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"commit a great crime by disappointing and perseverance,
he gradually gave it the cormorants who were daily hoping the appearance which he wished to seto get rid of him." In the same letter cure, and then employed an ingenious he also remarks, “it is God's will that I artist to construct from it another model should still drag through existence, and in wood; all the parts of which were to I know that you will call me an old and be formed after the exact measurement silly fellow to wish to make sonnets; but he had laid down. as many people say I am a child again, The greatest satisfaction was I like to do childish things. I am con- pressed at the beauty of this model, and vinced by your letter of the love which Michael Angelo had thus effected anyou feel towards me, and I therefore other very important step towards the beg you to know that I should esteem it completion of his grand design. His a most kind office if you would lay these daily declining strength, added to the my feeble bones near those of my fa- tardy manner in which the sums nether."
cessary for the building were supThe state of his mind may be clearly plied, rendered it hardly probable that discerned in this short but expressive he would live to see the cathedral letter; and the view of such a mind, at itself perfected. But he had at least the all times worthy of the deepest attention, satisfaction to know that the noble idea is doubly so when it begins to anticipate which had occupied his mind was the transition to another state of exist- rightly appreciated by those whose apence, but retains its faculties in undimi. probation he thought worth his regard ; nished strength and vigour.
that it had now a real and palpable existence; and that should his plans be put aside after his death, by the envy
or bad taste of his enemies, posterity CHAPTER XII.
would have the means of doing justice to
his conceptions. Progress of the Edifice of St. Peter.
Soon after the completion of the The cathedral was by this time so far model, however, Paul IV.ceased to live, advanced, that the thoughts of the ar- and public affairs underwent another chitect were now engaged in forming change. The character of the late ponplans for the dome; the splendid frieze tiff had exposed him to almost universal and row of double columns from which hatred; the zeal with which he had enit was to rise being already completed. deavoured to support the church asHis friends were not deficient in offering sumed the most terrific forms of private him their congratulations at the admi- revenge; and while those whom he rable manner in which he had succeeded esteemed his enemies bled under the inin bringing his plans to so great a state struments of torture, the people of his of perfection; and many of them used own states groaned under as heavyayoke their utmost influence to persuade him to as the tyranny of any despot had ever proceed immediately with the cupola. imposed. His death was consequently
But aware of the importance of this the signal for the most tumultuous popart of the edifice to its general effect, pular rejoicings. In the first exciteand of the difficulties of executing the ment, the prisons of the Inquisition were noble designs which had been floating broken open; the intended victims of in his mind, it was several months be the holy office set at liberty, and the fore he could determine upon commenc- building itself immediately after burnt to ing this portion of his labours. At the ground. The people next proceeded length, however, he overcame his reluc- to hurl down his statue, which, after rolltance, and began to form a little earthen ing with every mark of ignominy through model of the dome*. By dint of thought all the principal streets, they cast head
long into the Tiber. It is stated that M. Angelo, when he set out from Florence to build the dome of St. Peter's,
Though he had witnessed many revoturned his horse round on the road to contemplate, lutions and strange events, and survived once more, that of the cathedral, as it rose in the
seven pontifical reigns, Michael Angelo gray of the morning from among the pines and cypresses of the city, and that he said, after a
had little expected to live to be an eyeCorne te non voglio, meglio di te non witness of scenes like these; so derogaposso," (Like thee I will not build one, better than thee I cannot.) He never spoke of it without ad tory then to the character of the Cathomiration, and he desired that his tomb should be lic church, and which gave to the giantso placed in the Santa Croce, as that from it might spirit of reformation an almost irresistible be seen when the doors of the church stood open, impulse. So great was the confusion that noile
occasioned, and the uproar among the which it could overcome the difficulties people, that four months elapsed before opposed to their execution. This beauthe college of cardinals were able to tiful church, however, was suffered to close their election of another pope. fall into decay, and the designs of MiTheir choice, however, at length fell on chael Angelo were destroyed to make the Cardinal de' Medici, a native of room for those of a more modern artist. Milan, and no relation of the illustrious About the same period, also, he was enfamily of Florence.
gaged by the cardinal, Santa Fine, to The new pontiff, on ascending the build a chapel in the church of Santa pontifical chair, took the title of Pius IV. Maria Maggiore, but the cardinal dying and from the commencement of his it was left in an unfinished state. Nor reign manifested the most decided incli- were his labours confined even to Rome. nation to cultivate the arts. The ancient The Florentines, being desirous of remonuments of the city were estimated erecting the church of San Giovanni in by him at their true value; the streets the street of Giulia, the three architects were repaired, the churches fitted up employed on the occasion applied to with extraordinary care, and the palace Michael Angelo for a plan, assuring of the Vatican was embellished in a him that, if he refused to comply with style of costly magnificence. Had this their request, the undertaking must be pontiff been more enlightened in his abandoned. general views, and less inclined to In his reply Michael Angelo toll amass wealth for the purpose of aggran- them that he would do whatever lay in dizing his family, he would have been a his power to further their wishes, both worthy successor of Leo X. Michael from the natural love which he bore Angelo experienced his earliest atten- his country, and from his desire now, in tion, and was restored by him to the his old age, to employ his abilities to the chancellorship of Rimini. Besides this honour of God. His bodily infirmities, mark of favour he received several others however, obliged him to seek manual highly complimentary to his genius, and assistance, though he retained the which proved how greatly his talents same vigour in his mental exercises ; were still prized, notwithstanding his and he was now in the habit of emple advanced age and the increasing ma- ing Tiberio Calcagni, a Florentine sculpchinations of his opponents.
tor to whom he was attached, in drar. Pius, having formed the idea of re- ing out or copying his plans. Having, building the gates of the city, directed by the aid of this artist, completed three him to make designs for one which was designs, he sent them to Florence that to be erected without delay. When the the directors of the building might makt drawings were given in, the pontiff fixed their choice; but their surprise and adon the one which could be followed at miration at the beauty of the plans are least expense, and the celebrated Porta said to have been so great that they were Pia was erected, to his great satisfaction unable to decide which it would be best and that of the Romans in general. It to follow. They, therefore, returned them is uncertain whether the designs of Mi- to Michael Angelo, with a request that chael Angelo for any of the other gates he would himself determine the ques. were followed; the façade of the Porta tion, to which he immediately assented, del Popolo has been supposed to afford observing, that if his design was comsome traces of his hand; but the most pleted, the structure would surpass any. careful antiquarians deny his having had thing that had been ever seen by Greets any share in that structure.
or Romans, or by any other people
. Struck with admiration of the powers Unfortunately domestic troubles and of the aged sculptor, and eager to gather difficulties prevented the prosecution of with as much speed as possible more the work, and the model which had been designs from the unexhausted wealth of made for the church of San Giovanni, his mind, the pontiff employed Michael after having been preserved some time, Angelo in several other works of impor- was destroyed. tance. Among these was a church
The building of St. Peter's was in the formed out of the ruined baths of Dio- meantime proceeding with as much clesian, in constructing which its great speed and regularity as the nature of the architect proved, in an extraordinary edifice and the funds allowed for it degree, the quickness with which his would permit. But the opponents intellect was still capable of conceiv- the aged architect had lost none of their ing the noblest plans, and the force with jealous ill-will towards a man who so
resolutely resisted all the suggestions gument, however, on which they could which their united pride and ignorance safely depend was derived from his old prompted them to make. The only ar- age, and on this they insisted so pertina
ST. PAUL's,* • It is proper to state here, that, although drawn nearly to the same scale, the dimensions given to St. Paul's are rather less than the true relative proportions of the two edifices would require.
ciously, that they hoped they were at out indignation and regret, the perse. length on the point of succeeding in cutions to which Michael Angelo's in their object.
flexible integrity exposed him. The The first step they now took was to greatest genius of the age, advanced in send away Luigi Gaeta, one of his as- years, bestowing gratuitously his talents sistants, and this provoking Michael in the erection of a fabric unrivalled in Angelo to express himself with con- any age, was persecuted by every crafty siderable warmth, they interpreted his peculator who found himself thwarted : language into a declaration of his will- and the directors of the works, wishing ingness to retire. As soon, however, as to have under their guidance some one he became acquainted with the mea- whom they could more easily control, sures they were pursuing, he sent his or make subservient to their own disfriend Daniello Ricciarelli da Volterra to honest views, repeatedly annoyed hin, the bishop Ferratino, one of the com- and brought false charges agains: mittee of management, to contradict him. what was alleged respecting his wish to retire. The bishop, on hearing this, expressed
CHAPTER XIII. his regret, and observed that if Michael Angelo would resign his charge, cer- Death of Michael Angelo. tainly too heavy for a man of his age, the managers would willingly accept The event above related was the last any one whom he should himself name circumstance of any importance in as his substitute.
Michael Angelo's life. Shortly after The proposition, thus made in appa- its occurrence, his health was observed rent good faith, was such as Michael rapidly to decline; and it was niet Angelo, or even the most jealous per- thought requisite by the pontiff an son, could scarcely fail to receive with others of his friends, that arrangements good humour, as it secured to him that should be made to prevent the dis degree of influence which was almost persion of his effects by impron! everything desirable, situated and infirm means, in case of sudden dissoluto. as he then was. Without hesitation, Examples are on record of the me therefore, he acceded to the offer, and barbarous spoliations having takes naturally supposed that Daniello would place on the death of eminent artists, be immediately appointed his substitute; among which what occurred on the but the bishop, instead of acting accord- decease of Titian is not the least of ing to his promise, presented Nanni morable ; and from the vast quantiju Bigio to the committee, simply mention- valuable designs, pieces of sculptai ing that Michael Angelo had agreed to and antiquities, which were accuseappoint a substitute.
lated in Michael Angelo's house, it was The venerable architect heard of this feared lest the rapacity of his attendasi transaction with mingled anger and dis- might deprive his rightful heirs of the gust, and hastening to the pope, he expected inheritance, and the lovers vi expressed his determination to proceed art of many valuable relics. instantly to Florence, and there end his At the beginning of the year 1563, tha days, if his holiness would grant him a apprehensions entertained from the inlicence to leave Rome. Pius, however, paired state of his health were considersought in the kindest manner to soothe ably increased; a slow fever assait: his irritated feelings, and promised to him; and he became conscious himse i inquire into the whole affair. Instead, that his mortal career was at an erid. therefore, of giving credence to the as- By his directions, Daniello da Volterrà sertions of the architect's enemies that wrote off immediately to desire his he was ruining the edifice, he sent a per- nephew Leonardo to come with all haste son in whom he could place confidence to Rome; and the physician Federico to examine the parts of the structure Donati being present, with several of his which were said to be defective. The other friends, he made his will, which investigation, it need scarcely be men- simply stated that he resigned his woul tioned, ended to the complete satisfac- into the hands of God, his body to the tion of both Michael Angelo and the earth, and his property to his nearest Pope, and Messer Bigio was once more relations. He closed his brief testament driven away in disgrace.
with the exhortation, that in their jour. It is impossible to contemplate, with- ney through life they should remember
the passion of Jesus Christ. Shortly because of their common country, they after thus disposing of his possessions, are unanimous in desiring that this he expired, his death happening on the should be done in the noblest manner, twenty-third of February, 1563, when and to the best of their power. They he had completed within a few days the have therefore made known their sentieighty-ninth year of his age.
ments to your excellencies as their most The conspicuous station which M. certain refuge and aid. To this ad. Angelo had now for so long a space oc- dress, the latter part of which abounds cupied, rendered his decease an event of in compliment to the grand duke, the considerable importance, and Florence latter replied, that the readiness which disputed with Rome the honour of pos- the academy had shown to honour the sessing his remains. They were, how- memory of Michael Angelo gave him ever, deposited, three days after his great happiness, and that he was not death, in the church of the Apostles at only willing to do that which had been Rome, the Pope at the same time ex- requested in the memorial, but would pressing his resolution to remove them endeavour to obtain the removal of his at some future period to St. Peter's, body to Florence. and erect a monument over them worthy This letter of the duke's produced of the great artist's fame; a circum- another address from the academy, in stance," observes the editor of Vasari, which they thanked him for having em
sufficient of itself to show the height of ployed his orator at Rome to secure the honour to which Michael Angelo had object of their wishes, and begged him arrived, as it was the pontiffs alone who to appoint Benedetto Varchi, a distinwere usually interred in the cathedral." guished man of letters, to pronounce a
The intelligence of his interment funeral oration in honour of the dewas no sooner received at Florence, ceased artist. These requests were also than the academy of that city held a sit- immediately granted, and the body, being ting to consider by what means it might privately conveyed to Florence, was prevent the remains of one who had so placed at the foot of the great altar of greatly increased the honour of the Flo- San Pietro Maggiore. On ihe following rentine name from reposing in a distant day, all the sculptors and painters of the province. A committee was accordingly city were assembled in the church at an chosen with a president of considerable early hour; and about midnight the reputation, Vincenzo Borghini, to ar- whole of the spectators having surrange the preliminaries necessary to rounded the coffin, the oldest and most their design. The persons selected to celebrated of the artists present sudrepresent the academy were Agnolo denly held up the numerous torches Bronzino, Giorgio Vasari, the biogra- which had been prepared for them, and pher; the celebrated Benvenuto Cel- the young men raised the bier, all eagerly lini and Bartolommeo Ammanati. Hav- endeavouring to assist in the obsequies ing finished their consultations on the of so renowned a man. subject, they resolved upon petitioning
The church of Santa Croce had been the grand duke to obtain the pope's con- finally destined to receive his remains ; sent that the body of Michael Angelo and as they were conveyed thither, the might be transported to Florence, and streets were crowded by immense muldeposited in the church of San Lorenzo, titudes, all loud in their expressions of which contained the greater part of the love and admiration for the sublime genoble works executed by the divine artist nius who had so greatly contributed to in his native country.
the glory of their city. When the proTheir petition to ihe prince expresses
cession arrived at the church, it was with in a striking manner the veneration with the utmost difficulty the bearers could which the memory of Michael Angelo make their way through the concourse was regarded, " The academy and com- of spectators; but this being at last pany of painters and sculptors," it says, effected, and the funeral service having
having consulted among themselves been performed by the friars of the estahow, agreeably to the satisfaction of blishment, the body was deposited in the your excellencies, they may in some sacristy, where the president of the acamanner honour the memory of Michael demy, expressing his wish to see the deAngelo Buonaroti, to whom it is due, ceased, whom he had not beheld for so both on account of his excellence in many years, that he had forgotten his their profession, he having been the person, declared his intention to open greatest artist the world ever saw, and the coffin.