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Vasari's Michelangelo: Vasari's life of Michelangelo has often been criticised for its self-interest. But a closer look at Michelangelo's letters to his biographer should make us reconsider this assessment, since they provide evidence of how far Vasari strove to protect his friend's reputation as an architect.

Within months of the publication of the new, three-volume edition of his Le Vite de' piu eccellenti pittori, scultori e architettori in 1568, Giorgio Vasari had extracted the biography of Michelangelo, publishing it at his own expense as a separate thin offprint, Vita de' gran Michelagnolo Buonarroti, with a dedication to Alessandro de' Medici (1511-37). (1) Johannes Wilde (1891-1970)--the eminent Hungarian art historian and emigre to Great Britain, who wrote the major reassessment of Michelangelo's drawings of the second half of the 20th century --rightly called Vasari's 1568 biography of Michelangelo the most important monograph on the great master ever written. (2) But Vasari's heavily protagonistic self-references in his 1568 Vita of Michelangelo, which have been noticed by most serious authors writing on the subject, have greatly tarnished the way this important text has been received by modern scholars--the prevalent view today being that Vasari greatly misrepresented reality by claiming friendship with the artist for selfishly strategic motives. (3) Vasari's Vita of Michelangelo has not been analysed in detailed critical depth since the magisterial annotated commentary published in 1962 by Paola Barocchi, who took a relatively negative view of the Aretine biographer's relationship with Michelangelo. (4)

Acutely aware of his own mortality, the 80-year-old Michelangelo wrote to Vasari on 5 July 1555 about his all-consuming work on the new St Peter's basilica, which was far from finished, and which prevented him from accepting Duke Cosimo I de' Medici's (1519-74) invitation to return to Florence: 'Messer Giorgio, my dear, I know that you know from my writing that I am at the twenty-fourth hour [of my life] and no thought arises in me in which death is not sculpted therein.' ('Messer Giorgio mio caro, io so che voi conoscete nel mio scrivere cheio sono alle venti 4 ore e non nasce in me pensiero che non vi sia dentro sculpita la morte.') In abandoning the Fabbrica of St Peter's, as Michelangelo explained to Vasari, 'I would cause a great ruin, great shame, and a great sin' ('sare' causa d'una gran ruina, d'una gran vergognia e d'un gran pechato.') My essay in the April issue of Apollo examined the new evidence provided by the notebook of Michelangelo's letters to Vasari, in deposit at the archive of Casa Vasari in Arezzo (formerly in the Rasponi Spinelli private archive) but rarely consulted by scholars in the original during the last 50 years, and which includes the above-quoted letter. (5) As discussed, the Arezzo binding of letters reveals the growing intimacy and, ultimately, friendship between the two artist-architects. It confirms that Vasari's and Michelangelo's most direct and productive intellectual dialogue as artists occurred over the creation of architecture between the 1550s and very early 1560s.


Both the great artist and his biographer became architects relatively late in life. Vasari's 1568 Vita of Michelangelo notes their 'molti utili e begli raggionamenti dell' arte' about architecture, on site, during their tour on horseback of the seven churches of Rome in the Holy Year of 1550, and regarding the design of the Villa Giulia for Pope Julius III (1487-1555). (6) Michelangelo and Vasari were also involved as fellow consultants in a number of projects. (7) Moreover, a letter of 28 September 1555 from Michelangelo to his nephew Leonardo Buonarroti (1519-99) on fol. 16r of the Arezzo binding--and a further part of the Michelangelo-Vasari correspondence that is not in this notebook --demonstrate that Vasari patiently attempted to reconstruct Michelangelo's design for the staircase of the ricetto (vestibule) of the library of San Lorenzo in Florence and supervise its building with the assistance of Bartolomeo Ammanati (1511-92), long after Michelangelo had left Florence forever to live in Rome. (8) In the 1568 Vita, Vasari described Michelangelo's buildings with prominence, and reserved especially poignant words of praise for the master's five drawings of plans produced around 1560 for the church of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini ('finalmente mostro loro cinque piante di tempii bellissime'), an arduous and long-postponed project. (9) He deemed Michelangelo's three elevation drawings for the design of Rome's Porta Pia in 1560-61 to be 'extravagantly creative and most beautiful' ('ne fece tre, tutti stravaganti e bellissimi'), noting that of these, Pope Pius IV (c. 1513-83) chose the least expensive to build. (10) During his visit to Rome in 1560, Vasari brought the wooden model of the Palazzo Vecchio (the former Palazzo della Signoria of the Florentine republic), with his ragionamenti (reasonings) and drawings for the decorations of the ducal apartments, to show Michelangelo. (11)


But most importantly, the Arezzo notebook of Michelangelo's letters written between 1550 and 1557 encompasses the period of greatest controversy in Michelangelo's management of the Fabbrica of St Peter's as chief architect of the new basilica. Though hardly mined by historians for this evidence, the Arezzo letters provide a crucial and larger, emotive context within which to understand Michelangelo's work at St Peter's from 1546 to 1564. His project unfolded during the successive reigns of five popes (Paul III, Julius III, Marcellus II, Paul IV and Pius IV), and although Passignano was commissioned to paint Michelangelo showing the model of St Peter's to Pope Paul IV, he actually portrayed the features of the Medici pope, Pius IV, in the painting today at the Casa Buonarroti (Fig. 1). As I argue here, the contents of the Arezzo notebook of Michelangelo's letters tip the scales in favour of a much more positive assessment of Vasari's 1568 Vita of Michelangelo regarding the account of Michelangelo's late architectural career and tenure as chief architect of St Peter's, aspects which are usually passed over in silence in discussions of Vasari's important biography.

Vasari's 1568 Vita is the major narrative source on Michelangelo's tenure at St Peter's, a portion of text that amounts to almost a quarter of the master's biography in the 1568 edition. Vasari's inordinately detailed description of the monumental wood model built between November 1558 and November 1561 after Michelangelo's design for the new St Peter's includes copiously precise measurements. (12) This account, however, was not simply a testimony to his reverence for Michelangelo: it was deeply motivated by his desire to record Michelangelo's ultimate intentions for the still largely unfinished edifice of St Peter's at the time of his death on 18 February 1564. Vasari had long taken Michelangelo's words to heart with regard to the Fabbrica of St Peter's, as expressed in his letter of 22 June 1555 in the Arezzo binding (fol. 14r): 'che la non potessi esser mutata per darli altra forma' ('that it should not be changed to give it another shape'). (13) The majestic, surviving model in lime wood of one half of the drum and dome of the new basilica after Michelangelo's design, constructed in a scale of 1:15 and measuring 5 x 4 x 2m, has suffered significant alterations (Fig. 2). (14)

It is important to know, for the context of Michelangelo's notes to his nephew Leonardo Buonarroti with the forwarded letters of 1 July and 17 August 1557 to Vasari (Arezzo binding, fols. 22r-23v and 24r-25v), that--as the documents in the historic archive of the Fabbrica of St Peter's confirm--the construction on the new basilica came to a virtual standstill in 1556-57 during the war of Pope Paul IV (1476-1559) with Spain and Naples. (15) Michelangelo was forced at this juncture to suspend the vast expensive work on the drum for the main dome of St Peter's, concentrating his efforts and the financial resources of the Fabbrica on the attic and vaulting of the south apse or hemicycle (the so-called Cappella del Re di Francia, or Chapel of the King of France), begun by Antonio da Sangallo 'Il Giovane' (1484-1546), whom Michelangelo succeeded as chief architect and much criticised. (16) This south apse was the first part of Michelangelo's St Peter's to be completed, but the attic level was changed into its present form probably in 1605-10. The pen-and-ink drawing by an anonymous artist of c. 1546-50--included in the second volume, on fol. 60v, of Maarten van Heemskerck's (1498-1574) Berlin Sketchbook --shows this attic level of the south apse under construction, but with the transept arm itself already barrel-vaulted (Fig.4), while Giovanni Battista Piranesi's (1720-78) etching of c. 1748 portrays it after the modifications to Michelangelo's original design (Fig. 3). (17) Michelangelo's ideas for the attic and vault of the south apse in late 1556 required some major adjustments to both Bramante's and Sangallo's solutions in the building. (18) The close-up comparison of the designs for the interior elevations of the south transept arm intended by Sangallo and Michelangelo can be made from the details recorded in the engravings with etching published in Antonio Lafreri's Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae (mid 1500s), in which the differences in a number of respects do not appear to be notable (Figs. 5 & 6).


A model in lime wood of the interior of this upper portion of the south apse, or calotte, in a scale of 1:30 and measuring about 91.5 x 51.9 x 46cm, was produced under Michelangelo's direction in late 1556 or early 1557, in order for him to work through his design in relationship to the south apse as conceived and largely built by Sangallo; the carpenter(s) constructed the wood model of the calotte with some mistakes and it can also be compared further with Michelangelo's drawing in the Arezzo letter of 1 July 1557, which details the errors in the first actual masonry construction (Fig. 8). (19) It is one of only three surviving wood models for an architectural project by Michelangelo. This small model for the calotte with pedimented attic windows (Fig. 7) was scaled to be placed within the gigantic wooden model of the basilica constructed by Antonio Labacco (c. 1495-1567) after Sangallo's project. At a later point, Michelangelo's partial model was incorrectly inserted into the west apse of Labacco's model after Sangallo's project (it was removed from it in 1994). (20)


By February 1557, however, two thirds of the scarpellini (stone masons), who had been employed by the Fabbrica of St Peter's the year before, were dismissed. Since the majority of these workers carne from Florence and its territory, they returned home to tell of the catastrophic state of the Fabbrica, to Michelangelo's great chagrin. (21) Added to this, by 3 April 1557, Bastiano Malenotti, Michelangelo's trusted capomaestro (foreman), was revealed to have embezzled funds from the Fabbrica of St Peter's (this part of the story is well told by Federico Bellini). (22) I would add that Malenotti lobbied Michelangelo's nephew, to whom he wrote at least 32 pleading letters during 1556 and 1557. (23) Vasari's own close rapport with Leonardo Buonarroti, as well as sculptor-architect Tiberio Calcagni (1532-1565), meant that he was extremely well informed about the crisis at St Peter's, as will be seen. Malenotti's malfeasance precipitated a crisis on top of an existing crisis for the octogenarian Michelangelo. Adding insult to injury, the new capomaestro's error in the construction of the calotte, or vauk of the south apse, was discovered between 23 April and 4 May 1557, when the masonry may have been close to the summit. This required taking down much of the expensive, carefully cut travertine blocks, and entirely rebuilding the structure. (24) It reflected extremely badly on Michelangelo's leadership of the Fabbrica, and the vaulting of the south apse, or Cappella del Re di Francia, was finished only in early June 1558. (25)



Michelangelo's two letters of 1 July and 17 August 1557 to Vasari, respectively on fols. 22v and 24r in the Arezzo notebook, progressively explain his initial concept for vaulting the south apse, and the error by the capomaestro in building it, which was leading to disastrous results. Michelangelo's anguish is evident in the cover letter of 1 July 1557 to his nephew (now somewhat misbound, as fol. 23v), (26) which explains that his efforts in describing to Vasari the serious problems of building the south apse at St Peter's 'with some drawing of the error' ('con um poco di disegnio dell'errore') were in order that Vasari could plead effectively before Duke Cosimo, in giving the ruler Michelangelo's reasons for not coming to Florence while work was going badly. Also facing defamatory gossip at the papal court, Michelangelo clearly hoped to secure the ruler's support. (27) Both letters to Vasari are directly quoted without the drawings in the 1568 edition of the Vim of Michelangelo. (28) Vasari explained: 'as friend and confidante of Vasari, Michelangelo sent him drawings by his hand with these words written below the two letters.' ('Michelagnolo, come amico e confidente del Vasari, gli mando di sua mano disegni, con queste pavole scritte a pie di dua.') (29) Vasari's 1568 Vim of Michelangelo reproduced only the text of the two letters but stated unequivocally that the drawings illustrating these letters were autographs, 'di sua mano'. As can be verified, they are outline-drawings done vigorously in chalk over a constructed underdrawing with ruler, compass work and leadpoint, in a consistent technique and physical scale with respect to one another. The Arezzo sheets, therefore, are two unique extant drawings by Michelangelo that are precisely and incontrovertibly documented by a contemporary written source to be autographs --indeed, by Vasari, who was their recipient. That he knew the drawings were by Michelangelo's hand only added value to the letters.




In wishing to examine the manuscript originals of Michelangelo's two letters of 1557 in the Archivio Vasari at Arezzo, I had been particularly concerned with the issues of authorship raised by Michelangelo's late architectural drawings. While Vasari's 1568 Vim sensitively presents an integrated view of Michelangelo's approach to disegno as a sculptor, painter and architect, and although the great artist himself fundamentally thought across media when drawing on paper, connoisseurs from the late 19th century onwards have often preferred to consider his figural drawings for paintings and sculptures as separate from his architectural drawings. (30) An earlier generation of art historians has also often overly insisted that in his old age Michelangelo rarely if ever executed architectural drawings constructed with ruler and compass; it is, in fact, often claimed that he habitually delegated this task to assistants or professional draughtsmen. (31) Vasari's 1568 Vita notes the young Tiberio Calcagni's vole as a helper to Michelangelo in this capacity of architectural draughtsman. (32) Such a delegation of labour was undeniably the case, probably in not a few instances, but the first-hand examination of Michelangelo's drawings on the letters to Vasari of I July and 17 August 1557 in the Arezzo notebook shows this is not true in their case--thus considerably modifying how we may interpret the questions of authorship for certain architectural drawings by the master.

The first of these letters, dated 1 July 1557 (fol. 22v; Fig. 8), contains the two drawings of the calotte of the south transept arm, or Cappella del Re di Francia, seen upside down with respect to the text, and executed in black chalk with red chalk, over preliminary measurements with compass pricks, then constructions of stylus ruling, compass arcs and leadpoint. (33) The two drawings generally represent Michelangelo's contingency idea of adding rings of centring to correct the problem of the vault. As is clarified by the elevation drawing on the July sheet, Michelangelo wished to create a tripartite gored vault. The upper design on the sheet renders the top view of the domical vault as a single continuous surface, with the courses of masonry depicted as simplified rings, while the lower design offers the correlated elevation of the domical vault, but introduces the idea of the tripartite gored vault with its separating ribs; the squat windows on the cornice level are very lightly drawn on the paper, almost like pentimenti. In the upper design, the broad, very shallow arcs drawn more crudely in red chalk, and which do not close in at the summit of the dome, represent the mistake by the capomaestro, while the much more compact, acute arcs traced with the compass in stylus, leadpoint and black chalk represent Michelangelo's recommended correction. The photographic details of the drawings on the sheet describe accurately the layers of the medium. It is clear that all the marks on the paper indicate one author of the drawing, and although this is a very simple outline design, the vigour, force of medium on the paper and unity of concept confirm the hand of Michelangelo alone.

In Michelangelo's drawings on the July 1557 letter, the red chalk contours (indicating the capomaestro's mistake) in the upper design clearly lie over the black chalk and attendant construction (Fig. 9): hence, the red lines were drawn last. But this is certainly not to say that a craftsman literally intervened over Michelangelo's drawing to draw in red. Rather, Michelangelo himself outlined in compass and red chalk to describe manually the error of the capomaestro with drawing and words: 'To messe[r] Giorgio Vasari in Florence. The centre marked with red was used by the capomaestro [as a projection] over the body of the entire vault; then, when he began to pass to the half-circle, which is at the summit of the vault, he became aware of the error which the said centre was producing, as may be seen here in the drawing. That [which should have been] governed by only one centre, now requires an infinite number as one sees here in the drawing marked in black. With this error the vault has gone so far forward, that we have to undo a great number of stones, for in that vault there is no brickwork, but all travertine, and the diameter of the circles, without the cornice that borders them, is twenty-two palmi. This error (although I had made a precise model, as I do of everything) should never have happened, but it occurred because I could not go there often, on account of my old age; and whereas I believed that the vault was now finished, it will not be finished all this winter, and, if it were possible to die of shame and grief, I should not be alive now. I pray you give an account to the Duke of why I am not at this moment in Florence; many more things detain me [here], but which I cannot write. Your Michelangelo in Rome.' (34)

In his letter of 17 August 1557 (fol. 24r; Fig. 10), Michelangelo described his intentions further to Vasari, perhaps fearing he might have been misunderstood, but it should be clear to the eye of any viewer of this drawing that Michelangelo was himself in the process of working through his design, as he drew and wrote for Vasari. (35) It is not that Michelangelo assumed dimness on the part of his correspondent. He first drew the design on the upper part of the sheet, and the text of his letter below refers to this drawn design as the pianta, or plan, of the chapel--but what is precisely meant by the accompanying outline-drawing in black chalk is somewhat open to interpretation, as we shall see.


Hence, in this particular case, it is best to begin our analysis with the text of the 17 August 1557 letter: 'Messer Giorgio, so that it may be easier to understand the difficulty of the vault that I sent you in a drawing, I send you the plan, which I did not send you before. Regarding this vault, by observing its rise from the level of the ground, I have been forced to divide it into three vaults, which relate to the windows which are below divided by pilasters; and you see that they go pyramidically into the centre of the summit of the vault, as also do the base and sides of the same vaults. It was necessary to regulate them with an infinite number of centres, and there are in them so many changes in various directions, from point to point, that no fixed rule can be maintained. And the circles and squares that come in the middle of their deepest parts have to diminish and increase in so many directions, and to go to so many points, that it is a difficult thing to find the true method. Nevertheless, having the model, such as I make for everything, they should never have committed so great an error as to seek to regulate with one single centre all those three shells; whence it has come about that we have been obliged with shame and damage to pull down, as we are still doing, a great number of stones. The vault, with its sections and hewn stonework, is all of travertine, like the rest of the things below; a thing not customary in Rome. I thank the Duke for his charity, as much as I know, and am able, and God grant me the grace that I may be able to serve him, poor thing [that I am]; there is nothing else. [My] memory and brain have gone to await me elsewhere. Your Michelangelo in Rome. (36)


The complex and powerful drawing on the upper part of the August 1557 sheet offers a uniquely personal conflation of architectural-pictorial conventions, in order to clarify the relationships of the interior space from the ground looking up into the vault of the south apse above. Michelangelo now clearly articulated the interior of the tripartite vault as comprised of three concave gores. (37) The final design of the tripartite gored vault of the Cappella del Re, as built, retains many of the features in Michelangelo's Arezzo drawing of August 1557. (38) Michelangelo traced the outlines of entire circles in order to calibrate within the overall forms of the apse and carve out the half-circular ground plan, orpianta, of the chapel. As before, he drew the outline-design of the chapel more forcefully over preliminary measurements with compass pricks, then constructions of stylus ruling, compass arcs and leadpoint, finally reworking it with black chalk. He proceeded to excavate in a bold sculptural manner the three concave spaces of the tripartite gored vault (each of the three segments with its own set of concentric rings), leaving plentiful pentimenti visible (Fig. 11). From this armature he projected the relationship of the ribs and spandrels containing within the three compass-constructed tondi and their three small, surmounting trapezoidal fields toward the summit, as is also detailed in Michelangelo's wooden model of the calotte. Ruled with the stylus, leadpoint and black chalk, the engaged pilasters from the ground plan are those that devolve into the three ribs of the tripartite vault above. Although the forms and pictorial conventions of the design in the August 1557 letter at Arezzo are different from those in the July 1557 letter, one can see the authorship is the same: the style and construction techniques of the drawings are entirely homogeneous. The details once more permit a confident attribution to Michelangelo.

In the cover letter of 17 August 1557 to his nephew (vol. 25r), which included the bifolio with the letter to Vasari nestled inside, Michelangelo noted: 'writing gives me much annoyance, because I am old and full of confusion.' ('Lo scrivere m' e di gran fastidio, per esser vechio e pien di confusi[o]ne.') He added a postscript: 'cut this sheet in half and give it to messer Giorgio, because it is intended for him, and I have not written more because I did not have more paper at home.' ('Spicha la meta di questo foglio e dallo a messer Giorgio, p[er]che va allui. Non o scricto altrime[n]ti p[er]che non avevo piu charta / i[n] casa.') (39)

Michelangelo's drawings in the 1557 letters of the Arezzo notebook are inextricably connected in style and technique to a complex outline-design on the verso of Michelangelo's study of the Christ on the Chross at the Musee du Louvre (Departement des Arts graphiques inv. 842; Figs. 12 & 13), which also helps pin down the date of some of Michelangelo's magnificent late Crucifixion drawings. (40) This Louvre verso portrays a similarly schematic design to the Arezzo drawings, also related to the design and construction of the vaulting of the Cappella del Re. It is a view of an architectural detail projected in tunnelling perspective. Charles de Tolnay interpreted this complex outline-drawing as a view from the bottom to the summit of a single gore of the tripartite vault of the Cappella del Re: hence, that which is drawn complete in the August 1557 letter at Arezzo. (41) Rather, the design may representa first idea for the projection of an armature of curved blocks of travertine (precisely cut and mitred), as they were to be laid into the ribs, in creating the surfaces of the gores of the domical vault. (42) Like the Arezzo drawings, this Louvre verso is similarly executed in black chalk and leadpoint with stylus ruling and compass work. The entirely homogeneous style and technique of the Louvre verso demonstrate it is an entirely autograph drawing, but Bellini inexplicably attributed it to Giovanni Battista Bizzi da Settignano, the chief of Michelangelo's scarpellini at the Fabbrica of St Peter's. (43) I do not know of any scarpellino employed by Michelangelo with even moderate abilities as a draughtsman capable of the design articulated in the Louvre verso: for it must be emphasised that this fragmentary drawing is of such conceptual intricacy that only the author of a design still half in his mind, rather than on the paper, could have been responsible for it. (44) It is not a craftsman's drawing, but the design of an idea in the making.

According to Vasari's 1568 Vita, Michelangelo's 17-year tenure as chief architect of St Peter's saw little respite from the painful intrigues around him ('era stato Michelagnolo anni 17 nella fabbrica di San Pietro, e pih volte i Deputati l'avevon voluto levare da quel governo'). (45) Here particularly, the biographer knew of what he spoke. Only a month after Michelangelo's death, he began intensive efforts to learn from Leonardo Buonarroti about the state of Michelangelo's work for the Fabbrica of St Peter's, singling out 'the persecutions and harassments he suffered at the time of Pope Paul IV'. (46) As Vasari's Vita also notes, Pius V (1504-72) then 'wished that Michelangelo's drawings be followed inviolably during the tenure of the succeeding architects Pirro Ligorio and Jacopo Vignola.' ('Volse che si eseguissi inviolabilmente i disegni fatti da Michelagenolo, mentre che furono esecutori di quella Pirro Ligorio e Iacopo Vignola architetti.') (47) Pirro Ligorio (c. 1510-83) presumptuously began changing Michelangelo's order in the south-transept apse, and was dismissed as chief architect in the winter of 1566-67. (48)

In the spring of 1567, Vasari crucially and forcefully advocated by letter and in person for Michelangelo's solutions for the design of St Peter's to be executed precisely, also providing detailed recommendations, to ensure 'that never a mark or order be moved or changed, as left by the excellent virtue and memory of Michelangelo.' ('Accio che mai ..., s'avessi a muovere segno o ordine lasciato dalla eccellente virtu e memoria di Michelagnolo.') (49) Vasari's Descrizione also mentions his defence before Pope Pius V of Michelangelo's design of the architectural orders at the Fabbrica of St Peter's during his month-long stay in Rome. (50) We have good reasons, therefore, to regard the biographer's advocacy for Michelangelo's leadership of the Fabbrica of St Peter's and design for the new basilica as motivated by genuine reverence and affection--a friendship that was reciprocated, as is attested by the Arezzo notebook of Michelangelo's letters.

But this is also not to say that this friendship was uncomplicated by other dimensions or interests. For to my mind, Vasari's biography of Michelangelo in the 1568 edition of the Vite requires a carefully calibrated reading with particular attention to the details of chronology and context. It is necessary to appreciate the delicate balance with which Vasari negotiated his vole as author, his personal and professional friendship with Michelangelo, and the larger requirements of his service to Duke Cosimo I de' Medici--as both court artist and leader of the Accademia e Compagnia delle Arti del Disegno in Florence (founded in 1563). (51) Vasari's employment by Duke Cosimo began formally on 15 December 1554, with a salary of 300 ducats. (52) Meanwhile, Michelangelo was conspicuously absent from Florence from the late summer of 1534 until his death on 18 February 1564, de spite the repeated invitations by Duke Cosimo to return to Florence. This absence may not simply have been due to his advancing age and frail health. Michelangelo had played a prominent vole during the short-lived second Republic of Florence, proclaimed on 17 May 1527, following the expulsion of the Medici family. (53) At some deeper levei, therefore, his absence of three decades from his hometown probably spoke of his carefully disguised antipathy toward its ruler in the beginning; Vasari was enlisted by Duke Cosimo to persuade Michelangelo to return to Florence from at least 1554-55 onwards--that is, almost as soon as he assumed his formal position as court artist. (54)



With regard to the personal dimension of the two artists' rapport, Vasari's friendship extended to Michelangelo's family as well, and in particular to Leonardo Buonarroti, who was eight years younger and who was left an orphan at the tender age of nine (he was the eldest surviving son of the great artist's beloved brother Buonarroto). (55) When it was time for Leonardo to marry, Michelangelo (who on Buonarroto's death had taken on the obligations of a father) involved Vasari in his attempts at matchmaking for his nephew. (56) Vasari himself married in January 1550, to Niccolosa Bacci (nicknamed 'Cosina'), a young woman of good Aretine family, distantly related to his patron Cardinal Giovanni Maria Ciocchi del Monte, who became Pope Julius III less than a month later (the cardinal may have pressed this marriage). (57) Leonardo Buonarroti also married well, to Cassandra di Donato Ridolfi on 16 May 1553 (she died in 1593). (58) In 1557, Vasari took up residence in Florence at Borgo Santa Croce, no. 8, in a rented house that was given to him by Duke Cosimo on 20 June 1561. Towards the last months of Michelangelo's life, his illness created a complicated scenario in which Vasari himself became a pawn, as Duke Cosimo through his emissaries kept vigilant watch over the dying artist and the future fate of his valuable artistic estate. Vasari was kept informed about Michelangelo's failing health through the acquaintance, if not friendship, between Cassandra Ridolfi Buonarroti and 'Cosina' Bacci Vasari, for the family households in Florence were only blocks away in the neighbourhood of Santa Croce. (59)


I dedicate this article to Henry A. Millon, whose advice and warm encouragement of this research were crucial. It was possible for me to study and photograph the important binding of Michelangelo's letters in deposit at the archive in Casa Vasari at Arezzo, thanks to the permission by the Soprintendenza Archivistica per la Toscana; the Soprintendenza per i Beni Architettonici, Paesaggistici, Storici, Artistici ed Etnoantropologici di Arezzo; Antonio Agnello and the Archivio Vasari at the Museo di Casa Vasari. My research has been generous|y supported by CASVA--The Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; The Metropolitan Museum o Art, New York; and Villa l Tatti, The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, Florence. I thank especially Elizabeth Cropper and Alessandra Baroni, as well as Peter Lukehart, Kathleen Weil-Garris Brandt, Pina Ragionieri, Elena Lombardi, Marcella Marongiu, Carel van Tuyll van Serooskerken, Paul Joannides, Joseph Hammond, Ronald E. Street, Stijn Alsteens, Mary Zuber, Alexa Schwartz, Brittany McKinney, Hyla Skopitz.

(1) See Vita de' gran Michelagnolo Buonarroti/scritta da M. Giorgio Vasari, Pittore & Architetto Aretino/ Con le sue Magnifiche Essequie stategli fatte in Fiorenza/ Dall'Accademia del Disegno. The dedication to Alessandro de Medici is dated 'sei di Febraio 1567, and states: "Accettate adunque li dono, che io ui faccio di quest a uita a ben uolontieri.' In it, Vasari also explained his reason for the offprint: 'ma perche molti vorrano essa uita del Buonarruoto sola, e separata dall'altre, ci e parso per sodisfare a ciascun o, farne stampare alcun numero fuori di quelle, che sono nell'intero dell'opera, e si compiaccia a chi o non vorra, o non potra hauere tutto il libro insieme.' See exemplar of this Vita de' gran Michelagnolo Buonarroti, published in 1568, at the National Gallery of Art 1991.13.2, Washington, D.C. (gift of Elmar W. Seibel, in honour of the 50th anniversary); illustrated with two woodcuts (page size: 21.1 x 14.3cm).

(2) Johannes Wilde, Italian Drawings in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum: Michelangelo and His Studio, London, 1953. Wilde's statement about Vasari's biography of Michelangelo was published in idem, Michelangelo: Six Lectures, Oxford, 1978, p. 2, based on one of the lectures delivered in the 1950s at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London.

(3) Though brief, Wilde 1978, op. cit. in n. 2 above, pp. 1-16, presents the view of Vasari's 1568 Vita of Michelangelo that comes closest to the mark in my opinion. See Carmen C. Bambach, 'Letters from Michelangelo', Apollo, vol. CLXXVII, no. 608 (April 2013), pp. 58-67; idem, 'Vasari on Michelangelo's Gelosie delle Figure and the Destruction of his Drawings', Annali Aretini XX, Arezzo, 2012, pp. 131-47. A considerably more negative view o f this relationship between Vasari and Michelangelo is presented in Lisa Pon, 'Michelangelo's Lives: Sixteenth-Century Books by Vasari, Condivi, and Others', The Sixteenth Century Journal, vol. XXVII, no. 4 (winter 1996), pp. 1015-37; Michael Hirst, Tre saggi su Michelangelo, trans. Barbara Agosti, Florence, 2004, pp. 31-46; Deborah Parker, Michelangelo and the Art of Letter Writing, Cambridge and New York, 2010, pp. 10-46.

(4) See Paola Barocchi (ed.), Giorgio Vasari: La vita di Michelangelo nelle redazioni del 1550 e del 1568, 5 vols., Milan and Naples, 1962.

(5) This binding of 16 letters in Arezzo, Casa Vasari, is vol. XII [46] 28 carte (sic: the binding has 29 sheets). See Bambach 2013, op. cit. in n. 3 above. The letter of 5 July 1555 is on fol. 14r, and is quoted in the 1568 ed. in Giorgio Vasari, Le vire de' piu eccellenti pittori, scultori e architettori nelle redazioni del 1550 el 568, ed. Rosanna Bettarini; commentary by Paola Barocchi, 6 vols., Florence, 1966-87, vol. VI (text), p. 93. Cf. Paola Barocchi and Renzo Ristori, II Carteggio di Michelangelo , 5 vols., Florence, 1965-83 (hereafter, Carteggio), vol. V, p. 35, no. mccix.

(6) Vasari 1966-87, op. cit. in n. 5 above, vol. VI (text), pp. 83 (quoted), 87. One knows nothing of the dialoghi (dialogues) based on Vasari's conversations with Michelangelo, which be said he intended to publish (cf, also Patricia Lee Rubin, Giorgio Vasari: Art an d History, New Haven and London, 1995, p. 35).

(7) I build here on an excellent point, made in passing, by Marcella Marongiu, 'GiorgioVasarie Michelangelo',in Antordo Natali and Claudia Conforti (eds.). Vasari, gli Uffizie il Duca, exh. cat., Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, 2011, pp. 184-85.

(8) See Carteggio, vol. V, pp. 4349, nos. mccxiii-mccxv; and cf. 1568 ed. in Vasari 1966-87, op. cit. in n. 5 above, vol. VI (text), pp. 88-49.

(9) Ibid., p. 104.

(10) Ibid., p. 103. See especially Golo Maurer, 'Uberlegungenzu Michelangelos Porta Pia', Romisches Jahrbuck der Bibliotheca Hertziana, Munich, vol. XXXVII (2006), pp. 125-62.

(11) 1568 ed. in Vasari 1966-87, op. cit. in n. 5 above, vol. VI (text), p. 102.

(12) Ibid., pp. 95-101.

(13) See Carteggio, vol. V, pp. 35, no. mccix.

(14) Henry A. Millon and Craig Hugh Smyth, Michelangelo Architect: The Facade of San Lorenzo and the Drum and Dome of St. Petervol exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1988,pp. 93-102,181-87; Millon and Smyth in Millon and Vittorio Magnano Lampugnani (eds.),Rinascimento da Brunelleschia Michelangelo: la rappresentazione dell' architettura/ The Renaissance from Brunelleschi to Michelangelo: The Representation of Architecture, exh. cat., Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 1994, pp. 663-65, no. 396; Federico Bellini, La Basilica di San Pierro da Michelangelo a Della Porta, 2 vols., Rome, 2011, pp. 293-347.

(15) A large number of these documents are now published in ibid. vol. II, 'Fonti'.

(16) Cf. Henry A. Millon and Craig Hugh Smyth, 'Michelangelo and St. Peter's I: Notes on a Plan of the Attic as Originally Built on the South Hemicycle', The Burlington Magazine, vol. CXI, no. 797 (August 1969), pp. 484-98; idem, 'Observations on the Interior of the Apses, a Model of the Apse Vault, and Related Drawings', Romisches Jahrbuch fur Kunstgeschichte, vol. XVI (1976), pp. 137-206; idem 1988, op. cit. in n. 14 above; idem, 'Pirro Ligorio, Michelangelo, and St. Peter's', in Robert W. Gaston (ed.), Pirro Ligorio, Artist and Antiquarian, Florence, 1988, pp. 216-36; idem 1994, op. cit. in n. 14 above, pp. 649-54; Golo Maurer, Michelangelo--Die Architekturzeichnungen: Entwurfsprozess und Planungspraxis, Regensburg, 2004, pp. 122-26; Bellini, op. cit. in n. 14 above, vol. I, pp. 123-42, vol. II, pp. 153-61, 188-91.

(17) See Christian Hulsen and Hermann Egger, Die Romischen Skizzenbuchervon Marten Van Heemskerck im Koniglichen Kupferstichkabinett zu Berlin, 2 vols., Berlin, 1913-16; reprinted Soest (The Netherlands), 1975.2 vols., vol. I, p. 37 (Berlin Sketchbook, vol. II, fol. 60v), with commentary. On the construction history, cf. summary in Millon and Smyth 1994, op. cit. in n. 14 above, p. 649; Bellini, op. cit. in n. 14 above, vol. 1, pp. 123-28, fig. 88.

(18) Accounts of Michelangelo's adjustments to Sangallo's construction are given in Millon and Smyth 1976, op. cit. in n. 16 above, pp. 140-45,149 50,157-60; idem 1994, op. cit. in n. 14 above, pp. 649-55; Maurer 2004, op. cit. in n. 16 above, pp. 122-26; Bellini, op, cit. in n. 14 above, vol. I, pp. 106-23.

(19) The discovery and evidence of this model are discussed in Millon and Smyth 1976, op. cit. in n. 16 above, pp. 137-206. See especially idem 1994, op. cit. in n. 14 above, pp. 649,652-53, no. 378 (with important archaeological comments about this model); Bellini, op. cit. in n. 14 above, vol. I, pp. 134-38, figs. 93, 94, 98,107, vol. II, pp. 415-20, 436-41, figs. 59-67.

(20) See Millon and Smyth 1976, op. cit. in n. 16 above, pp. 137-206, esp. figs. 33-35, illustrating Michelangelo's model in place, before its removal from the west apse of Sangallo's model by Labacco. On the present state of Michelangelo's model, see especially Bellini, op. cit. in n. 14 above, vol. I, pp. 134-38, figs. 93, 94, 98,107, vol. II, figs. 59-67.

(21) Cf. ibid., vol. I, pp. 132-34, vol. II, pp. 153-61,188-91.

(22) Cf. ibid., vol. I, pp. 133-34.

(23) Cf. Paola Barocchi, Kathleen Loach Bramanti and Renzo Ristori (eds.), Il Carteggio Indiretto di Michelangelo, 2 vols., Florence. 1988-95, vol. II, pp. 49-100, nos. 270-304 (except no. 272), dating between 4 January 1556 and 20 March 1557.

(24) This was especially emphasised in Millon and Smyth 1969, op. cit. in n. 16 above, pp. 484-87 (note 2); Millon and Smyth 1976, op. cit. in n. 16 above, p. 162.

(25) Cf. Millon and Smyth 1994, op. cit. in n. 14 above, pp. 649-53; Benini, op. cit. inn. 14 above, vol. I, pp. 130-42.

(26) Carteggio. vol V, pp. 110-11, no. mcclx, but giving the incorrect folio number in the notebook (as '22').

(27) See Carteggio, vol. V, pp. 110-11, no. mcclx: '... e di non date ochasione di ritornarvi a rubare, come solevano e come ancora aspectano i ladri ... Accio che l'Duca sappi la cagion del mio ritardare, la scrivo in qu esta con um poco di disegnio dell'errore, accio ne dia notizia al Duca me[sse]r Giorgio.'

(28) 1568 ed. in Vasari 1966-87, op. cit. in n. 5 above, vol. VI (text), pp. 94-95.

(29) Ibid., p. 95.

(30) See Carmen C. Bambach, 'Art History Reviewed V: Bernard Berenson's The Drawings of the Florentine Painters Classified, Criticised and Studied as Documents in the History and Appreciation of Tuscan Art, with a Copious Catalogue Raisonne, 1903', The Burlington Magazine, vol. CLI, no. 1279 (October 2009), pp. 692-96; idem, 'Berenson's Michelangelo' (Part 1), Apollo, vol. CLXXI, no. 574 (March 2010), pp. 100-07; idem, 'Berenson's Michelangelo' (Part 2),Apollo, vol. CLXXI, no. 575 (April 2010), pp. 48-53. I quote the opinion in Bernard Berenson, The Drawings of the Florentine Painters Classified, Criticised and Studied as Documents in the History and Appreciation of the Tuscan Art, with a Copious Catalogue Raisonne, 2 vols., London, 1903, vol. II, p. 77: 'Finally, following my principle of excluding t he discussion in this book of architectural drawings, I have only indicated them, and such only as seem of unquestionable authenticity, excepting however mere ground plans. The student of Michelangelo as an architect, may not be unwilling to know which of the drawings he would be tempted to base his researches upon have the approval of an eye that has been devoted two whole years to the mere study of this master's touch.' Berenson's view is somewhat modified in idem, The Drawings of the Florentine Painters, Amplified Edition, 3 vols., Chicago, 1938, vol. I, p. 184 (note 1).

(31) See the important reevaluation of this problem in Caroline Elam, Michelangelo e il disegno di architettura, exh. cat., Palazzo Barbaran da Porto, Vicenza, 2006, pp. 43-73; idem, 'The Significance of the Profile in Michelangelo's Architectural Drawing', in Golo Maurer and Alessandro Nova (eds.), Michelangelo e il linguaggio dei disegni di architettura, Venice, 2012, pp. 85-99.

(32) Vasari 1966-87, op. cit. in n. 5 above, vol. VI (text),p. 104.

(33) See Arezzo, Casa Vasari, vol. XII (46) 28 carte [sic], fols. 22r-23v. The letter of 1 July 1557 (fol. 22v) was sent by Michelangelo: 'A lionardo di buonarroto / Simonii[n] Firenze', who was supposed to forward it to Giorgio Vasari, inside the bifolio, 'A messe[r] Giorgio / uasari in firenze'. The technique of Michelangelo's drawings on the sheet has been incorrectly published (cf. Karl Frey and Herman Walt her Frey, Der Literarische Nachlass, 2 vols., Munich, 1923-30, Hildesheim and New York, 1982, vol. I, pp. 481 84, no. ccliv; Frederick Hartt, Michelangelo's Drawings, New York, 1971, pp. 352, 358, no. 511; Carteggio, vol. V, pp. 112 14, no. mcclxi; Charles de Tolnay, Corpus dei Disegni di Michelangelo, 4 vols., Novara, 1975 80, vol. III, p, 74, under no. 422 verso, vol. IV, pp. 92-43. no. 593; Millon and Smyth 1994, op. cit. in n. 14 above, p, 654, no. 379; Maurer 2004, op. cit. in n. 16 above, pp. 122-26, fig. 87; Bellini, op. cit. in n. 14 above, vol. I, pp. 137-42, fig. 100).

(34) See Carteggio, vol. V, pp. 113-14, no. mcclxi, but Michelangelo's letter and drawings are on fol. 22v (not recto of the sheet, as there indicated): 'A messe[r] Giorgio Vasari in Firenze. La centina segniata di rosso la prese il capo ma estro in sul corpo di tucm la volta; dipoi come sicomincio a 'pressare al mezzo tondo, che e nel colmo di decta volta, s'achorse dell'errore che facea decta centina, come si vede qui nel disegnio. Che con una centina sola si governava, dove anno a essere infinite, come son qui nel diseguio le segniate di nero. Con questo errore e ita la volta tanto inanzi, che e's'a disfare un gran numero di pietre, perche in decta volta no ci va nulla di muro ma tucto treverti[no]. E 'l diamit[r]o de 'tondi, senza la cornice che gli recignie, e venti dua [palmi]. Questo errore, avendo il modello facto a punto com'io fo d'ogni cosa, [non si doveva mai pigliare ], ma e stato per non vi potere andare spesso per la vechieza; e dove io credecti che ora fussi finita decta volta, non sara finita in tuctucto questo verno; e si potessi morire di verg[og]nia e dolore, io non sareivivo. Pregovi ragu[a]gliare il Duca perche non sono ora a Firenze; ben che piu altre cose mi tengono, che io non le posso scrivere. Vostro Michelag niolo a Roma.'

(35) See Arezzo, Casa Vasari, vol. XII (46) 28 catre [sic], fols. 24r-25v. The technique ofthe drawing in this letter of 17 August 1557 (foi. 24r) has also been incorrectly published (cf. Frey, op. cit. in n. 33 above, vol. I, pp. 484-85, no. cclv; Hartt, op. cit. in n. 33 above, pp. 352,358, no. 512; Tolnay, op. cit. in n. 33 above, vol. III, p. 74, under no. 422 verso, vol. 1V, p. 93, no. 594; Carteggio, vol. V, pp. 116-18, no. mcclxiii; Millon and Smyth 1994, op. cit. in n. 14 above, p. 654, no. 380; Maurer 2004, op. cit. in n. 16 above, pp. 122-26, fig. 89; Bellini, op. cit. in n. 14 above, vol. I, pp. 137-42, fig. 102. The drawing on folio 24 recto is in black chalk and leadpoint over a complex incised compass and ruled construction, with pricked compass points.

(36) See Carteggio, vol. V, pp. 117-18, no. mcclxiii : 'Messer Giorgio, perche sia meglio intesa la difficulta della volta che io vi mandai di seguiata, ve ne mando la pianta, che non la mandai allora. Cioe decta volta, per osservare el nascimento suo insino di terra, e stato forza dividerla in tre volte in luogo delle finestre da basso divise da' pilastri, come vedete, che vanno piramidati al mezzo tondo dei colmo della volta, come fa il fondo e'lati delle volte ancora; e bisognia governarle con un numero infinito dicentine, e tanto fanno mutatione e per tanti versi di punto in punto, che non ci si puo tener regola ferma: e' tondi e 'quadri, che vengono nel mezzo de' lor fondi, anno a diminuire e a crescere per taniversi e andare a tanti punti, che e dificil cosa a trovarne il modo vero. Nondimeno, avendo il modello, com'io fo di tucte l'altre cose, non si dovea mai pigliar si grande errore di volere con una centina sola governare tacti a tre que' gusci, onde n'e nato ch'e bisogniato con vergognia e danno disfare, e disfassene ancora un gran numero di pietre. La volta, e' conci e 'vani, e tucta di crevertino come l'altre cose da basso, cosa non usata a r.Roma. Ringratio quanto so e posso il Duca della sua carita, e Dio mi dia gratia ch'i' possa servirlo di questa povera persona, c(h]'altro non c'e. La memoria e'l cervello son iti aspectarmi altrove. Vostro Michelagniolo Buonarroti in Roma. D'agosto 1557.'

(37) For what follows, I am deeply indebted to Henry A. Millon for conversations in 2012, as I worked out my reading o f Michelangelo's drawings on the two letters of 1557 in the archive of Casa Vasari at Arezzo.

(38) Golo Maurer has made this point convincingly in illustrating the interior view of the south transept of St. Peter's side by side with the Arezzo drawing (Maurer 2004, op. cit. in n. 16 above, pp. 124-25, figs. 88, 89).

(39) Carteggio, vol. V, p. 115, no. meclxii.

(40) Cf. Tolnay, op. cit. in n. 33 above, vol. III, p. 74, under no. 422 verso; Paul Joarnides, Musee du Louvre: Inventaire general des dessins italiens, VI: Michel-Ange: Eleve et copistes, Paris, 2003, pp. 178-81, no. 41.

(41) See Tolnay, op. cit. in n. 33 above, vol. III, p. 74, under no. 422 verso (a hypothesis also adopted by Hartt, op. cit. in n. 33 above, p. 352, no. 513).

(42) With some minor differences, this is essentially the proposal o f Millon and Smyth 1976, op. cit. in n. 16 above, pp. 191-93, fig. 44.

(43) Bellini, op. cit. in n. 14 above, vol. I, pp. 136-37.

(44) With regard to my comment above on the probable inability of scarpellini to draw complex projections of design, the Archivio Buonarroti at Casa Buonarroti contains a fair number of letters and doodles by Michelangelo's scarpellini and servants. Their insertions of content sometimes also occur on Michelangelo's autograph sheets. All this provides a good body of evidence with which to test working hypotheses regarding questions of authorship. Such comparisons do not at all support Bellini's proposal about the authorship of the Louvre verso.

(45) 1568 ed. in Vasari 1966-87, op. cit. in n. 5 above, vol. VI (text), p. 105.

(46) Quoted in Vasari's letter from Arezzo to Leonardo Buonarroti in Rome on 26 March 1564: 'Ma e bisognia, che la .S.V. si degni farmj fare un poco dj informatione per le cose dell arte, come nel far fare doppo che e fecie il model dj terra, quell dj legnio per la cupola dj San Pietro, le persecution e trauagli che egli ebbe al tempo dj. PP. Pauolo 4.o et cosi le cose che seguirono a quell tempo dj Nannj dj Baccjo Bigio dello atacho et aj Fra Guglielmo' (Frey, op. cit. in n. 33 above, vol. II, p. 66, no. cdxxxix). See also letter of 4 March 1564 to Leonardo Buonarroti expressing his condolence at the death of Michelangelo, and asking for information to update the Vita of Michelangelo: 'Aro ben caro saper da lej qualcosa, et che mi poniate in nota, per uja dj ricordj, qualche paracolare dal 1550 in qua sopra le cose sua, si della fabrica di San Pietro come dell altre sue actionj' (ibid., p. 29, no. cdxxxi).

(47) 1568 ed. in Vasari 1966-87, op. cit. inn. 5 above, vol. VI (text), pp. 106-07.

(48) Here, I am especially indebted to conversations with Henry A. Millon (autumn 2011), and Millon and Smyth 1988, op. cit. in n. 14 above, pp. 21 6-86.

(49) 1568 ed. in Vasari 1966-87, op. cit. in n. 5 above, vol. VI (text), p. 107; Millon and Smyth 1988, op. cit. in n. 14 above, pp. 233-40, 257-58.

(50) See 1568 ed. in Vasari 1966-87, op. cit. in n. 5 above, vol. VI (text), p. 404: 'Dove, che poi fui dimorato un mese, et avuti molfi ragionamenti con Sua Sanata, e consigliatolo a non permettere che s'alterasse l'ordine del Buonarruoto nella fabrica di San Piero.'

(51) The major exhibitions in 2011, organised to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Vasari's birth, have been crucially important in my rethinking of the relationship between Michelangelo and Vasari that is discussed in what follows. See Natali and Conforti, op. cit. in n. 7 above; Alessandro Cecchi (with Alessandra Baroni and Liletta Fornasari), Giorgio Vasari disegnatore e pittore: 'Istudio, diligenza et amorevole fatica', exh. cat., Galleria Comunale d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Arezzo, 2011; Paola Refice (ed.). Il primato dei toscani nelle 'Vite' del Vasari, exh. cat., Basilica Inferiore di San Francesco. Arezzo, 2011. A fourth exhibition without catalogue was installed in the Museo Diocesano del Duomo di Arezzo.

(52) Cf. Alessandro Cecchi, 'Regesto della vita e delle opere di Giorgio Vasari', in Cecchi, op. cit. in n. 51 above, p. 214.

(53) During the siege of Florence in 1528-30, Michelangelo was employed by the Republic to survey and rebuild the fortification of the city walls, officially receiving the title of 'generale governatore et procuratore' of this enterprise on 6 April 1529. from the 'Dieci di Balia' (the Council of Ten). This April 1529 document is in Casa Buonarroti, Archivio Buonarroti, vol. II-III, no. 71. Cf. 1568 ed. in Vasari 1966-87, op. cit. in n. 5 above, vol. VI (text), pp. 55-56, 62-63, which notes Michelangelo's title as 'commessario generale delle fortificazioni'.

(54) The earliest of such references in the Vita of Michelangelo occur regarding the unfinished project for the stairs of the Laurentian Library; see ibid., pp. 88-89.

(55) Cf. Aurelio Gotti, Vita di Michelangelo Buonarroti, narrata con l'aiuto di nuovi documenti, 2 vols., Florence, 1875 76, vol. II, p. 20; Bambach 2013, op. cit. in n. 3 above.

(56) Michelangelo wrote on 24 June 1552 to Leonardo, to tell him that Bernaderto Minerbetti, bishop of Arezzo, and 'messer Giorgio pictore', had been consulted to help find Leonardo a 'healthy and well-brought-up' young woman for a wife ('sana e bene allevata'). See Archivio Buonarroti, vol. IV, no. 110; Carteggio, vol. IV, pp. 376-77.

(57) Cf. Alessandro Cecchi, 'Regesto della vita e delle opere di Giorgio Vasari', in Cecchi. op. cit. in n. 51 above, p. 214.

(58) See Gotti, op. cit. in n. SS above, vol. II, Tavola 2, and commentary p. 20.

(59) See the letter by Vasari to Leonardo Buonarroti and commentary in Frey, op. cit. in n. 33 above, vol. II, pp. 28-32, 36, no. cdxxxi.

Carmen C. Bambach is curator of drawings and prints at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
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Title Annotation:FEATURE: MICHELANGELO AND VASARI; Vita de gran Michelagnolo Buonarroti
Author:Bambach, Carmen C.
Article Type:Essay
Geographic Code:4EUIT
Date:May 1, 2013
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