo; wherefore, having set himself to make research, there remained no sketch, study, or even any thing copied by Michelagnolo that he had not drawn. Wherefore no long time passed before he became one of the first draughtsmen who frequented the Chapel of Michelagnolo; and, what was more, he would not for a time set himself to paint or to do any other thing but draw. But in the year 1536, festive preparations of a grand and sumptuous kind being arranged by Antonio da San Gallo for the coming of the Emperor Charles V, in which, as has been related in another place, all the craftsmen, good and bad, were employed, Raffaello da Montelupo, who had to execute the decorations of the Ponte S. Angelo with the ten statues that were placed upon it, having seen that Battista was a young man of good parts and a finished draughtsman, resolved to bring it about that he also should be employed, and by hook or by crook to have some work given to him to do. And so, having spoken of this to San Gallo, he so contrived that Battista was commissioned to execute in fresco four large scenes in chiaroscuro on the front of the Porta Capena, now called the Porta di S. Bastiano, through which the Emperor was to enter.

In that work Battista, without having hitherto touched colors, executed over the gate the arms of Pope Paul III and those of the Emperor Charles, with a Romulus who was placing on the arms of the Pontiff a Papal crown, and on those of the Emperor an Imperial crown; which Romulus, a figure of five braccia, dressed in the ancient manner, with a crown on the head, had on the right hand Numa Pompilius, and on the left Tullus Hostilius, and above him these words Quirinus Pater. In one of the scenes that were on the faces of the towers standing on either side of the gate, was the elder Scipio triumphing over Carthage, which he had made tributary to the Roman people; and in the other, on the right hand, was the triumph of the younger Scipio, who had ruined and destroyed that same city. In one of the two pictures that were on the exterior of the towers, on the front side, could be seen Hannibal under the walls of Rome, driven back by the tempest, and in the other, on the left, Flaccus entering by that gate to succour Rome against that same Hannibal. All these scenes and pictures, being Battista's first paintings, and in comparison with those of the others, were passing good and much extolled. And, if Battista had begun from the first to paint and from time to time to practise using colors and handling brushes, there is no doubt that he would have surpassed many craftsmen; but his obstinate adherence to a certain opinion that many others hold, who persuade themselves that draughtsmanship is enough for him who wishes to paint, did him no little harm.

For all that, however, he acquitted himself much better than did some of those who executed the scenes on the arch of S. Marco, on which there were eight scenes, four on each side, the best of which were painted partly by Francesco Salviati, and partly by a certain Martino* [* Martin Heemskerk.] and other young Germans, who had come to Rome at that very time in order to learn. Nor will I omit to tell, in this connection, that the above-named Martino, who was very able in works in chiaroscuro, executed some battle scenes with such boldness and such beautiful inventions in certain encounters and deeds of arms between Christians and Turks, that nothing better could have been done. And the marvellous thing was that Martino and his assistants executed those canvases with such assiduity and rapidity, in order that the work might be finished in time, that they never quitted their labor; and since drink, and that good Greco, was continually being brought to them, what with their being constantly drunk and inflamed with the heat of the wine, and their facility in execution, they achieved wonders. Where- fore, when Salviati, Battista, and Calavrese saw the work of these men, they confessed that for him who wishes to be a painter it is necessary to begin to handle brushes in good time; which matter having afterwards considered more carefully in his own mind, Battista began not to give so much study to finishing his drawings, and at times to use colour. Montelupo then going to Florence, where, in like manner, very great preparations were being made for the reception of the above-named Emperor, Battista went with him, and when they arrived they found those preparations well on the way to completion ; but Battista, being set to work, made a base all covered with figures and trophies for the statue on the Canto de' Carnesecchi that Fra Giovanni Agnolo Montorsoli had executed. Having therefore become known among the craftsmen as a young man of good parts and ability, he was much employed afterwards at the coming of Madama Margherita of Austria, the wife of Duke Alessandro, and particularly in the festive preparations that Giorgio Vasari made in the Palace of Messer Ottaviano de' Medici, where that lady was to reside.

These festivities finished, Battista set himself to draw with the greatest industry the statues of Michelagnolo that are in the new Sacristy of S. Lorenzo, to which at that time all the painters and sculptors of Florence had nocked to draw and to work in relief; and among these Battista made no little proficience, but, nevertheless, it was recognized that he had committed an error in never consenting to draw from the life and to use colours, or to do anything but imitate statues and little else besides, which had given his manner a hardness and dryness that he was not able to shake off, nor could he prevent his works from having a hard and angular quality, as may be seen from a canvas in which he depicted with much pains and labour the Roman Lucretia violated by Tarquinius. Consorting thus with the others and frequenting that sacristy, Battista formed a friendship with the sculptor Bartolommeo Ammanati, who was studying the works of Buonarroti there in company with many others. And of such a kind was that friendship, that Ammanati took Battista into his house, as well as Genga of Urbino, and they lived thus in company for some time, attending with much profit to the studies of art.

Duke Alessandro having then been done to death in the year 1536, and Signor Cosimo de' Medici elected in his place, many of the servants of the dead Duke remained in the service of the new, but others did not, and among those who went away was the above-named Giorgio Vasari, who returned to Arezzo, with the intention of having nothing more to do with Courts, having lost Cardinal Ippolito de' Medici, his first lord, and then Duke Alessandro; but he brought it about that Battista was invited to serve Duke Cosimo and to work in his guardaroba, where he painted in a large picture Pope Clement and Cardinal Ippolito, copying them from a work by Fra Sebastiano and from one by Tiziano, and Duke Alessandro from a picture by Pontormo. This picture was not of that perfection that was expected; but, having seen in the same guardaroba the cartoon of the "Noli me tangere" by Michelagnolo, which Pontormo had previously executed in colors, he set himself to make a cartoon like it, but with larger figures; which done, he painted a picture from it wherein he acquitted himself much better in the colouring. And the cartoon, which he copied exactly after that of Michelagnolo, was executed with great patience and very beautiful.

The affair of Monte Murlo having then taken place, in which the exiles and rebels hostile to the Duke were routed and captured, Battista depicted with beautiful invention a scene of the battle fought there, mingled with poetic fantasies of his own, which was much extolled, although there were recognized in the armed encounter and in the taking of the prisoners many things copied bodily from the works and drawings of Buonarroti. For the battle was in the distance, and in the foreground were the huntsmen of Ganymede, who were standing there gazing at Jove's Eagle carrying the young man away into Heaven; which part Battista took from the design of Michelagnolo, in order to use it to signify that the young Duke had risen by the grace of God from the midst of his friends into Heaven, or some such thing. This scene, I say, was first drawn by Battista in a cartoon, and then painted with supreme diligence in a picture; and it is now, together with his other works mentioned above, in the upper apartments of the Pitti Palace, which his most illustrious Excellency has just caused to be completely finished.

Having thus been engaged on these and some other works in the service of the Duke, until the time when he took to wife the Lady Donna Leonora of Toledo, Battista was next employed in the festive preparations for those nuptials, on the triumphal arch at the Porta al Prato, where Ridolfo Ghirlandajo caused him to execute some scenes of the actions of Signer Giovanni, father of Duke Cosimo. In one of these that lord could be seen passing the Rivers Po and Adda, in the presence of Cardinal Giulio de' Medici, who became Pope Clement VII, Signer Prospero Colonna, and other lords ; and in another was the scene of the delivering of San Secondo. On the other side Battista painted in another scene the city of Milan, and around it the Camp of the League, which, on departing, the above-named Signor Giovanni leaves there. On the right flank of the arch he painted on one side a picture of Opportunity, who, having her tresses all unbound, was offering them with one hand to Signor Giovanni, and on the other side Mars, who was likewise offering him his sword. In another scene under the arch, by the hand of Battista, was Signor Giovanni fighting between the Tesino and Biegrassa upon the Ponte Rozzo, defending it, as it were like another Horatius, with incredible bravery. Opposite to this was the Taking of Caravaggio, and in the centre of the battle Signor Giovanni, who was passing fearlessly through fire and sword in the midst of the hostile army. Between the columns, on the right hand, there was in an oval Garlasso, taken by the same lord with a single company of soldiers, and on the left hand, between the two other columns, the bastion of Milan, likewise taken from the enemy. On the fronton, which was at the back of anyone entering, was the same Signor Giovanni on horseback under the walls of Milan, when, tilting in single combat with a knight, he ran him through from side to side with his lance. Above the great cornice, which reached out to the other cornice, on which the pediment rested, in another large scene executed by Battista with much diligence, there was in the centre the Emperor Charles V, who, crowned with laurel, was seated on a rock, with the sceptre in his hand ; at his feet lay the River Betis with a vase that poured water from two mouths, and beside that figure was the River Danube, which, with seven mouths, was pouring its waters into the sea.

I shall not make mention here of the vast number of statues that accompanied the above-named pictures and others on that arch, for the reason that it is enough for me at the present moment to describe that which concerns Battista Franco, and it is not my office to give an account of all that was done by others in the festive preparations for those nuptials and described at great length; besides which, having spoken of the masters of those statues where the necessity arose, it would be superfluous for me to say anything about them here, and particularly because the statues are not now standing, so that they cannot be seen and considered. But to return to Battista: the best thing that he did for those nuptials was one of the ten above-mentioned pictures which were in the decorations in the great court of the Medici Palace, wherein he painted in chiaroscuro Duke Cosimo invested with all the Ducal insignia. But, for all the diligence that he used there, he was surpassed by Bronzino, and by others who had less design than himself, in invention, in boldness, and in the treatment of the chiaroscuro. For, as has been said before, pictures must be executed with facility, and the parts set in their places with judgment, and without that effort and that labor which make things appear hard and crude; besides which, overmuch study often makes them come out heavy and dark, and spoils them, while lingering over them so long takes away the grace, boldness and excellence that facility is wont to give them. And these qualities, although they come in great measure as gifts from nature, can also in part be acquired by study and art. Having then been taken by Ridolfo Ghirlandajo to the Madonna di Vertigli in Valdichiana (which place was once attached to the Monastery of the Angeli, of the Order of Camaldoli, in Florence, and is now an in- dependent body in place of the Monastery of S. Benedetto, which, being without the Porta a Pinti, was destroyed on account of the siege of Florence), Battista painted there the scenes in the cloister already mentioned, while Ridolfo was executing the altarpiece and the ornaments of the high altar. These finished, as has been related in the Life of Ridolfo, they adorned with other pictures that holy place, which is very celebrated and renowned for the many miracles that are wrought there by the Virgin Mother of the Son of God. Battista then returned to Rome, at the very time when the Judgment of Michelagnolo had just been uncovered; and, being a zealous student of the manner and works of that master, he gazed at it very gladly, and in infinite admiration made drawings of it all. And then, having resolved to remain in Rome, at the commission of Cardinal Francesco Cornaro who had rebuilt the palace that he occupied beside S. Pietro, which looks out on the portico in the direction of the Camposanto he painted over the stucco a loggia that looks towards the Piazza, making there a kind of grotesques all full of little scenes and figures; which work, executed with much labor and diligence, was held to be very beautiful. About the same time, which was the year 1538, Francesco Salviati, having painted a scene in fresco in the Company of the Misericordia, was to give it the final completion and to set his hand to others, which many private citizens desired to have painted; but, by reason of the rivalry that there was between him and Jacopo del Conte, nothing more was done; which hearing, Battista sought to obtain by this means an opportunity to prove himself superior to Francesco and the best master in Rome ; and he so went to work, employing his friends and other means, that Monsignor della Casa, after seeing a design by his hand, allotted the work to him. Thereupon, setting his hand to it, he painted there in fresco S. John the Baptist taken at the command of Herod and cast into prison. But, although this picture was executed with much labor, it was not held to be equal by a great measure to that of Salviati, from its having been painted with very great effort and in a manner crude and melancholy, while it had no order in the composition, nor in a single part any of that grace and charm of coloring which Francesco's work possessed. And from this it may be concluded that those men are deceived who, in pursuing this art, give all their attention to executing well and with a good knowledge of muscles a torso, an arm, a leg, or other member, believing that a good grasp of that part is the whole secret; for the reason that the part of a work is not the whole, and only he carries it to perfect completion, in a good and beautiful manner, who, after executing the parts well, knows how to make them fit in due proportion into the whole, and who, moreover, so contrives that the composition of the figures expresses and produces well and without confusion the effect that it should produce. And, above all, care must be taken to make the heads vivacious, spirited, gracious, and beautiful in the expressions, the manner not crude, and the nudes so tinted with black that they may have relief, melting gradually into the distance according as may be required; to say nothing of the perspective-views, landscapes, and other parts that good pictures demand, nor that in making use of the works of others a man should proceed in such a manner that this may not be too easily recognized. Battista thus became aware too late that he had wasted time beyond all reason over the minutiae of muscles and over drawing with too great diligence, while paying no attention to the other fields of art. Having finished that work, which brought him little praise, Battista transferred himself by means of Bartolommeo Genga to the service of the Duke of Urbino, to paint a very large vaulting in the church and chapel attached to the Palace of Urbino. Having arrived there, he set himself straightway to make the designs according as the invention presented itself in the work, without giving it any further thought and without making any compartments. And so in imitation of the Judgment of Buonarroti, he depicted in a Heaven the Glory of the Saints, who are dispersed over that vaulting on certain clouds, with all the choirs of the Angels about a Madonna, who, having ascended into Heaven, is received by Christ, who is in the act of crowning her, while in various separate groups stand the Patriarchs, the Prophets, the Sibyls, the Apostles, the Martyrs, the Confessors, and the Virgins; which figures, in their different attitudes, reveal their rejoicing at the advent of that Glorious Virgin. This invention would certainly have given Battista a great opportunity to prove himself an able master, if he had chosen a better way, not only making himself well-practised in fresco-colors, but also proceeding with better order and judgment than he displayed in all his labour. But he used in this work the same methods as in all his others, for he made always the same figures, the same countenances, the same members, and the same draperies; besides which, the coloring was without any charm, and everything labored and executed with difficulty. When all was finished, therefore, it gave little satisfaction to Duke Guidobaldo, Genga, and all the others who were expecting great things from that master, equal to the beautiful design that he had shown to them in the beginning; for, in truth, in making beautiful designs Battista had no peer and could be called an able man.

Which recognizing, the Duke thought that his designs would succeed very well if carried into execution by those who were fashioning vases of clay so excellently at Castel Durante, for which they had availed themselves much of the prints of Raffaello da Urbino and other able masters; and he caused Battista to draw innumerable designs, which, when put into execution in that sort of clay, the most kindly of all that there are in Italy, produced a rare result. Wherefore vases were made in such numbers and of as many kinds as would have sufficed to do honor to the credence of a King; and the pictures that were painted on them would not have been better if they had been executed in oils by the most excellent masters. Of these vases, which in the quality of the clay much resemble the kind that was wrought at Arezzo in ancient times, in the days of Porsenna, King of Tuscany, the above-named Duke Guidobaldo sent enough for a double credence to the Emperor Charles V, and a set to Cardinal Farnese, the brother of Signora Vittoria, his consort. And it is right that it should be known that of this kind of paintings on vases, in so far as we can judge, the Romans had none, for the vases of those times, filled with the ashes of their dead or used for other purposes, are covered with figures hatched and grounded with only one color, either black, or red, or white; nor have they ever that lustrous glazing or that charm and variety of paintings which have been seen and still are seen in our own times. Nor can it be said that, if perchance they did have such things, the paintings have been consumed by time and by their having been buried, for the reason that we see our own resisting the assaults of time and every other danger, insomuch that it may even be said that they might remain four thousand years under the ground without the paintings being spoilt. Now, although vases and paintings of that kind are made throughout all Italy, yet the best and most beautiful works in clay are those tha.t are wrought, as I have said, at Castel Durante, a place in the State of Urbino, and those of Faenza, the best of which are for the most part of a very pure white, with few paintings, and those in the centre or on the edges, but delicate and pleasing enough.

But to return to Battista: for the nuptials of the above-mentioned Lord Duke and Signora Vittoria Farnese, which took place afterwards at Urbino, he, assisted by his young men, executed on the arches erected by Genga, who was the head of the festive preparations, all the historical pictures that were painted upon them. Now, since the Duke doubted that Battista would not finish in time, the undertaking being very great, he sent for Giorgio Vasari who at that time was painting at Rimini, for the White Friars of Scolca, of the Order of Monte Oliveto, a large chapel in fresco and an altarpiece in oils for their high altar to the end that he might go to the aid of Genga and Battista in those preparations. But Vasari, feeling indisposed, made his excuses to his Excellency and wrote to him that he should have no doubt, for the reason that the talents and knowledge of Battista were such that he would have everything finished in time, as indeed, in the end, he did. Giorgio then going, after finishing his works at Rimini, to visit that Duke and to make his excuses in person, his Excellency caused him to examine, to the end that he might value it, the above-mentioned chapel that had been painted by Battista, which Vasari much extolled, recommending the ability of that master, who was largely rewarded by the great liberality of that lord.

It is true, however, that Battista was not at that time in Urbino, but in Rome, where he was engaged in drawing not only the statues but all the antiquities of that city, and in making, as he did, a great book of them, which was a praiseworthy work. Now, while Battista was giving his attention to drawing in Rome, Messer Giovanni Andrea dell' Anguillara, a man truly distinguished in certain forms of poetry, having got together a company of various choice spirits, was causing very rich scenery and decorations to be prepared in the large hall of S. Apostolo, in order to perform comedies by various authors before gentlemen, lords, and great persons. He had caused seats to be made for the spectators of different ranks, and for the Cardinals and other great prelates he had prepared certain rooms from which, through jalousies, they could see and hear without being seen. And since in that company there were painters, sculptors, architects, and men who were to perform the dramas and to fulfil other offices, Battista and Ammanati, having been chosen of the company, were given the charge of preparing the scenery, with some stories and ornaments in painting, which Battista executed so well (together with some statues that Ammanati made), that he was very highly extolled for them. But the great expenses of that place exceeded the means available, so that M. Giovanni Andrea and the others were forced to remove the prospect-scene and the other ornaments from S. Apostolo and to convey them into the new Temple of S. Biagio, in the Strada Giulia. There, Battista having once more arranged everything, many comedies were performed with extraordinary satisfaction to the people and courtiers of Rome; and from this origin there sprang in time the players who travel around, called the Zanni.

After these things, having come to the year 1550, Battista executed in company with Girolamo Siciolante of Sermoneta, for Cardinal di Cesis, on the fa9ade of his palace, the coat of arms of Pope Julius III, who had been newly elected Pontiff, with three figures and some little boys, which were much extolled. That finished, he painted in the Minerva, in a chapel built by a Canon of S. Pietro and all adorned with stucco, some stories of the Madonna and of Jesus Christ in the compartments of the vaulting, which were the best works that he had ever executed up to that time. On one of the two walls he painted the Nativity of Jesus Christ, with some Shepherds, and Angels that are singing over the hut, and on the other the Resurrection of Christ, with many soldiers in various attitudes about the Sepulchre; and above each of those scenes, in certain lunettes, he executed some large Prophets. And finally, on the altar - wall, he painted Christ Crucified, Our Lady, S. John, S. Dominic, and some other Saints in the niches; in all which he acquitted himself very well and like an excellent master.

But since his earnings were scanty and the expenses of Rome very great, after having executed some works on cloth, which had not much success, he returned to his native country of Venice, thinking by a change of country to change also his fortune. There, by reason of his fine manner of drawing, he was judged to be an able man, and a few days afterwards he was commissioned to execute an altarpiece in oils for the Chapel of Mons. Barbaro, Patriarch-elect of Aquileia, in the Church of S. Francesco della Vigna; in which he painted S. John baptizing Christ in the Jordan, in the air God the Father, at the foot two little boys who are holding the vestments of Christ, in the angles the Annunciation, and below these figures the semblance of a canvas superimposed, with a good number of little nude figures of Angels, Demons, and Souls in Purgatory, and with an inscription that runs "In nomine Jesu omne genuflect atur." That work, which was certainly held to be very good, won him much credit and fame; indeed, it was the reason that the Frati de' Zoccoli, who have their seat in that place, and who have charge of the Church of S. Giobbe in Canareio, caused him to paint in the Chapel of the Foscari, in that Church of S. Giobbe, a Madonna who is seated with the Child in her arms, with a S. Mark on one side and a female Saint on the other, and in the air some Angels who are scattering flowers. In S. Bartolommeo, at the tomb of Cristofano Fuccheri, a German merchant, he executed a picture of Abundance, Mercury, and Fame. For M. Antonio della Vecchia, a Venetian, he painted in a picture with figures of the size of life and very beautiful Christ crowned with Thorns, and about them some Pharisees, who are mocking Him.

Meanwhile there had been built of masonry in the Palace of S. Marco, after the design of Jacopo Sansovino, as will be related in the proper place, the staircase that leads from the first floor upwards, and it had been adorned with various designs in stucco by the sculptor Alessandro. a disciple of Sansovino; and Battista painted very minute grotesques over it all, and in certain larger spaces a good number of figures in fresco, which have been extolled not a little by the craftsmen, and he then decorated the ceiling of the vestibule of that staircase. Not long after- wards, when, as has been related above, three pictures were given to each of the best and most renowned painters of Venice to paint for the Library of S. Marco, on the condition that he who should acquit himself best in the judgment of those Magnificent Senators was to receive, in addition to the usual payment, a chain of gold, Battista executed in that place three scenes, with two Philosophers between the windows, and acquitted himself very well, although he did not win the prize of honour, as we said above.

After these works, having received from the Patriarch Grimani the commission for a chapel in S. Francesco della Vigna, which is the first on the left hand entering into the church, Battista set his hand to it and began to make very rich designs in stucco over the whole vaulting, with scenes of figures in fresco, laboring there with incredible diligence. But whether it was his own carelessness, or that he had executed some works, perchance on very fresh walls, as I have heard say, at the villas of certain gentlemen before he had that chapel finished, he died, and it remained incomplete. It was finished afterwards by Federigo Zucchero of S. Agnolo in Vado, a young and excellent painter, held to be among the best in Rome, who painted in fresco on the walls at the sides Mary Magdalene being converted by the Preaching of Christ and the Raising of her brother Lazarus, which are pictures full of grace. And, when the walls were finished, the same Federigo painted in the altarpiece the Adoration of the Magi, which was much extolled.

Extraordinary credit and fame have come to Battista, who died in the year 1561, from his many printed designs, which are truly worthy to^be praised.

 

 

 

JACOPO TINTORETTO
PAINTER OF VENICE
(Extracted from the Life of Battista Franco)


Giorgio Vasari's Lives of the Artists

IN THE SAME CITY OF VENICE, and about the same time there lived, as he still does, a painter called Jacopo Tintoretto, who has delighted in all the arts, and particularly in playing various musical instruments, besides being agreeable in his every action, but in the matter of painting swift, resolute, fantastic, and extravagant, and the most extraordinary brain that the art of painting has ever produced, as may be seen from all his works and from the fantastic compositions of his scenes, executed by him in a fashion of his own and contrary to the use of other painters. Indeed, he has surpassed even the limits of extravagance with the new and fanciful inventions and the strange vagaries of his intellect, working at haphazard and without design, as if to prove that art is but a jest. This master at times has left as finished works sketches still so rough that the brush-strokes may be seen, done more by chance and vehemence than with judgment and design. He has painted almost every kind of picture in fresco and in oils, with portraits from life, and at every price, insomuch that with these methods he has executed, as he still does, the greater part of the pictures painted in Venice. And since in his youth he proved himself by many beautiful works a man of great judgment, if only he had recognized how great an advantage he had from nature, and had improved it by reasonable study, as has been done by those who have followed the beautiful manners of his predecessors, and had not dashed his work off by mere skill of hand, he would have been one of the greatest painters that Venice has ever had. Not that this prevents him from being a bold and able painter, and delicate, fanciful, and alert in spirit.

Now, when it had been ordained by the Senate that Jacopo Tintoretto and Paolo Veronese, at that time young men of great promise, should each execute a scene in the Hall of the Great Council, and Orazio, the son of Tiziano, another, Tintoretto painted in his scene Frederick Barbarossa being crowned by the Pope, depicting there a most beautiful building, and about the Pontiff a great number of Cardinals and Venetian gentlemen, all portrayed from life, and at the foot the Pope's chapel of music. In all this he acquitted himself in such a manner, that the picture can bear comparison with those of the others, not excepting that of the above-named Orazio, in which is a battle that was fought at Rome between the Germans of that Frederick and the Romans, near the Castello di S. Angelo and the Tiber. In this picture, among other things, is a horse in foreshortening, leaping over a soldier in armor, which is most beautiful; but some declare that Orazio was assisted in the work by his father Tiziano. Beside these Paolo Veronese, of whom there has been an account in the Life of Michele San Michele, painted in his scene the same Frederick Barbarossa presenting himself at Court and kissing the hand of Pope Ottaviano, to the despite of Pope Alexander III; and, in addition to that scene, which was very beautiful, Paolo painted over a window four large figures: Time, Union, with a bundle of rods, Patience, and Faith, in which he acquitted himself better than I could express in words.

Not long afterwards, another scene being required in that hall, Tintoretto so went to work with the aid of friends and other means, that it was given to him to paint; whereupon he executed it in such a manner that it was a marvel, and that it deserves to be numbered among the best things that he ever did, so powerful in him was his determination that he would equal, if not vanquish and surpass, his rivals who had worked in that place. And the scene that he painted there to the end that it may be known also by those who are not of the art was Pope Alexander excommunicating and interdicting Barbarossa, and that Frederick therefore forbidding his subjects to render obedience any longer to the Pontiff. And among other fanciful things that are in this scene, that part is most beautiful in which the Pope and the Cardinals are throwing down torches and candles from a high place, as is done when some person is excommunicated, and below is a rabble of nude figures that are struggling for those torches and candles the most lovely and pleasing effect in the world. Besides all this, certain bases, antiquities, and portraits of gentlemen that are dispersed throughout the scene, are executed very well, and won him favor and fame with everyone. He therefore painted, for places below the work of Pordenone in the principal chapel of S. Rocco, two pictures in oils as broad as the width of the whole chapel namely, about twelve braccia each. In one he depicted a view in perspective as of a hospital filled with beds and sick persons in various attitudes who are being healed by S. Rocco; and among these are some nude figures very well conceived, and a dead body in foreshortening that is very beautiful. In the other is a story likewise of S. Rocco, full of most graceful and beautiful figures, and such, in short, that it is held to be one of the best works that this painter has executed. In a scene of the same size, in the center of the church, he painted Jesus Christ healing the impotent man at the Pool of Bethesda, which is also a work held to be passing good.

In the Church of S. Maria dell' Orto, where, as has been told above, Cristofano and his brother, painters of Brescia, painted the ceiling, Tintoretto has painted that is, on canvas and in oils the two walls of the principal chapel, which are twenty-two braccia in height from the vaulting to the cornice at the foot. In that which is on the right hand he has depicted Moses returning from the Mount, where he had received the Laws from God, and finding the people worshipping the Golden Calf; and opposite to that, in the other, is the Universal Judgment of the last day, painted with an extravagant invention that truly has in it something awesome and terrible, by reason of the diversity of figures of either sex and all ages that are there, with vistas and distant views of the souls of the blessed and the damned. There, also, may be seen the boat of Charon, but in a manner so different from that of others, that it is a thing beautiful and strange. If this fantastic invention had been executed with correct and well-ordered drawing, and if the painter had given diligent attention to the parts and to each particular detail, as he has done to the whole in expressing the confusion, turmoil, and terror of that day, it would have been a most stupendous picture. And whoever glances at it for a moment, is struck with astonishment; but, considering it afterwards minutely, it appears as if painted as a jest.

The same master has painted in oils in that church, on the doors of the organ, Our Lady ascending the steps of the Temple, which is a highly- finished work, and the best-executed and most gladsome picture that there is in that place. In S. Maria Zebenigo, likewise on the doors of the organ, he has painted the Conversion of S. Paul, but not with much care. In the Carita is an altarpiece by his hand, of Christ taken down from the Cross; and in the Sacristy of S. Sebastiano, in competition with Paolo Veronese, who executed many pictures on the ceiling and the walls of that place, he painted over the presses Moses in the Desert and other scenes, which were continued afterwards by Natalino, a Venetian painter, and by others. The same Tintoretto then painted for the altar of the Pieta, in S. Giobbe, three Maries, S. Francis, S. Sebastian, and S. John, with a piece of landscape; and, on the organ-doors in the Church of the Servites, S. Augustine and S. Philip, and beneath them Cain killing his brother Abel. At the altar of the Sacrament in S. Felice, or rather, on the ceiling of the tribune, he painted the four Evangelists; and in the lunette above the altar an Annunciation, in the other lunette Christ praying on the Mount of Olives, and on the wall the Last Supper that He had with His Apostles.

And in S. Francesco della Vigna, on the altar of the Deposition from the Cross, there is by the same hand the Madonna in a swoon, with the other Maries and some Prophets. In the Scuola of S. Marco, near SS. Giovanni e Polo, are four large scenes by his hand. In one of these is S. Mark, who, appearing in the air, is delivering one who is his votary from many torments that may be seen prepared for him with various instruments of torture, which being broken, the executioner was never able to employ them against that devout man; and in that scene is a great abundance of figures, foreshortenings, pieces of armor, buildings, portraits, and other suchlike things, which render the work very ornate. In the second is a tempest of the sea, and S. Mark, likewise in the air, delivering another of his votaries ; but that scene is by no means executed with the same diligence as that already described. In the third is a storm of rain, with the dead body of another of S. Mark's votaries, and his soul ascending into Heaven; and there, also, is a composition of passing good figures. In the fourth, wherein an evil spirit is being exorcised, he counterfeited in perspective a great loggia, and at the end of it a fire that illumines it with many reflections. And in addition to those scenes there is on the altar a S. Mark by the same hand, which is a passing good picture.

These works, then, and many others that are here passed over, it being enough to have made mention of the best, have been executed by Tintoretto with such rapidity, that, when it was thought that he had scarcely begun, he had finished. And it is a notable thing that with the most extravagant ways in the world, he has always work to do, for the reason that when his friendships and other means are not enough to obtain for him any particular work, even if he had to do it, I do not say at a low price, but without payment or by force, in one way or another, do it he would. And it is not long since, Tintoretto having executed the Passion of Christ in a large picture in oils and on canvas for the Scuola of S. Rocco, the men of that Company resolved to have some honourable and magnificent work painted on the ceiling above it, and therefore to allot that commission to that one among the painters that there were in Venice who should make the best and most beautiful design. Having therefore summoned Joseffo Salviati, Federigo Zucchero, who was in Venice at that time, Paolo Veronese, and Jacopo Tintoretto, they ordained that each of them should make a design, promising the work to him who should acquit himself best in this. While the others, then, were engaged with all possible diligence in making their designs, Tintoretto, having taken measurements of the size that the work was to be, sketched a great canvas and painted it with his usual rapidity, without anyone knowing about it, and then placed it where it was to stand. Whereupon, the men of the Company having assembled one morning to see the designs and to make their award, they found that Tintoretto had completely finished the work and had placed it in position. At which being angered against him, they said that they had called for designs and had not commissioned him to execute the work; but he answered them that this was his method of making designs, that he did not know how to proceed in any other manner, and that designs and models of works should always be after that fashion, so as to deceive no one, and that, finally, if they would not pay him for the work and for his labor, he would make them a present of it.

And after these words, although he had many contradictions, he so contrived that the work is still in the same place. In this canvas, then, there is painted a Heaven with God the Father descending with many Angels to embrace S. Rocco, and in the lowest part are many figures that signify, or rather, represent the other principal Scuole of Venice, such as the Carita, S. Giovanni Evangelista, the Misericordia, S. Marco, and S. Teodoro, all executed after his usual manner. But since it would be too long a task to enumerate all the pictures of Tintoretto, let it be enough to have spoken of the above named works of that master, who is a truly able man and a painter worthy to be praised.

 

 

 

ANDREA SCHIAVONE
PAINTER OF VENICE

Vasari's Lives of the Artists



There was in Venice about this same time a painter called Brazzacco, a protege of the house of Grimani, who had been many years in Rome; and he was commissioned by favor to paint the ceiling in the Great Hall of the Chiefs of the Council of Ten. But this master, knowing that he was not able to do it by himself and that he had need of assistance, took as companions Paolo Veronese and Battista Farinato, dividing between himself and them nine pictures in oils that were destined for that place namely, four ovals at the corners, four oblong pictures, and a larger oval in the centre. Giving the last-named o'^al, with three of the oblong pictures, to Paolo Veronese, who painted therein a Jove who is hurling his thunderbolts against the Vices, and other figures, he took for himself two of the smaller ovals, with one of the oblong pictures, and gave two ovals to Battista. In one of these pictures is Neptune, the God of the Sea, and in each of the others two figures demonstrating the greatness and the tranquil and peaceful condition of Venice. Now, although all three of them acquitted themselves well, Paolo Veronese succeeded better than the others, and well deserved, therefore, that those Signori should afterwards allot to him the other ceiling that is beside the above-named hall, wherein he painted in oils, in company with Battista Farinato, a S. Mark supported in the air by some Angels, and lower down a Venice surrounded by Faith, Hope, and Charity; which work, although it was beautiful, was not equal in excellence to the first. Paolo afterwards executed by himself in the Umilta, in a large oval of the ceiling, an Assumption of Our Lady with other figures, which was a gladsome, beautiful, and well-conceived picture.

Likewise a good painter in our own day, in that city, has been Andrea Schiavone; I say good, because at times, for all his misfortunes, he has produced some good work, and because he has always imitated as well as he has been able the manners of the good masters. But, since the greater part of his works have been pictures that are dispersed among the houses of gentlemen, I shall speak only of some that are in public places. In the Chapel of the family of Pellegrini, in the Church of S. Sebastiano at Venice, he has painted a S. James with two Pilgrims. In the Church of the Carmine, on the ceiling of the choir, he has executed an Assumption with many Angels and Saints; and in the Chapel of the Presentation, in the same church, he has painted the Infant Christ presented by His Mother in the Temple, with many portraits from life, but the best figure that is there is a woman suckling a child and wearing a yellow garment, who is executed in a certain manner that is used in Venice dashed off, or rather, sketched, without being in any respect finished. Him Giorgio Vasari caused in the year 1540 to paint on a large canvas in oils the battle that had been fought a short time before between Charles V and Barbarossa; and that work, which is one of the best that Andrea Schiavone ever executed, and truly very beautiful, is now in Florence, in the house of the heirs of the Magnificent M. Ottaviano de' Medici, to whom it was sent as a present by Vasari.

 

 

 

GIOVAN FRANCESCO RUSTICI (1471-1554)
SCULPTOR AND ARCHITECT OF FLORENCE

Giorgio Vasari's Lives of the Artists




IT IS IN EVERY WAY a notable thing that all those who were of the school in the garden of the Medici, and were favored by the Magnificent Lorenzo the Elder, became without exception supremely excellent; which circumstance cannot have come from any other cause but the great, nay, infinite judgment of that most noble lord, the true Maecenas of men of talent, who, even as he was able to recognize men of lofty spirit and genius, was also both willing and able to recompense and reward them. Thus Giovan Francesco Rustici, a Florentine citizen, acquitting himself very well in drawing and working in clay in his boyhood, was placed by that Magnificent Lorenzo, who recognized him as a boy of spirit and of good and beautiful genius, to learn under Andrea del Verrocchio, with whom there was also working Leonardo da Vinci, a rare youth and gifted with infinite parts. Whereupon Rustici, being pleased by the beautiful manner and ways of Leonardo, and considering that the expressions of his heads and the movements of his figures were more graceful and more spirited than those of any other works that he had ever seen, attached himself to him, after he had learned to cast in bronze, to draw in perspective, and to work in marble, and after Andrea had gone to work in Venice.

Rustici thus living with Leonardo and serving him with the most loving submission, Leonardo conceived such an affection for him, recognizing him to be a young man of good, true, and liberal mind, patient and diligent in the labors of art, that he did nothing, either great or small, save what was pleasing to Giovan Francesco, who, besides being of a noble family, had the means to live honorably, and therefore practised art more for his own delight and from desire of glory than for gain. And, to tell the truth of the matter, those craftsmen who have as their ultimate and principal end gain and profit, and not honor and glory, rarely become very excellent, even although they may have good and beautiful genius; besides which, laboring for a livelihood, as very many do who are weighed down by poverty and their families, and working not by inclination, when the mind and the will are drawn to it, but by necessity from morning till night, is a life not for men who have honor and glory as their aim, but for hacks, as they are called, and manual laborers, for the reason that good works do not get done without first having been well considered for a long time. And it was on that account that Rustici used to say in his more mature years that you must first think, then make your sketches, and after that your designs; which done, you must put them aside for weeks and even months without looking at them, and then, choosing the best, put them into execution; but that method cannot be followed by everyone, nor do those use it who labor only for gain. And he used to say, also, that works should not be shown readily to anyone before they are finished, so that a man may change them as many times and in as many ways as he wishes, without any scruple.

Giovan Francesco learned many things from Leonardo, but particularly how to represent horses, in which he so delighted that he fashioned them of clay and of wax, in the round or in low-relief, and in as many manners as could be imagined; and of these there are some to be seen in our book which are so well drawn, that they bear witness to the knowledge and art of Giovan Francesco. He knew also how to handle colors, and executed some passing good pictures, although his principal profession was sculpture. And since he lived for a time in the Via de' Martelli, he became much the friend of all the men of that family, which has always had men of the highest ability and worth, and particularly of Piero, for whom, being the nearest to his heart, he made some little figures in full-relief, and, among others, a Madonna with the Child in her arms seated upon some clouds that are covered with Cherubim. Similar to that is another that he painted after some time in a large picture in oils, with a garland of Cherubim that form a diadem around the head of Our Lady.

The Medici family having then returned to Florence, Rustici made himself known to Cardinal Giovanni as the protege of his father Lorenzo, and was received with much lovingness. But, since the ways of the Court did not please him and were distasteful to his nature, which was altogether simple and peaceful, and not full of envy and ambition, he would always keep to himself and live the life as it were of a philosopher, enjoying tranquil peace and repose. And although he did at times choose to take some recreation, and found himself among his friends in art or some citizens who were his intimate companions, he did not therefore cease to work when the desire came to him or the occasion presented itself. Wherefore, for the visit of Pope Leo to Florence in the year 1515, at the request of Andrea del Sarto, who was much his friend, he executed some statues that were held to be very beautiful; which statues, since they pleased Cardinal Giulio de' Medici, were the reason that the Cardinal caused him to make, for the summit of the fountain that is in the great court of the Palace of the Medici, the nude Mercury of bronze about one braccio in height, standing on a ball in the act of taking flight. In the hands of that figure Rustici placed an instrument that is made to revolve by the water that it pours down from above, in the following manner: one leg being perforated, a pipe passes through it and through the torso, and the water, having risen to the mouth of the figure, falls upon that instrument, which is balanced with four thin plates fixed after the manner of a butterfly, and causes it to revolve. That figure, I say, for a small work, was much extolled.

Not long afterwards, Giovan Francesco made the same Cardinal the model for a David to be cast in bronze (similar to that executed by Donato, as has been related, for the elder Cosimo, the Magnificent), for placing in the first court, whence the other had been taken away. That model gave much satisfaction, but, by reason of a certain dilatoriness in Giovan Francesco, it was never cast in bronze; wherefore the Orpheus in marble of Bandinelli was placed there, and the David of clay made by Rustici, which was a very rare work, came to an evil end, which was a very great loss. Giovan Francesco made an Annunciation in half-relief in a large medallion, with a most beautiful perspective- view, in which he was assisted by the painter Raifaello Bello and by Niccolo Soggi. This, when cast in bronze, proved to be a work of such rare beauty, that there was nothing more beautiful to be seen; and it was sent to the King of Spain. And then he executed in marble, in another similar medallion, a Madonna with the Child in her arms and S. John the Baptist as a little boy, which was placed in the first hall in the residence of the Consuls of the Guild of For Santa Maria.

By these works Giovan Francesco came into great credit, and the Consuls of the Guild of Merchants, who had caused to be removed certain clumsy figures of marble that were over the three doors of the Temple of S. Giovanni (made, as has been related, in the year 1240), after allotting to Contucci of Sansovino those that were to be set up in place of the old ones over the door that faces towards the Misericordia, allotted to Rustici those that were to be placed over the door that faces towards the canonical buildings of that temple, on the condition that he should make three figures of bronze of four braccia each, representing the same persons as the old ones namely, S. John in the act of preaching, standing between a Pharisee and a Levite. That work was much after the heart of Giovan Francesco, because it was to be set up in a place so celebrated and of such importance, and, besides this, by reason of the competition with Andrea Contucci. Having therefore straightway set his hand to it and made a little model, which he surpassed in the excellence of the work itself, he showed all the consideration and diligence that such a labor required. When finished, the work was held to be in all its parts the best composed and best conceived of its kind that had been made up to that time, the figures being wholly perfect and wrought with great grace of aspect and also extraordinary force. In like manner, the nude arms and legs are very well conceived, and attached at the joints so excellently, that it would not be possible to do better; and, to say nothing of the hands and feet, what graceful attitudes and what heroic gravity have those heads !

Giovan Francesco, while he was fashioning that work in clay, would have no one about him but Leonardo da Vinci, who, during the making of the moulds, the securing them with irons, and, in short, until the statues were cast, never left his side; wherefore some believe, but without knowing more than this, that Leonardo worked at them with his own hand, or at least assisted Giovan Francesco with his advice and good judgment. These statues, which are the most perfect and the best conceived that have ever been executed in bronze by a modern master, were cast in three parts and polished in the above-mentioned house in the Via de' Martelli where Giovan Francesco lived; and so, also, the ornaments of marble that are about the S. John, with the two columns, the mouldings, and the emblem of the Guild of Merchants. In addition to the S. John, which is a spirited and lively figure, there is a bald man inclined to fatness, beautifully wrought, who, having rested the right arm on one flank, with part of a shoulder naked, and with the left hand holding a scroll before his eyes, has the left leg crossed over the right, and stands in an attitude of deep contemplation, about to answer S. John; and he is clothed in two kinds of drapery, one delicate, which floats over the nude parts of the figure, and over that a mantle of thicker texture, executed with a flow of folds full of mastery and artistry. Equal to him is the Pharisee, who, having laid his right hand on his beard, with a grave gesture, is drawing back a little, revealing astonishment at the words of John.

While Rustici was executing that work, growing weary at last of having to ask for money every day from those Consuls or their agents, who were not always the same (and such persons are generally men who hold art or any work of value in little account), he sold, in order to be able to finish the work, a farm out of his patrimony that he possessed at San Marco Vecchio, at a short distance from Florence. And yet, notwithstanding such labors, expenses, and pains, he was poorly remunerated for it by the Consuls and by his fellow-citizens, for the reason that one of the Ridolfi, the head of that Guild, out of some private spite, and perchance also because Rustici had not paid him enough honor or allowed him to see the figures at his convenience, was always opposed to him in everything. And so that which should have resulted in honor for Giovan Francesco did the very opposite, for, whereas he deserved to be esteemed not only as a nobleman and a citizen but also as a master of art, his being a most excellent craftsman robbed him, with the ignorant and foolish, of all that was due to his noble blood. Thus, when Giovan Francesco's work was to be valued, and he had chosen on his side Michelagnolo Buonarroti, the body of Consuls, at the persuasion of Ridolfi, chose Baccio d'Agnolo; at which Rustici complained, saying to the men of that body, at the audience, that it was indeed something too strange that a worker in wood should have to value the labors of a statuary, and he as good as declared that they were a herd of oxen, but Ridolfi answered that, on the contrary, it was a good choice, and that Giovan Francesco was a swollen bladder of pride and arrogance. And, what was worse, that work, which deserved not less than two thousand crowns, was valued by the Consuls at five hundred, and even those were not paid to him in full, but only four hundred, and that only with the help of Cardinal Giulio de' Medici.

Having met with such malignity, Giovan Francesco withdrew almost in despair, determined that he would never again do work for public bodies, or in any undertaking where he might have to depend on more than one citizen or any other single person. And so, keeping to himself and leading a solitary life in his rooms at the Sapienza, near the Servite Friars, he continued to work at various things, in order to pass the time and not to live in idleness; but also consuming his life and his money in seeking to congeal mercury, in company with a man of like brain called Raffaello Baglioni. Giovan Francesco painted a picture in oils three braccia in breadth and two in height, of the Conversion of S. Paul, full of different kinds of horses ridden by the soldiers of that Saint, with various beautiful attitudes and foreshortenings; which painting, together with many other works by the hand of the same master, is in the possession of the heirs of the above-named Piero Martelli, to whom he gave it. In a little picture he painted a hunting scene full of various animals, which is a very bizarre and pleasing work; and it now belongs to Lorenzo Borghini, who holds it dear, as one who much delights in the treasures of our arts.

For the Nuns of S. Luca, in the Via di S. Gallo, he executed in clay, in half-relief, a Christ in the Garden who is appearing to Mary Magdalene, which was afterwards glazed by Giovanni della Robbia and placed on an altar in the church of those sisters, within an ornament of grey sandstone. For Jacopo Salviati the elder, of whom he was much the friend, he made a most beautiful medallion of marble, containing a Madonna, for the chapel in his palace above the Ponte alia Badia, and, round the courtyard, many medallions filled with figures of terracotta, together with other very beautiful ornaments, which were for the most part, nay, almost all, destroyed by the soldiers in the year of the siege, when the palace was set on fire by the party hostile to the Medici. And since Giovan Francesco had a great affection for that place, he would set out at times from Florence to go there just as he was, in his lucco;* [* A long gown worn by the Florentine citizens, particularly on occasions of ceremony.] and once out of the city he would throw it over his shoulder and slowly wander all by himself, lost in contemplation, until he was there. One day among others, being on that road, and the day being hot, he hid the lucco in a thicket of thorn bushes, and, having reached the palace, had been there two days before he remembered it. In the end, sending his man to look for it, when he saw that he had found it he said: "The world is too good to last long."

Giovan Francesco was a man of surpassing goodness, and very loving to the poor, insomuch that he would never let anyone leave him uncomforted; nay, keeping his money, whether he had much or little, in a basket, he would give some according to his ability to anyone who asked of him. Wherefore a poor man who often went to him for alms, seeing him go always to that basket, said, not thinking that he could be heard: "Ah! God! if I had in my own room all that is in that basket, I would soon settle all my troubles." Giovan Francesco, hearing him, said, after gazing at him fixedly a while: "Come here, I will satisfy you." And then, emptying the basket into a fold of his cloak, he said to him: "Go, and may God bless you." And shortly afterwards he sent to Niccolo Buoni, his dearest friend, who managed all his affairs, for more money; which Niccolo, who kept an account of his crops and of his money in the Monte, and sold his produce at the proper seasons, made a practice, according to Rustici's own wish, of giving him so much money every week, which Giovan Francesco then kept in the drawer of his desk, without a key, and from time to time anyone who wished would take some to spend on the requirements of the household, according as might be necessary.

But to return to his works: Giovan Francesco made a most beautiful Crucifix of wood, as large as life, for sending to France, but it was left with Niccolo Buoni, together with other things in low-relief and drawings, which are now in his possession, at the time when Rustici resolved to leave Florence, believing that it was no place for him and thinking by a change of country to obtain a change of fortune. For Duke Giuliano, by whom he was always much favored, he made a profile of his head in half-relief, and cast it in bronze; and this, which was held to be a remarkable work, is now in the house of M. Alessandro, the son of M. Ottaviano de' Medici. To the painter Ruberto di Filippo Lippi, who was his diciple, Giovan Francesco gave many works by his own hand, such as low-reliefs, models, and designs; and, among other things, several pictures a Leda, a Europa, a Neptune, a very beautiful Vulcan, and another little panel in low-relief wherein is a nude man on horseback of great beauty, which panel is now in the study of Don Silvano Razzi, at the Angeli. The same Giovan Francesco made a very beautiful woman in bronze, two braccia in height, representing one of the Graces, who was pressing one of her breasts; but it is not known what became of it, nor in whose possession it is to be found. Of his horses in clay with men on their backs or under them, similar to those already mentioned, there are many in the houses of citizens, which were presented by him to his various friends, for he was very courteous, and not, like most men of his class, mean and discourteous. And Dionigi da Diacceto, an excellent and honorable gentleman, who also kept the accounts of Giovan Francesco, like Niccolo Buoni, and was his friend, had from him many low-reliefs.

There never was a man more amusing or fanciful than Giovan Francesco, nor one that delighted more in animals. He had made a porcupine so tame, that it stayed under the table like a dog, and at times it rubbed against people's legs in such a manner, that they drew them in very quickly. He had an eagle, and also a raven that said a great number of things so clearly, that it was just like a human being. He also gave his attention to the study of necromancy, and by means of that I am told that he gave strange frights to his servants and assistants; and thus he lived without a care. Having built a room almost in the manner of a fishpond, and keeping in it many serpents, or rather, grass- snakes, which could not escape, he used to take the greatest pleasure in standing, particularly in summer, to observe the mad pranks that they played, and their fury.

There used to assemble in his rooms at the Sapienza a company of good fellows who called themselves the Company of the Paiuolo;* [* Cooking- pot or cauldron.] and these, whose numbers were limited to twelve, were our Giovan Francesco, Andrea del Sarto, the painter Spillo, Domenico Puligo, the goldsmith Robetta, Aristotile da San Gallo, Francesco di Pellegrino, Niccolo Buoni, Domenico Baccelli, who played and sang divinely, the sculptor Solosmeo, Lorenzo called Guazzetto, and the painter Ruberto di Filippo Lippi, who was their proveditor. Each of these twelve could bring to certain suppers and entertainments of theirs four friends and no more. The manner of the suppers, which I am very willing to describe because these companies have fallen almost entirely out of fashion, was that each man should bring some dish for supper, prepared with some beautiful invention, which, on arriving at the proper place, he presented to the master of the feast, who was always one of their number, and who then gave it to whomsoever he pleased, each man thus exchanging his dish for that of another. When they were at table, they all offered each other something from their dishes, and every man partook of everything; and whoever had hit on the same invention for his dish as another, and had produced the same thing, was condemned to pay a penalty.

One evening, then, when Giovan Francesco gave a supper to that Company of the Paiuolo, he arranged that there should serve as a table an immense cauldron made with a vat, within which they all sat, and it appeared as if they were in the water of the cauldron, in the center of which came the viands arranged in a circle; and the handle of the cauldron, which curved like a crescent above them, gave out a most beautiful light from the centre, so that, looking round, they all saw each other face to face Now when they were all seated at table in the cauldron, which was most beautifully contrived, there issued from the center a tree with many branches, which set before them the supper, that is, the first course of viands, two to each plate. This done, it descended once more below, where there were persons who played music, and in a short time came up again and presented the second course, and then the third, and so on in due order, while all around were servants who poured out the choicest wines. The invention of the cauldron, which was beautifully adorned with hangings and pictures, was much extolled by the men of that company.

For that evening the contribution of Rustici was a cauldron in the form of a pie, in which was Ulysses dipping his father in order to make him young again; which two figures were boiled capons that had the form of men, so well were the limbs arranged, and all with various things good to eat. Andrea del Sarto presented an octagonal temple, similar to that of S. Giovanni, but raised upon columns. The pavement was a vast plate of jelly, with a pattern of mosaic in various colors; the columns, which had the appearance of porphyry, were sausages, long and thick; the socles and capitals were of Parmesan cheese; the cornices of sugar, and the tribune was made of sections of marchpane. In the centre was a choir-desk made of cold veal, with a book of lasagne that had the letters and notes of the music made of pepper-corns; and the singers at the desk were cooked thrushes standing with their beaks open, and with certain little shirts after the manner of surplices, made of fine cauls of pigs, and behind them, for the basses, were two fat young pigeons, with six ortolans that sang the soprano. Spillo presented as his dish a smith, which he had made from a great goose or some such bird, with all the instruments wherewith to mend the cauldron in case of need. Domenico Puligo represented by means of a cooked sucking-pig a serving-girl with a distaff at her side, who was watching a brood of chickens, and was there to scour the cauldron. Robetta made out of a calf's head, with appurtenances formed of other fat meats, an anvil for the maintenance of the cauldron, which was very fine and very beautiful, as were also all the other contributions; not to enumerate one by one all the dishes of that supper and of many others that they gave.

The Company of the Cazzuola,* [* Mason's trowel. A sort of curd.] which was similar to the other, and to which Giovan Francesco belonged, had its origin in the following manner. One evening in the year 1512 there were at supper in the garden that Feo d'Agnolo the hunchback, a fife-player and a very merry fellow, had in the Campaccio, with Feo himself, Ser Bastiano Sagginati, Ser Raffaello del Beccaio, Ser Cecchino de' Profumi, Girolamo del Giocondo, and II Baia, and, while they were eating their ricotta,f the eyes of Baia fell on a heap of lime with the trowel sticking in it, just as the mason had left it the day before, by the side of the table in a corner of the garden. Whereupon, taking some of the lime with that trowel, or rather, mason's trowel, he dropped it all into the mouth of Feo, who was waiting with gaping jaws for a great mouthful of ricotta from another of the company. Which seeing, they all began to shout: "A Trowel, a Trowel!" That Company being then formed by reason of that incident, it was ordained that its members should be in all twenty-four, twelve of those who, as the phrase was in those times, were "going for the Great," and twelve of those who were "going for the Less "; and that its emblem should be a trowel, to which they added afterwards those little black tadpoles that have a large head and a tail, which are called in Tuscany Cazzuole. Their Patron Saint was S. Andrew, whose festal day they used to celebrate with much solemnity, giving a most beautiful supper and banquet according to their rules.

The first members of that Company, those "going for the Great," were Jacopo Bottegai, Francesco Rucellai, Domenico his brother, Giovan Battista Ginori, Girolamo del Giocondo, Giovanni Miniati, Niccolo del Barbigia, Mezzabotte his brother, Cosimo da Panzano, Matteo his brother, Marco Jacopi, and Pieraccino Bartoli; and those "going for the Less," Ser Bastiano Sagginati, Ser Raffaello del Beccaio, Ser Cecchino de' Profumi, Giuliano Bugiardini the painter, Francesco Granacci the painter, Giovan Francesco Rustici, Feo the hunchback, his companion II Talina the musician, Pierino the fifer, Giovanni the trombone-player, and II Baia the bombardier. The associates were Bernardino di Giordano, II Talano, II Caiano, Maestro Jacopo del Bientina and M. Giovan Battista di Cristofano Ottonaio, both heralds of the Signoria, Buon Pocci, and Domenico Barlacchi. And not many years passed (so much did they increase in reputation as they held their feasts and merrymakings), before there were elected to that Company of the Cazzuola Signor Giuliano de' Medici, Ottangolo Benvenuti, Giovanni Canigiani, Giovanni Serristori, Giovanni Gaddi, Giovanni Bandini, Luigi Martelli, Paolo da Romena, and Filippo Pandolnni the hunchback; and together with these, at one and the same time, as associates, Andrea del Sarto the painter, Bartolommeo Trombone the musician, Ser Bernardo Pisanello, Piero the cloth-shearer, Gemma the mercer, and lastly Maestro Manente da San Giovanni the physician.

The feasts that these men held at various times were innumerable, and I shall describe only a few of them for the sake of those who do not know the customs of these Companies, which, as has been related, have now fallen almost entirely out of fashion. The first given by the Cazzuola, which was arranged by Giuliano Bugiardini, was held at a place called the Aia,* [* Threshing-floor.] at S. Maria Nuova, where, as we have already said, the gates of S. Giovanni were cast in bronze. There, I say, the master of the Company having commanded that every man should present himself dressed in whatever costume he pleased, on condition that those who might resemble one another in their manner of dress by being clothed in the same fashion, should pay a penalty, at the appointed hour there appeared the most beautiful, bizarre, and extravagant costumes that could be imagined. Then, the hour of supper having come, they were placed at table according to the quality of their clothes those who were dressed as Princes in the first places, the rich and noble after them, and those dressed as poor persons in the last and lowest places. And whether they had games and merrymaking after supper, it is better to leave that to everyone to imagine for himself than to say anything about it.

At another repast, which was arranged by the same Bugiardini and by Giovan Francesco Rustic!, the men of the Company appeared, as the master had commanded, all in the dress of masons and their labourers; that is, those who were "going for the Great " had the trowel with the cutting edge and hammer in their girdles, and those "going for the Less " were dressed as labourers with the hod, the levers for moving weights, and in their girdles the ordinary trowel. When all had arrived in the first room, the lord of the feast showed them the groundplan of an edifice that had to be built by the company, and placed the master-masons at table around it; and then the labourers began to carry up the materials for making the foundations hods full of cooked lasagne and ricotta prepared with sugar for mortar, sand made of cheese, spices, and pepper mixed together, and for gravel large sweetmeats and pieces of berlingozzo.* [* A Florentine cake.] The wall-bricks, paving-bricks, and tiles, which were brought in baskets and hand-barrows, were loaves of bread and flat cakes. A basement having then come up, it appeared to the stone-cutters that it had not been executed and put together well enough, and they judged that it would be a good thing to break it and take it to pieces; where- upon, having set upon it and found it all composed of pastry, pieces of liver, and other suchlike things, they feasted on these, which were placed before them by the labourers. Next, the same laborers having come on the scene with a great column swathed with the cooked tripe of calves, it was taken to pieces, and after distributing the boiled veal, capons, and other things of which it was composed, they eat the base of Parmesan cheese and the capital, which was made in a marvellous manner of pieces carved from roasted capons and slices of veal, with a crown of tongues. But why do I dally over describing all the details ? After the column, there was brought up on a car a very ingenious piece of architrave with frieze and cornice, composed in like manner so well and of so many different viands, that to attempt to describe them all would make too long a story. Enough that when the time came to break up, after many peals of thunder an artificial rain began to fall, and all left the work and fled, each one going to his own house.

Another time, when the master of the same Company was Matteo da Panzano, the banquet was arranged in the following manner. Ceres, seeking Proserpine her daughter, who had been carried off by Pluto, entered the room where the men of the Cazzuola were assembled, and, coming before their master, besought him that they should accompany her to the infernal regions. To which request consenting after much discussion, they went after her, and so, entering into a somewhat darkened room, they saw in place of a door a vast mouth of a serpent, the head of which took up the whole wall. Round which door all crowding together, while Cerberus barked, Ceres called out asking whether her lost daughter were in there, and, a voice having answered Yes, she added that she desired to have her back. But Pluto replied that he would not give her up, and invited Ceres with all the company to the nuptials that were being prepared; and the invitation was accepted. Whereupon, all having entered through that mouth, which was full of teeth, and which, being hung on hinges, opened to each couple of men that entered, and then shut again, they found themselves at last in a great room of a round shape, which had no light but a very little one in the centre, which burned so dim that they could scarcely see one another. There, having been pushed into their seats with a great fork by a most hideous Devil who was in the middle, beside the tables, which were draped in black, Pluto commanded that in honor of his nuptials the pains of Hell should cease for as long as those guests remained there; and so it was done.

Now in that room were painted all the chasms of the regions of the damned, with their pains and torments; and, fire being put to a match of tow, in a flash a light was kindled at each chasm, thus revealing in the picture in what manner and with what pains those who were in it were tormented. The viands of that infernal supper were all animals vile and most hideous in appearance; but nevertheless within, under the loathly covering and the shape of the pastry, were most delicate meats of many kinds. The skin, I say, on the outer side, made it appear as if they were serpents, grass-snakes, lizards large and small, tarantulas, toads, frogs, scorpions, bats, and other suchlike animals; but within all were composed of the choicest viands. And these were placed on the tables before every man with a shovel, under the direction of the Devil, who was in the middle, while a companion poured out exquisite wines from a horn of glass, ugly and monstrous in shape, into glazed crucibles, which served as drinking glasses. These first viands finished, which formed a sort of relish, dead men's bones were set all the way down the table in place of fruits and sweetmeats, as if the supper, which was scarcely begun, were finished; which reliquary fruits were of sugar. That done, Pluto, who proclaimed that he wished to go to his repose with his Proserpine, commanded that the pains should return to torment the damned; and in a moment all the lights that have been mentioned were blown out by a sort of wind, on every side were heard rumblings, voices, and cries, awesome and horrible, and in the middle of that darkness, with a little light, was seen the image of Baia the bombardier, who was one of the guests, as has been related condemned to Hell by Pluto for having always chosen as the subjects and inventions of his girandole and other fireworks the seven mortal sins and the things of Hell. While all were occupied in gazing on that spectacle and listening to various sounds of lamentation, the mournful and funereal table was taken away, and in place of it, lights being kindled, was seen a very rich and regal feast, with splendid servants who brought the rest of the supper, which was handsome and magnificent. At the end of the supper came a ship full of various confections, and the crew of the ship, pretending to remove their merchandize, little by little brought the men of the Company into the upper rooms, where, a very rich scenic setting having been already prepared, there was performed a comedy called the Filogenia, which was much extolled; and at dawn, the play finished, every man went happily home.

years afterwards, it being the turn of the same man, after many feasts and comedies, to be master of the Company another time, he, in order to reprove some of that Company who had spent too much on certain feasts and banquets (only, as the saying goes, to be themselves eaten alive), had his banquet arranged in the following manner. At the Aia, where they were wont to assemble, there were first painted on the wall without the door some of those figures that are generally painted on the walls and porticoes of hospitals, such as the director of the hospital, with gestures full of charity, inviting and receiving beggars and pilgrims. This picture being uncovered late on the evening of the feast, there began to arrive the men of the Company, who, after knocking and being received at the entrance by the director of the hospital, made their way into a great room arranged in the manner of a hospital, with the beds at the sides and other suchlike things. In the middle of that room, round a great fire, were Bientina, Battista dell' Ottonaio, Barlacchi, Baia, and other merry spirits, dressed after the manner of beggars, wastrels, and gallows-birds, who, pretending not to be seen by those who came in from time to time and gathered into a circle, and conversing of the men of the Company and also of themselves, said the hardest things in the world about those who had thrown away their all and spent on suppers and feasts much more than was right. Which discourse finished, when it was seen that all who were to be there had arrived, in came S. Andrew, their Patron Saint, who, leading them out of the hospital, took them into another room, magnificently furnished, where they sat down to table and had a joyous supper. Then the Saint laughingly commanded them that, in order not to be too wasteful with their superfluous expenses, so that they might keep well away from hospitals, they should be con- tented with one feast, a grand and solemn affair, every year; after which he went his way. And they obeyed him, holding a most beautiful supper, with a comedy, every year over a long period of time; and thus there were performed at various times, as was related in the Life of Aristotile da San Gallo, the Calandra of M. Bernardo, Cardinal of Bibbiena, the Suppositi and the Cassaria of Ariosto, and the Clizia and Mandragola of Macchiavelli, with many others.

Francesco and Domenico Rucellai, for the feast that it fell to them to give when they were masters of the Company, performed first the Arpie of Fineo, and the second time, after a disputation of philosophers on the Trinity, they caused to be represented S. Andrew throwing open a Heaven with all the choirs of the Angels, which was in truth a very rare spectacle. And Giovanni Gaddi, with the help of Jacopo Sansovino, Andrea del Sarto, and Giovan Francesco Rustici, represented a Tantalus in Hell, who gave a feast to all the men of the Company clothed in the dress of various Gods; with all the rest of the fable, and many fanciful inventions of gardens, scenes of Paradise, fireworks, and other things, to recount which would make our story too long. A very beautiful invention, also, was that of Luigi Martelli, when, being master of the Company, he gave them supper in the house of Giuliano Scali at the Porta Pinti; for he represented Mars all smeared with blood, to signify his cruelty, in a room full of bloody human limbs; in another room he showed Mars and Venus naked in a bed, and a little farther on Vulcan, who, having covered them with the net, was calling all the Gods to see the outrage done to him by Mars and by his sorry spouse.

But it is now time after this digression, which may perchance appear to some too long, although for many reasons it does not seem to me that this account has been given wholly out of place that I return to the Life of Rustici. Giovan Francesco, then, not liking much to live in Florence after the expulsion of the Medici in the year 1528, left the charge of all his affairs to Niccolo Buoni, and went off with his young man Lorenzo Naldini, called Guazzetto, to France, where, having been made known to King Francis by Giovan Battista della Palla, who happened to be there then, and by Francesco di Pellegrino, his very dear friend, who had gone there a short time before, he was received very willingly, and an allowance of five hundred crowns a year was granted to him. By that King, for whom Giovan Francesco executed some works of which nothing in particular is known, he was finally commissioned to make a horse in bronze, twice the size of life, upon which was to be placed the King himself. Whereupon, having set his hand to the work, after some models which much pleased the King, he went on with the making of the large model and the mould for casting it, in a large palace given to him for his enjoyment by the King. But, whatever may have been the reason, the King died before the work was finished; and since at the beginning of Henry's reign many persons had their allowances taken away and the expenses of the Court were cut down, it is said that Giovan Francesco, now old and not very prosperous, had nothing to live upon save the profit that he made by letting the great palace and dwelling that he had received for his own enjoyment from the liberality of King Francis.

And Fortune, not content with all that the poor man had endured up to that time, gave him, in addition to all the rest, another very great shock, in that King Henry presented that palace to Signor Piero Strozzi; and Giovan Francesco would have found himself in very dire straits, if the goodness of that lord, to whom the misfortunes of Rustici were a great grief (the latter having made himself known to him), had not brought him timely aid in the hour of his greatest need. For Signor Piero, sending him to an abbey or some other place, whatever it may have been, belonging to his brother, not only succoured Giovan Francesco in his needy old age, but even had him attended and cared for, according as his great worth deserved, until the end of his life. Giovan Francesco died at the age of eighty, and his possessions fell for the most part to the above-named Signor Piero Strozzi. I must not omit to tell that it has come to my ears that while Antonio Mini, a disciple of Buonarroti, was living in France, when he was entertained and treated with much lovingness in Paris by Giovan Francesco, there came into the hands of Rustici some cartoons, designs, and models by the hand of Michelagnolo; a part of which the sculptor Benvenuto Cellini received when he was in France, and he brought them to Florence.

Giovan Francesco, as has been said, was not only without an equal in the work of casting, but also exemplary in conduct, of supreme goodness, and a great lover of the poor. Wherefore it is no marvel that he was assisted most liberally in the hour of his need by the above-mentioned Signor Piero with money and every other thing, for it is true beyond all other truths that even in this life the good works that we do to our neighbours for the love of God are repaid a thousand-fold. Rustici drew very well, as may be seen, besides our own book, from the book of drawings of the very reverend Don Vincenzio Borghini.

The above-mentioned Lorenzo Naldini, called Guazzetto, the disciple of Rustici, has executed many works of sculpture excellently well in France, but of these I have not been able to learn any particulars, any more than of those of his master, who, it may well be believed, did not stay all those years in France as good as idle, nor always occupied with that horse of his. That Lorenzo possessed some houses beyond the Porta a San Gallo, in the suburbs that were destroyed on account of the siege of Florence, which houses were thrown to the ground together with the rest by the people. That circumstance so grieved him, that, returning in the year 1540 to revisit his country, when he was within a quarter of a mile of Florence he put the hood of his cloak over his head, covering his eyes, in order that, in entering by that gate, he might not see the suburb and his own houses all pulled down. Wherefore the guards at the gate, seeing him thus muffled up, asked him what that meant, and, having heard from him why he had so covered his face, they laughed at him. Lorenzo, after being a few months in Florence, returned to France, taking his mother with him; and there he still lives and labors.

 

 

 

FRA GIOVANNI AGNOLO MONTORSOLI (1506-1563)


Giorgio Vasari's Lives of the Artists

TO ONE MICHELE D' AGNOLO OF POGGIBONSO, in the village of Montorsoli, which is three miles distant from Florence on the road to Bologna, where he had a good farm of some size, there was born a male child, to whom he gave the name of his father, Agnolo. That child, growing up, and having an inclination for design, as could be readily seen, was placed by his father, according to the advice of friends, to learn stone-cutting under some masters who worked at the quarries of Fiesole, almost opposite to Montorsoli. Agnolo continuing to ply the chisel with those masters, in company with Francesco del Tadda, who was then a lad, and with others, not many months had passed before he knew very well how to handle the tools and to execute many kinds of work in that profession. Having then contracted a friendship by means of Francesco del Tadda with Maestro Andrea, a sculptor of Fiesole, the genius of the child so pleased that master, that he conceived an affection for him, and began to teach him; and thus he kept him in his workshop for three years.

After which time, his father Michele being dead, Agnolo went off in company with other young stone-cutters to Rome, where, having been set to work on the building of S. Pietro, he carved some of those rosettes that are in the great cornices which encircle the interior of that temple, with much profit to himself and a good salary. Having then departed from Rome, I know not why, he placed himself in Perugia with a master stone-cutter, who at the end of a year left him in charge of all his works. But, recognizing that to stay at Perugia was not the life for him, and that he was not learning, he went off, when the opportunity to depart presented itself, to work on the tomb of M. Raffaello Maffei, called II Volterrano, at Volterra; and in that work, which was being made in marble, he carved some things which showed that his genius was destined some day to achieve a good result. Which labour finished, hearing that Michelagnolo Buonarroti was setting to work at that time on the buildings of the sacristy and library of S. Lorenzo the best carvers and stone-cutters that could be found, he went off to Florence; where, having been likewise set to work, among the first things that he did were some ornaments from which Michelagnolo recognized that he was a young man of most beautiful and resolute genius, and that, moreover, he could do more in one day by himself alone than the oldest and best practised masters could do in two. Wherefore he caused to be given to him, boy as he was, the same salary as the older men were drawing.

These buildings being then suspended in the year 1527 on account of the plague and for other reasons, Agnolo, not knowing what else to do, went to Poggibonzi, from which place his father and grandfather had their origin; and there he remained for a time with M. Giovanni Norchiati, his uncle, a pious and well-lettered man, doing nothing but draw and study. But in the end, seeing the world turned topsy-turvy, a desire came to him to become a monk, and to give his attention in peace to the salvation of his soul, and he went to the Hermitage of Camaldoli. There, making trial of that life, and not being able to endure the dis- comforts, fastings, and abstinences, he did not stay long; but neverthe- less, during the time that he was there, he became very dear to those Fathers, for he was of an excellent disposition. And during that time his diversion was to carve heads of men and of various animals, with beautiful and fanciful inventions, on the ends of the staves, or rather, sticks, that those holy Fathers carry when they go from Camaldoli to the Hermitage or for recreation into the forest, at which time they have a dispensation from silence. Having departed from the Hermitage with the leave and good-will of the Principal, he went off to La Vernia, as one who was drawn at all costs to become a monk, and stayed there awhile, frequenting the choir and mixing with those Fathers ; but that life, also, did not please him, and, after having received information about the life in many religious houses of Florence and Arezzo, he left La Vernia and went to those places. And finally, not being able to settle in any other in such a manner as to have facilities for attending both to drawing and to the salvation of his soul, he became a friar in the Ingesuati at Florence, without the Porta a Pinti, and was received by them very willingly; for they gave their attention to making windows of glass, and they hoped that he would be of great assistance and advantage to them in that work.

Now those Fathers, according to the custom of their life and rule, do not say Mass, and keep for that purpose a priest to say Mass every morning; and they had at that time as their chaplain a certain Fra Martino of the Servite Order, a person of passing good judgment and character. That Fra Martino, having recognized the young man's genius, reflected that he was little able to exercise it among those Fathers, who do nothing but say Paternosters, make windows of glass, distil waters, and lay out gardens, with other suchlike pursuits, and do not study or give their attention to letters; and he contrived to say and do so much that the young man, going forth from the Ingesuati, assumed the habit among the Servite Friars of the Nunziata in Florence on the seventh day of October in the year 1530, receiving the name of Fra Giovanni Agnolo. In the next year, 1531, having learned in the meanwhile the ceremonies and offices of that Order, and studied the works of Andrea del Sarto that are in that place, he made what they call his profession; and in the year following, to the full satisfaction of those Fathers and the contentment of his relatives, he chanted his first Mass with much pomp and honour. Then, the images in wax of Leo, Clement, and others of that most noble family, which had been placed there as votive offerings, having been destroyed during the expulsion of the Medici by some young men who were rather mad than valorous, the friars determined that these should be made again, and Fra Giovanni Agnolo, with the help of some of those men who gave their attention to the work of fashioning such images, restored some that were old and consumed by time, and made anew those of Pope Leo and Pope Clement, which are still to be seen there, and a short time afterwards those of the King of Bosnia and of the old Lord of Piombino. And in these works Fra Giovanni Agnolo made no little proficience.

Meanwhile, Michelagnolo being in Rome with Pope Clement, who desired that the work of S. Lorenzo should be continued, and had therefore had him summoned, his Holiness asked him to find a young man who might restore some ancient statues in the Belvedere, which were broken. Whereupon Buonarroti, remembering Fra Giovanni Agnolo, proposed him to the Pope, and his Holiness demanded him in a brief from the General of the Servite Order, who gave him up because he could not do otherwise, and very unwillingly. Arriving in Rome, then, the friar, labouring in the rooms of the Belvedere that were given to him by the Pope to live and work in, restored the left arm that was wanting to the Apollo and the right arm of the Laocoon, which statues are in that place, and likewise gave directions for restoring the Hercules. And, since the Pope went almost every morning to the Belvedere for recrea- tion and to say the office, the friar made his portrait in marble, and that so well that the work brought him much praise, and the Pope conceived a very great affection for him, particularly because he saw him to be very studious of the matters of art, and heard that he used to draw all night in order to have new things every morning to show to the Pope, who much delighted in them. During that time, a canonicate having fallen vacant at S. Lorenzo, a church in Florence built and endowed by the House of Medici, Fra Giovanni Agnolo, who by that time had laid aside the friar's habit, obtained it for M. Giovanni Norchiati, his uncle, who was chaplain in the above-named church.

Finally, Pope Clement, having determined that Buonarroti should return to Florence to finish the works of the sacristy and library of S. Lorenzo, gave him orders, since many statues were wanting there, as will be told in the Life of Michelagnolo himself, that he should avail himself of the most able men that could be found, and particularly of Fra Giovanni Agnolo, employing the same methods as had been adopted by Antonio da San Gallo in order to finish the works of the Madonna di Loreto. Having therefore made his way with the Frate to Florence, Michelagnolo, in executing the statues of Duke Lorenzo and Duke Giuliano, employed the Frate much in polishing them and in executing certain difficult undercuttings; with which occasion Fra Giovanni Agnolo learned many things from that truly divine man, standing with attention to watch him at work, and observing every least thing. Now among other statues that were wanting to the completion of that work, there were lacking a S. Cosimo and a S. Damiano that were to be one on either side of the Madonna, and Michelagnolo gave the S. Damiano to Raffaello da Montelupo to execute, and to the Frate the S. Cosimo, commanding the latter that he should work in the same rooms where he himself had worked and was still working.

Having therefore set his hand with the greatest zeal to that work, the Frate made a large model of the figure, which was retouched by Buonarroti in many parts; indeed, Michelagnolo made with his own hand the head and the arms of clay, which are now at Arezzo, held by Vasari among his dearest treasures in memory of that great man. There were not wanting many envious persons who blamed Michelagnolo for his action, saying that in allotting that statue he had shown little judgment, and had made a bad choice; but the result afterwards proved, as will be related, that Michelagnolo had shown excellent judgment, and that the Frate was an able man. When Michelagnolo, with the assistance of Fra Giovanni Agnolo, had finished and placed in position the statues of Duke Giuliano and Duke Lorenzo, being summoned by the Pope, who wished that arrangements should be made for executing in marble the facade of S. Lorenzo, he went to Rome; but he had not made a long stay there, when, Pope Clement dying, everything was left unfinished. At Florence the statue of the Frate, unfinished as it was, together with the other works, was thrown open to view, and was very highly extolled; and in truth, whether it was his own study and diligence, or the assistance of Michelagnolo, it proved in the end to be an excellent figure, and the best that Fra Giovanni Agnolo ever made among all that he executed in the whole of his life, so that it was truly worthy to be placed where it was.

Buonarroti, being freed by the death of the Pope from his engage- ments at S. Lorenzo, turned his attention to discharging his obligations in connection with the tomb of Pope Julius II; but, since he had need of assistance for this, he sent for the Frate. But Fra Giovanni Agnolo did not go to Rome until he had finished entirely the image of Duke Alessandro for the Nunziata, which he executed in a manner different from the others, and very beautiful, in the form in which that lord may still be seen, clad in armour and kneeling on a Burgundian helmet, and with one hand to his breast, in the act of recommending himself to the Madonna there. That image finished, he then went to Rome, and was of great assistance to Michelagnolo in the work of the above-mentioned tomb of Julius II.

Meanwhile Cardinal Ippolito de' Medici heard that Cardinal de Tournon had to take a sculptor to France to serve the King, and he proposed to him Fra Giovanni Agnolo, who, being much exhorted with good reasons by Michelagnolo, went with that same Cardinal de Tournon to Paris. Arriving there, he was introduced to the King, who received him very willingly, and shortly afterwards assigned to him a good allowance, with the command that he should execute four large statues. Of these the Frate had not yet finished the models, when, the King being far away and occupied in fighting with the English on the borders of his kingdom, he began to be badly treated by the treasurers, not being able to draw his allowances and have whatever he desired, according as had been ordained by the King. At which feeling great disdain for it appeared to him that in proportion as these arts and the men of the arts were esteemed by that magnanimous King, even so they were disprized and put to shame by his Ministers he departed, notwithstanding that the treasurers, who became aware of his displeasure, paid him his overdue allowances down to the last farthing. It is true that before setting out he gave both the King and the Cardinal to know by means of letters that he wished to go away.

Having therefore gone from Paris to Lyons, and from there through Provence to Genoa, he had not been long there when, in company with some friends, he went to Venice, Padua, Verona, and Mantua, seeing with great pleasure buildings, sculptures, and pictures, and at times drawing them; but above all did the pictures of Giulio Romano in Mantua please him, some of which he drew with care. Then, having heard at Ferrara and Bologna that his fellow-friars of the Servite Order were holding a General Chapter at Budrione, he went there in order to see again many who were his friends, and in particular the Florentine Maestro Zaccheria, whom he loved most dearly. At his entreaty Fra Giovanni Agnolo made in a day and a night two figures in clay of the size of life, a Faith and a Charity, which, made in the semblance of white marble, served to adorn a temporary fountain contrived by him with a great vessel of copper, which continued to spout water during the whole day when the Chapter was held, to his great credit and honor.

Having returned with the above-named Maestro Zaccheria from Budrione to Florence, he made in his own Servite Convent, likewise of clay, and placed in two niches of the chapter-house, two figures larger than life, Moses and S. Paul, which brought him much praise. Being then sent to Arezzo by Maestro Dionisio, the General of the Servites at that time, who was afterwards made a Cardinal by Pope Paul III, and who felt himself much indebted to Angelo, the General at Arezzo, who had brought him up and taught him the appreciation of letters, Fra Giovanni Agnolo executed for that General of Arezzo a beautiful tomb of grey sandstone in S. Piero in that city, with many carvings and some statues, and upon a sarcophagus the above-named General Angelo taken from life, and two nude little boys in the round, who are weeping and extinguishing the torches of human life, with other ornaments, which render that work very beautiful. It was not yet completely finished, when, being summoned to Florence by the proveditors for the festive preparations that Duke Alessandro was then causing to be made for the visit to that city of the Emperor Charles V, who was returning victorious from Tunis, the Frate was forced to depart. Having arrived in Florence, he made on the Ponte a S. Trinita, upon a great base, a figure of eight braccia, representing the River Arno lying down, which from its attitude appeared to be rejoicing with the Rhine, the Danube, the Bagradas, and the Ebro, statues executed by others, over the coming of his Majesty; which Arno was a very good and beautiful figure. On the Canto de' Carnesecchi the same master made a figure, twelve braccia high, of Jason, Leader of the Argonauts, but this, being of immoderate size, and the time short, did not prove to have the perfection of the first; nor, indeed, did the figure of August Gladness that he made on the Canto alia Cuculia. But, everyone remembering the shortness of the time in which he executed those works, they won much honor and fame for him both from the craftsmen and from all others.

Having then finished the work at Arezzo, and hearing that Girolamo Genga had a work to execute in marble at Urbino, the Frate went to seek him out; but, not having come to any agreement, he took the road to Rome, and, after staying there but a short time, went on to Naples, in the hope that he might have to make the tomb of Jacopo Sannazzaro, a gentleman of Naples, and a truly distinguished and most rare poet. Sannazzaro had built at Margoglino, a very pleasant place with a most beautiful view at the end of the Chiaia, on the shore, a magnificent and most commodious habitation, which he enj oyed during his lifetime ; and, coming to his death, he left that place, which has the form of a convent, with a beautiful little church, to the Order of Servite Friars, enjoining on Signer Cesare Mormerio and the Lord Count d'Aliffe, the executors of his will, that they should erect his tomb in that church, built by himself, which was to be administered by the above-named friars. When the making of it came to be discussed, Fra Giovanni Agnolo was proposed by the friars to the above-named executors; and to him, after he had gone to Naples, as has been related, that tomb was allotted, for his models had been judged to be no little better than the many others that had been made by various sculptors, the price being a thousand crowns. Of which having received a good portion, he sent to quarry the marbles Francesco del Tadda of Fiesole, an excellent carver, whom he had commissioned to execute all the squared work and carving that had to be done in that undertaking, in order to finish it more quickly.

While the Frate was preparing himself to make that tomb, the Turkish army having entered Puglia and the people of Naples being in no little alarm on that account, orders were given that the city should be fortified, and for that purpose there were appointed four men of importance and of the best judgment. These men, wishing to make use of competent architects, turned their thoughts to the Frate; but he, having heard some rumor of this, and not considering that it was right for a man of religion, such as he was, to occupy himself with affairs of war, gave the executors to understand that he would do the work either in Carrara or in Florence, and that at the appointed time it would be finished and erected in its place. Having then made his way from Naples to Florence, he straightway received a command from the Signora Donna Maria, the mother of Duke Cosimo, that he should finish the S. Cosimo that he had previously begun under the direction of Buonarroti, for the tomb of the elder Lorenzo de' Medici, the Magnificent. Whereupon he set his hand to it, and finished it; and. that done, since the Duke had already caused to be constructed a great part of the conduits for the great fountain of his villa at Castello, and that fountain was to have at the top, as a crowning ornament, a Hercules in the act of crushing Antaeus, from whose mouth there was to issue, in place of breath, a jet of water rising to some height, the Frate was commissioned to make for this a model of considerable size; which pleasing his Excellency, it was ordained that he should execute it and should go to Carrara to quarry the marble.

To Carrara the Frate went very willingly, hoping with that opportunity to carry forward the above-mentioned tomb of Sannazzaro, and in particular a scene with figures in half-relief. While Fra Giovanni Agnolo was there, then, Cardinal Doria wrote from Genoa to Cardinal Cibo, who happened to be at Carrara, saying that, since Bandinelli had not finished the statue of Prince Doria, and would now never finish it, he should contrive to obtain for him some able man, a sculptor, who might do it, for the reason that he had the charge of pressing on that work. Which letter having been received by Cibo, who had long had knowledge of the Frate, he did his utmost to send him to Genoa ; but he steadfastly declared that he could not and would not serve his most reverend Highness until he had fulfilled the promise and obligation by which he was bound to Duke Cosimo.

While these matters were being discussed, he had carried the tomb of Sannazzaro well forward, and had blocked out the marble for the Hercules; and he then went with the latter to Florence. There he brought it with much promptitude and study to such a condition, that it would have been but little toil for him to finish it completely if he had continued to work at it. But a rumour having arisen that the marble was not proving to be by any means as perfect a work as the model, and that the Frate was likely to find difficulty in fitting together the legs of the Hercules, which did not correspond with the torso, Messer Pier Francesco Riccio, the majordomo, who was paying the Frate his allowance, let himself be swayed by that more than a serious man should have done, and began to proceed very cautiously with his payments, trusting too much to Bandinelli, who was leaning with all his weight against Fra Giovanni Agnolo, in order to avenge himself for the wrong which it appeared to him that master had done to him by promising that he would make the statue of Doria when once free of his obligation to the Duke. It was also thought that the favor of Tribolo, who was executing the ornaments of Castello, was no advantage to the Frate. However that may have been, perceiving himself to be badly treated by Riccio, and being a proud and choleric man, he went off to Genoa. There he received from Cardinal Doria and from the Prince the commission for the statue of that Prince, which was to be placed on the Piazza Doria; to which having set his hand, yet without altogether neglecting the tomb of Sannazzaro, while Tadda was executing the squared work and the carvings at Carrara, he finished it to the great satisfaction of the Prince and the people of Genoa. But, although that statue had been made to be placed on the Piazza Doria, nevertheless the Genoese made so much ado, that, to the despair of the Frate, it was placed on the Piazza della Signoria, notwithstanding that he said that he had fashioned it to stand by itself on a pedestal, and that therefore it could not look well or have its proper effect against a wall. And, to tell the truth, nothing worse can be done than to set up a work made for one place in some other place, seeing that the craftsman accommodates himself in the process of his labor, with regard to the lights and view-points, to the position in which his work, whether sculpture or painting, is to be placed. After this the Genoese, seeing the scenes and figures made for the tomb of Sannazzaro, and much liking them, desired that the Frate should execute a S. John the Evangelist for their Cathedral Church; which, when finished, pleased them so much that it filled them with stupefaction.

 

 

 

FRANCESCO SALVIATI (1510-1563)

Giorgio Vasari's Lives of the Artists











Charity. Uffizi Gallery, Florence.

THE FATHER of Francesco Salviati, whose Life we are now about to write, and who was born in the year 1510, was a good man called Michelagnolo de' Rossi, a weaver of velvets; and he, having not only this child but also many others, both male and female, and being therefore in need of assistance, had determined in his own mind that he would at all costs make Francesco devote himself to his own calling of weaving velvets. But the boy, who had turned his mind to other things, and did not like the pursuit of that trade, although in the past it had been practised by persons, I will not say noble, but passing rich and prosperous, followed his father's wishes in that matter with no goodwill. Indeed, associating in the Via de' Servi, where his father had a house, with the children of Domenico Naldini, their neighbor and an honored citizen, he showed himself all given to gentle and honorable ways, and much inclined to design. In which matter he received no little assistance for a time from a cousin of his own called Diacceto, a young goldsmith, who had a passing good knowledge of design, in that he not only taught him all that he knew, but also furnished him with many drawings by various able men, over which, without telling his father, Francesco practised day and night with extraordinary zeal. And Domenico Naldini, having become aware of this, first examined the boy well, and then prevailed upon his father, Michelagnolo, to place him in his uncle's shop to learn the goldsmith's art; by reason of which opportunity for design Francesco in a few months made so much proficience, that everyone was astonished.

In those days a company of young goldsmiths and painters used to assemble together at times and go throughout Florence on feast-days drawing the most famous works, and not one of them labored more or with greater love than did Francesco. The young men of that company were Nanni di Prospero delle Corniole,the goldsmith Francesco di Girolamo dal Prato, Nannoccio da San Giorgio, and many other lads who afterwards became able men in their professions.

At this time Francesco and Giorgio Vasari, both being still boys, became fast friends, and in the following manner. In the year 1523, Silvio Passerini, Cardinal of Cortona, passing through Arezzo as the Legate of Pope Clement VII, Antonio Vasari, his kinsman, took Giorgio., his eldest son, to make his reverence to the Cardinal. And the Cardinal, finding that the boy, who at that time was not more than nine years of age, had been so well grounded in his first letters by the diligence of M. Antonio da Saccone and of Messer Giovanni Pollastra, an excellent poet of Arezzo, that he knew by heart a great part of the Aeneid of Virgil, which he was pleased to hear him recite, and that he had learned to draw from Guglielmo da Marcilla, the French painter the Cardinal, I say, ordained that Antonio should himself take the boy to Florence. There Giorgio was settled in the house of M. Niccolo Vespucci, Knight of Rhodes, who lived on the abutment of the Ponte Vecchio, above the Church of the Sepolcro, and was placed with Michelagiiolo Buonarroti; and this circumstance came to the knowledge of Francesco, who was then living in the Chiasso di Messer Bivigliano, where his father rented a great house that faced on the Vacchereccia, employing many workmen. Whereupon, since like always draws to like, he so contrived that he became the friend of Giorgio, by means of M. Marco da Lodi, a gentleman of the above-named Cardinal of Cortona, who showed to Giorgio a portrait, which much pleased him, by the hand of Francesco, who a short time before had been placed to learn painting with Giuliano Bugiardini. Meanwhile Vasari, not neglecting the study of letters, by order of the Cardinal spent two hours every day with Ippolito and Alessandro de' Medici, under their master Pierio, an able man. And this friendship, contracted as described above between Vasari and Francesco, became such that it never ceased to bind them together, although, by reason of their rivalry and a certain somewhat haughty manner of speech that Francesco had, some persons thought otherwise.

When Vasari had been some months with Michelagnolo, that excellent man was summoned to Rome by Pope Clement, to receive instructions for beginning the Library of S. Lorenzo; and he was placed by him, before he departed, with Andrea del Sarto. And devoting himself under him to design, Giorgio was continually lending his master's drawings in secret to Francesco, who had no greater desire than to obtain and study them, as he did day and night. Afterwards Giorgio was placed by the Magnificent Ippolito with Baccio Bandinelli, who was pleased to have the boy with him and to teach him; and Vasari contrived to obtain Francesco as his companion, with great advantage to them both, for the reason that while working together they learned more and made greater progress in one month than they had done in two years while drawing by themselves. And the same did another young man who was likewise working under Bandinelli at that time, called Nannoccio of the Costa San Giorgio, of whom mention was made not long ago.

In the year 1527, the Medici being expelled from Florence, there was a fight for the Palace of the Signoria, and a bench was thrown down from on high so as to fall upon those who were assaulting the door; but, as fate would have it, that bench hit an arm of the David in marble by Buonarroti, which is beside the door on the Ringhiera, and broke it into three pieces. These pieces having remained on the ground for three days, without being picked up by anyone, Francesco went to the Ponte Vecchio to find Giorgio, and told him his intention; and then, children as they were, they went to the Piazza, and, without thinking of any danger, in the midst of the soldiers of the guard, they took the pieces of that arm and carried them to the house of Michelagnolo, the father of Francesco, in the Chiasso di M. Bivigliano. From which house having afterwards recovered them, Duke Cosimo in time caused them to be restored to their places with pegs of copper.

After this, the Medici being in exile, and with them the above- mentioned Cardinal of Cortona, Antonio Vasari took his son back to Arezzo, to the no little regret of Giorgio and Francesco, who loved one another as brothers. But they did not long remain separated from each other, for the reason that after the plague, which came in the following August, had killed Giorgio' s father and the best part of his family, he was so pressed with letters by Francesco, who also came very near dying of plague, that he returned to Florence. There, working with incredible zeal for a period of two years, being driven by necessity and by the desire to learn, they made marvellous proficience, having recourse, together with the above-named Nannoccio da San Giorgio, to the workshop of the painter Raffaello da Brescia, under whom Francesco, being the one who had most need to provide himself with the means to live, executed many little pictures.

Having come to the year 1529, since it did not appear to Francesco that staying in Brescia's workshop was doing him much good, he and Nannoccio went to work with Andrea del Sarto, and stayed with him all the time that the siege lasted, but in such discomfort, that they repented that they had not followed Giorgio, who spent that year in Pisa with the goldsmith Manno, giving his attention for four months to the goldsmith's craft to occupy himself. Vasari having then gone to Bologna, at the time when the Emperor Charles V was crowned there by Clement VII, Francesco, who had remained in Florence, executed on a little panel a votive picture for a soldier who had been murderously attacked in bed by certain other soldiers during the siege; and although it was a paltry thing, he studied it and executed it to perfection. That votive picture fell not many years ago into the hands of Giorgio Vasari, who presented it to the reverend Don Vincenzio Borghini, the Director of the Hospital of the Innocenti, who holds it dear. For the Black Friars of the Badia Francesco painted three little scenes on a Tabernacle of the Sacrament made by the carver Tasso in the manner of a triumphal arch. In one of these is the Sacrifice of Abraham, in the second the Manna, and in the third the Hebrews eating the Paschal Lamb on their departure from Egypt ; and the work was such that it gave an earnest of the success that he has since achieved. He then painted in a picture for Francesco Sertini, who sent it to France, a Dalilah who was cutting off the locks of Samson, and in the distance Samson embracing the columns of the temple and bringing it down upon the Philistines; which picture made Francesco known as the most excellent of the young painters that were then in Florence.

Not long afterwards the elder Cardinal Salviati having requested Benvenuto della Volpaia, a master of clock-making, who was in Rome at that time, to find for him a young painter who might live with him and paint some pictures for his delight, Benvenuto proposed to him Francesco, who was his friend, and whom he knew to be the most com-petent of all the young painters of his acquaintance; which he did all the more willingly because the Cardinal had promised that he would give the young man every facility and all assistance to enable him to study. The Cardinal, then, liking the young Francesco's qualities, said to Benvenuto that he should send for him, and gave him money for that purpose. And so, when Francesco had arrived in Rome, the Cardinal, being pleased with his method of working, his ways, and his manners, ordained that he should have rooms in the Borgo Vecchio, and four crowns a month, with a place at the table of his gentlemen. The first works that Francesco (to whom it appeared that he had been very fortunate) executed for the Cardinal were a picture of Our Lady, which was held to be very beautiful, and a canvas of a French nobleman who is running in chase of a hind, which, flying from him, takes refuge in the Temple of Diana: of which work I keep the design, drawn by his hand, in my book, in memory of him. That canvas finished, the Cardinal caused him to portray in a very beautiful picture of Our Lady a niece of his own, married to Signor Cagnino Gonzaga, and likewise that lord himself.

Now, while Francesco was living in Rome, with no greater desire than to see his friend Giorgio Vasari in that city, Fortune was favorable to his wishes in that respect, and even more to Vasari. For, Cardinal Ippolito having parted in great anger from Pope Clement for reasons that were discussed at the time, but returning not long afterwards to Rome accompanied by Baccio Valori, in passing through Arezzo he found Giorgio, who had been left without a father and was occupying himself as best he could; wherefore, desiring that he should make some proficience in art, and wishing to have him near his person, he commanded Tommaso de' Nerli, who was Commissary there, that he should send him to Rome as soon as he should have finished a chapel that he was painting in fresco for the Monks of S. Bernardo, of the Order of Monte Oliveto, in that city. That commission Nerli executed immediately, and Giorgio, having thus arrived in Rome, went straightway to find Francesco, who joyfully described to him in what favour he was with his lord the Cardinal, and how he was in a place where he could satisfy his hunger for study; adding, also: " Not only do I enjoy the present, but I hope for even better things, for, besides seeing you in Rome, with whom, as the young friend nearest to my heart, I shall be able to study and discuss the matters of art, I also live in hope of entering the service of Cardinal Ippolito de' Medici, from whose liberality, as well as from the favor of the Pope, I may look for greater things than I have at present; and this will happen with- out a doubt if a certain young man, who is expected from abroad, does not arrive." Giorgio, although he knew that the young man who was expected was himself, and that the place was being kept for him, yet would not reveal himself, because of a certain doubt that had entered his mind as to whether the Cardinal might not have another in view, and also from a wish not to declare a circumstance that might afterwards fall out differently. Giorgio had brought a letter from the above-named Commissary Nerli to the Cardinal, which, after having been five days in Rome, he had not yet presented. Finally Giorgio and Francesco went to the Palace and found in what is now the Hall of Kings Messer Marco da Lodi, who had formerly been with the Cardinal of Cortona, as was related above, but was then in the service of Medici. To him Giorgio presented himself, saying that he had a letter from the Commissary of Arezzo that was to be delivered to the Cardinal, and praying that he should give it to him; which Messer Marco was promising to do immediately, when at that very moment the Cardinal himself appeared there. Whereupon Giorgio, coming forward before him, presented the letter and kissed his hands; and he was received graciously, and shortly afterwards given into the charge of Jacopone da Bibbiena, the master of the household, who was commanded to provide him with rooms and with a place at the table of the pages. It appeared a strange thing to Francesco that Giorgio should not have confided the matter to him; but he was persuaded that he had done it for the best and with a good intention.

When the above-named Jacopone, therefore, had given Giorgio some rooms behind S. Spirito, near Francesco, the two devoted themselves in company all that winter to the study of art, with much profit, leaving no noteworthy work, either in the Palace or in any other part of Rome, that they did not draw. And since, when the Pope was in the Palace, they were not able to stay there drawing at their ease, as soon as his Holiness had ridden forth to the Magliana, as he often did, they would gain admittance by means of friends into those apartments to draw, and would stay there from morning till night without eating anything but a little bread, and almost freezing with cold. Cardinal Salviati having then commanded Francesco that he should paint in fresco in the chapel of his Palace, where he heard Mass every morning, some stories of the life of S. John the Baptist, Francesco set himself to study nudes from life, and Giorgio with him, in a bath house near there; and afterwards they made some anatomical studies in the Campo Santo.

The spring having then come, Cardinal Ippolito, being sent by the Pope to Hungary, ordained that Giorgio should be sent to Florence, and should there execute some pictures and portraits that he had to despatch to Rome. But in the July following, what with the fatigues of the past winter and the heat of summer, Giorgio fell ill and was carried by litter to Arezzo, to the great sorrow of Francesco, who also fell sick and was like to die. However, being restored to health, Francesco was commissioned by Maestro Filippo da Siena, at the instance of Antonio L'Abacco, a master-worker in wood, to paint in fresco in a niche over the door at the back of S. Maria della Pace, a Christ speaking with S. Filippo, and in two angles the Virgin and the Angel of the Annunciation; which pictures, much pleasing Maestro Filippo, were the reason that he caused him to paint the Assumption of Our Lady in the same place, in a large square space that was not yet painted in one of the eight sides of that temple. Whereupon Francesco, reflecting that he had to execute that work not merely in a public place, but in a place where there were pictures by the rarest masters Raffaello da Urbino, Rosso, Baldassarre da Siena, and others put all possible study and diligence into executing it in oils on the wall, so that it proved to be a beautiful picture, and was much extolled; and excellent among other figures is held to be the portrait that he painted there of the above-named Maestro Filippo with the hands clasped. And since Francesco lived, as has been told, with Cardinal Salviati, and was known as his protege, he began to be called and known by no other name but Cecchino Salviati, and he kept that name to the day of his death.

Pope Clement VII being dead and Paul III elected, M. Bindo Altoviti caused Francesco to paint on the fagade of his house at the Ponte S. Agnolo the arms of the new Pontiff, with some large nude figures, which gave infinite satisfaction. About the same time he made a portrait of that Messer Bindo, which was a very good figure and a beautiful portrait; and this was afterwards sent to his villa of S. Mizzano in the Valdarno, where it still is. He then painted for the Church of S. Francesco a Ripa a very beautiful altar-picture of the Annunciation in oils, which was executed with the greatest diligence. For the coming of Charles V to Rome in the year 1535, he painted for Antonio da San Gallo some scenes in chiaroscuro, which were placed on the arch that was made at S. Marco; and these pictures, as has been said in another place, were the best that there were in all those festive decorations.

Afterwards Signor Pier Luigi Farnese, who had been made Lord of Nepi at that time, wishing to adorn that city with new buildings and pictures, took Francesco into his service, giving him rooms in the Belvedere; and there Francesco painted for him on large canvases some scenes in gouache of the actions of Alexander the Great, which were afterwards carried into execution and woven into tapestries in Flanders. For the same Lord of Nepi he decorated a large and very beautiful bathroom with many scenes and figures executed in fresco. Then, the same lord having been created Duke of Castro, for his first entry rich and most beautiful decorations were made in that city under the direction of Francesco, and at the gate an arch all covered with scenes, figures, and statues, executed with much judgment by able men, and in particular by Alessandro, called Scherano, a sculptor of Settignano. Another arch, in the form of a facade, was made at the Petrone, and yet another on the Piazza, which arches, with regard to the woodwork, were executed by Battista Botticelli; and in these festive preparations, among other things, Francesco made a beautiful perspective-scene for a comedy that was performed.

About the same time, Giulio Camillo, who was then in Rome, having made a book of his compositions in order to send it to King Francis of France, had it all illustrated by Francesco Salviati, who put into it all the diligence that it is possible to devote to such a work. Cardinal Salviati, having a desire to possess a picture in tinted woods (that is, in tarsia) by the hand of Fra Damiano da Bergamo, a lay-brother of S. Domenico at Bologna, sent him a design done in red chalk by the hand of Francesco, as a pattern for its execution; which design, representing King David being anointed by Samuel, was the best thing that Cecchino Salviati ever drew, and truly most rare. After this, Giovanni da Cepperello and Battista Gobbo of San Gallo who had caused the Florentine painter Jacopo del Conte, then a young man, to paint in the Florentine Company of the Misericordia in S. Giovanni Decollate, under the Campidoglio at Rome, namely, in the second church where they hold their assemblies, a story of that same S. John the Baptist, showing the Angel appearing to Zacharias in the Temple commissioned Francesco to paint below that scene another story of the same Saint, namely, the Visitation of Our Lady to S. Elizabeth. That work, which was finished in the year 1538, he executed in fresco in such a manner, that it is worthy to be numbered among the most graceful and best conceived pictures that Francesco ever painted, in the invention, in the composition of the scene, in the method and the attention to rules for the gradation of the figures, in the perspective and the architecture of the buildings, in the nudes, in the draped figures, in the grace of the heads, and, in short, in every part ; wherefore it is no marvel if all Rome was struck with astonishment by it. Around a window he executed some bizarre fantasies in imitation of marble, and some little scenes that have marvellous grace. And since Francesco never wasted any time, while he was engaged on that work he executed many other things, and also drawings, and he colored a Phaethon with the Horses of the Sun, which Michelagnolo had drawn. All these things Salviati showed to Giorgio, who after the death of Duke Alessandro had gone to Rome for two months; saying to him that, once he had finished a picture of a young S. John that he was painting for his master Cardinal Salviati, a Passion of Christ on canvas that was to be sent to Spain, and a picture of Our Lady that he was painting for Raffaello Acciaiuoli, he wished to turn his steps to Florence in order to revisit his native place, his relatives, and his friends, for his father and mother were still alive, to whom he was always of the greatest assistance, and particularly in settling two sisters, one of whom was married, and the other is a nun in the Convent of Monte Domini.

Coming thus to Florence, where he was received with much re- joicing by his relatives and friends, it chanced that he arrived there at the very moment when the festive preparations were being made for the nuptials of Duke Cosimo and the Lady Donna Leonora di Toledo. Wherefore he was commissioned to paint one of the already mentioned scenes that were executed in the courtyard, which he accepted very willingly; and that was the one in which the Emperor was placing the Ducal crown on the head of Duke Cosimo. But being seized, before he had finished it, with a desire to go to Venice, Francesco left it to Carlo Portelli of Loro, who finished it after Francesco's design; which design, with many others by the same hand, is in our book.

Having departed from Florence and made his way to Bologna, Francesco found there Giorgio Vasari, who had returned two days before from Camaldoli, where he had finished the two altarpieces that are in the tramezzo* of the church, and had begun that of the high altar; and Vasari was arranging to paint three great panel pictures for the refectory of the Fathers of S. Michele in Bosco, where he kept Francesco with him for two days. During that time, some of his friends made efforts to obtain for him the commission for an altarpiece that was to be allotted by the men of the Delia Morte Hospital. But, although Salviati made a most beautiful design, those men, having little understanding, were not able to recognize the opportunity that Messer Domeneddio* had sent them of obtaining for Bologna a work by the hand of an able master. Wherefore Francesco went away in some disdain, leaving some very beautiful designs in the hands of Girolamo Fagiuoli, to the end that he might engrave them on copper and have them printed.

Having arrived in Venice, he was received courteously by the Patriarch Grimani and his brother Messer Vettorio, who showed him a thousand favors. For that Patriarch, after a few days, he painted in oils, in an octagon of four braccia, a most beautiful Psyche to whom, as to a Goddess, on account of her beauty, incense and votive offerings are presented; which octagon was placed in a hall in the house of that lord, wherein is a ceiling in the centre of which there curve some festoons executed by Camillo Mantovano, an excellent painter in representing landscapes, flowers, leaves, fruits, and other suchlike things. That octagon, I say, was placed in the midst of four pictures each two braccia and a half square, executed with stories of the same Psyche, as was related in the Life of Genga, by Francesco da Forli; and the octagon is not only beyond all comparison more beautiful than those four pictures, but even the most beautiful work of painting that there is in all Venice. After that, in a chamber wherein Giovanni Ricamatori of Udine had executed many works in stucco, he painted some little figures in fresco, both nude and draped, which are full of grace. In like manner, in an altarpiece that he executed for the Nuns of the Corpus Domini at Venice, he painted with much diligence a Dead Christ with the Maries, and in the air an Angel who has the Mysteries of the Passion in the hands. He made the portrait of M. Pietro Aretino, which, as a rare work, was sent by that poet to King Francis, with some verses in praise of him who had painted it. And for the Nuns of S. Cristina in Bologna, of the Order of Camaldoli, the same Salviati, at the entreaty of Don Giovan Francesco da Bagno, their Confessor, painted an altarpiece with many figures, a truly beautiful picture, which is in the church of that convent.

Then, having grown weary of the life in Venice, as one who remembered that of Rome, and considering that it was no place for men of design, Francesco departed in order to return to Rome. And so, making a detour by Verona and Mantua, in the first of which places he saw the many antiquities that are there, and in the other the works of Giulio Romano, he made his way back to Rome by the road through Romagna, and arrived there in the year 1541. There, having rested a little, the first works that he made were the portrait of Messer Giovanni Gaddi and that of Messer Annibale Caro, who were much his friends. Those finished, he painted a very beautiful altarpiece for the Chapel of the Clerks of the Chamber in the Pope's Palace. And in the Church of the Germans he began a chapel in fresco for a merchant of that nation, painting on the vault above the Apostles receiving the Holy Spirit, and in a picture that is half-way up the wall Jesus Christ rising from the dead, with the soldiers sleeping round the Sepulchre in various attitudes, fore- shortened in a bold and beautiful manner. On one side he painted S. Stephen, and on the other side S. George, in two niches; and at the foot he painted S. Giovanni Limosinario, who is giving alms to a naked beggar, with a Charity on one side of him, and on the other side S. Alberto, the Carmelite Friar, between Logic and Prudence. And in the great altar picture, finally, he painted in fresco the Dead Christ with the Maries.

Having formed a friendship with Piero di Marcone, a Florentine goldsmith, and having become his gossip, Francesco made to Piero' s wife, who was also his gossip, after her delivery, a present of a very beautiful design, which was to be painted on one of those round baskets in which food is brought to a newly-delivered woman. In that design there was the life of man, in a number of square compartments containing very beautiful figures, both on one side and on the other; namely, all the ages of human life, each of which rested on a different festoon appropriate to the particular age and the season. In that bizarre composition were included, in two long ovals, figures of the sun and moon, and between them Sais, a city of Egypt, standing before the Temple of the Goddess Pallas and praying for wisdom, as if to signify that on behalf of newborn children one should pray before any other thing for wisdom and goodness. That design Piero held ever afterwards as dear as if it had been, as indeed it was, a most beautiful jewel.

Not long afterwards, the above-named Piero and other friends having written to Francesco that he would do well to return to his native place, for the reason that it was held to be certain that he would be employed by the Lord Duke Cosimo, who had no masters about him save such as were slow and irresolute, he finally determined (trusting much, also, in the favour of M. Alamanno, the brother of the Cardinal and uncle of the Duke) to return to Florence. Having arrived, therefore, before attempting any other thing, he painted for the above-named M. Alamanno Salviati a very beautiful picture of Our Lady, which he executed in a room in the Office of Works of S. Maria del Fiore that was occupied by Francesco dal Prato, who at that time, from being a goldsmith and a master of tausia,* [* Damascening.] had set himself to casting little figures in bronze and to painting, with much profit and honor. In that same place, then, which that master held as the official in charge of the woodwork of the Office of Works, Francesco made portraits of his friend Piero di Marcone and of Avveduto del Cegia, the dresser of minever furs, who was also much his friend; which Avveduto, besides many other things by the hand of Francesco that he possesses, has a portrait of Francesco himself, executed in oils with his own hand, and very lifelike.

The above-mentioned picture of Our Lady, being, after it was finished, in the shop of the woodcarver Tasso, who was then architect of the Palace, was seen by many persons and vastly extolled; but what caused it even more to be considered a rare picture was that Tasso, who was accustomed to censure almost everything, praised it to the skies. And, what was more, he said to M. Pier Francesco, the major-domo, that it would be an excellent thing for the Duke to give Francesco some work of importance to execute; whereupon M. Pier Francesco and Cristofano Rinieri, who had the ear of the Duke, played their part in such a way, that M. Alamanno spoke to his Excellency, saying to him that Francesco desired to be commissioned to paint the Hall of Audience, which is in front of the Chapel of the Ducal Palace, and that he cared nothing about payment; and the Duke was content that this should be granted to him. Whereupon Francesco, having made small designs of the Triumph of Furius Camillus and of many stories of his life, set himself to contrive the division of that hall according to the spaces left by the windows and doors, some of which are high and some low; and there was no little difficulty in making that division in such a way that it might be well-ordered and might not disturb the sequence of the stories. In the wall where there is the door by which one enters into the hall, there were two large spaces, divided by the door.

Opposite to that, where there are the three windows that look out over the Piazza, there were four spaces, but not wider than about three braccia each. In the end- wall that is on the right hand as one enters, wherein are two windows that likewise look out on the Piazza, but in another direction, there were three similar spaces, each about three braccia wide; and in the end-wall that is on the left hand, opposite to the other, what with the marble door that leads into the chapel, and a window with a grating of bronze, there remained only one space large enough to contain a work of importance. On the wall of the chapel, then within an ornament of Corinthian columns that support an architrave, which has below it a recess, wherein hang two very rich festoons, and two pendants of various fruits, counter- feited very well, while upon it sits a naked little boy who is holding the Ducal arms, namely, those of the Houses of Medici and Toledo he painted two scenes; on the right hand Camillus, who is commanding that the schoolmaster shall be given up to the vengeance of his young scholars, and on the other the same Camillus, while the army is in combat and fire is burning the stockades and tents of the camp, is routing the Gauls. And beside that, where the same range of pilasters continues, he painted a figure of Opportunity, large as life, who has seized Fortune by the locks, and some devices of his Excellency, with many ornaments executed with marvellous grace. On the main wall, where there are two great spaces divided by the principal door, he painted two large and very beautiful scenes. In the first are the Gauls, who, weighing the gold of the tribute, add to it a sword, to the end that the weight may be the greater, and Camillus, full of rage, delivers himself from the tribute by force of arms; which scene is very beautiful, and crowded with figures, landscapes, antiquities, and vases counterfeited very well and in various manners in imitation of gold and silver. In the other scene, beside the first, is Camillus in the triumphal chariot, drawn by four horses; and on high is Fame, who is crowning him. Before the chariot are priests very richly apparelled, with the statue of the Goddess Juno, and holding vases in their hands, and with some trophies and spoils of great beauty. About the chariot are innumerable prisoners in various attitudes, and behind it the soldiers of the army in their armour, among whom Francesco made a portrait of himself, which is so good that it seems as if alive. In the distance, where the triumphal procession is passing, is a very beautiful picture of Rome, and above the door is a figure of Peace in chiaroscuro, who is burning the arms, with some prisoners; all which was executed by Francesco with such diligence and study, that there is no more beautiful work to be seen.

On the wall towards the west he painted in a niche in one of the larger spaces, in the center, a Mars in armour, and below that a nude figure representing a Gaul,* [* A play on the word Gallo, which means both Gaul and cock.] with a crest on the head similar to that of a cock; and in another niche a Diana with a skin about her waist, who is drawing an arrow from her quiver, with a dog. In the two corners next the other two walls are two figures of Time, one adjusting weights in a balance, and the other tempering the liquid in two vases by pouring one into the other. On the last wall, which is opposite to the chapel and faces towards the north, in a corner on the right hand, is the Sun figured in the manner wherein the Egyptians represent him, and in the other corner the Moon in the same manner. In the middle is Favor, represented as a nude young man on the summit of the wheel, with Envy, Hatred, and Malice on one side, and on the other side Honors, Pleasure, and all the other things described by Lucian. Above the windows is a frieze all full of most beautiful nudes, as large as life, and in various forms and attitudes; with some scenes likewise from the life of Camillus. And opposite to the Peace that is burning the arms is the River Arno, who, holding a most abundant horn of plenty, raises with one hand a curtain and reveals Florence and the greatness of her Pontiffs and the heroes of the House of Medici. He painted there, besides all that, a base that runs round below those scenes, and niches with some terminal figures of women that support festoons; and in the centre are certain ovals with scenes of people adorning a Sphinx and the River Arno.

Francesco put into the execution of that work all the diligence and study that are possible; and, although he had many contradictions, he carried it to a happy conclusion, desiring to leave in his native city a work worthy of himself and of so great a Prince. Francesco was by nature melancholy, and for the most part he did not care to have anyone about him when he was at work. But nevertheless, when he first began that undertaking, almost doing violence to his nature and affecting an open heart, with great cordiality he allowed Tasso and others of his friends, who had done him some service, to stand and watch him at work, showing them every courtesy that he was able. But when he had gained a footing at Court, as the saying goes, and it seemed to him that he was in good favour, returning to his choleric and biting nature, he paid them no attention. Nay, what was worse, he used the most bitter words according to his wont (which served as an excuse to his adversaries), censuring and decrying the works of others, and praising himself and his own works to the skies. These methods, which displeased most people and likewise certain craftsmen, brought upon him such odium, that Tasso and many others, who from being his friends had become his enemies, began to give him cause for thought and for action.

For, although they praised the excellence of the art that was in him, and the facility and rapidity with which he executed his works so well and with such unity, they were not at a loss, on the other hand, for something to censure. And since, if they had allowed him to gain a firm footing and to settle his affairs, they would not have been able afterwards to hinder or hurt him, they began in good time to give him trouble and to molest him. Whereupon many of the craftsmen and others, banding themselves together and forming a faction, began to disseminate among the people of importance a rumor that Salviati's work was not succeeding, and that he was laboring by mere skill of hand, and devoting no study to anything that he did. In which, in truth, they accused him wrongly, for, although he never toiled over the execution of his works, as they themselves did, yet that did not mean that he did not study them and that his works had not infinite grace and invention, or that they were not carried out excellently well. Not being able to surpass his excellence with their works,, those adversaries wished to overwhelm it with such words and reproaches; but in the end truth and excellence have too much force. At first Francesco made light of such rumors, but later, perceiving that they were growing beyond all reason, he complained of it many times to the Duke. But, since it began to be seen that the Duke, to all appearance, was not showing him such favours as he would have liked, and it seemed that his Excellency cared nothing for those complaints, Francesco began to fall from his position in such a manner, that his adversaries, taking courage from that, sent forth a rumor that his scenes in the hall were to be thrown to the ground, because they did not give satisfaction and had in them no particle of excellence. All these calumnies, which were pressed against him with incredible envy and malice by his adversaries, had reduced Francesco to such a state, that, if it had not been for the goodness of Messer Lelio Torelli, Messer Pasquino Bertini, and others of his friends, he would have retreated before them, which was exactly what they desired.

But the above-named friends, exhorting him continually to finish the work of the hall and others that he had in hand, restrained him, even as was done by many other friends not in Florence, to whom he wrote of these persecutions. And Giorgio Vasari, among others, answering a letter that Salviati wrote to him on the matter, exhorted him always to have patience, because excellence is refined by persecution as gold by fire; adding that a time was about to come when his art and his genius would be recognized, and that he should complain of no one but himself, in that he did not yet know men's humors, and how the people and the craftsmen of his own country were made. Thus, notwithstanding all these contradictions and persecutions that poor Francesco suffered, he finished that hall namely, the work that he had undertaken to execute in fresco on the walls, for the reason that on the ceiling, or rather, soffit, there was no need for him to do any painting, since it was so richly carved and all overlaid with gold, that among works of that kind there is none more beautiful to be seen. And as a finish to the whole the Duke caused two new windows of glass to be made, with his devices and arms and those of Charles V; and nothing could be better in that kind of work than the manner in which they were executed by Battista del Borro, an Aretine painter excellent in that field of art.

After that, Francesco painted for his Excellency the ceiling of the hall where he dines in winter, with many devices and little figures in distemper; and a most beautiful study which opens out over the Green Chamber. He made portraits, likewise, of some of the Duke's children; and one year, for the Carnival, he executed in the Great Hall the scenery and prospect-view for a comedy that was performed, and that with such beauty and in a manner so different from those that had been done in Florence up to that time, that they were judged to be superior to them all. Nor is this to be marvelled at, since it is very certain that Francesco was always in all his works full of judgment, and well- varied and fertile in invention, and, what is more, he had a perfect knowledge of design, and had a more beautiful manner than any other painter in Florence at that time, and handled colours with great skill and delicacy. He also made a head, or rather, a portrait, of Signer Giovanni de' Medici, the father of Duke Cosimo, which was very beautiful; and it is now in the guardaroba of the same Lord Duke. For Cristofano Rinieri, who was much his friend, he painted a most beautiful picture of Our Lady, which is now in the Udienza della Decima. For Ridolfo Landi he executed a picture of Charity, which could not be more lovely than it is; and for Simone Corsi, likewise, he painted a picture of Our Lady, which was much extolled. For M. Donato Acciaiuoli, a knight of Rhodes, with whom he always maintained a particular intimacy, he executed certain little pictures that are very beautiful. And he also painted in an altarpiece Christ showing to S. Thomas, who would not believe that He had newly risen from the dead, the marks of the blows and wounds that He had received from the Jews; which altarpiece was taken by Tommaso Guadagni into France, and placed in the Chapel of the Florentines in a church at Lyons.

Francesco also depicted at the request of the above-named Cristofano Rinieri and of Maestro Giovanni Rosto, the Flemish master of tapestry, the whole story of Tarquinius and the Roman Lucretia in many cartoons, which, being afterwards put into execution in tapestries woven in silk, floss-silk, and gold, proved to be a marvellous work. Which hearing, the Duke, who was at that time having similar tapestries, all in silk and gold, made in Florence by the same Maestro Giovanni for the Sala de' Dugento, and had caused cartoons with the stories of the Hebrew Joseph to be executed by Bronzino and Pontormo, as has been related, commanded that Francesco also should make a cartoon, which was that with the interpretation of the dream of the seven fat and seven lean kine. Into that cartoon Francesco put all the diligence that could possibly be devoted to such a work, and that is required for pictures that are to be woven; for there must be fantastic inventions and variety of composition in the figures, and these must stand out one from another, so that they may have strong relief, and they must come out bright in coloring and rich in the costumes and vestments. That piece of tapestry and the others having turned out well, his Excellency resolved to establish the art in Florence, and caused it to be taught to some boys, who, having grown to be men, are now executing most excellent works for the Duke.

Francesco also executed a most beautiful picture of Our Lady, likewise in oils, which is now in the chamber of Messer Alessandro, the son of M. Ottaviano de' Medici. For the above-named M. Pasquino Bertini he painted on canvas yet another picture of Our Lady, with Christ and S. John as little children, who are smiling over a parrot that they have in their hands; which was a very pleasing and fanciful work. And for the same man he made a most beautiful design of a Crucifix, about one braccio high, with a Magdalene at the foot, in a manner so new and so pleasing that it is a marvel; which design M. Salvestro Bertini lent to Girolamo Razzi, his very dear friend, who is now Don Silvano, and two pictures were painted from it by Carlo of Loro, who has since executed many others, which are dispersed about Florence.

Giovanni and Piero d'Agostino Dini had erected in S. Croce, on the right hand as one enters by the central door, a very rich chapel of grey sandstone and a tomb for Agostino and others of their family; and they gave the commission for the altarpiece of that chapel to Francesco, who painted in it Christ taken down from the Cross by Joseph of Arimath^ea and Nicodemus, and at the foot the Madonna in a swoon, with Mary Magdalene, S. John, and the other Maries. That altarpiece was executed by Francesco with so much art and study, that not only the nude Christ is very beautiful, but all the other figures likewise are well disposed and coloured with relief and force; and although at first the picture was cen- sured by Francesco's adversaries, nevertheless it won him a great name with men in general, and those who have painted others after him out of emulation have not surpassed him. The same Francesco, before he departed from Florence, painted the portrait of the above-mentioned M. Lelio Torelli, and some other works of no great importance, of which I know not the particulars. But, among other things, he brought to completion a design of the Conversion of S. Paul that he had drawn long before in Rome, which is very beautiful; and he had it engraved on copper in Florence by Enea Vico of Parma, and the Duke was content to retain him in Florence until that should be done, with his usual salary and allowances. During that time, which was in the year 1548, Giorgio Vasari being at Rimini in order to execute in fresco and in oils the works of which we have spoken in another place, Francesco wrote him a long letter, informing him in exact detail how his affairs were passing in Florence, and, in particular, that he had made a design for the principal chapel of S. Lorenzo, which was to be painted by order of the Lord Duke, but that with regard to that work infinite mischief had been done against him with his Excellency, and, among other things, that he held it almost as certain that M. Pier Francesco, the major-domo, had not presented his design, so that the work had been allotted to Pontormo. And finally he said that for these reasons he was returning to Rome, much dissatisfied with the men and the craftsmen of his native country.

Having thus returned to Rome, he bought a house near the Palace of Cardinal Farnese, and, while he was occupying himself with executing some works of no great importance, he received from that Cardinal, through M. Annibale Caro and Don Giulio Clovio, the commission to paint the Chapel of the Palace of S. Giorgio, in which he executed an ornament of most beautiful compartments in stucco, and a vaulting in fresco with stories of S. Laurence and many figures, full of grace, and on a panel of stone, in oils, the Nativity of Christ, introducing into that work, which was very beautiful, the portrait of the above-named Car- dinal. Then, having another work allotted to him in the above-men- tioned Company of the Misericordia (where Jacopo del Conte had painted the Preaching and the Baptism of S. John, in which, although he had not surpassed Francesco, he had acquitted himself very well, and where some other works had been executed by the Venetian Battista Franco and by Pirro Ligorio), Francesco painted, on that part that is exactly beside his own picture of the Visitation, the Nativity of S. John, which, although he executed it excellently well, was nevertheless not equal to the first. At the head of that Company, likewise, he painted for M. Bartolommeo Bussotti two very beautiful figures in fresco S. Andrew and S. Bartholomew, the Apostles which are one on either side of the altar-piece, wherein is a Deposition from the Cross by the hand of the same Jacopo del Conte, which is a very good picture and the best work that he had ever done up to that time. In the year 1550, Julius III having been elected Supreme Pontiff, Francesco painted some very beautiful scenes in chiaroscuro for the arch that was erected above the steps of S. Pietro, among the festive prepara- tions for the coronation. And then, in the same year, a sepulchre with many steps and ranges of columns having been made in the Minerva by the Company of the Sacrament, Francesco painted upon it some scenes and figures in terretta, which were held to be very beautiful. In a chapel of S. Lorenzo in Damaso he executed two Angels in fresco that are holding a canopy, the design of one of which is in our book. In the refectory of S. Salvatore del Lauro at Monte Giordano, on the principal wall, he painted in fresco, with a great number of figures, the Marriage of Cana in Galilee, at which Jesus Christ turned water into wine; and at the sides some Saints, with Pope Eugenius IV, who belonged to that Order, and other founders. Above the door of that refectory, on the inner side, he painted a picture in oils of S. George killing the Dragon, and he executed that whole work with much mastery, finish, and charm of coloring. About the same time he sent to Florence, for M. Alamanno Salviati, a large picture in which are Adam and Eve beside the Tree of Life in the Earthly Paradise, eating the Forbidden Fruit, which is a very beautiful work.

For Signor Ranuccio, Cardinal Sant' Agnolo, of the House of Farnese, Francesco painted with most beautiful fantasy two walls in the hall that is in front of the great hall in the Farnese Palace. On one wall he depicted Signor Ranuccio the Elder receiving from Eugenius IV his baton as Captain-General of Holy Church, with some Virtues, and on the other Pope Paul III, of the Farnese family, who is giving the baton of the Church to Signor Pier Luigi, while there is seen approaching from a distance the Emperor Charles V, accompanied by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese and by other lords portrayed from life ; and on that wall, besides the things described above and many others, he painted a Fame and a number of other figures, which are executed very well. It is true, indeed, that the work received its final completion, not from him, but from Taddeo Zucchero of Sant' Agnolo, as will be related in the proper place. He gave completion and proportion to the Chapel of the Popolo, which Fra Sebastiano Veneziano had formerly begun for Agostino Chigi, but had not finished; and Francesco finished it, as has been described in the Life of Fra Sebastiano. For Cardinal Riccio of Montepulciano he painted a most beautiful hall in his Palace in the Strada Giulia, where he executed in fresco various pictures with many stories of David; and, among others, one of Bathsheba bathing herself in a bath, with many other women, while David stands gazing at her, is a scene very well composed and full of grace, and as rich in invention as any other that there is to be seen. In another picture is the Death of Uriah, in a third the Ark, before which go many musical instruments, and finally, after some others, a battle that is being fought between David and his enemies, very well composed. And, to put it briefly, the work of that hall is all full of grace, of most beautiful fantasies, and of many fanciful and ingenious inventions; the distribution of the parts is done with much consideration, and the coloring is very pleasing. To tell the truth, Francesco, feeling himself bold and fertile in invention, and having a hand obedient to his brain, would have liked always to have on his hands works large and out of the ordinary. And for no other reason was he strange in his dealings with his friends, save only for this, that, being variable and in certain things not very stable, what pleased him one day he hated the next; and he did few works of importance without having in the end to contend about the price, on which account he was avoided by many.

After these works, Andrea Tassini, having to send a painter to the King of France, in the year 1554 sought out Giorgio Vasari, but in vain, for he said that not for any salary, however great, or promises, or expectations, would he leave the service of his lord, Duke Cosimo; and finally Andrea came to terms with Francesco and took him to France, undertaking to recompense him in Rome if he were not satisfied in France. Before Francesco departed from Rome, as if he thought that he would never return, he sold his house, his furniture, and every other thing, excepting the offices that he held. But the venture did not succeed as he had expected, for the reason that, on arriving in Paris, where he was received kindly and with many courtesies by M. Francesco Primaticcio, painter and architect to the King, and Abbot of S. Martin, he was straightway recognized, so it is said, as the strange sort of man that he was, for he saw no work either by Rosso or by any other master that he did not censure either openly or in some subtle way. Everyone therefore expecting some great work from him, he was set by the Cardinal of Lorraine, who had sent for him, to execute some pictures in his Palace at Dampierre. Whereupon, after making many designs, finally he set his hand to the work, and executed some pictures with scenes in fresco over the cornices of chimney-pieces, and a little study full of scenes, which are said to have shown great mastery; but, whatever may have been the reason, these works did not win him much praise. Besides that, Francesco was never much liked there, because he had a nature altogether opposed to that of the men of that country, where, even as those merry and jovial men are liked and held dear who live a free life and take part gladly in assemblies and banquets, so those are, I do not say shunned, but less liked and welcomed, who are by nature, as Francesco was, melancholy, abstinent, sickly, and cross-grained. For some things he might have deserved to be excused, since his habit of body would not allow him to mix himself up with banquets and with eating and drinking too much, if only he could have been more agreeable in conversation. And, what was worse, whereas it was his duty, according to the custom of that country and that Court, to show himself and pay court to others, he would have liked, and thought that he deserved, to be himself courted by everyone.

In the end, the King being occupied with matters of war, and likewise the Cardinal, and himself being disappointed of his salary and promised benefits, Francesco, after having been there twenty months, resolved to return to Italy. And so he made his way to Milan, where he was courteously received by the Chevalier Leone Aretino in the house that he has built for himself, very ornate and all filled with statues ancient and modern, and with figures cast in gesso from rare works, as will be told in another place; and after having stayed there a fortnight and rested himself, he went on to Florence. There he found Giorgio Vasari and told him how well he had done not to go to France, giving him an account that would have driven the desire to go there, no matter how great, out of anyone. From Florence he returned to Rome, and there entered an action against those who had guaranteed his allowances from the Cardinal of Lorraine, and compelled them to pay him in full; and when he had received the money he bought some offices, in addition to others that he held before, with a firm resolve to look after his own life, knowing that he was not in good health and that he had wholly ruined his constitution. Notwithstanding that, he would have liked to be employed in great works ; but in this he did not succeed so readily, and he occupied himself for a time with executing pictures and portraits.

Pope Paul IV having died, Pius was elected, likewise the Fourth of that name, who, much delighting in building, availed himself of Pirro Ligorio in matters of architecture; and his Holiness ordained that Cardinals Alessandro Farnese and Emulio should cause the Great Hall, called the Hall of Kings, to be finished by Danielle da Volterra, who had begun it. That very reverend Farnese did his utmost to obtain the half of that work for Francesco, and in consequence there was a long contention between Danielle and Francesco, particularly because Michel - agnolo Buonarroti exerted himself in favor of Daniello, and for a time they arrived at no conclusion. Meanwhile, Vasari having gone with Cardinal Giovanni de' Medici, the son of Duke Cosimo, to Rome, Francesco related to him his many difficulties, and in particular that in which, for the reasons just given, he then found himself; and Giorgio, who much loved the excellence of the man, showed him that up to that time he had managed his affairs very badly, and that for the future he should let him (Vasari) manage them, for he would so contrive that in one way or another the half of that Hall of Kings would fall to him to execute, which Daniello was not able to finish by himself, being a slow and irresolute person, and almost certainly not as able and versatile as Francesco. Matters standing thus, and nothing more being done for the moment, not many days afterwards Giorgio himself was requested by the Pope to paint part of that Hall, but he answered that he had one three times larger to paint in the Palace of his master, Duke Cosimo, and, in addition, that he had been so badly treated by Pope Julius III, for whom he had executed many labours in the Vigna on the Monte and elsewhere, that he no longer knew what to expect from certain kinds of men; adding that he had painted for the Palace of the same Pontiff, without being paid, an altar-piece of Christ calling Peter and Andrew from their nets on the Sea of Tiberias (which had been taken away by Pope Paul IV from a chapel that Julius had built over the corridor of the Belvedere, and which was to be sent to Milan), and that his Holiness should cause it to be either paid for or restored to him. To which the Pope said in answer and whether it was true or not, I do not know that he knew nothing of that altarpiece, but wished to see it; whereupon it was sent for, and, after his Holiness had seen it, but in a bad light, he was content that it should be restored.

The discussion about the Hall being then resumed, Giorgio told the Pope frankly that Francesco was the first and best painter in Rome, that his Holiness would do well to employ him, since no one could serve him better, and that, although Buonarroti and the Cardinal of Carpi favored Daniello, they did so more from the motive of friendship, and perhaps out of animosity, than for any other reason. But to return to the altarpiece; Giorgio had no sooner left the Pope than he sent it to the house of Francesco, who afterwards had it taken to Arezzo, where, as we have related in another place, it has been deposited by Vasari with a rich, costly, and handsome ornament, in the Pieve of that city. The affairs of the Hall of Kings remaining in the condition that has been described above, when Duke Cosimo departed from Siena in order to go to Rome, Vasari, who had gene as far as that with his Excellency, recommended Salviati warmly to him, beseeching him to make interest on his behalf with the Pope, and to Francesco he wrote as to all that he was to do when the Duke had arrived in Rome. In all which Francesco departed in no way from the advice given him by Giorgio, for he went to do reverence to the Duke, and was welcomed by his Excellency with an aspect full of kindness, and shortly afterwards so much was said to his Holiness on his behalf, that the half of the above-mentioned Hall was allotted to him. Setting his hand to the work, before doing any other thing he threw to the ground a scene that had been begun by Daniello; on which account there were afterwards many contentions between them. The Pontiff was served in matters of architecture, as has been already related, by Pirro Ligorio, who at first had much favored Francesco, and would have continued to favor him; but Francesco paying no more attention either to Pirro or to any other after he had begun to work, this was the reason that Ligorio, from being his friend, became in a certain sort his adversary, and of this very manifest signs were seen, for Pirro began to say to the Pope that since there were many young painters of ability in Rome, and he wished to have that Hall off his hands, it would be a good thing to allot one scene to each of them, and thus to see it finished once and for all.

These proceedings of Pirro' s, to which it was evident that the Pope was favorable, so displeased Francesco, that in great disdain he retired from the work and all the contentions, considering that he was held in little estimation. And so, mounting his horse and not saying a word to anyone, he went off to Florence, where, like the strange creature that he was, without giving a thought to any of the friends that he had there, he took up his abode in an inn, as if he did not belong to the place and had no acquaintance there nor anyone who cared for him in any way. Afterwards, having kissed the hands of the Duke, he was received with such kindness, that he might well have looked for some good result, if only he had been different in nature and had adhered to the advice' of Giorgio, who urged him to sell the offices that he had in Rome and to settle in Florence, so as to enjoy his native place with his friends and to avoid the danger of losing, together with his life, all the fruits of his toil and grievous labours. But Francesco, moved by sensitiveness and anger, and by his desire to avenge himself, resolved that he would at all costs return to Rome in a few days. Meanwhile, moving from that inn at the entreaty of his friends, he retired to the house of M. Marco Finale, the Prior of S. Apostolo, where he executed a Pieta in colors on cloth of silver for M. Jacopo Salviati, as it were to pass the time, with the Madonna and the other Maries, which was a very beautiful work. He renewed in colors a medallion with the Ducal arms, which he had made on a former occasion and placed over a door in the Palace of Messer Alamanno. And for the above-named M. Jacopo he made a most beautiful book of bizarre costumes and various headdresses of men and horses for masquerades, for which he received innumerable courtesies from the liberality of that lord, who lamented the strange and eccentric nature of Francesco, whom he was never able to attract into his house on this occasion, as he had done at other times.

 

 

 

DANIELLO RICCIARELLI [DANIELE DA VOLTERRA] (1509 - 1566)
PAINTER AND SCULPTOR OF VOLTERRA

Vasari's Lives of the Artists



DANIELLO, when he was a lad, learned to draw a little from Giovanni Antonio Sodoma, who went at that time to execute certain works in the city of Volterra ; and when Sodoma had gone away he made much greater and better proficience under Baldassarre Peruzzi than he had done under the discipline of the other. But to tell the truth, for all that, he achieved no great success at that time, for the reason that in proportion as he de- voted great effort and study to seeking to learn, being urged by a strong desire, even so, on the other hand, did his brain and hand fail him. Where- fore in his first works, which he executed at Volterra, there is evidence of very great, nay, infinite labour, but not yet any promise of a grand or beautiful manner, nor any grace, charm, or invention, such as have been seen at an early hour in many others who have been born to be painters, and who, even in their first beginnings, have shown facility, boldness, and some indication of a good manner. His first works, indeed, seem in truth as if done by a melancholic, being full of effort and executed with much patience and expenditure of time.

But let us come to his works, leaving aside those that are not worthy of attention; in his youth he painted in fresco at Volterra the facade of M. Mario Maffei, in chiaroscuro, which gave him a good name and won him much credit. But after he had finished it, perceiving that he had there no competition that might spur him to seek to rise to greater heights, and that there were no works in that city, either ancient or modern, from which he could learn much, he determined at all costs to go to Rome, where he heard that there were not at that time many who were engaged in painting, excepting Perino del Vaga. Before departing, he resolved that he would take some finished work that might make him known ; and so, having painted a canvas in oils of Christ Scourged at the Column, with many figures, to which he devoted all possible diligence, availing himself of models and portraits from life, he took it with him. And, having arrived in Rome, he had not been long there before he contrived by means of friends to show that picture to Cardinal Triulzi, whom it satisfied in such a manner that he not only bought it, but also conceived a very great affection for Daniello ; and a short time afterwards he sent him to work in a village without Rome belonging to himself, called Salone, where he had built a very large house, which he was having adorned with fountains, stucco-work, and paintings, and in which at that very time Gian Maria da Milano and others were decorating certain rooms with stucco and grotesques. Arriving there, then, Daniello, both out of emulation and from a desire to serve that lord, from whom he could hope to win much honour and profit, painted various things in many rooms and loggie in company with the others, and in particular executed many grotesques, full of various little figures of women. But the work that proved to be more beautiful than all the rest was a story of Phaethon, executed in fresco with figures of the size of life, and a very large River God that he painted there, which is a very good figure ; and all these works, since the above- named Cardinal went often to see them, and took with him now one and now another of the Cardinals, were the reason that Daniello formed a friendship and bonds of service with many of them.

Afterwards, Perino del Vaga, who at that time was painting the Chapel of M. Agnolo de' Massimi in the Trinita, having need of a young man who might help him, Daniello, desiring to make proficience, and drawn by his promises, went to work with him and assisted him to execute certain things in the work of that chapel, which he carried to completion with much diligence. Now, before the sack of Rome Perino had painted on the vaulting of the Chapel of the Crocifisso in S. Marcello, as has been related, the Creation of Adam and Eve in figures of the size of life, and in much larger figures two Evangelists, S. John and S. Mark, which were not yet completely finished, since the figure of S. John was wanting from the middle upwards; and the men of that Company resolved, when the affairs of Rome had finally become settled again, that the same Perino should finish the work. But he, having other work to do, made the cartoons and had it finished by Danielle, who completed the S. John that had been left unfinished, painted all by himself the two other Evangelists, S. Luke and S. Matthew, between them two little boys that are holding a candelabrum, and, on the arch of the wall that contains the window, two Angels standing poised on their wings in the act of flight, who are holding in their hands the Mysteries of the Passion of Jesus Christ; and he adorned the arch richly with grotesques and little naked figures of great beauty. In short, he acquitted himself marvellously well in all that work, although he took a considerable time over it.

The same Perino having then caused Daniello to execute a frieze in the hall of the Palace of M. Agnolo Massimi, with many divisions in stucco and other ornaments, and stories of the actions of Fabius Maximus, he bore himself so well, that Signora Elena Orsina, having seen that work and hearing the ability of Daniello much extolled, commissioned him to paint her chapel in the Church of the Trinita in Rome, on trie hill, where the Friars of S. Francesco di Paola have their seat. Wherefore Daniello, putting forth all possible effort and diligence, in order to produce a rare work which might make him known as an excellent painter, did not shrink from devoting to it the labour of many years. From the name of that lady, the title given to the chapel being that of the Cross of Christ Our Saviour, the subject chosen was that of the actions of S. Helen; and so in the principal altar-piece Daniello painted Jesus Christ taken down from the Cross by Joseph, Nicodemus, and other disciples, and the Virgin Mary in a swoon, supported on the arms of the Magdalene and the other Maries, in all which he showed very great judgment, and gave proof of very rare ability, for the reason that, besides the composition of the figures, which has a very rich effect, the figure of Christ is very fine and most beautifully foreshortened, with the feet coming forward and the rest backwards. Very beautiful and difficult, likewise, are the fore- shortenings in the figures of those who, having removed Him from the Cross, support Him with some bands, standing on some ladders and re- vealing in certain parts the nude flesh, executed with much grace. Around that altarpiece he made an ornament in stucco-work of great beauty and variety, full of carvings, with two figures that support the pediment with their heads, while with one hand they hold the capital, and with the other they seek to place the column, which stands at the foot on the base, below the capital to support it; which work is done with extraordinary care. In the arch above the altarpiece he painted two Sibyls in fresco, which are the best figures in the whole work; and those Sibyls are one on either side of the window, which is above the centre of the altarpiece, giving light to the whole chapel.

The vaulting of the chapel is divided into four compartments by bizarre, well varied, and beautiful partitions of stucco-work and grotesques made with new fantasies of masks and festoons; and in those compartments are four stories of the Cross and of S. Helen, the mother of Constantine. In the first is the scene when, before the Passion of the Saviour, three Crosses are constructed; in the second, S. Helen commanding certain Hebrews to reveal those Crosses to her; in the third, the Hebrews not consenting to reveal them, she causes to be cast into a well him who knows where they are; and in the fourth he reveals the place where all three are buried. Those four scenes are beautiful beyond belief, and executed with great care. On the side-walls are four other scenes, two to each wall, and each is divided off by the cornice that forms the impost of the arch upon which rests the groined vaulting of the chapel. In one is S. Helen causing the Holy Cross and the two others to be drawn up from a well; and in the second is that of the Saviour healing a sick man. Of the pictures below, in that on the right hand is the same S. Helen recognizing the Cross of Christ because it restores to life a corpse upon which it is laid ; to the nude flesh of which corpse Daniello devoted extraordinary pains, searching out all the muscles and seeking to render correctly all the parts of the body, as he also did in those who are placing the Cross upon it, and in the bystanders, who are all struck with amaze- ment by the sight of that miracle. And, in addition, there is a bier of bizarre shape painted with much diligence, with a skeleton embracing it, executed with great care and with beautiful invention. In the other picture, which is opposite to the first, he painted the Emperor Heraclius walking barefoot and in his shirt, and carrying the Cross of Christ through adoring it, many lords in his train, and a groom who is holding his horse. Below each scene, forming a kind of base, are two most beautiful women in chiaroscuro, painted in imitation of marble, who appear to be support- ing those scenes. And under the first arch, on the front side, he painted on the flat surface, standing upright, two figures as large as life, a S. Fran- cesco di Paola, the head of the Order that administers the above-named church, and a S. Jerome robed as a Cardinal, which are two very good figures, even as are those of the whole work, which Danielle executed in seven years, with incalculable labor and study.

But, since pictures that are executed in that way have always a certain hard and labored quality, the work is wanting in the grace and facility that give most pleasure to the eye. Wherefore Daniello, himself confessing the fatigue that he had endured in the work, and fearing the fate that did come upon him (namely, that he would be censured), made below the feet of those two Saints, to please himself, and as^ it were in his own defence, two little scenes of stucco in low-relief, in which he sought to show that, although he worked slowly and with effort, nevertheless, since Michelagnolo Buonarroti and Fra Sebastiano del Piombo were his friends, and he was always imitating their works and observing their precepts, his imitation of those two men should be enough to defend him from the biting words of envious and malignant persons, whose evil nature must perforce be revealed, although they may not think it. In one of these scenes, then, he made many figures of Satyrs that are weigh- ing legs, arms, and other members of figures with a steelyard, in order to put on one side those that are correct in weight and satisfactory, and to give those that are bad to Michelagnolo and Fra Sebastiano, who are holding conference over them ; and in the other is Michelagnolo looking at himself in a mirror, the significance of which is clear enough. At two angles of the arch, likewise, on the outer side, he painted two nudes in chiaroscuro, which are of the same excellence as the other figures in that work. When it was all uncovered, which was after a very long time, it was much extolled, and held to be a very beautiful work and a triumph over difficulties, and the painter a most excellent master.

After that chapel, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese caused him to execute in a room in his Palace namely, at the corner, under one of those very rich ceilings made under the direction of Maestro Antonio da San Gallo for three large chambers that are in a line a very beautiful frieze in painting, with a scene full of figures on each wall, the scenes being a very beautiful triumph of Bacchus, a Hunt, and others of that kind. These much pleased the Cardinal, who caused him to paint, in addition, in several parts of that frieze, the Unicorn in various forms in the lap of a Virgin, which is the device of that most illustrious family. Which work was the reason that that lord, who has ever been the friend of all talented and distinguished men, always favoured him, and even more would he have done it, if Daniello had not been so dilatory over his work ; but for that Daniello was not to blame, seeing that such was his nature and genius, and he was content to do little well rather than much not so well. Now, in addition to the affection that the Cardinal bore him, Signer Annibale Caro worked on his behalf in such a manner with his patrons, the Farnesi, that they always assisted him. And for Madama Margherita of Austria, the daughter of Charles V, he painted in eight spaces in the study of which mention has been made in the Life of Indaco, in the Palace of the Medici on the Piazza Navona, eight little stories of the actions and illustrious deeds of the above-named Emperor Charles V, with such diligence and excellence, that it would be almost impossible to do better in that kind of work.

In the year 1547 Perino del Vaga died, leaving unfinished the Hall of Kings, which, as has been related, is in the Papal Palace, in front of the Sistine and Pauline Chapels; and by the mediation of many friends and lords, and in particular of Michelagnolo Buonarroti, Daniello was set in his place by Pope Paul III, with the same salary that Perino had received, and was commanded to make a beginning with the ornaments of the walls that were to be executed in stucco, with many nudes in the round over certain pediments. Now, since the walls of that Hall are broken by six large doors in variegated marble, and only one wall is left unbroken, Daniello made over each door what is almost a tabernacle in stucco, of great beauty. In each of these he intended to execute in painting one of those Kings who have defended the Apostolic Church, and then to con- tinue on the walls with stories of those Kings who have benefited the Church with tributes or victories, so that in all there were to be six stories and six niches. After those niches, or rather, tabernacles, Daniello with the aid of many assistants executed all the other very rich decorations in stucco that are to be seen in that Hall, studying at the same time over the cartoons for all that he had proposed to do in that place in the way of painting. Which done, he made a beginning with one of the stories, but he did not paint more than about two braccia of it, and two of the Kings in the tabernacles of stucco over the doors. For, although he was pressed by Cardinal Farnese and by the Pope, not reflecting that death very often spoils the designs of men, he carried on the work so slowly that when in the year 1549 tne death of the Pope took place, there was nothing done save what has been described; and then, the Conclave having to be held in the Hall, which was full of scaffolding and wood-work, it became neces- sary to throw everything to the ground and uncover the work. The whole being thus seen by everyone, the works in stucco were vastly extolled, as they deserved, but not so the two Kings in painting, for it was thought that they were not equal in excellence to the work at the Trinita, and that with all those fine allowances and advantages he had gone rather backward than forward.

Julius III having been created Pontiff in the year 1550, Daniello put himself forward by means of friends and interests, hoping to obtain the same salary and to continue the work of that Hall, but the Pope, not having any inclination in his favour, always put him off ; indeed, sending for Giorgio Vasari, who had been his servant from the time when he was Archbishop of Siponto, he made use of him in all matters concerned with design. Nevertheless, his Holiness having determined to make a fountain at the head of the corridor of the Belvedere, and not liking a design by Michelagnolo (in which was Moses striking the rock and causing water to flow from it) because it was a thing that could not be carried out without a great expenditure of time, since Michelagnolo wished to make it of marble; his Holiness, I say, preferring the advice of Giorgio, which was that the Cleopatra, a divine figure made by the Greeks, should be set up in that place, the charge of that work was given by means of Buonarroti to Danielle, with orders that he should make in the above-named place a grotto in stucco-w r ork, within which that Cleopatra was to be placed. Danielle, then, having set his hand to that work, pursued it so slowly, although he was much pressed, that he finished only the stucco-work and the paintings in that room, but as for the many other things that the Pope wished to have done, seeing them delayed longer than he had expected, he lost all desire for them, so that nothing more was done and everything was left in the condition that is still to be seen.

In a chapel in the Church of S. Agostino Daniello painted in fresco, with figures of the size of life, S. Helen causing the Cross to be found, and in two niches at the sides S. Cecilia and S. Lucia, which work was painted partly by him and partly, after his designs, by the young men who worked with him, so that it did not prove as perfect as his others. At this same time there was allotted to him by Signora Lucrezia della Rovere a chapel in the Trinita, opposite to that of Signora Elena Orsina. In that chapel, having divided it into compartments with stucco-work, he had the vaulting painted with stories of the Virgin, after his own cartoons, by Marco da Siena and Pellegrino da Bologna; on one of the walls he caused the Nativity of the Virgin to be painted by the Spaniard Bizzerra, and on the other, by Giovan Paolo Rossetti of Volterra, his disciple, the Presentation of Jesus Christ to Simeon; and he caused the same Giovan Paolo to execute two scenes that are on the arches above, Gabriel bringing the Annunciation to the Virgin and the Nativity of Christ. On the outer side, at the angles, he painted two large figures, and on the pilasters, at the foot, two Prophets. On the altar-front Daniello painted with his own hand the Madonna ascending the steps of the Temple, and on the principal wall the same Virgin ascending into Heaven, borne by many most beautiful Angels in the forms of little boys, and the twelve Apostles below, gazing on her as she ascends. And since the place would not hold so many figures, and he desired to use a new invention in the work, he made it appear as if the altar of that chapel were the sepulchre, and placed the Apostles around it, making their feet rest on the floor of the chapel, where the altar begins; which method of Daniello' s has pleased some, but others, who form the greater and better part, not at all. And although Daniello toiled fourteen years over executing that work, it is not a whit better than the first. On the last wall of the chapel that remained to be finished, on which there was to be painted the Massacre of the Innocents, having himself made the cartoons, he had the whole executed by the Florentine Michele Alberti, his disciple.

The Florentine Monsignor M. Giovanni della Casa, a man of great learning (to which his most pleasing and learned works, both in Latin and in the vulgar tongue, bear witness), having begun to write a treatise on the matters of painting, and wishing to enlighten himself as to certain minute particulars with the help of men of the profession, commissioned Daniello to make with all possible care a finished model of a David in clay. And then he caused him to paint, or rather, to copy in a picture, the same David, which is very beautiful, from either side, both the front and the back, which was a fanciful notion; and that picture now belongs to M. Annibale Rucellai. For the same M. Giovanni he executed a Dead Christ with the Maries; and, on a canvas that was to be sent to France, ^Eneas disrobing in order to go to sleep with Dido, and interrupted by Mercury, who is represented as speaking to him in the manner that may be read in the verses of Virgil. And he painted for the same man in another picture, likewise in oils, a most beautiful S. John in Penitence, of the size of life, which was held very dear by that lord as long as he lived; and also a S. Jerome, beautiful to a marvel.

Pope Julius III having died, and Paul IV having been elected Supreme Pontiff, the Cardinal of Carpi sought to persuade his Holiness to give the above-mentioned Hall of Kings to Daniello to finish, but that Pope, not delighting in pictures, answered that it was much better to fortify Rome than to spend money on painting it. And so he caused a beginning to be made with the great portal of the Castle, after the design of Salustio, the son of Baldassarre Peruzzi of Siena and his architect, and ordained that in that work, which was being executed all in travertine, after the manner of a sumptuous and magnificent triumphal arch, there should be placed in niches five statues, each of four braccia and a half; whereupon Daniello was commissioned to make an Angel Michael, the other statues having been allotted to other craftsmen. Meanwhile Monsignor Giovanni Riccio, Cardinal of Montepulciano, resolved to erect a chapel in S. Pietro a Montorio, opposite to that which Pope Julius had caused to be built under the direction of Giorgio Vasari, and he allotted the altarpiece, the scenes in fresco and the statues of marble that were going into it, to Danielle ; and Danielle, by that time completely determined that he would abandon painting and devote himself to sculpture, went off to Carrara to have the marble quarried both for the S. Michael and for the statues that he was to make for the chapel in S. Pietro a Montorio. With that occasion, coming to see Florence and the works that Vasari was executing in the Palace for the Duke, and the other works in that city, he received many courtesies from his innumerable friends, and in particular from Vasari himself, to whom Buonarroti had recommended him by letter. Abiding in Florence, then, and perceiving how much the Lord Duke delighted in all the arts of design, Daniello was seized with a desire to attach himself to the service of his most illustrious Excellency. Many means being therefore employed, the Lord Duke replied to those who were recommending him that he should be introduced by Vasari, and so it was done ; and Daniello offering himself as the servant of his Excellency, the Duke answered graciously that he accepted him most willingly, and that after he had fulfilled the engagements that he had in Rome, he should come when he pleased, and he would be received very gladly.

Daniello stayed all that summer in Florence, where Giorgio lodged him in the house of Simon Botti, who was much his friend. There, during that time, he cast in gesso nearly all the figures of marble by the hand of Michelagnolo that are in the new sacristy of S. Lorenzo; and for the Fleming Michael Fugger he made a Leda, which was a very beautiful figure. He then went to Carrara, and from there, having sent the marble that he desired in the direction of Rome, he returned once again to Florence, for the following reason. Daniello had brought with him, when he first came from Rome to Florence, a young disciple of his own called Orazio Pianetti, a talented and very gentle youth ; but no sooner had he arrived in Florence, whatever may have been the reason, than he died. At which feeling infinite grief and sorrow, Daniello, as one who much loved the young man for his fine qualities, and was not able to show his affection for him in any other way, returning that last time to Florence, made a portrait of him in marble from the breast upwards, which he copied excellently well from one moulded from his dead body. And when it was finished, he placed it with an epitaph in the Church of S. Michele Berteldi on the Piazza degli Antinori ; in which Danielle proved himself, by that truly loving office, to be a man of rare goodness, and a different sort of friend to his friends from the kind that is generally seen at the present day, when there are very few to be found who value anything in friend- ship beyond their own profit and convenience.

After these things, it being a long time since he had been in his native city of Volterra, he went there before returning to Rome, and was warmly welcomed by his relatives and friends. Being besought to leave some memorial of himself in his native place, he executed the story of the Innocents in a small panel with little figures, which was held to be a very beautiful work, and placed it in the Church of S. Piero. Then, thinking that he would never return, he sold the little that he possessed there by way of patrimony to Leonardo Ricciarelli, his nephew, who, having been with him in Rome, and having learned very well how to work in stucco, afterwards served Giorgio Vasari for three years, in company with many others, in the works that were executed at that time in the Palace of the Duke.

When Daniello had finally returned to Rome, Pope Paul IV having a desire to throw to the ground the Judgment of Michelagnolo on account of the nudes, which seemed to him to display the parts of shame in an unseemly manner, it was said by the Cardinals and by men of judgment that it would be a great sin to spoil them, and they found a way out of it, which was that Daniello should paint some light garments to cover them; and the business was afterwards finished in the time of Pius IV by repainting the S. Catherine and the S. Biagio, which were thought to be unseemly.

In the meantime he began the statues for the Chapel of the above- named Cardinal of Montepulciano, and the S. Michael for the great portal; but none the less, being a man who was always going from one notion to another, he did not work with the promptitude that he could and should have used. About this time, after King Henry of France had been killed in a tournament, Signor Ruberto Strozzi being about to come to Italy and to Rome, Queen Caterina de' Medici, having been left Regent in that kingdom, and wishing to erect some honourable memorial to her dead husband, commanded the said Ruberto to confer with Buonarroti and to contrive to have her desire in that matter fulfilled. Wherefore, having arrived in Rome, he spoke long of the matter with Michelagnolo, who, not being able, because he was old, to accept that undertaking himself, advised Signor Ruberto to give it to Danielle, saying that he would not fail to give him all the counsel and assistance that he could. To that offer Strozzi attached great importance, and, after they had considered with much deliberation what should be done, it was resolved that Daniello should make a horse of bronze all in one piece, twenty palms high from the head to the feet, and about forty in length, and that upon it there should then be placed the statue of King Henry in armor, likewise of bronze. Daniello having then made a little model of clay after the advice and judgment of Michelagnolo, which much pleased Signor Ruberto, an account of everything was written to France, and in the end an agreement was made between him and Daniello as to the method of executing that work, the time, the price, and every other thing. Whereupon Daniello, setting to work with much study on the horse, made it in clay exactly as it was to be, without ever doing any other work; and then, having made the mould, he was proceeding to prepare to cast it, and, the work being of such importance, was taking advice from many founders as to the method that he ought to pursue, to the end that it might come out well, when Pius IV, who had been elected Pontiff after the death of Paul, gave Daniello to understand that he desired, as has been related in the Life of Salviati, that the work of the Hall of Kings should be finished, and that therefore every other thing was to be put on one side. To which Daniello answered that he was fully occupied and pledged to the Queen of France, but would make the cartoons and have the work carried forward by his young men, and, in addition, would also do his own part in it. The Pope, not liking that answer, began to think of allotting the whole to Salviati; wherefore Daniello, seized with jealousy, so went to work with the help of the Cardinal of Carpi and Michelagnolo, that the half of that Hall was given to him to paint, and the other half, as we have related, to Salviati, although Danielle did his utmost to obtain the whole, in order to proceed with it at his leisure and convenience, without competition. But in the end the matter of that work was handled in such a manner, that Daniello did not do there one thing more than what he had done before, and Salviati did not finish the little that he had begun, and even that little was thrown to the ground for him by certain malicious persons.

Finally, after four years, Daniello was ready, so far as concerned him, to cast the above-mentioned horse, but he was obliged to wait many months more than he would otherwise have done, for want of the supplies of iron instruments, metal, and other materials that Signor Ruberto was to give him. But in the end, all these things having been provided, Daniello embedded the mould, which was a vast mass, between two furnaces for founding in a very suitable room that he had at Monte Cavallo. The material being melted and the orifices unstopped, for a time the metal ran well enough, but at length the weight of fhe metal burst the mould of the body of the horse, and all the molten material flowed in a wrong direction. At first this much troubled the mind of Daniello, but none the less, having thought well over everything, he found a way to remedy that great misfortune; and so after two months, casting it a second time, his ability prevailed over the impediments of Fortune, so that he executed the casting of that horse (which is a sixth, or more, larger than that of Antoninus which is on the Campidoglio) perfectly uniform and equally delicate throughout, and it is a marvellous thing that a work so large should not weigh more than twenty thousand (libbre).

But such were the discomforts and fatigues that were endured in the work by Daniello, who was rather feeble in constitution and melancholy than otherwise, that not long afterwards there came upon him a cruel catarrh, which much reduced him ; indeed, whereas Daniello should have been happy at having surmounted innumerable difficulties in so rare a casting, it seemed that he never smiled again, no matter what good fortune might befall him, and no long time passed before that catarrh, after an illness of two days, robbed him of his life, on the 4th of April, 1566. But before that, having foreseen his death, he confessed very devoutly, and demanded all the Sacraments of the Church; and then, making his will, he directed that his body should be buried in the new church that had been begun at the Baths by Pius IV for the Carthusian Monks, ordaining also that at his tomb, in that place, there should be set up the statue of the Angel that he had formerly begun for the great portal of the Castle. And of all this he gave the charge to the Florentine Michele degli Alberti and to Feliciano of San Vito in the district of Rome, making them executors of his will in those matters, and leaving them two hundred crowns for the purpose. Which last wishes of Daniello' s the two of them executed with diligence and love, giving him honourable burial in that place, according as he had directed. To the same men he left all his property pertaining to art, moulds in gesso, models, designs, and all the other materials and implements of his work; wherefore they offered themselves to the Ambassador of France, saying that they would deliver completely finished, within a fixed time, the work of the horse and the figure of the King that was to go upon it. And, in truth, both of them having practised many years under the instruction and discipline of Daniello, the greatest things may be expected from them.

Disciples of Daniello, likewise, have been Biagio da Carigliano of Pistoia, and Giovan Paolo Rossetti of Volterra, who is a very diligent person and of most beautiful genius; which Giovan Paolo, having retired to Volterra many years ago, has executed, as he still does, works worthy of much praise. Another who also worked with Daniello, and made much proficience, was Marco da Siena, who, having made his way to Naples and chosen that city as his home, lives there and is constantly at work. And Giulio Mazzoni of Piacenza has likewise been a disciple of Daniello; which Giulio received his first instruction from Vasari, when Giorgio was executing in Florence an altarpiece for M. Biagio Mei, which was sent to Lucca and placed in S. Piero Cigoli, and when the same Giorgio was painting the altarpiece of the high altar and a great work in the refectory of Monte Oliveto at Naples, besides the Sacristy of S. Giovanni Carbonaro and the doors of the organ in the Piscopio, with other altarpieces and pictures. Giulio, having afterwards learned from Daniello to work in stucco, in which he equalled his master, has adorned with his own hand all the interior of the Palace of Cardinal Capodiferro, executing there marvellous works not only in stucco, but also of scenes in fresco and in oils, which have won him infinite praise, and that rightly. The same master has made a head of Francesco del Nero in marble, copying it so well from the life, that I do not believe that it is possible to do better ; wherefore it may be hoped that he is destined to achieve a very fine result, and to attain to the greatest excellence and perfection that a man can reach in these our arts.

Danielle was an orderly and excellent man, but so intent on the studies of art, that he gave little thought to the other circumstances of his life. He was a melancholy person, and very solitary; and he died at about the age of fifty-seven. A request for his portrait was made to those disciples of his, who had taken it in gesso, and when I was in Rome last year they promised it to me; but, for all the messages and letters that I have sent to them, they have refused to give it, thus showing little affection for their dead master. However, I have been unwilling to be hindered by that ingratitude on their part, seeing that Daniello was my friend, and I have included the portrait given above, which, although it is little like him, must serve as a proof of my diligence and of the little care and lovingness of Michele degli Alberti and Feliciano da San Vito.

 

 

 

TADDEO ZUCCHERO (1529-1566)
PAINTER OF SANT' AGNOLO IN VADO


Vasari's Lives of the Artists

FRANCESCO MARIA being Duke of Urbino, there was born in the township of Sant' Agnolo in Vado, a place in that State, on the ist of September in the year 1529, to the painter Ottaviano Zucchero, a male child to whom he gave the name of Taddeo; which boy having learned by the age of ten to read and write passing well, his father took him under his own discipline and taught him something of design. But, perceiving that his son had a very beautiful genius and was likely to become a better master in painting than he believed himself to be, Ottaviano placed him with* Pompeo da Fano, who was very much his friend, but a commonplace painter. Pompeo' s works not pleasing Taddeo, and likewise his w r ays, he returned to Sant' Agnolo, and there, as well as in other places, assisted his father to the best of his power and knowledge. Finally, being well grown in years and in judgment, and perceiving that he could not make much progress under the discipline of his father, who was burdened with seven sons and one daughter, and also that with his own little knowledge he could not be of as much assistance to his father as he might wish, he went off all alone, at the age of fourteen, to Rome.

There, at first, not being known by anyone, and himself knowing no one, he suffered some hardships; and, if he did know one or two persons, he was treated worse by them than by the others. Thus, having approached Francesco, called Sant' Agnolo, who was working by the day at grotesques under Perino del Vaga, he commended himself to him with all humility, praying him that, being his kinsman, he should consent to help him; but no good came of it, for Francesco, as certain kinds of kinsmen often do, not only did not assist him by word or deed, but reproved and repelled him harshly. But for all that, not losing heart and not being dismayed, the poor boy contrived to maintain himself (or we should rather say, to starve himself) for many months in Rome by grinding colors for a small price, now in one shop and now in another, at times also drawing something, as best he could. And although in the end he placed himself as an assistant with one Giovan Piero Calavrese, he did not gain much profit from that, for the reason that his master, together with his wife, a shrew of a woman, not only made him grind colors all day and all night, but even, among other things, kept him in want of bread, which, lest he should be able to have enough or to take it at his pleasure, they used to keep in a basket hung from the ceiling, with some little bells, which would ring at the least touch of a hand on the basket, and thus give the alarm. But this would have caused little annoyance to Taddeo, if only he had had any opportunity of drawing some designs by the hand of Raffaello da Urbino that his pig of a master possessed.

On account of these and many other strange ways Taddeo left Giovan Piero, and resolved to live by himself and to have recourse to the workshops of Rome, where he was by that time known, spending a part of the week in doing work for a livelihood, and the rest in drawing, particularly the works by the hand of Raffaello that were in the house of Agostino Chigi and in other places in Rome. And since very often, when the evening came on, he had no place wherein to sleep, many a night he took refuge under the loggie of the above-named Chigi's house and in other suchlike places; which hardships did something to ruin his constitution, and, if his youth had not helped him, they would have killed him altogether. As it was, falling ill, and not being assisted by his kinsman Francesco Sant' Agnolo any more than he had been before, he returned to his father's house at Sant' Agnolo, in order not to finish his life in such misery as that in which he had been living.

However, not to waste any more time on matters that are not of the first importance, now that I have shown at sufficient length with what difficulties and hardships he made his proficience, let me relate that Taddeo, at length restored to health and once more in Rome, resumed his usual studies, but with more care of himself than he had taken in the past, and learned so much under a certain Jacopone, that he came into some credit. Wherefore the above-mentioned Francesco, his kinsman, who had behaved so cruelly toward him, perceiving that he had become an able master, and wishing to make use of him, became reconciled with him; and they began to work together, Taddeo, who was of a kindly nature, having forgotten all his wrongs. And so, Taddeo making the designs, and both together executing many friezes in fresco in chambers and loggie, they went on assisting one another.

Meanwhile the painter Daniello da Parma, who had formerly been many years with Antonio da Correggio [Correggio], and had associated with Francesco Mazzuoli of Parma [Parmigianino], having undertaken to paint a church in fresco for the Office of Works of S. Maria at Vitto,* [* Alvito.] beyond Sora, on the borders of the Abruzzi, called Taddeo to his assistance and took him to Vitto. In which work, although Daniello was not the best painter in the world, nevertheless, on account of his age, and from his having seen the methods of Correggio and Parmigiano, and with what softness they executed their paintings, he had such experience that, imparting it to* Taddeo and teaching him, he was of the greatest assistance to him with his words; no less, indeed, than another might have been by working before him. In that work, which was on a groined vaulting, Taddeo painted the four Evangelists, two Sibyls, two Prophets, and four not very large stories of Jesus Christ and of the Virgin His Mother.

He then returned to Rome, where, M. Jacopo Mattei, a Roman gentleman, discoursing with Francesco Sant' Agnolo of his desire to have the f agade of his house painted in chiaroscuro, Francesco proposed Taddeo to him; but he appeared to that gentleman to be too young, wherefore Francesco said to him that he should make trial of Taddeo in two scenes, which, if they were not successful, could be thrown to the ground, and, if successful, could be continued. Taddeo having then set his hand to the work, the two first scenes proved to be such, that M. Jacopo was not only satisfied with them, but astonished. In the year 1548, therefore, when Taddeo had finished that work, he was vastly extolled by all Rome, and that with good reason, because after Polidoro, Maturino, Vincenzio da San Gimignano, and Baldassarre da Siena, no one had attained in works of that kind to the standard that Taddeo had reached, who was then a young man only eighteen years of age. The stories of the work may be understood from these inscriptions, of the deeds of Furius Camillus, one of which is below each scene.

The first, then, runs thus:

TUSCULANI, PACE CONSTANTI, VIM ROMANAM ARGENT.

The second

M.F.C. SIGNIFERUM SECUM IN HOSTEM RAPIT.

The third

M.F.C. AUCTORE, INCENSA URBS RESTITUITUR.

The fourth

M.F.C. PACTIONIBUS TURBATIS PRAELIUM GALLIS NUNCIAT.

The fifth-

M.F.C. PRODITOREM VINCTUM FALERIO REDUCENDUM TRADIT.

The sixth

MATRONALIS AURI COLLATIONE VOTUM APOLLINI SOLVITUR.

The seventh

M.F.C. JUNONI REGIN^E TEMPLUM IN AVENTINO DEDICAT.

The eighth

SIGNUM JUNONIS REGIN.E A VEIIS ROMAM TRANSFERTUR.

The ninth

M.F.C. . . . ANLIUS DICT. DECEM . . . SOCIOS CAPIT.

From that time until the year 1550, when Julius III was elected Pope, Taddeo occupied himself with works of no great importance, yet with considerable profits. In which year of 1550, the year of the Jubilee, Ottaviano, the father of Taddeo, with his mother and another of their sons, went to Rome to take part in that most holy Jubilee, and partly, also, to see their son. After they had been there some weeks with Taddeo, on departing they left with him the boy that they had brought with them, who was called Federigo, to the end that he might cause him to study letters. But Taddeo judged him to be more fitted for painting, as indeed Federigo has since been seen to be from the excellent result that he has achieved; and so, after he had learned his first letters, Taddeo began to make him give his attention to design, with better fortune and support than he himself had enjoyed. Meanwhile Taddeo painted in the Church of S. Ambrogio de' Milanesi, on the wall of the high altar, four stories of the life of that Saint, colored in fresco and not very large, with a frieze of little boys, and women after the manner of terminal figures; which was a work of no little beauty. That finished, he painted a facade full of stories of Alexander the Great, beside S. Lucia della Tinta, near the Orso, beginning from his birth and continuing with five stories of the most noteworthy actions of that famous man; which work won him much praise, although it had to bear comparison with another facade near it by the hand of Polidoro.

About that time Guidobaldo, Duke of Urbino, having heard the fame of the young man, who was his vassal, and desiring to give completion to the walls of the chapel in the Duomo of Urbino, wherein Battista Franco, as has been related, had painted the vaulting in fresco, caused Taddeo to be summoned to Urbino. And he, leaving Federigo in Rome, under the care of persons who might make him give his attention to his studies, and likewise another of his brothers, whom he placed with some friends to learn the goldsmith's art, went off to Urbino, where many attentions were paid him by that Duke ; and then orders were given to him as to all that he was to design in the matter of the chapel and other works. But in the meantime the Duke, as General to the Signori of Venice, had to visit Verona and the other fortified places of that dominion, and he took with him Taddeo, who copied for him the picture by the hand of Raffaello da Urbino which, as has been related in another place, is in the house of the noble Counts of Canossa. And he afterwards began, also for his Excellency, a large canvas with the Conversion of S. Paul, which, unfinished as he left it, is still in the possession of his father Ottaviano at Sant' Agnolo.

Then, having returned to Urbino, he occupied himself for a time with continuing the designs for the above-mentioned chapel, which were of the life of Our Lady, as may be seen from some of them that are in the possession of his brother Federigo, drawn in chiaroscuro with the pen. But, whether it was that the Duke had not made up his mind or con- sidered Taddeo to be too young, or for some other reason, Taddeo remained with him two years without doing anything but some pictures in a little study at Pesaro, a large coat of arms in fresco on the fagade of the Palace, and a picture with a lifesize portrait of the Duke, which were all beautiful works. Finally the Duke, having to depart for Rome to receive from Pope Julius III his baton as General of Holy Church, left directions that Taddeo was to proceed with the above-named chapel, and that he was to be provided with all that he required for that purpose. But the Duke's ministers, keeping him, as such men generally do, in want of everything, brought it about that Taddeo, after having lost two years of his time, had to go off to Rome, where, having found the Duke, he excused himself adroitly, without blaming anyone, and promised that he would not fail to do the work when the time came.

 

 

TADDEO ZUCCHERO
PAINTER OF SANT' AGNOLO IN VADO
Part 2


Vasari's Lives of the Artists

In the year 1551, Stefano Veltroni, of Monte Sansovino having received orders from the Pope and from Vasari to have adorned with grotesques the apartments of the villa on the hill without the Porta del Popolo, which had belonged to Cardinal Poggio summoned Taddeo, and caused him to paint in the central picture a figure of Opportunity, who, having seized Fortune by the locks, appears to be about to cut them with her shears (the device of that Pope) ; in which Taddeo acquitted himself very well. Then, Vasari having made before any of the others the designs for the court and the fountain at the foot of the new Palace, which were afterwards carried on by Vignuola and Ammanati and built by Baronino, Prospero Fontana, in painting many pictures there, as will be related hereafter, availed himself not a little of Taddeo in many things. And these were the cause of even greater benefits for him, for the Pope, liking his method of working, commissioned him to paint in some apartments, above the corridor of the Belvedere, some little figures in colour that served as friezes for those apartments; and in an open loggia, behind those that faced towards Rome, he painted in chiaroscuro on the wall, with figures as large as life, all the Labours of Hercules, which were destroyed in the time of Pope Paul IV, when other apartments and a chapel were built there. At the Vigna of Pope Julius, in the first apartments of the Palace, he executed some scenes in colour, and in particular one of Mount Parnassus, in the centre of the ceilings, and in the court of the same he painted in chiaroscuro two scenes of the history of the Sabines, which are one on either side of the principal door of variegated marble that leads into the loggia, whence one descends to the fountain of the Acqua Vergine; all which works were much commended and extolled.

Now Federigo, while Taddeo was in Rome with the Duke, had returned to Urbino, and he had lived there and at Pesaro ever since; but Taddeo, after the works described above, caused him to return to Rome, in order to make use of him in executing a great frieze in a hall, with others in other rooms, of the house of the Giambeccari on the Piazza di S. Apostolo, and in other friezes that he painted in the house of M. Antonio Portatore at the Obelisk of S. Mauro, all full of figures and other things, which were held to be very beautiful. Maestro Mattivolo, the Master of the Post, bought in the time of Pope Julius a site on the Campo Marzio, and built there a large and very commodious house, and then commissioned Taddeo to paint the facade in chiaroscuro; which Taddeo executed there three stories of Mercury, the Messenger of the Gods, which were very beautiful, and the rest he caused to be painted by others after designs by his own hand. Meanwhile M. Jacopo Mattei, having caused a chapel to be built in the Church of the Consolazione below the Campidoglio, allotted it to Taddeo to paint, knowing already how able he was; and he willingly undertook to do it, and for a small price, in order to show to certain persons, who went about saying that he could do nothing save facades and other works in chiaroscuro, that he could also paint in color.

Having then set his hand to that work, Taddeo would only touch it when he was in the mood and vein to do well, spending the rest of his time on works that did not weigh upon him so much in the matter of honor; and so he executed it at his leisure in four years. On the vaulting he painted in fresco four scenes of the Passion of Christ, of no great size, with most beautiful fantasies, and all so well executed in invention, design, and coloring, that he surpassed his own self; which scenes are the Last Supper with the Apostles, the Washing of Feet, the Prayer in the Garden, and Christ taken and kissed by Judas. On one of the walls at the sides he painted in figures large as life Christ Scourged at the Column, and on the other Pilate showing Him after the scourging to the Jews, saying "Ecce Homo"; above this last, in an arch, is the same Pilate washing his hands, and in the other arch, opposite to that, Christ led before Annas. On the altar wall he painted the same Christ Crucified, and the Maries at the foot of the Cross, with Our Lady in a swoon; on either side of her is a Prophet, and in the arch above the ornament of stucco he painted two Sibyls; which four figures are discoursing of the Passion of Christ. And on the vaulting, about certain ornaments in stucco, are four half-length figures representing the Four Evangelists, which are very beautiful. The whole work, which was uncovered in the year 1556, when Taddeo was not more than twenty-six years of age, was held, as it still is, to be extraordinary, and he was judged by the craftsmen at that time to be an excellent painter.

That work finished, M. Mario Frangipane allotted to him his chapel in the Church of S. Marcello, in which Taddeo made use, as he also did in many other works, of the young foreigners who are always to be found ' in Rome, and who go about working by the day in order to learn and to gain their bread; but none the less for the time being he did not finish it completely. The same master painted in fresco in the Pope's Palace in the time of Paul IV, some rooms where Cardinal Caraffa lived, in the great tower above the Guard of Halberdiers; and two little pictures in oils of the Nativity of Christ and the Virgin flying with Joseph into Egypt, which were sent to Portugal by the Ambassador of that Kingdom. The Cardinal of Mantua, wishing to have painted with the greatest possible rapidity the whole interior of his Palace beside the Arco di Portogallo, allotted that work to Taddeo for a proper price; and Taddeo, beginning it with the help of a good number of men, in a short time carried it to completion, showing that he had very great judgment in being able to employ so many different brains harmoniously in so great a work, and in managing the various manners in such a way, that the work appears as if all by the same hand. In short, Taddeo satisfied in that undertaking, with great profit to himself, the Cardinal and all who saw it, disappointing the expectations of those who could not believe that he was likely to succeed amid the perplexities of such a great work.

In like manner, he painted some scenes with figures in fresco for M. Alessandro Mattei in some recesses in the apartments of his Palace near the Botteghe Scure, and some others he caused to be executed by his brother Federigo, to the end that he might become accustomed to the work. Which Federigo, having taken courage, afterwards executed by himself a Mount Parnassus in the recess of a ceiling in the house of a Roman gentleman called Stefano Margani, below the steps of the Araceli. Whereupon Taddeo, seeing Federigo confident and working by himself from his own designs, without being assisted more than was reasonable by anyone, contrived to have a chapel allotted to him by the men of S. Maria dell' Orto a Ripa, making it almost appear that he intended to do it himself, for the reason that it would never have been given to Federigo alone, who was still a mere lad. Taddeo, then, in order to satisfy these men, painted there the Nativity of Christ, and Federigo afterwards executed all the rest, acquitting himself in such a manner that there could be seen the beginning of that excellence which is now made manifest in him.

In those same times the Duke of Guise, who was then in Rome, desiring to take an able and practised painter to paint his Palace in France, Taddeo was proposed to him; whereupon, having seen some of his works, and liking his manner, he agreed to give him a salary of six hundred crowns a year, on condition that Taddeo, after finishing the work that he had in hand, should go to France to serve him. And so Taddeo would have done, the money for his preparations having been deposited in a bank, if it had not been for the wars that broke out in France at that time, and shortly afterwards the death of that Duke. Taddeo then went back to finish the work for Frangipane in S. Marcello, but he was not able to work for long without being interrupted, for, the Emperor Charles V having died, preparations were made for giving him most honorable obsequies in Rome, fit for an Emperor of the Romans, and to Taddeo were allotted many scenes from the life of that Emperor, and also many trophies and other ornaments, which were made by him of pasteboard in a very sumptuous and magnificent manner; and he finished the whole in twenty-five days. For his labors, therefore, and those of Federigo and others who had assisted him, six hundred crowns of gold were paid to him.

Shortly afterwards he painted two great chambers at Bracciano for Signer Paolo Giordano Orsini, which were very beautiful and richly adorned with stucco-work and gold; in one the stories of Cupid and Psyche, and in the second, which had been begun previously by others, some stories of Alexander the Great; and others that remained for him to paint, continuing the history of the same Alexander, he caused to be executed by his brother Federigo, who acquitted himself very well. And then he painted in fresco for M. Stefano del Bufalo, in his garden near the fountain of Trevi, the Muses around the Castalian Fount and Mount Parnassus, which was held to be a beautiful work.

The Wardens of Works of the Madonna of Orvieto, as has been related in the Life of Simone Mosca, had caused some chapels with ornaments of marble and stucco to be built in the aisles of their church, and had also had some altarpieces executed by Girolamo Mosciano of Brescia; and, having heard the fame of Taddeo by means of friends, they sent a summons to him, and he went to Orvieto, taking with him Federigo. There, settling to work, he executed two great figures on the wall of one of those chapels, one representing the Active Life, and the other the Contemplative, which were despatched with a very sure facility of hand, in the manner wherein he executed works to which he gave little study ; and while Taddeo was painting those figures, Federigo painted three little stories of S. Paul in the recess of the same chapel. At the end of which, both having fallen ill, they went away, promising to return in September. Taddeo returned to Rome, and Federigo to Sant' Agnolo with a slight fever; which having passed, at the end of two months he also returned to Rome. There, Holy Week being close at hand, the two together set to work in the Florentine Company of S. Agata, which is behind the Banchi, and painted in four days on the vaulting and the recess of that oratory, for a rich festival that was prepared for Holy Thursday and Good Friday, scenes in chiaroscuro of the whole Passion of Christ, with some Prophets and other pictures, which caused all who saw them to marvel.

After that, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, having brought very near completion his Palace of Caprarola, with Vignuola as architect, of whom there will be an account in a short time, gave the charge of painting it all to Taddeo, on these conditions: that, since Taddeo did not wish to abandon his other works in Rome, he should be obliged to make all the cartoons, designs, divisions, and arrangements for the works in painting and in stucco that were to be executed in that place ; that the men who were to carry them into execution should be chosen by Taddeo, but paid by the Cardinal ; and that Taddeo should be obliged to work there him- self for two or three months in the year, and to go there as many times as it might be necessary to see how things were progressing, and to retouch all that was not to his satisfaction. And for all these labours the Cardinal promised him a salary of two hundred crowns a year. Whereupon Taddeo, having so honourable an appointment and the support of so great a lord, determined that he would give himself some peace of mind, and would no longer accept any mean work in Rome, as he had done up to that time ; desiring, above all, to avoid the censure that many men of art laid upon him, saying that from a certain grasping avarice he would accept any kind of work, in order to gain with the arms of others that which would have been to many of them an honest means to enable them to study, as he himself had done in his early youth. Against which reproaches Taddeo used to defend himself by saying that he did it on account of Federigo and the other brothers that he had on his shoulders, desiring that they should learn with his assistance.

Having thus resolved to serve Farnese and also to finish the chapel in S. Marcello, he obtained for Federigo from M. Tizio da Spoleti, the master of the household to the above-named Cardinal, the commission to paint the facade of a house that he had on the Piazza della Dogana, near S. Eustachio; which was very welcome to Federigo, for he had never desired anything so much as to have some work altogether for himself.

On one part of the facade, therefore, he painted in colors the scene of S. Eustachio causing himself to be baptized with his wife and children, which was a very good work; and on the center of the facade he painted the same Saint, when, while hunting, he sees Jesus Christ on the Cross between the horns of a stag. Now since Federigo, when he executed that work, was not more than twenty-eight* [* An error of the copyist or printer for eighteen.] years of age, Taddeo, who reflected that the work was in a public place, and that it was of great importance to the credit of Federigo, not only went sometimes to see him at his painting, but also at times insisted on retouching and improving some part. Wherefore Federigo, after having had patience for a time, finally, carried away on one occasion by the anger natural in one who would have preferred to work by himself, seized a mason's hammer and dashed to the ground something (I know not what) that Taddeo had painted; and in his rage he stayed some days without going back to the house. Which being heard by the friends of both the one and the other of them, they so went to work that the two were reconciled, on the under- standing that Taddeo should be able to set his hand on the designs and cartoons of Federigo and correct them at his pleasure, but never the works that he might execute in fresco, in oils, or in any other medium.

Federigo having then finished the work of that house, it was universally extolled, and won him the name of an able painter. After that, Taddeo was ordered to repaint in the Sala de' Palafrenieri those Apostles which Raffaello had formerly executed there in terretta, and which had been thrown to the ground by Paul IV; and he, having painted one, caused all the others to be executed by his brother Federigo, who acquitted himself very well. Next, they painted together a frieze in fresco-colours in one of the halls of the Palace of the Araceli. Then, a proposal being discussed, about the same time that they were working at the Araceli, to give to Signor Federigo Borromeo as a wife the Lady Donna Virginia, the daughter of Duke Guidobaldo of Urbino, Taddeo was sent to take her portrait, which he did excellently well; and before he departed from Urbino he made all the designs for a credence, which that Duke afterwards caused to be made in clay at Castel Durante, for sending to King Philip of Spain. Having returned to Rome, Taddeo presented to the Pope that portrait, which pleased him well enough; but such was the discourtesy of that Pontiff, or of his ministers, that the poor painter was not recompensed even for his expenses.

 

 

TADDEO ZUCCHERO
PAINTER OF SANT' AGNOLO IN VADO
Part 3


Vasari's Lives of the Artists

In the year 1560 the Pope expected in Rome the Lord Duke Cosimo and the Lady Duchess Leonora, his consort, and proposed to lodge their Excellencies in the apartments formerly built by Innocent VIII, which look out upon the first court of the Palace and that of S. Pietro, and have in front of them loggie that look out on the piazza where the Benediction is given; and Taddeo received the charge of painting the pictures and some friezes that were to be executed there, and of over- laying with gold the new ceilings that had been made in place of the old ones, which had been consumed by time. In that work, which was certainly a great and important undertaking, Federigo, to whom his brother Taddeo gave the charge of almost the whole, acquitted himself very well; but he incurred a great danger, for, as he was painting grotesques in those loggie, he fell from a staging that rested on the main part of the scaffolding, and was near coming to an evil end.

No long time passed before Cardinal Emulio, to whom the Pope had given the charge of the matter, commissioned many young men, to the end that the work might be finished quickly, to paint the little palace that is in the wood of the Belvedere, which was begun in the time of Pope Paul IV with a most beautiful fountain and many ancient statues as ornaments, after an architectural design by Pirro Ligorio. The young men who worked (with great credit to themselves) in that place, were Federigo Barocci of Urbino, a youth of great promise, and Leonardo Cungi and Durante del Nero, both of Borgo San Sepolcro, who executed the apartments of the first floor. At the head of the staircase, which was made in a spiral shape, the first room was painted by Santi Titi, a painter of Florence, who acquitted himself very well; the larger room, which is beside the first, was painted by the above-named Federigo Zucchero, the brother of Taddeo; and the Sclavonian Giovanni dal Carso, a passing good master of grotesques, executed another room beyond it.

But, although each of the men named above acquitted himself very well, nevertheless Federigo surpassed all the others in some stories of Christ that he painted there, such as the Transfiguration, the Marriage of Cana in Galilee, and the Centurion kneeling before Christ. And of two that were still wanting, one was painted by Orazio Sammacchini, a Bolognese painter, and the other by a certain Lorenzo Costa of Mantua. The same Federigo Zucchero painted in that place the little loggia that looks out over the fishpond. And then he painted a frieze in the principal hall of the Belvedere (to which one ascends by the spiral staircase), with stories of Moses and Pharaoh, beautiful to a marvel; the design for which work, drawn and coloured with his own hand in a most beautiful drawing, Federigo himself gave not long since to the Reverend Don Vincenzio Borghini, who holds it very dear as a drawing by the hand of an excellent painter. In the same place, also, Federigo painted the Angel slaying the first-born in Egypt, availing himself, in order to finish it the quicker, of the help of many of his young men. But when those works came to be valued by certain persons, the labours of Federigo and the others were not rewarded as they should have been, because there are among our craftsmen in Rome, as well as in Florence and everywhere else, some most malignant spirits who, blinded by prejudice and envy, are not able or not willing to recognize the merits of the works of others and the deficiency of their own; and such persons are very often the reason that the young men of fine genius, becoming dismayed, grow cold in their studies and their work. After these works, Federigo painted in the Office of the Ruota, about an escutcheon of Pope Pius IV, two figures larger than life, Justice and Equity, which were much extolled; thus giving time to Taddeo, meanwhile, to attend to the work of Caprarola and the chapel in S. Marcello.

In the meantime his Holiness, wishing at all costs to finish the Hall of Kings, after the many contentions that had taken place between Daniello and Salviati, as has been related, gave orders to the Bishop of Forll as to all that he wished him to do in the matter. Wherefore the Bishop wrote to Vasari (on the 3rd of September in the year 1561), that the Pope, wishing to finish the work of the Hall of Kings, had given him the charge of finding men who might once and for all take it off his hands, and that therefore, moved by their ancient friendship and by other reasons, he besought Giorgio to consent to go to Rome in order to execute that work, with the good pleasure and leave of his master the Duke, for the reason that, while giving satisfaction to his Holiness, he would win much honour and profit for himself; praying him to answer as soon as possible. Replying to which letter, Vasari said that, finding himself very well placed in the service of the Duke, and remunerated for his labours with rewards different from those that he had received from other Pontiffs in Rome, he intended to remain in the service of his Excellency, for whom he was at that very time to set his hand to a hall much greater than the Hall of Kings; and that there was no want in Rome of men who might be employed in that work. The above-named Bishop having received that answer from Vasari, and having conferred with his Holiness of the whole matter, Cardinal Emulio, immediately after receiving from the Pontiff the charge of having that Hall finished, divided the work, as has been related, among many young men, some of whom were already in Rome, and others were summoned from other places. To Giuseppe Porta of Castelnuovo della Garfagnana, a disciple of Salviati, were given two of the largest scenes in the Hall; to Girolamo Siciolante of Sermoneta, one of the large scenes and one of the small; to Orazio Sammacchini of Bologna one of the small scenes, to Livio da Forli a similar one, and to Giovan Battista Fiorini of Bologna yet another of the small scenes.

Which hearing, Taddeo perceived that he had been excluded because it had been said to the above-named Cardinal Emulio that he was a person who gave more attention to gain than to glory and working well; and he did his utmost with Cardinal Farnese to obtain a part of that work. But the Cardinal, not wishing to move in the matter, answered him that his Tabours at Caprarola should content him, and that it did not seem to him right that his own works should be neglected by reason of the rivalry and emulation between the craftsmen; adding also that, when a master does well, it is the works that give a name to the place, and not the place to the works. Notwithstanding this, Taddeo so went to work by other means with Emulio, that finally he was commissioned to execute one of the smaller scenes over a door, not being able, either by prayers or by any other means, to obtain the commission for one of the large scenes; and, in truth, it is said that Emulio was acting with caution in the matter, for the reason that, hoping that Giuseppe Salviati would surpass all the others, he was minded to give him the rest, and perchance to throw to the ground all that might have been done by the others. Now, after all the men named above had carried their works well forward, the Pope desired to see them all; and so, everything being uncovered, he recognized (and all the Cardinals and the best craftsmen were of the same opinion) that Taddeo had acquitted himself better than any of the others, although all had done passing well. His Holiness, therefore, commanded Signor Agabrio that he should cause Cardinal Emulio to commission him to execute one of the larger scenes; whereupon the headwall was allotted to him, wherein is the door of the Pauline Chapel. And there he made a beginning with the work, but he did not carry it any farther, for, the death of the Pope supervening, everything was uncovered for the holding of the Conclave, although many of those scenes had not been finished. Of the scene that Taddeo began in that place, we have the design by his hand, sent to us by him, in the book of drawings that we have so often mentioned.

Taddeo painted at the same time, besides some other little things, a picture with a very beautiful Christ, which was to be sent to Caprarola for Cardinal Farnese ; which work is now in the possession of his brother Federigo, who says that he desires it for himself as long as he lives. The picture receives its light from some weeping Angels, who are holding torches. But since the works that Taddeo executed at Caprarola will be described at some length in a little time, in discoursing of Vignuola, who built that fabric, for the present I shall say nothing more of them.

Federigo was meanwhile summoned to Venice, and made an agree- ment with the Patriarch Grimani to finish for him the chapel in S. Francesco della Vigna, which had remained incomplete, as has been related, on account of the death of the Venetian Battista Franco. But, before he began that chapel, he adorned for that Patriarch the staircase of his Palace in Venice, with little figures placed with much grace in certain ornaments of stucco ; and then he executed in fresco, in the above- named chapel, the two stories of Lazarus and the Conversion of the Magdalene, the design of which, by the hand of Federigo, is in our book. Afterwards, in the altarpiece of the same chapel, Federigo painted the story of the Magi in oils. And then he painted some pictures in a loggia, which are much extolled, at the villa of M. Giovan Battista Pellegrini, between Chioggia and Monselice, where Andrea Schiavone and the Flemings, Lamberto and Gualtieri, have executed many works.

After the departure of Federigo, Taddeo continued to work in fresco all that summer in the chapel of S. Marcello ; and for that chapel, finally, he painted in the altarpiece the Conversion of S. Paul. In that picture may be seen, executed in a beautiful manner, the Saint fallen from his horse and all dazed by the splendor and voice of Jesus Christ, whom he depicted amid a Glory of Angels, in the act, so it appears, of saying, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?" His followers, who are about him, are likewise struck with awe, and stand as if bereft of their senses. On the vaulting, within certain ornaments of stucco, he painted in fresco three stories of the same Saint. In one he is being taken as a prisoner to Rome, and disembarks on the Island of Malta; and there may be seen how, on the kindling of the fire, a viper strikes at his hand to bite it, while some mariners, almost naked, stand in various attitudes about the barque; in another is the scene when a young man, having fallen from a window, is brought to S. Paul, who by the power of God restores him to life; and in the third is the Beheading and Death of the Saint. On the walls below are two large scenes, likewise in fresco; in one is S. Paul healing a man crippled in the legs, and in the other a disputation, wherein he causes a magician to be struck with blindness; and both the one and the other are truly most beautiful. But that work having been left incomplete by reason of his death, Federigo has finished it this year, and it has been thrown open to view with great credit to him. At this same time Federigo executed some pictures in oils, which were sent to France by the Ambassador of that kingdom.

The little hall in the Farnese Palace having remained unfinished on account of the death of Salviati (wanting two scenes, namely, at the entrance, opposite to the great window), Cardinal Sant' Agnolo, of the Farnese family, gave them to Taddeo to execute, and he carried them to completion very well. But nevertheless he did not surpass or even equal Francesco in the works executed by him in the same apartment, as certain envious and malignant spirits went about saying throughout Rome, in order to diminish the glory of Salviati by their foul calumnies ; and although Taddeo used to defend himself by saying that he had caused the whole to be executed by his assistants, and that there was nothing in that work by his hand save the design and a few other things, such excuses were not accepted, for the reason that a man who wishes to surpass another in any competition, must not entrust the credit of his art to the keeping of feeble persons, for that is clearly the way to perdition. Thus Cardinal Sant' Agnolo, a man of truly supreme judgment in all things, and of surpassing goodness, recognized how much he had lost by the death of Salviati; for, although he was proud and even arrogant, and ill-tempered, in matters of painting he was truly most excellent. However, since the best craftsmen had disappeared from Rome, that lord, for want of others, resolved to entrust the painting of the Great Hall in that Palace to Taddeo, who accepted it willingly, in the hope of being able to prove by means of every effort how great were his ability and knowledge.

The Florentine Lorenzo Pucci, Cardinal Santiquattro, had formerly caused a chapel to be built in the Trinita, and all the vaulting to be painted by Perino del Vaga, with certain Prophets on the outer side, and two little boys holding the arms of that Cardinal. But the chapel remaining unfinished, with three walls still to be painted, when the Cardinal died, those fathers, without any regard for what was just and reasonable, sold that chapel to the Archbishop of Corfu ; and it was after- wards given by that Archbishop to Taddeo to paint. Now although, out of respect for the church and from other reasons, it may have been well to find means of finishing the chapel, at least they should not have allowed the arms of the Cardinal to be removed from the part that was finished, only in order to place there those of the above-named Archbishop, which they could have set up in another place, instead of offering so manifest an affront to the memory of that good Cardinal. Having thus so many works on his hands, Taddeo was every day urging Federigo to return from Venice. That Federigo, after having finished the chapel for the Patriarch, was negotiating to undertake to paint the principal wall of the Great Hall of the Council, where Antonio Viniziano had formerly painted ; but the rivalry and the contentions that he suffered from the Venetian painters were the reason that neither they, with all their interest, nor he, likewise, obtained it.

Meanwhile Taddeo, having a desire to see Florence and the many works which, so he heard, Duke Cosimo had carried out and was still carrying out, and the beginning that his friend Giorgio Vasari was making in the Great Hall; Taddeo, I say, pretending one day to go to Caprarola in connection with the work that he was doing there, went off to Florence for the Festival of S. John, in company with Tiberio Calcagni, a young Florentine sculptor and architect. There, to say nothing of the city, he found vast pleasure in the works of the many excellent sculptors and painters, ancient as well as modern; and if he had not bad so many charges and so many works on his hands, he would gladly have stayed there some months. Thus he saw the preparations of Vasari for the above- named Hall namely, forty-four great pictures, of four, six, seven, or ten braccia each in which he was executing figures for the most part of six or eight braccia, with the assistance only of the Fleming Giovanni Strada and Jacopo Zucchi, his disciples, and Battista Naldini, in all which he took the greatest pleasure, and, hearing that all had been executed in less than a year, it gave him great courage. Wherefore, having returned to Rome, he set his hand to the above-named chapel in the Trinita, with the resolve that he would surpass himself in the stories of Our Lady that were to be painted there, as will be related presently.

Now Federigo, although he was pressed to return from Venice, was not able to refuse to stay in that city for the Carnival in company with the architect Andrea Palladio. And Andrea, having made for the gentlemen of the Company of the Calza a theatre in wood after the manner of a Colosseum, in which a tragedy was to be performed, caused Federigo to execute for the decoration of the same twelve large scenes, each seven feet and a half square, with innumerable other stories of the actions of Hyrcanus, King of Jerusalem, after the subject of the tragedy; in which work Federigo gained much honour, from its excellence and from the rapidity with which he executed it. Next, Palladio going to Friuli to found the Palace of Civitale, of which he had previously made the model, Federigo went with him in order to see that country; and there he drew many things that pleased him. Then, after having seen many things in Verona and in many other cities of Lombardy, he finally made his way to Florence, at the very time when festive preparations, rich and marvellous, were being made for the coming of Queen Joanna of Austria. Having arrived there, he executed, after the desire of the Lord Duke, a most beautiful and fanciful Hunt in colours on a vast canvas that covered the stage at the end of the Hall, and some scenes in chiaroscuro for an arch ; all which gave infinite satisfaction. From Florence he went to Sant' Agnolo, to revisit his relatives and friends, and finally he arrived in Rome on the i6th of the January following; but he was of little assistance to Taddeo at that time, for the reason that the death of Pope Pius IV, followed by that of Cardinal Sant' Agnolo, interrupted the work of the Hall of Kings and that of the Farnese Palace. Whereupon Taddeo, who had finished another apartment of rooms at Caprarola, and had carried almost to completion the chapel in S. Marcello, proceeded to give his attention to the work of the Trinita, much at his leisure, and to execute the Passing of Our Lady, with the Apostles standing about the bier.

In the meantime, also, Taddeo had obtained for Federigo a chapel to be painted in fresco in the Church of the Reformed Priests of Jesus at the Obelisk of S. Mauro; and to that Federigo straightway set his hand. Taddeo, feigning to be angry because Federigo had delayed too long to return, appeared to care little for his arrival; but in truth he welcomed it greatly, as was afterwards seen from the result. For he was much annoyed by having to provide for his house (of which annoyance Federigo had been accustomed to relieve him), and by the anxious care of that brother who was employed as a goldsmith; but when Federigo came they put many inconveniences to rights, in order to be able to attend to their work with a quiet mind. The friends of Taddeo were seeking meanwhile to give him a wife, but he, being one who was accustomed to living free, and feared that which generally happens (namely, that he would bring into his house, together with the wife, a thousand vexatious cares and annoyances), could never make up his mind to it. Nay, attending to his work in the Trinita, he proceeded to make the cartoon of the principal wall, on which there was going the Ascension of Our Lady into Heaven-- while Federigo painted a picture of S. Peter in Prison for~the Lord Duke of Urbino; another, wherein is a Madonna in Heaven with some Angels about her, which was to be sent to Milan; and a third with a figure of Opportunity, which was sent to Perugia.

The Cardinal of Ferrara had kept many painters and masters in stucco at work at the very beautiful villa that he has at Tivoli, and finally he sent Federigo there to paint two rooms, one of which is dedicated to Nobility, and the other to Glory; in which Federigo acquitted himself very well, executing there beautiful and fantastic inventions. That finished, he returned to the work of the above-mentioned chapel in Rome, which he has carried to completion, painting in it a choir of many Angels and various Glories, with God the Father sending down the Holy Spirit upon the Madonna, who is receiving the Annunciation from the Angel Gabriel, while about her are six Prophets, larger than life and very beautiful. Taddeo, meanwhile, continuing to paint the Assumption of the Madonna in fresco in the Trinita, appeared to be driven by nature to do in that work, as his last, the utmost in his power. And in truth it proved to be his last, for, having fallen ill of a sickness which at first appeared to be slight enough, and caused by the great heat that there was that year, and which afterwards became very grave, he died in the month of September in the year 1566; having first, like a good Christian, received the Sacraments of the Church, and seen the greater part of his friends, and leaving in his place his brother Federigo, who was also ill at that time. And so in a short time, Buonarroti, Salviati, Daniello, and Taddeo having been taken from the world, our arts have suffered a very great loss, and particularly the art of painting.

Taddeo was very bold in his work, and had a manner passing soft and pastose, and very far removed from the hardness often seen. He was very abundant in his compositions, and he made his heads, hands, and nudes very beautiful, keeping them free of the many crudities over which certain painters labour beyond all reason, in order to make it appear that they understand anatomy and art ; to which kind of men there often happens that which befell him who, from his seeking to be in his speech more Athenian than the Athenians, was recognized by a woman of the people to be no Athenian. Taddeo also handled colours with much delicacy, and he had great facility of manner, for he was much assisted by nature; but at times he sought to make too much use of it. He was so desirous of having something of his own, that he continued for a time to accept any sort of work for the sake of gain ; but for all that he executed many, nay, innumerable works worthy of great praise. He kept a number of assistants in order to finish his works, for the reason that it is not possible to do otherwise. He was sanguine, hasty, and quick to take offence, and, in addition, much given to the pleasures of love; but nevertheless, although he was strongly inclined by nature to such pleasures, he contrived to conduct his affairs with a certain degree of decency, and very secretly. He was loving with his friends, and whenever he could help them he never spared himself.

At his death he left the work in the Trinita not yet uncovered, and the Great Hall in the Farnese Palace unfinished, and so also the works of Caprarola, but nevertheless these all remained in the hands of his brother Federigo, whom the patrons of the works are content to allow to give them completion, as he will do; and, in truth, Federigo will be heir to the talents of Taddeo no less than to his property. Taddeo was given burial by Federigo in the Ritonda of Rome, near the tabernacle where Raffaello da Urbino, his fellow-countryman, is buried; and certainly they are well placed, one beside the other, for the reason that even as Raffaello died at the age of thirty-seven and on the same day that he was born, which was Good Friday, so Taddeo was born on the first day of September, 1529, and died on the second day of the same month in the year 1566. Federigo is minded, if it should be granted to him, to restore the other tabernacle in the Ritonda, and to make some memorial in that place to his loving brother, to whom he knows himself to be deeply indebted.

 

 

TADDEO ZUCCHERO
PAINTER OF SANT' AGNOLO IN VADO
Part 4


Vasari's Lives of the Artists

Now, since mention has been made above of Jacopo Barozzi of Vignuola, saying that after his architectural designs and directions the most illustrious Cardinal Farnese has built his rich and even regal villa of Caprarola, let me relate that the same Jacopo Barozzi of Vignuola, a Bolognese painter and architect, who is now fifty-eight years of age, was placed in his childhood and youth to learn the art of painting in Bologna, but did not make much proficience, because he did not receive good guidance at the beginning. And also, to tell the truth, he had by nature much more inclination for architecture than for painting, as was clearly manifest even at that time from his designs and from the few works of painting that he executed, for there were always to be seen in them pieces of architecture and perspective; and so strong and potent in him was that inclination of nature, that he may be said to have learned almost by himself, in a short time, both the first principles and also the greatest difficulties, and that very well. Wherefore, almost before he was known, various designs with most beautiful and imaginative fan- tasies were seen to issue from his hand, executed for the most part at the request of M. Francesco Guicciardini, at that time Governor of Bologna, and for others of his friends; which designs were afterwards put into execution in tinted woods inlaid after the manner of tarsia, by Fra Damiano da Bergamo, of the Order of S. Domenico in Bologna.

Vignuola then went to Rome to work at painting, and to obtain from that art the means to assist his poor family; and at first he was employed at the Belvedere with Jacopo Melighini of Ferrara, the architect of Pope Paul III, drawing some architectural designs for him. But afterwards, there being in Rome at that time an academy of most noble lords and gentlemen who occupied themselves in reading Vitruvius (among whom were M. Marcello Cervini, who afterwards became Pope, Monsignor Maffei, M. Alessandro Manzuoli, and others), Vignuola set himself in their service to take complete measurements of all the antiquities of Rome, and to execute certain works after their fancy; which circumstance was of the greatest assistance to him both for learning and for profit. Meanwhile Francesco Primaticcio, the Bolognese painter, of whom there will be an account in another place, had arrived in Rome, and he made much use of Vignuola in making moulds of a great part of the antiques in Rome, in order to take those moulds into France, and then to cast from them statues in bronze similar to the antiques; which work having been despatched, Primaticcio, in going to France, took Vignuola with him, in order to make use of him in matters of architecture and to have his assistance in casting in bronze the above-mentioned statues of which they had made the moulds; which things, both the one and the other, he did with much diligence and judgment. After two years had passed, he returned to Bologna, according to the promise made by him to Count Filippo Pepoli, in order to attend to the building of S. Petronio. In that place he consumed several years in discussions and disputes with certain others who were his competitors in the affairs there, without doing anything but design and cause to be constructed after his plans the canal that brings vessels into Bologna, whereas before that they could not come within three miles; than which work none better or more useful was ever executed, although Vignuola, the originator of an enterprise so useful and so praiseworthy, was poorly rewarded for it.

Pope Julius III having been elected in the year 1550, by means of Vasari Vignuola was appointed architect to his Holiness, and there was given to him the particular charge of conducting the Acqua Vergine and of superintending the works at the Vigna of Pope Julius, who took Vignuola into his service most willingly, because he had come to know him when he was Legate in Bologna. In that building, and in other works that he executed for that Pontiff, he endured much labour, but was badly rewarded for it. Finally Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, having recognized the genius of Vignuola, to whom he always showed much favour, desired, in carrying out the building of his Palace at Caprarola, that the whole work should spring from the fanciful design and invention of Vignuola. And, in truth, the judgment of that lord in making choice of so excellent an architect w r as no less than the greatness of his mind in setting his hand to an edifice so noble and grand, which, although it is in a place where it can be enjoyed but little by men in general, being out of the way, yet is none the less marvellous in its site, and very suitable for one who wishes at times to withdraw from the vexations and tumult of the city. This edifice, then, has the form of a pentagon, and is divided into four sets of apartments, without counting the front part, where the principal door is; in which front part is a loggia forty palms in breadth and eighty in length. On one side there curves in a round form a spiral staircase, ten palms wide across the steps, and twenty palms across the space in the centre, which gives light to the staircase, which curves from the base to the third or uppermost story; and these steps are all supported by double columns with cornices, which curve in a round in accordance with the staircase. The whole is a rich and well-varied work, beginning with the Doric Order, and continuing in the Ionic, the Corinthian, and the Composite, with a wealth of balusters, niches, and other fanciful ornaments, which make it a rare thing, and most beautiful.

Opposite to this staircase namely, at the other of the corners that are one on either side of the above-mentioned loggia of the entrance there is a suite of rooms that begins in a circular vestibule equal in breadth to the staircase, and leads to a great hall on the ground floor, eighty palms long and forty broad. This hall is wrought in stucco and painted with stories of Jove namely, his birth, his being nursed by the Goat Amaltheia, and her coronation, with two other stories on either side of the last- named, showing her being placed in the heavens among the forty-eight Heavenly Signs, and another similar story of the same Goat, which alludes, as also do the others, to the name of Caprarola. On the walls of this hall are perspective-views of buildings drawn by Vignuola and colored by his son-in-law, which are very beautiful and make the room seem larger than it is. Beside this hall is a smaller hall of forty palms, which comes exactly at the next corner, and in it, besides the works in stucco, are painted things that are all significant of Spring. Continuing from this little hall towards the other angle (that is, towards the point of the pentagon, where a tower has been begun), one goes into three chambers, each forty palms broad and thirty long. In the first of these are various inventions executed in stucco and painting, representing Summer, to which season this first chamber is dedicated. In that which follows there is painted and wrought in the same manner the season of Autumn; and in the last, which is sheltered from the north, and decorated likewise in the same manner, there is represented in a similar kind of work the season of Winter.

So far we have spoken (with regard to the floor that is over the underground rooms of the basement, cut out of the tufa, where there are rooms for the servants, kitchens, larders, and wine-cellars) of the half of this pentagonal edifice namely, of the part on the right hand. Opposite to that part, on the left hand, there are rooms exactly equal in number and of the same size. Within the five angles of the pentagon Vignuola has made a circular court, into which all the apartments of the edifice open with their doors; which doors, I mean, all open into the circular loggia surrounding the court, which is eighteen palms in breadth, while the diameter of the remaining space in the court is ninety-five palms and five inches. The pilasters of the loggia (which is divided up by niches), supporting the arches and the vaulting, are in couples, with a niche in the centre, and twenty in number; and each couple covers a breadth of fifteen palms, which is also the breadth of the space of the arches. Around the loggia, at the angles that form the shape of the round, are four spiral staircases, which lead from the basement of the palace up to the top, for the convenience of the edifice and of the rooms. And there are reservoirs that collect the rain-water, which feed a very large and beautiful cistern in the centre; to say nothing of the windows and innumerable other conveniences, which make this building appear to be, as indeed it is, a rare and most beautiful fabric. And, besides having the site and form of a fortress, it is furnished on the outer side with an oval flight of steps, with ditches all around, and with drawbridges made with beautiful invention and in a novel manner, which lead into gardens full of rich and well- varied fountains, graceful parterres of verdure, and, in short, all that is required for a truly regal villa.

Now, ascending by the great spiral staircase from the level of the court to the other apartment above, one finds already finished, over the part of which we have spoken, an equal number of rooms, and also the chapel, which is opposite to the principal round staircase on this floor. In the hall that is exactly above that of Jove, and of equal size, there are painted by the hands of Taddeo and his young men, with very rich and beautiful ornaments of stucco, the actions of the illustrious men of the House of Farnese. On the vaulting are compartments with six scenes, four square and two round, which follow right round the cornice of this hall, and in the centre are three ovals, accompanied along their length by two smaller and rectangular pictures, in one of which is painted Fame, and in the other Bellona. In the first of the three ovals is Peace, in the central oval the ancient arms of the House of Farnese, with the helmet- crest, above which is the Unicorn, and in the last is Religion. In the first of the six above-mentioned scenes, which is a round, is Guido Farnese, with many persons, all well executed, about him, and with this inscription below :

GUIDO FARNESIUS, URBIS VETERIS PRINCIPATUM CIVIBUS IPSIS
DEFERENTIBUS ADEPTUS, LABORANTI INTESTINIS DISCORDIIS CIVITATI,
SEDITIOSA FACTIONE EJECTA, PACEM ET TRANQUILLITATEM RESTITUIT,
ANNO 1323.

In an oblong picture is Pietro Niccolo Farnese, who is delivering Bologna, with this inscription below:

PETRUS NICOLAUS, SEDIS ROMANS POTENTISSIMIS HOSTIBUS MEMORABILI
PRELIO SUPERATIS, IMMINENT! OBSIDIONIS PERICULO BONONIAM LIBERAT,

ANNO SALUTIS 1361.

In the rectangular picture next to this is Pietro Farnese, elected Captain of the Florentines, with this inscription:

PETRUS FARNESIUS, REIP. FLORENTINE IMPERATOR, MAGNIS PISANORUM
COPIIS . . . URBEM FLORENTIAM TRIUMPHANS INGREDITUR, ANNO 1362.

In the other round picture, which is opposite to that described above, is another Pietro Farnese, who routs the enemies of the Roman at Orbatello, with his inscription.

In one of the two other rectangular pictures, which are of equal size is Signor Ranieri Farnese, elected General of the Florentines in place of the above-named Signor Pietro, his brother, with this inscnpt

RAINERIUS FARNESIUS A FLORENTINE DIFFICILI REIP. TEMPORE IN PETRI
FRATRIS MORTUI LOCUM COPIARUM OMNIUM DUX DELIGITUR, ANNO I 3 6 2 .

In the last picture is Ranuccio Farnese, chosen by Eugenius III as General of the Church, with this inscription:

RANUTIUS FARNESIUS, PAULI TERTII PAP.E AVUS, EUGENIC TERTIO P.M.

ROS/E AURE/E MUNERE INSIGNITUS, PONTIFICII EXERCITUS IMPERATOR

CONSTITUITUR, ANNO CHRISTI 1435.

In short, there are on this vaulting vast numbers of most beautiful figures, besides the stucco-work and other ornaments overlaid with gold.

On the walls are eight scenes, two to each wall. On the first, in a scene on the right hand as one enters, is Pope Julius III confirming Duke Ottavio and the Prince his son in the possession of Parma and Piacenza, in the presence of Cardinal Farnese, Sant' Agnolo his brother, the Camar- lingo Santa Fiore, the elder Salviati, Chieti, Carpi, Polo, and Morone, all being portraits from life; with this inscription:

JULIUS III, P.M., ALEXANDRO FARNESIO AUCTORE, OCTAVIO FARNESIO,
EJUS FRATRI, PARMAM AMISSAM RESTITUIT, ANNO SALUTIS 155 O.

In the second scene is Cardinal Farnese going to Worms as Legate to the Emperor Charles V, and his Majesty and the Prince, his son, are coming forth to meet him, with a vast multitude of Barons, and among them the King of the Romans; with the proper inscription. On the wall on the left hand as one enters, in the first scene, is the war fought against the Lutherans in Germany, where Duke Ottavio Farnese was Legate, in the year 1546, with the inscription; and in the second are the above-named Cardinal Farnese and the Emperor with his sons, who are all four under a baldachin carried by various persons portrayed from life, among whom is Taddeo, the master of the work, with a company of many lords all around. On one of the headwalls, or rather, ends, are two scenes, and between them an oval, in which is the portrait of King Philip, with this inscription:

PHILIPPO HISPANIARUM REGI MAXIMO, OB EXIMIA IN DOMUM FARNESIAM

MERITA.

In one of the scenes is Duke Ottavio taking Madama Margherita of Austria as his wife, with Pope Paul III in the centre, and portraits of Cardinal Farnese the younger, the Cardinal of Carpi, Duke Pier Luigi, M. Durante, Eurialo da Cingoli, M. Giovanni Riccio of Montepulciano, the Bishop of Como, Signora Livia Colonna, Claudia Mancina, Settimia, and Donna Maria di Mendoza. In the other is Duke Orazio taking as his wife the daughter of King Henry of France, with this inscription:

HENRICUS II, VALESIUS, GALLORUM REX, HORATIO FARNESIO CASTRI DUCI
DIANAM FILIAM IN MATRIMONIUM COLLOCAT, ANNO SALUTIS 1552.

In which scene, besides the portrait of Diana herself with the royal mantle, and that of her husband Duke Orazio, are portraits of Caterina de' Medici, Queen of France, Marguerite, the sister of the King, the King of Navarre, the Constable, the Duke of Guise, the Duke of Nemours, the Admiral Prince of Conde, the younger Cardinal of Lorraine, Guise not yet a Cardinal, Signer Piero Strozzi, Madame de Montpensier, and Mademoiselle de Rohan.

On the other head-wall, opposite to that already described, are likewise two other scenes, with the oval in the center, in which is the portrait of King Henry of France, with this inscription:

HENRICO FRANCORUM REGI MAX. FAMILY FARNESIO CONSERVATORI.

In one of the scenes (namely, in that which is on the right hand) Pope Paul III is investing Duke Orazio, who is kneeling, with a priestly robe, and making him Prefect of Rome, with Duke Pier Luigi close at hand, and other lords around; and with these words:

PAULUS III P.M. HORATIUM FARNESIUM NEPOTEM, SUMM.E SPEI
ADOLESCENTEM, PR^EFECTUM URBIS GREAT, ANNO. SAL. 1549.

And in this scene are portraits of the Cardinal of Paris, Viseo, Morone, Badia, Trento, Sfondrato, and Ardinghelli. In the other scene, beside the last-named, the same Pope is giving the General's baton to Pier Luigi and his sons, who were not yet Cardinals; with portraits of the Pope, Pier Luigi Farnese, the Camarlingo, Duke Ottavio, Orazio, the Cardinal of Capua, Simonetta, Jacobaccio, San Jacopo, Ferrara, Signor Ranuccio Farnese as a young man, Giovio, Molza, Marcello Cervini, who afterwards became Pope, the Marquis of Marignano, Signor Giovan Battista Castaldo, Signor Alessandro Vitelli, and Signor Giovan Battista Savelli.

Coming now to the little hall which is beside the hall just described, and which is above the Hall of Spring, in the vaulting, which is adorned with a vast and rich decoration in stucco and gold, in the recess in the centre, there is the Coronation of Pope Paul III, with four spaces that form a cruciform inscription, with these words :

PAULUS III FARNESIUS, PONTIFEX MAXIMUS, DEO ET HOMINIBUS APPRO-
BANTIBUS, SACRA TIARA SOLEMNI RITU CORONATUR, ANNO SALUTIS 1534,

III NON. NOVEMB.

Then follow four scenes above the cornice namely, one over every wall. In the first the Pope is blessing the galleys at Civita Vecchia, when about to send them to Tunis in Barbary in the year 1535. In the next the same Pope is excommunicating the King of England in the year 1537; with the proper inscription. In the third is a fleet of galleys which the Emperor and the Venetians fitted out against the Turk, with the authority and assistance of the Pontiff, in the year 1538. In the fourth, Perugia having rebelled against the Church, the people of that city go to seek pardon in the year 1540. On the walls of the same little hall are four large scenes, one to each wall, with windows and doors between. In the first large scene the Emperor Charles V, having returned victorious from Tunis, is kissing the feet of Pope Paul, of the Farnese family, in Rome, in the year 1535. In the next, which is above the door on the left hand, is the story of the peace that Pope Paul III brought about at Busseto between the Emperor Charles V and Francis I of France, in the year 1538 ; in which scene are these portraits the elder Bourbon, King Francis, King Henry, the elder Lorenzo, Tournon, the younger Lorenzo, the younger Bourbon, and two sons of King Francis. In the third the same Pope is making Cardinal di Monte his Legate at the Council of Trent; and there are innumerable portraits. In the last, which is between two windows, the same Pontiff is creating many Cardinals in preparation for the Council, among whom there are four who became Popes in succession after him Julius III, Marcello Cervini, Paul IV, and Pius IV. To put it briefly, this little hall is very richly adorned with all that is required in such a place.

In the first chamber next to the little hall, which is dedicated to Dress, and likewise richly wrought in stucco and gold, there is in the center a Sacrifice, with three nude figures, among which is an armed figure of Alexander the Great, who is casting some garments of skin upon the fire; and in many other scenes that are in the same place, one sees how men discovered the way to make garments from plants and other wild products; but it would take too long to seek to describe the whole in full. From this chamber one enters into a second, dedicated to Sleep, for which, when Taddeo had to paint it, he received the inventions given below from the Commendatore Annibale Caro, at the commission of the Cardinal; and, to the end that the whole may be the better understood, we shall write here the advice of Caro in his own words, which are these:

"The subjects that the Cardinal has commanded me to give you for the pictures in the Palace of Caprarola, it is not enough for them to be explained by word of mouth, because, besides the invention, we must look to the disposition of the figures, the attitudes, the colors, and a number of other considerations, all in accordance with the descriptions that I find of the things that appear to me to be suitable ; wherefore I shall put down on paper all that occurs to me in the matter, as briefly and as distinctly as I shall be able. And first with regard to the chamber with the flat vaulting for of any other, up to the present, he has not given me the charge it appears to me that since it is destined to contain the bed for the person of his most illustrious lordship, there must be executed there things in keeping with the place and out of the common both in the invention and in the workmanship. Now, to declare my conception first in general, I would have a Night painted there, because, besides that it would be appropriate to sleep, it would be a subject not very customary and different from those of the other rooms, and would give you an occasion of executing rare and beautiful works in your art, since the strong lights and dark shadows that go into such a subject are wont to give no little grace and relief to the figures; and it would please me to have the time of this Night close upon the dawn, to the end that the things represented there may be visible without improbability. And to come to the details and to their disposition, it is necessary that we come to an understanding first about the situation and the distribution of the chamber. Let us say, then, that it is divided, as indeed it is, into vaulting and walls, or faQades, as we wish to call them. The vaulting has a sunk oval in the centre and four great spandrels at the corners, which, drawing together little by little and continuing one with the other along the facades, embrace the above-mentioned oval. The walls, also, are four, and between the spandrels they form four lunettes.

"Now, let us give names to all these parts, with the divisions that we shall make in the whole chamber, and we shall thus be able to distinguish each part on every side, all the way round. Dividing it into five sections, then, the first shall be the ' head ' ; and this I presume to be next to the garden. The second, which must be that opposite to the first, we shall call the ' foot ' ; the third, on the right hand, we shall call the ' right '; the fourth, on the left hand, the ' left ' ; and the fifth, situated in the midst of the others, shall be named the ' center.' Thus, distinguishing all the parts with these names, we shall speak, for example, of the lunette at the head, the facade at the foot, the concavity on the left, the horn on the right, and so with any other part that it may be necessary to name; and to the spandrels that are at the corners, each between two of these boundaries, we shall give the name both of the one and of the other. And thus, also, we shall determine on the pavement below the situation of the bed, which, in my opinion, must be along the fa9ade at the foot, with the head turned to the left-hand facade.

"Now, all the parts having received a name, let us turn to give a form to them all in general, and then to each by itself. First of all, the concavity of the vaulting, or rather, the oval, shall be represented so the Cardinal has judiciously determined as being all heaven. The rest of the vaulting, comprising the four spandrels together with the border that we have already mentioned as enclosing the oval all around, shall be made to appear as the unbroken surface within the chamber, and as resting upon the fa9ades, with some beautiful architectural design of your own devising. The four lunettes I would have counterfeited as likewise concave; and, whereas the oval above represents a heaven, these must represent heaven, earth, and sea, as if without the chamber, in accordance with the various figures and scenes that shall be there. And since, the vaulting being very flat, the lunettes are so low that they will not hold any but little figures, I would divide each lunette into three parts along its length, and, leaving the ends in a line with the height of the spandrels, I would deepen the centre part below that line, in such a manner that it may be like a great high window and show the exterior of the room, as it were, with figures and scenes proportionate in size to the others. And the two extremities that remain on either side, like horns to the lunette and horns henceforward they will be called shall be left low, of the height that they are above that line, and in each of them must be painted a figure seated or recumbent, and seeming to be either within or without the room, whichever you please, for you must choose what looks best; and what I say of one lunette I say of all four.

"To return to the interior of the chamber as a whole, it appears to me that it should be in itself all in darkness, save in so far as the concavities both of the oval above and of the large windows at the sides may give it a certain degree of light, partly from the heaven, with its celestial lights, and partly from the earth with fires that must be painted there, as will be described later. At the same time, from the centre of the room to the lower end, I would have it that the nearer one may approach to the foot, where the Night is to be, the greater shall be the darkness, and that in like manner in the other half, from the centre to the upper end, in proportion as one approaches step by step to the head, where Aurora is to be, it shall grow continually lighter.

"Having thus disposed of the chamber as a whole, let us proceed to distribute the subjects, giving to each part its own. In the oval that is in the vaulting, you must paint at the head, as we have said, a figure of Aurora. This figure, I find, may be made in several ways, but of all these I shall choose that which in my opinion can be done with the greatest grace in painting. You must paint, then, a maiden of such beauty as the poets strive to express with words, composing her of roses, gold, purple, dew, and other suchlike graces; and so much for the colours and flesh- tints of her person. As for her dress, composing out of many one that appears most suitable, we must reflect that, even as she has three stages and three distinct colors, so she has three names Alba, Vermiglia, and Rancia;* [* White, vermilion, and orange.] and for this reason I would make her down to the girdle a garment delicate in texture, as it were transparent, and white; from the girdle down to the knees an outer garment of scarlet, with certain pinkings and tassels in imitation of the reflections seen on the clouds when she is vermilion, and from the knees down to the feet of the colour of gold, in order to represent her when she is orange, taking heed that this dress must be slit from the thighs downwards, in order to show the bare legs; and both the under garment and the outer must be blown by the wind, so as to flutter in folds. The arms, also, must be naked and of a rosy flesh-tint; on the shoulders you must make her wings of various colors, and on the head a crown of roses; and in her hands you must place a lamp or a lighted torch, or rather, there must go before her a Cupid who is carrying a torch, and after her another who with another torch awakens Tithonus.

She must be seated on a gilded throne in a chariot likewise gilded, drawn by a winged Pegasus or by two horses, for she is depicted both in the one way and in the other. As for the colors of the horses, one must be shining white and the other shining red, in order to denote them according to the names that Homer gives them of Lampus and Phaethon. You must make her rising from a tranquil sea, which should appear rippled, luminous, and glancing. On the wall behind, upon the right-hand horn, you must paint her husband Tithonus, and on the left her lover Cephalus. Tithonus should be an old man white as snow, on an orange-colored bed, or rather, in a cradle, according to those who make him, on account of his great age, once more a child ; and he should be shown in the act of holding her back, or gazing on her with amorous eyes, or sighing after her, as if her departure grieved him. Cephalus must be a most beautiful young man dressed in a doublet girt at the waist, with his buskins on his feet, with the spear, which must have the iron head gilded, in his hand, and with a dog at his side, in the act of entering into a wood, as if caring nothing for her by reason of the love that he bears to his Procris.

"Between Cephalus and Tithonus, in the space with the great window, behind the Aurora, there must shoot upwards some few rays of the sun, of a splendour more vivid than that of the Aurora; but these must be cut off, so as not to be seen, by a large figure of a woman who must appear before them. This woman shall be Vigilance, and she must be so painted that it may appear that she is illumined from behind by the rising sun, and that, in order to forestall him, she is entering into the chamber by the great window that has been mentioned. Let her form be that of a tall, valorous, and splendid woman, with the eyes well open and the brows well arched; dressed down to the feet in a transparent veil, which is girt at the waist; leaning with one hand on a lance, and with the other gathering together a fold of her gown. Let her stand firmly on the right foot, and, holding the left foot suspended, appear from one side to be rooted to the ground, and from the other to be ready to step out. Let her raise her head in order to gaze at Aurora, and appear to be angry that she has risen before her ; and let her have on the head a helmet with a cock upon it, which shall be in the act of beating its wings and crowing. All this must be behind the Aurora; and in front of her, in the heaven of the concave oval, L would make certain little figures of girls one behind another, some more bright and some less bright, according as they are more or less near to the light of the Aurora, in order to represent the Hours which go before her and the sun. These Hours shall be painted with the vestments, garlands, and headdresses of virgins, and winged, with the hands full of flowers, as if they were scattering these about.

"On the opposite side, at the foot of the oval, there shall be Night, and even as Aurora is rising, Night shall be sinking; as the one shows her front, the other shall turn her back; as the first is issuing from a tranquil sea, the second shall be plunging into a sea that is troubled and dark; the horses of the first come with the breast forward, those of the second shall show their croups; and so, also, the person of Night shall be altogether different from that of Aurora. Her flesh-tint shall be dark, dark her mantle, dark her hair, and dark her wings; and these shall be open, as if she were flying. She shall hold her hands on high, and in one a white babe that is sleeping, to represent Sleep, and in the other a black babe that appears to be sleeping, to represent Death; for of both these she is said to be the mother. She shall appear to be sinking with the head downwards and wrapped in thicker shadow, and the heaven about her shall be of a deeper blue and dotted with many stars. Her car shall be of bronze, with the wheels divided into four spaces, to denote her four watches. Then, on the fa$ade opposite (namely, at the foot), even as Aurora has on either side Tithonus and Cephalus, Night shall have Oceanus and Atlas. Oceanus shall be painted on the right, a great figure of a man with the beard and hair dripping and dishevelled, and both from the beard and from the hair there shall issue here and there some heads of dolphins. He shall be depicted as resting on a car drawn by whales, with the Tritons all around in front of him, with their trumpets, and also the Nymphs, and behind him some beasts of the sea; or, if not with all these things, at least with some of them, according to the space that you will have, which to me appears little for so much matter. For Atlas, on the left hand, there shall be painted a mountain with the breast, arms, and all the upper parts of a robust man, bearded and muscular, in the act of upholding the heavens, as his figure is generally shown.

"Lower down, likewise, over against the Vigilance that we have placed opposite to Aurora, there should be placed a figure of Sleep; but, since it appears to me better, for several reasons, that Sleep should be over the bed, we must place in his stead a figure of Repose. As for this Repose, I find, indeed, that she was worshipped, and that temples were dedicated to her; but I can by no means find how she was figured, unless her figure was that of Security, which I do not believe, because security is a thing of the mind and repose of the body. We must therefore figure a Repose of our own devising, in this manner: a young maiden of pleasing aspect, who, being weary, yet does not lie down, but sleeps seated with the head resting on the left arm. She shall have a spear with the head lying against her shoulder and the foot fixed in the ground, and shall let one arm hang limply down it, and have one leg crossed over it, in the attitude of resting for the restoration of her strength, and not from indolence. She shall have a crown of poppies, and a sceptre laid on one side, but not so far distant that she cannot readily take it up again; and whereas Vigilance has upon her head a cock crowing, so to her we may give a sitting hen, in order to signify that even when resting she is active.

"Within the same oval, on the right hand, you shall paint a Moon. Her figure shall be that of a maiden of about eighteen years, tall and virginal in aspect, after the likeness of Apollo, with long tresses, thick and somewhat waved, or wearing on the head one of those caps that are called Phrygian, wide at the foot and pointed and twisted at the top, like the Doge's hat, with two wings over the brow that must hang down and cover the ears, and with two little horns jutting from the head, as of the crescent moon; or, after Apuleius, with a flat disk, polished and shining in the manner of a mirror, on the centre of the brow, which must have on either side of it some serpents and over it some few ears of corn, and on the head a crown of dittany, after the Greeks, or of various flowers, after Marcian, or of helichrysum, after certain others. Her dress some would have reaching down to the feet, others only to the knees, girt under the breasts and crossed below the navel after the fashion of a nymph, with a little mantle on the shoulder clasped over the muscle on the right side, and on the feet buskins wrought in a pleasing pattern. Pausanias, alluding, I believe, to Diana, makes her dressed in deerskin; Apuleius, taking her perchance for Isis, gives her a vestment of the finest veiling in various colours, white, yellow, and red, and another garment all black, but bright and shining, dotted with many stars and with a moon in the centre, and all around it a border with ornaments of fruits and flowers hanging down after the manner of tassels.

"Of these vestments, take whichever looks best. The arms you must make bare, with the sleeves broad; with the right hand she must hold a lighted torch, and with the left an unbent bow, which, according to Claudian, is of horn, and, according to Ovid, of gold. Make it as seems best to you, and attach the quiver to her shoulders. She is found in Pausanias with two serpents in the left hand, and in Apuleius she has a gilded vase with a serpent as a handle, which appears as if swollen with poison, the foot of the vase being adorned with palm leaves; but by this I believe that he means to indicate Isis, and I have therefore resolved that you shall represent her with the bow, as described above. She shall ride on a car drawn by horses, one black and the other white, or, if you desire variety, by a mule, after Festus Pompeius, or by bullocks, after Claudian and Ausonius; and if you choose bullocks, they must have the horns very small and a white patch on the right flank. The attitude of the Moon must be that of looking down from the heaven in the oval towards the horn of the facade that looks out over the garden, where you must place her lover Endymion, and she shall lean down from the car to kiss him, and, not being able by reason of the interposition of the border, she shall gaze lovingly upon him and illumine him with her radiance. For Endymion you must make a beautiful young shepherd, asleep at the foot of Mount Latmus. In the horn on the other side there shall be Pan, the God of Shepherds, who was enamoured of the Moon; his figure is very well known.

"Round his neck place his pipes, and with both hands he shall hold out towards the Moon a skein of white wool, with which he is fabled to have won her love; and with that present he must appear to be persuading her to come down to live with him. In the rest of the space of the same great window you must paint a scene, and that shall be the scene of the sacrifices to the Lemures, which men used to hold at night in order to drive evil spirits from their houses. The ritual of these sacrifices was to go about, with the hands washed and the feet bare, scattering black beans; first rolling them about in the mouth, and then throwing them over the shoulder; and among the company were some who made a noise by sounding basins and suchlike instruments of copper.

"On the left side of the oval you must paint Mercury in the or dinar}' [SIC] manner, with the little winged cap, with the winged sandals on the feet, with the Caduceus in the left hand, and with the purse in the right ; alto- gether nude, save for his little mantle on the shoulder; a most beautiful youth, but with a natural beauty, without any artifice; of a cheerful countenance, spirited eyes, beardless, or with the first down, with reddish hair, and narrow in the shoulders. Some place wings over his ears, and make certain golden feathers coming out of his hair. The attitude you may make as you please, provided only that it shows him gliding down from Heaven in order to infuse sleep, and, turning towards the side of the bed, about to touch the tester with his wand. On the left-hand facade, in the horn next to the fagade at the foot, we might have the Lares, his two sons, who were the tutelary spirits of private houses; namely, two young men dressed in the skins of dogs, with certain garments girt up and thrown over the left shoulder in such a way that they may come out under the right, in order to signify that they are unencumbered and ready to guard the house. They shall sit one beside the other, each holding a spear in the right hand, and between them, in the centre, there shall be a dog, and above them a small head of Vulcan, wearing a little cap, with a smith's pincers beside it. In the other horn, next to the facade at the head, you must paint a Battus being converted into stone for having revealed the cattle stolen by Mercury. Let him be an old shepherd seated, showing with the forefinger of the right arm the place where the cattle were hidden, and leaning with the left arm on a stick or rod, the herdsman's staff; and from the waist downwards he must be of black stone of the colour of basanite, into which stone he was converted. Then in the rest of the great window you must paint the scene of the sacrifice that the ancients used to offer to Mercury to the end that their sleep might not be interrupted; and to represent this it is necessary to make an altar with his statue upon it, at the foot of that a fire, and all around persons who are throwing into it pieces of wood for burning, and who, having in their hands cups full of wine, are sprinkling part of the wine and drinking the rest.

"In the center of the oval, in order to fill up all the space of the heaven, I would paint Twilight, as being the mean between Aurora and Night. To represent him, I find that one must paint a young man wholly naked, sometimes with wings and sometimes without, and with two lighted torches, one of which we must show being kindled at that of Aurora, and the other held out towards Night. Some represent this young man, with the same two torches, as riding on one of the horses of the Sun or of Aurora, but this would not be a composition suitable for our purpose; wherefore we shall make him as described above, turned towards Night, and place behind him, between his legs, a great star, which shall be that of Venus, because Venus, Phosphorus, Hesperus, and Twilight seem to be regarded as one and the same thing. And with the exception of this star, see to it that all the lesser stars near the Aurora shall have dis- appeared.

"Now, having by this time filled up all the exterior of the chamber both above in the oval and on the sides and fagades, it remains for us to come to the interior, the four spandrels of the vaulting. Beginning with that over the bed, which is between the left-hand facade and that at the foot, you must paint Sleep there; and in order to figure him, you must first figure his home. Ovid places it in Lemnos and among the Cimmerii, Homer in the ^Egean Sea, Statius among the Ethiopians, and Ariosto in Arabia. Wherever it may be, it is enough to depict a mountain, such an one as may be imagined where there is always darkness and never any sun; at the foot of it a deep hollow, through which water shall pass, as still as death, in order to signify that it makes no murmur, and this water must be of a sombre hue, because they make it a branch of Lethe. Within this hollow shall be a bed, which, being fabled to be of ebony, shall be black in colour and covered with black draperies. In this bed shall be placed Sleep, a young man of perfect beauty, for they make him surpassing beautiful and serene; nude, according to some, and according to others clothed in two garments, one black below and another white over it, with wings on the shoulders, and, according to Statius, also at the top oi the head. Under his arm he shall hold a horn, which shall appear to be spilling a liquid of a livid hue over the bed, in order to denote Oblivion; although others make the horn full of fruits. In one hand he shall hold the wand, and in the other three poppy-heads.

"He shall be sleeping like one sick, with the head and the limbs hanging limp, as if wholly relaxed in slumber. About his head shall be seen Morpheus, Icelus, and Phantasus, and a great number of Dreams, ail which are his children. The Dreams shall be little figures, some of a beautiful aspect and others hideous, as being things that partly please and partly terrify. Let them, likewise, have wings, and also twisted feet, as being unstable and uncertain things, and let them hover and whirl about him, making a kind of dramatic spectacle by transforming themselves into things possible and impossible. Morpheus is called by Ovid the creator and fashioner of figures, and I would therefore make him in the act of fashioning various masks with grotesque faces and placing some of them on feet. Icelus, they say, transforms himself into many shapes, and him I would figure in such a way that as a whole he may have the appearance of a man, and yet may have parts of a wild beast, of a bird, and of a serpent, as the same Ovid describes him. Phantasus, they have it, transforms himself into various inanimate things, and him, also, we may represent, after the words of Ovid, partly of stone, partly of water, and partly of wood. You must feign that in this place there are two gates, one of ivory, whence there issue the false dreams, and one of horn, whence the true dreams come; the true shall be more distinct in color, more luminous, and better executed, and the false shall be confused, somber, and imperfect.

"In the next spandrel, between the facade at the foot and that on the right hand, you shall place Brizo, the Goddess of prophecy and the interpretress of dreams. For her I cannot find the vestments, but I would make her in the manner of a Sibyl, seated at the foot of the elm described by Virgil, under the branches of which are placed innumerable images, which, falling from those branches, must be shown flying about her in the forms that we have given them; as has been related, some lighter and some darker, some broken and some indistinct, and others--almost wholly invisible; in order to represent by these the dreams, the visions, the oracles, the phantasms, and the vain things that are seen in sleep (for into these five kinds Macrobius appears to divide them); and she shall be as it were lost in thought, interpreting them, and shall have about her persons offering to her baskets filled with all manner of things, excepting only fishes.

"In the spandrel between the right hand facade and that at the head it will be well to place Harpocrates, the God of Silence, because this, presenting itself at the first glance before those who enter by the door that leads from the great painted chamber, will warn them as they enter that they must not make any noise. His figure is that of a young man, or rather, of a boy, black in colour, from his being God of the Egyptians, and with his finger to his mouth in the act of commanding silence. He shall carry in his hand a branch of a peach-tree, and, if you think it well, a garland of the leaves of the same tree. They feign that he was born weak in the legs, and that, having been killed, his mother Isis restored him to life; and for this reason some make him stretched out on the ground, and others in the lap of his mother, with the feet joined together. But, for the sake of harmony with the other figures, I would make him standing, supported in some way, or rather, seated, like that of the most illustrious Cardinal Sant' Agnolo, which is likewise winged and holds a horn of plenty. He shall have about him persons offering to him, as was the custom, first-fruits of lentils and other vegetables, and also of peaches, as mentioned above. Others used to make for this same God a figure without a face, with a little cap on the head, and about him a wolf's skin, all covered with eyes and ears. Take which of these two you please.

"In the last spandrel, between the fagade at the head and that on the left, it will be well to place Angerona, the Goddess of Secrecy, which figure, coming within the same door of entrance, will admonish those who come out of the chamber to keep secret all that they have seen and heard, as is the duty of the servants of noblemen. The figure is that of a. woman placed upon an altar, with the mouth bound and sealed. I know not with what vestments she used to be depicted, but I would envelop her in a long gown covering her whole person, and would repre- sent her as shrugging her shoulders. Around her there must be painted some priests, by whom sacrifices used to be offered to her before the gate in the Curia, to the end that it might be unlawful for any person to reveal to the prejudice of the Republic any matter that might be discussed there. The space within the spandrels being filled up, it now only remains to say that around all this work it seems to me that there should be a frieze to encircle it on every side, and in this I would make either grotesques or small scenes with little figures. The matter of these I would have in harmony with the subjects already given above, each in accord with that nearest to it; and if you paint little scenes, it would please me to have them representing the actions that men and also animals do at the hour that we have fixed there. Now, beginning at the head, I would paint in the frieze of that fa$ade, as things appropriate to the Dawn, artisans, workmen, and persons of various kinds who, having risen, are returning to the labors of their pursuits as smiths to the forge, men of letters to their studies, huntsmen to the open country, and muleteers to the road, and above all would I like to have the poor old woman from Petrarca rising from her spinning and lighting the fire, with her feet bare and her clothes dishevelled.

"And if you think fit to make grotesques of animals there, make them of birds singing, geese going forth to their pasture, cocks announcing the day, and similar fancies. In the frieze on the fa9ade at the foot, in accord with the darkness there, I would make persons going fowling by night, spies, adulterers, climbers of windows, and other suchlike things; and for grotesques, porcupines, hedge-hogs, badgers, a peacock with the tail spread, signifying the night of stars, owls large and small, bats, and suchlike animals. In the frieze on the right hand facade you must paint things in keeping with the Moon, such as fishers of the night, mariners navigating with the compass, necromancers, witches, and the like; for grotesques, a beacon-tower in the distance, nets, weir-baskets with some fishes in them, crabs feeding by the light of the moon, and, if there be space enough, an elephant kneeling in adoration of her. And, finally, in the frieze on the left-hand facade, mathematicians with their instruments for measuring, thieves, false-coiners, robbers of buried treasure, shepherds with their folds still closed, lying around their fires, and the like ; and for animals I would make there wolves, foxes, apes, weasels, and any other treacherous animals that lie in wait for other creatures.

"In this part I have placed these phantasies thus at random in order to suggest what kinds of inventions could be painted there; but, since they are not things that need to be described, I leave you to imagine them in your own manner, knowing that painters are by their nature full of resource and grace in inventing such bizarre fantasies. And now, having filled in all the parts of the work both within and without the chamber, there is no occasion for us to say any more, save that you must discuss the whole matter with the most illustrious Monsignore, and, according to his taste, adding or taking away whatever may be necessary, you must strive on your part to do yourself honour. Fare you well."

Now, although all these beautiful inventions of Caro's were very ingenious, fanciful, and worthy of praise, nevertheless Taddeo was not able to carry into execution more than the place would contain; but those that he painted there were the greater part, and they were executed by him with much grace and in a most beautiful manner. Next to this chamber, in the last of the three, which is dedicated to Solitude, Taddeo, with the help of his assistants, painted Christ preaching to the Apostles in the desert and in the woods, with a S. John on the right hand that is very well executed. In another scene, which is opposite to the first, are painted many figures of men who are living in the forest in order to avoid the conversation of mankind; and these certain others are seeking to disturb, throwing stones at them, while some are plucking out their own eyes so as not to see. And in this scene, likewise, is painted the Emperor Charles V, portrayed from life, with this inscription:

POST INNUMEROS LABORES OCIOSAM QUIETAMQUE VITAM TRADUXIT.

Opposite to Charles is the portrait of the last Grand Turk, who much delighted in solitude, with these words:

ANIMUM A NEGOCIO AD OCIUM REVOCAVIT.

Near him is Aristotle, who has beneath him these words:

ANIMA FIT SEDENDO ET QUIESCENDO PRUDENTIOR.

Opposite to him, beneath another figure by the hand of Taddeo, is written this:

QUEMADMODUM NEGOCII, SIC ET OCII RATIO HABENDA.

Beneath another may be read:

OCIUM CUM DIGNITATE, NEGOCIUM SINE PERICULO.

And opposite to that, under another figure, is this motto:


VIRTUTIS ET LIBERT VITJE OPTIMA MAGISTRA SOLITUDO.

Beneath another:


PLUS AGUNT QUI NIHIL AGERE VIDENTUR.

And under the last:

QUI AGIT PLURIMA, PLURIMUM PECCAT.

To put it briefly, this room is very ornate with beautiful figures, and likewise very rich in stucco and gold. But to return to Vignuola; how excellent he is in matters of architecture, the works that he has written and published and still continues to write, in addition to his marvellous buildings, bear ample testimony, and in the Life of Michelagnolo we shall say all that it may be expedient for us to say in this connection.

Taddeo, in addition to the works described above, executed many others of which there is no need to make mention; but in particular a chapel in the Church of the Goldsmiths in the Strada Giulia, a facade in chiaroscuro at S. Gieronimo, and the Chapel of the high altar in S. Sabina. And his brother Federigo is painting for the Chapel of S. Lorenzo, which is all wrought in stucco, in S. Lorenzo in Damaso, an altarpiece with that Saint on the gridiron and Paradise all open; which altarpiece is expected to prove a very beautiful work. And, in order not to omit anything that may be useful, pleasing, or helpful to anyone who may read these my labours, I shall add this as well. While Taddeo was working, as has been related, at the Vigna of Pope Julius and at the facade of Mattiuolo, the Master of the Post, he executed for Monsignor Innocenzio, the most reverend and illustrious Cardinal di Monte, two painted pictures of no great size; and one of them, which is beautiful enough, is now in the guardaroba of that Cardinal (who has given the other away), in company with a vast number of things ancient and modern, all truly of the rarest, among which, I must not omit to mention, there is a painted picture as fantastic as any work of which we have spoken hitherto. In this picture, which is about two braccia and a half in height, there is nothing to be seen by him who looks at it from the ordinary point of view, from the front, save some letters on a flesh-colored ground, and in the centre the Moon, which goes gradually increasing or diminishing according to the lines of the writing. And yet, if you go below the picture and look in a sphere or mirror that is placed over the picture in the manner of a little baldachin, you see in that mirror, which receives the image from the picture, a most life-like portrait in painting of King Henry II of France, somewhat larger than life, with these words about it HENRY II, ROY DE FRANCE. You can see the same portrait by lowering the picture, placing your brow on the upper part of the frame, and looking down; but it is true that whoever looks at it in that manner, sees it turned the other way from what it is in the mirror. That portrait, I say, cannot be seen save by looking at it as described above, because it is painted on twenty-eight ridges, too low to be perceived, which are between the lines of the words given below, in which, besides the ordinary meaning, there may be read, by looking at both ends of the lines and in the center, certain letters somewhat larger than the others, which run thus:

HENRICUS VALESIUS DEI GRATIA GALLORUM REX INVICTISSIMUS.

It is true, indeed, that the Roman M. Alessandro Taddei, the secre- tary of that Cardinal, and Don Silvano Razzi, my dearest friend, who have given me information about this picture and about many other things, do not know by whose hand it is, but only that it was presented by the above-named King Henry to Cardinal Caraffa, when he was in France, and then by Caraffa to the most illustrious Cardinal di Monte, who treasured it as a very rare thing, which in truth it is. The words painted in the picture, which alone are to be seen by him who looks at it from the ordinary point of view, as one looks at other pictures, are these:

HEUS TU QUID VlDES NIL UT REOR

NlSI LUNAM CRESCENTEM ET E

REGIONE POS!TAM QUJE EX

INTERVALLO GRADATIM uxl

CRESCIT NOS ADMONET UT iN

UNA SPE FIDE ET CHARITATE TV

SlMUL ET EGO ILLUMINAT I

VERBO DEI CRESCAMUS, DONEC

AB EJUSDEM GRATIA FIAT

Lux IN NOBIS AMPLISSIMA QU!

EST .ETERNUS iLLE DATOR LUClS

IN QUO ET A QUO MORTALES OMNES

VERAM LUCEM RECIPERE si

SPERAMUS IN VANUM NON SPERABIMUS

In the same guardaroba is a most beautiful portrait of Signora Sofonisba Anguisciuola by her own hand, once presented by her to Pope Julius III. And there is another thing of great value, a very ancient book with the Bucolics, the Georgics, and the AEneid of Virgil, in characters so old, that it has been judged by many men of learning in Rome and in other places that it was written in the very time of Csesar Augustus, or little after; wherefore it is no marvel that it should be held by the Cardinal in the greatest veneration.

And let this be the end of the Life of the painter Taddeo Zucchero.

 

 

 

MICHELAGNOLO BUONARROTI (1475-1564)
PAINTER, SCULPTOR, AND ARCHITECT OF FLORENCE
Part 1: Earliest Years to the Medici Garden

Vasari's Lives of the Artists





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 humors 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 labors, 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 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 labors 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.

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 Podesta 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 Podesta, 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-tone, which is constantly being worked by stonecutters and sculptors, who for the most part are born in the place. Michelagnolo was put out to nurse by Lodovico hi 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, 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 wasm 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 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 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 exer- cised 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 colors, 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 sought to surpass them in his own practice; on which account he acquired a very great name.

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 Domejaico 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 BUONARROTI (1475-1564)
PAINTER, SCULPTOR, AND ARCHITECT OF FLORENCE
Part 2: From Lorenzo de'Medici to the first move to Rome

Vasari's Lives of the Artists





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 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 honored. 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 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 hi 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.

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 Trance 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 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 honored 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 honorably 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 Niccolo dell' Area, 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 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.

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. 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 any- thing. At that time a barber of the Cardinal, who had been a painter, and could paint with great diligence in distemper colors, 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 colors 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 slendemess 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 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 Pieta 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.

 

 

MICHELAGNOLO BUONARROTI (1475-1564)
PAINTER, SCULPTOR, AND ARCHITECT OF FLORENCE
Part 3: The Vatican Pieta', the David, the Taddei, Pitti, and Doni tondi, and the Palazzo Vecchio Frescoes

Vasari's Lives of the Artists





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 labors 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:

Bellezza ed Onestate

E Doglia e Pieta' 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.

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 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 hi 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.

It happened at this time that Piero Soderini, having seen it in 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 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.

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 con- sidering 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 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 fagade 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 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 aston- ishment, 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 Bandi- nelli, 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.

 

 

MICHELAGNOLO BUONARROTI (1475-1564)
PAINTER, SCULPTOR, AND ARCHITECT OF FLORENCE
Part 4: The Tomb of Julius II to his Bronze Statue in Bologna

Vasari's Lives of the Artists





The name of Michelagnolo, by reason of the Pieta 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 draw- bridge 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.

Of this work Michelagnolo executed during the lifetime and after 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 diminish- ing, 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 support- ing 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 center 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 labor, that a 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 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.

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 Poggibonsi, 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 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.

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 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, belabored 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 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 colors 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 behavior, 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 f a$ade 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.

 

 

MICHELAGNOLO BUONARROTI (1475-1564)
PAINTER, SCULPTOR, AND ARCHITECT OF FLORENCE
Part 5: The Sistine Chapel Ceiling

Vasari's Lives of the Artists





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 favor 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 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 colors 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 colors, 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 ; 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.

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 labors, 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 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, labor, 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, 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 Michel- agnolo, 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 labor for Michelagnolo to rebuild the scaffolding, it was left as it was. His Holiness, often seeing Michelagnolo, would say to him that the chapel should be enriched with colors 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 colors. The work was executed with very great discomfort to himself, from his having to labor 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 distribution of this work is contrived with pendentives on either side with one in the center 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 arid 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 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.

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 ^od creating the Sun_ and_Mpqn, 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 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 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 assist- ing 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.

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 yestmentsj 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 Prophe 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 Erythraean Sibyl that we described above, for, holding her book away from her, she seeks to turn a page, while with one knee over the 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 di aperies; 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 Isaia, 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 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 Lybian Sybil 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 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.

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 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 favors 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 wjDund 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 favors 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.

 

 

MICHELAGNOLO BUONARROTI (1475-1564)
PAINTER, SCULPTOR, AND ARCHITECT OF FLORENCE
Part 6: More on the Julius tomb, the Palazzo Medici windows, the New Sacristy, temptations in Ferrara, losing to Baccio B.

Vasari's Lives of the Artists





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 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, annoy-ances, 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 favored 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 f aades of the chapel, envious Fortune decreed that that memorial, which had been begun with such perfection, should be left unfinished. .Format 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 Pfince like himself could undertake. Wherefore he gave orders that the facade of S. Lorenzo, a church built by the Medici family in Florence should bejerected for ..him^ which was the reason that the work of the tomb of Juhu^.waJeJ[t_ujQj&nj^h^i; and he_demarided_adyice 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.

Many and various were the discussions that arose on this subject, on the ground that such a work as that facade should have been distributed among several persons, and in the matter of the architecture many craftsmen nocked to Rome to see the Pope, and made designs; Baceio d'Agnolo, Antonio da San Gallo, Andrea Sansovino and Jacopo Sansovino, and the gracious Raffaello da Urbino, who was afterwards summoned 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 facade, 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 [Alberico], 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 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 seashore. And for this reason the March ese 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 exca- vated 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.

The death of Leo completely dismayed the craftsmen and the arts both in Rome and in Florence; and while Adrian VI was alive Michel- agnolo 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 152^, 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 facade 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 j^oyalls_ 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 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 execu- tion 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.

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 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 continu- ally 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.

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 that earth alone was not enough to give them honorable 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 honored 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

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 '1 credi, e parleratti.

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

Grato mi 6 il sonno, e piu 1' esser di sasso;
Mentre che il danno e la vergogna dura,
Non veder' non sentir' m' 6 gran ventura.
Pero 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 laboring 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 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 honorable 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 honor, and also orders that 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.

 

 

MICHELAGNOLO BUONARROTI (1475-1564)
PAINTER, SCULPTOR, AND ARCHITECT OF FLORENCE
Part 7: The Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel

Vasari's Lives of the Artists





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 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 ma.ke 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 J2ie^ule^jn_disiemper 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."

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 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. Where- upon 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 pro- fession. 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 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 Trinita at Rome by a Sicilian painter, who stayed many months with Michelagnolo, to serve him and to grind his colors. 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 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 fa9ades, 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* [* 1534-] 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 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 honor 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 teiminal 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.

IThese statues Michelagnolo executed with his own hand in less than a year. In the center is the other niche, rectangular in shape, which in the original 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 orna- ments, 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.

IMichelagnolo resolved, since he could not do otherwise, to serve Pope Paul, who allowed him to continue the work as ordered by Clement, 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 honorable 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 coloring, with various new and bizarre inventions, and, in short, with the 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.

IBut 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 honorable 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.

IIt 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 labor, 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.

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 innumer- able 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 blessed- ness by the grace of God and as the reward of their works.

IBeneath 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 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.

INor 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 avari- cious, the wanton, and all the other suchlike sinners can be distinguished with ease by any man of fine perception, because in figuring them Michel- agnolo 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 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 un- painted, 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!

IHe toiled eight years over executing this work, and threw it open to view in the year J5i, I believe, on Christmas day, to the marvel and 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 atten- tion 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.

 

 

MICHELAGNOLO BUONARROTI (1475-1564)
PAINTER, SCULPTOR, AND ARCHITECT OF FLORENCE
Part 8: The Florence Pieta', St Peter's, the Farnese Palace, projects for Julius III

Vasari's Lives of the Artists





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.

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 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 I546 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 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.

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 Motuproprio 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,* [* Piacenza.] 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 Forli. 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, 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 pro- vision 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 favor of such as know nothing, may give rise to many mis- fortunes.

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 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 facade 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 facade, 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 facade; 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.

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, to finish the roof on the outer side, had still to be constructed, and his Holiness desired thatj^ichelagnolo 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, 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 Veneziano, the Friar of the Piombo; and, Pope Paul proposing that the ancient statues of his Palace should be restored, Michelagnolo willingly favored 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 fhe 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 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; 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 favorable opportunity, together with other things concerning art. In that year Pope Julius III confirmed the Motuproprio 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 for- ward, ascending in eight steps, and turned inwards in eight more steps, erected in former times by Bramante in the great recess in the center 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.

 

 

MICHELAGNOLO BUONARROTI (1475-1564)
PAINTER, SCULPTOR, AND ARCHITECT OF FLORENCE
Part 9: Work at S. Pietro in Montorio, the San Gallo conspiracy, the Medici chapel statues, the end of the Florence Pieta' and Michelangelo's approach to carving

Vasari's Lives of the Artists





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

Alia Natura pareggiato 1'Arte,

Anzi a quella scemato il pregio in parte,

Che '1 bel di lei piu bello a noi rendete,
Poiche con dotta man posto vi siete

A piu 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 gia spente accese

Tornando fate, or che sien quelle, e voi,

Mai 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 favor 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 Michel- agnolo, 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 :

ROME.
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 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:

"i4th 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" 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. N