The second casting must have taken place about the 8th of July; for on the 10th Michelangelo writes that it is done, but the clay is too hot for the result to be reported, and Bernardino left yesterday.
" We may therefore believe Condivi when he asserts that "Michelangelo, who had not yet practised colouring, and knew that the painting of a vault is very difficult, endeavoured by all means to get himself excused, putting Raffaello forward as the proper man, and pleading that this was not his trade, and that he should not succeed."
The whole summer and autumn must have been spent in taking measurements and expanding the elaborate design to the proper scale of working drawings; and if Michelangelo had toiled alone without his Florentine helpers, it would have been impossible for him to have got through with these preliminary labours in so short a space of time.
Michelangelo, with a finer instinct for harmony, a deeper grasp on his own dominant ideal, excluded this element of quattrocento decoration from his scheme.
The violence of Michelangelo, unlike that of Luca, lay not so much in the choice of savage subjects (cruelty, ferocity, extreme physical and mental torment) as in a forceful, passionate, tempestuous way of handling all the themes he treated.
Michelangelo's magnificent cartoon of Leda and the Swan, if it falls short of some similar subject in some gabinetto segreto of antique fresco, does assuredly not do so because the draughtsman's hand faltered in pious dread or pious aspiration.
Suppose, then, that Michelangelo failed in his heads and faces, he, being an Italian, and therefore confessedly inferior to the Greeks in his bodies and limbs, must, by the force of logic, emerge less meritorious than we thought him.
In order to guard against an apparent contradiction, I must submit that, when Michelangelo particularised the body and the limbs, he strove to make them the symbols of some definite passion or emotion.
It is as though Michelangelo worked from the image in his brain outwards to a physical presentment supplied by his vast knowledge of life, creating forms proper to his own specific concept.
Michelangelo's style of design is that of a sculptor, Andrea's of a colourist, Lionardo's of a curious student, Raffaello's of a musician and improvisatore.
To use the words of a penetrative critic, from whom it is a pleasure to quote: "The thing about Michelangelo is this; he is not, so to say, at the head of a class, but he stands apart by himself: he is not possessed of a skill which renders him unapproached or unapproachable; but rather, he is of so unique an order, that no other artist whatever seems to suggest comparison with him."
Indeed, at first sight, one might almost conjecture that the original chalk study was a genuine work of Raffaello, aiming at rivalry with Michelangelo's manner.
By a deed executed on the 14th of June 1514, we find that he contracted to make a figure of Christ in marble, "life-sized, naked, erect, with a cross in his arms, and in such attitude as shall seem best to Michelangelo."
How Michelangelo answered this intemperate and unjust invective is not known to us.
It appears that Pietro Urbano, Michelangelo's trusty henchman at this period, said something which angered Lodovico, and made him set off in a rage to Settignano: "Dearest Father,I marvelled much at what had happened to you the other day, when I did not find you at home.
It was not without reluctance that Michelangelo departed from Carrara, offending the Marquis Malaspina, breaking his contracts, and disappointing the folk with whom he had lived on friendly terms ever since his first visit in 1505.
Among the names and signatures appended, Michelangelo's alone is written in Italian: "I, Michelangelo, the sculptor, pray the like of your Holiness, offering my services to the divine poet for the erection of a befitting sepulchre to him in some honourable place in this city."
This proves conclusively that much which has been written about the waste of Michelangelo's abilities on things a lesser man might have accomplished is merely sentimental.
Michelangelo, on hearing the news, left Florence and travelled by post to Carrara.
The incident would hardly be worth mentioning, except for the fact that it brings to mind one of Michelangelo's earliest patrons, the good-hearted Gonfalonier of Justice, and anticipates the coming of the only woman he is known to have cared for, Vittoria Colonna.
Considerable animation is introduced into the annals of Michelangelo's life at this point by his correspondence with jovial Sebastiano del Piombo.
But the bulk of Sebastiano's gossipy and racy communications belongs to the period of thirteen years between 1520 and 1533; then it suddenly breaks off, owing to Michelangelo's having taken up his residence at Rome during the autumn of 1533.
In answer, apparently, to this first letter on the subject, Michelangelo wrote a humorous recommendation of his friend and gossip to the Cardinal Bernardo Dovizi da Bibbiena.
Sebastiano's reliance upon Michelangelo, and his calculation that the way to get possession of the coveted commission would depend on the latter's consenting to supply him with designs, emerge in the following passage: "The Cardinal told me that he was ordered by the Pope to offer me the lower hall.
It may be added that the name of Stefano, the miniaturist, who acted as Michelangelo's factotum through several years, is mentioned for the first time in this minute and interesting record.