We heard that our archbishop, who was one of the Neroni of Florence, had died at Rome; and the archbishopric was given to the Cardinal of San Sisti, called Brother Piero.(1)
> (1) Piero Riario, nephew of the Pope.
I, Luca Landucci, went to Rome for the Jubilee, and took with me my mother-in-law; and we travelled for fifteen days going and coming.
The French ambassador and the Florentine ambassador(1) returned from Rome, without having arrived at anything satisfactory.
> (1) Guidantonio Vespucci.
There was a quarrel at Rome between the Orsini and the Colonnesi; and the city was thrown into confusion as usual. Everyone has to suffer for the disputes of these great men.
At this time the cupola of Santo Spirito was finished; and in fact sermons were preached beneath it.
The Duke of Urbino came to Florence, lodging in the house of Giovanni Tornabuoni, and he was received with honour. And on the 29th he left for Milan, to take up his post as _Capitano generale_, stopping at Ferrara where Signor Roberto was. There they besieged a fort called Ficheruolo till the 1st June.(1)
And in these days the Duke of Calabria on the other hand was besieging Ostia, near Rome; and on the 10th June it was said that he had taken it, but this was not true. He sacked Corneto,(2) however. The Sienese now recalled some of their exiles.
> (1) This is not correct; see note to 2nd July.
> (2) These are all facts relating to the war which had lately broken out between the Venetians and the Pope on the one hand, and the Florentines, Milan, and Naples on the other. Federigo, Duke of Urbino, was _Capitano generale_, and Commander of the League against Venice, and Roberto di Sanseverino was in the service of the latter.
Roberto _il Magnifico_(1) died at Rome; he who had been so famous for his victory over the Duke of Calabria near Rome, when he took 300 men-at-arms. These two great captains died with a few days of each other, just when they imagined that they were at the height of their glory. What errors are made by the world! Men incur so many perils in order to slay and kill others, and to obtain a short-lived fame on this earth, not considering what it means to kill a man, and how soon they themselves will have to die and render an account.
> (1) Roberto Malatesta, a captain sent by the Venetians to aid the Pope.
Ambassadors came to Florence from the King of France, on their way to Rome to arrange peace in Italy; and whilst they were here they received the news that their king had died on the 30th May, 1483. And on the 13th September one of these ambassadors died at Santa Maria Novella, and the others set out for Rome.
During these days, for fear of hunger and of the war going on in Lombardy, many families left it, and there passed through Florence on their way into Roman territory 50 to 100 at a time, till they amounted to several thousands. Many also went to Romagna and elsewhere. It was said that there were more than 30 thousand persons altogether. It was a most pitiful sight to see these poor people pass, with a wretched little donkey, and their miserable household possessions: saucepans, frying-pans, etc. One wept to see them barefoot and ragged; and it is the cursed wars which have caused all these. No one went by without receiving some little help from us.
At Rome they burnt the houses of the Orsini at Monte Giordano, and there was great excitement. The Duke of Calabria went to the help of the Orsini, because they were at war with the Pope; and the consequence was war in Rome.
Two Venetian ambassadors passed through here on their way to Rome.
They went to the Signoria, and having set forth the matters entrusted to them, receive a reply. On the 7th they left, and went to Rome.(1)
> (1) During their sojourn in Florence they were served with the silver plate of the Signoria; and to do them honour, the musicians of the _Signoria_ were sent to play before them.
The French ambassadors returned from Rome; one of them remaining in Florence.
In these days the fleet of the King of Naples came to the Port of Pisa, and besieged Spezia and Porto Venere.
13th December (Saturday). We heard that the king was having the houses in Rome marked with chalk for the quarters of his soldiers.
14th December (Sunday). We heard how those Frenchmen who were marking the houses in Rome had been driven away, and many had been killed; the Romans wishing to defend themselves and not accept the Frenchmen in their city.
This same day we heard that the Pope and the cardinals had entered the castle of Sant' Angelo, and that the Duke of Calabria had arrived there with a large force, so that it was judged that it would fare badly with the French. It was also said that the king had sent a proclamation to Pisa, to the effect that the Pisans should submit to the Florentines; otherwise the Florentines would make such war upon them that they would be entirely destroyed, at the expense of the said King of France; that is to say that the money which he was to receive would be used instead for the cost of such an expedition; which was not true, but there was always a great deal of talk.(1)
The same day Fra Girolamo did his utmost in the pulpit to persuade Florence to adopt a good form of government; he preached in Santa Maria del Fiore every day, and to-day which was a Sunday, he wished that there should be no women, but only men; he wished that only the Gonfalonier and one of the Signori should remain in the Palagio, and that all the offices of Florence should be there; and he preached much about State matters, and that we ought to love and fear God, and love the common weal; and no one must set himself up proudly above the rest. He always favoured the people and he insisted that no one ought to be put to death, but there must be other forms of punishment; and he continued to preach in this manner every morning. Many forms were drawn up, and there was much controversy among the citizens, so that every day it was expected that the bell would be rung for a _parlamento_.
> (1) There must have been some truth in it, as we read in the _Memoriale_ of Portoveneri, where there are so many notices of the rebellion and war of Pisa, that on the 4th December there reached this city a herald from the king with the articles which the latter had agreed to with the Florentines, in which it is said: "Everything must be given back that formerly belonged to the Florentines. And this day the said messenger of the King has gone to Sarzana and to Pietrasanta and to Fivizzano and to Bagnone and to Castel-Nuovo and all Luligiana, to consign it to the Florentines." This was agreed to in the treaty.
22nd December (Monday). It was said that the king was still at Viterbo; everyone went on talking of the French, of Rome, and Pisa, and how Rome would not give a safe-conduct. The Duke of Calabria had arrived there, to resist the French.
This day many things were voted in the Palagio: Anyone who slew a man could not return to Florence; and a law as follows against the unmentionable vice: the first time the offender to be punished with _gogna_,(1) the second time, to be fastened to a pillar, and the third time, to be burnt; and many other laws, all recommended by the Frate.
(1) _Alia gogna_ was when a prisoner was exposed on the outer wall of the prison of the Bargello, with his hands bound behind him to one of the iron rings, bare-headed, with his hat at his feet to receive _soldi_, and a placard on his breast upon which his crime was written. He had to remain there an hour, during which time the old bell of the prison was rung. (Trans.)
25th December (Christmas Day). Nothing was talked of but the French; how they had reached Rome and were outside the walls, and how they were investing it, having taken San Paolo, and made bridges of wood.
4th January (Sunday). We heard that the King of France had entered Rome by agreement,(1) but, nevertheless, they did not give up the Castel Sant' Agnolo to him. It was said that he had pillaged the Orsini.
(1) Giuseppe Molini, p. 22 of vol. i . of the _Documents di Storia Italiana_, publishes the agreement made on the 15th of this month between the Pope and the King.
9th January (Friday). We heard that the king had caused the French to give up certain silks belonging to Florence, which they had taken, and that they were in the hands of the Florentines in Rome; and that he was treating the Florentine nation well. And every day there passed horses with loads of French clothes (probably uniforms), which went to the French camp at Rome.
On the 2nd day of July, 1496.
Magnificent Lorenzo, etc., — I write this merely to inform you that on Saturday last we arrived here in safety, and went immediately to visit the Cardinal di San Giorgio, to whom I presented your letter. I believe he was glad at my arrival, and he straightway expressed a desire that I would go and inspect certain statues, which detained me for the remainder of that day, so that I was unable to deliver your other letters. On the Sunday the Cardinal went to his new house(1) and there caused me to be summoned. I went to him accordingly, and he asked my opinion of the statues I had seen. I told him what I thought ; and certainly I consider that some of them are very beautiful. He then asked me if I had sufficient courage to undertake a beautiful work on my own account. I replied that I should not be able to produce any work equal to those I had been shown, but that I was willing he should see for himself what I could do. We have bought a piece of marble sufficiently large for a life-size figure, and on Monday I shall begin to work upon it.
Last Monday I delivered your other letters to Pagolo Rucellai,(2) who offered to place the money at my disposal, and to Cavalcanti. Afterwards I gave the letter to Baldassarre, and asked him to give me back the Cupid (_banbino_), saying that I was willing to refund the money. But he answered me only with rough words, saying he would rather break it into a hundred pieces : he had bought the _banbino_ he said, and it was therefore his: he had letters from the person to whom he sold it showing that its new owner was well satisfied with his bargain : and he did not think he would be compelled to return it. He complained bitterly of you, saying you had spoken ill of him.
Some of our Florentines took the matter up, hoping to get it settled, but they were unable to do anything. I am now hoping to arrange the matter through the medium of the Cardinal's good offices, for so I have been advised to proceed by Baldassarre Balducci.(3) I will keep you informed as to how the business proceeds. I have nothing more to add. I commend myself to you. May God guard you from evil.
> (1) The Palazzo della Cancelleria.
> (2) Paolo di Pandolfo Rucellai, who died in 1509. The Baldassare mentioned in the letter is Baldassare del Milanese, the vendor of the Cupid, already referred to.
> (3) A Florentine engaged in the banking house of Iacopo Gallo, the latter a Roman. Both were on terms of considerable intimacy with Michelangelo,
_Prudente giovane Buonarroto di Lodovico Bonarroti_,
In the name of God, this — day of March, 1497.
Dear Brother — for as such I esteem thee, etc., From thy brother Michelagniolo I have received thy letter, from which I derived the greatest comfort, chiefly because it contains news of your seraphic (_sarafico_) Frate Jeronimo, who has set the whole of Rome talking. They say here that he is a vile heretic : so much so that at all costs he ought to come to Rome and prophesy a little for these people here ; then they would canonise him. Wherefore let all his friends be of good courage.
Brother, thou art constantly in my thoughts ; wherefore be of good courage and strive to learn all thou canst, as thou art doing. I have told Frizzi(1) everything, and he understands the whole matter. Fra Mariano [da Genazzano] has nothing but evil to say of your prophet. I have nothing more to add. In my next letter I will give thee more information, for now I am in a hurry. There is no other news to give thee, save that seven paper bishops were made yesterday, and five of them were hanged by the neck. Bear my remembrances to all the members of thy family, and especially to Lodovico my father, for as such I esteem him : and when thou writest hither, commend me to Michelagniolo. No more. Written in the dark.
> (1) Federigo di Filippo Frizzi, a Florentine sculptor, who was subsequently entrusted with the task of restoring Michelangelo's statue of the Risen Christ, in the Minerva at Rome.
> The "paper bishops" referred to in this letter were offenders against the law who were condemned to stand in the pillory with paper caps on their heads. Buonarroto was born on May 26th, 1577, and was younger than Michelangelo by two years.
_Domino Lodovico Buonarroti_
In the name of God, this First day of July, 1497.
Most Revered and Dear Father, — You must not be surprised that I have not yet returned to you, for I have failed in all my attempts to settle my business with the Cardinal, and I have no wish to leave Rome until I have received satisfaction and have been paid for my work. With these exalted personages one has to go slowly, for they cannot be forced into action. I believe, however, that the end of the coming week will certainly see all my affairs arranged.
I must tell you that Fra Lionardo(1) has returned here to Rome, and says he was obliged to flee from Viterbo and that his frock has been taken away from him. He wished to return to you: wherefore I gave him a gold ducat for his journey, which he asked of me. I think you must already know of this, for by now he ought to be with you.
I know of nothing else I have to tell you, for I am surrounded by uncertainties and know not as yet which way matters will turn : but I hope soon to be with you once more. I am well, and trust that you are the same. Commend me to my friends.
Sculptor, in Rome.
> (1) Lionardo Buonarroti, already mentioned as having entered Savonarola's order of Dominicans.
Domino Lodovico Buonarroti,
In the name of God, this 19th day of August, 1497.
Dearest Father, — I write this to let you know that Buonarroto arrived here on Friday last, and that directly I heard of it I went to see him at his inn. He gave me all the news by word of mouth, and he tells me further that Consiglio, the draper, is causing you a great deal of anxiety, that he is unwilling to agree to any terms, and that he wishes to have you arrested. My advice is that you should endeavour to make some arrangement with him, and should pay him a few ducats in advance : then let me know what arrangement has been made between you and how much remains to be paid. If you have not this money I will send it you, although I have but little myself; but as I have already said, I will do my best to find the sum, so that you may not be obliged to borrow it from the Monte, as Buonarroto says you will have to do. Do not marvel if sometimes my letters are filled with wrathful sentences, for I am kept continually in a state of agitation by many things which cannot fail to cause anxiety to one who is absent from his own home.
I was instructed by Piero de' Medici to make a statue, and I bought the piece of marble for it; but I have never set my hand to the work because he has not done by me as he promised. I am accordingly working for myself, and am carving a figure for my own pleasure. I bought a piece of marble and paid five ducats for it, but it proved to be of no use, and the money was thrown away. Then I bought another piece and paid away another five ducats, and it is on this I am now working for my own amusement. I tell you these things so that you may know that I, too, have my troubles and expenses. Nevertheless, whatever sum you ask me for I will send you, even if I have to sell myself into slavery to raise it.
Buonarroto arrived here quite safely and has returned to the inn, where he has a room and is comfortable ; he shall lack for nothing for as long as it pleases him to stay here. I have not the means to have him with me as I am myself lodged in the house of another, but you may rest assured that he shall want for nothing. Well, as I hope you are.
From Rome, January 31st, 1507.
To Lodovico di Lionardo di Buonarrota Simoni, in
Florence. To be delivered at the Customs
Most Revered Father, — I learn from one of your letters that the Spedalingo has not yet come back to Florence and that as a consequence you have been unable to conclude the business about the farm as you desired. It has given me annoyance also, for I supposed you had already paid over the money for it. I half suspect that the Spedalingo has gone away on purpose so that he may not have to give up this source of income but may continue to hold both the money and the farm. Please let me know about it, for should matters be as I fear I would take my money from his keeping and place it elsewhere.
As for my affairs here, I should get on all right if only my marbles were to arrive : but I seem to be most unfortunate in this matter, for since I arrived there have not been two fine days in succession. A boat happened to get here some days ago, but it was only by the greatest good fortune that it escaped accident, as the weather was most unfavourable : and as soon as I had unloaded it the river suddenly rose in flood and submerged it (the marble), so that even p30 now I have not been able to set to work on anything, although I make promises to the Pope and encourage him to hope in order that he may not lose his temper with me ; hoping myself all the time that the weather will improve and that I shall soon be able to begin work—God grant it so ! Please take all the drawings, that is to say, all those papers I put into the sack of which I told you, and make them up into a little bundle and send them to me by some carrier. But see that they are securely done up and run no risk of damage from rain, so that not even the smallest paper may suffer hurt. Bid the carrier take good care of them, for some are of the very greatest importance. Write and say into whose charge you have given them and what I have to pay the man. As to Michele, I wrote to say that he was to put that chest in safety somewhere under cover and then come immediately to Rome where he should want for nothing. I do not know what he has done. I beg of you to enquire into this ; and, further, I beg of you to put yourself to a little trouble over these two things — that is to say, first to see that the chest is put in a safe place under cover, and afterwards I would like you to have the marble Madonna brought to your house, and take care that nobody shall see it. I am not sending you any money for these two things because I do not think they will cost much. If you have to borrow, you can do so, because very soon — if my marble arrives I will send you money for this purpose and for your own use.
I wrote asking you to enquire of Bonifazio the name of the man in Lucca to whom he was going to pay those fifty ducats I am sending to Matteo di Cucherello at Carrara, and I asked you to write the name in the unsealed letter I sent you, which you were to forward to the said Matteo at Carrara so that he might know where to go in Lucca in order to get the money. I expect you have already done this. I beg you also to tell me to whom Bonifazio is paying the money at Lucca, so that I may know his name and can write to Matteo at Carrara telling him from whom he is to receive the said money in Lucca. No more. Do not send me anything more than I write for : my clothes and shirts I give to you and to Giovansimone. Pray to God that my affairs may prosper, and bear in mind that I wish you to invest about a thousand ducats of my money in land, as we have agreed.
On the thirty-first day of January, one thousand five hundred and six.
P.S. — Lodovico : I beg you to send on the enclosed letter addressed to Piero d'Argiento, and I beg you to see that he receives it. I think it might be well to send it through the medium of the Jesuits, as he visits them frequently. I beg you to see to this.
The Michele mentioned in this letter is Michele di Piero di Pippo, a stone cutter of Settignano, who was p32 sent to Carrara in connection with the marbles for the facade of San Lorenzo in Florence. With regard to the "Madonna" mentioned further on, it is not certain whether Michelangelo refers to the marble bas-relief now preserved in the Casa Buonarroti in Florence or to the Madonna and Child which is the chief treasure of Notre Dame at Bruges. In passing, it may be worth while to draw attention to the obvious nervousness which marks all Michelangelo's financial transactions. The instructions with regard to the banker at Lucca are characteristic, and afford sufficient proof of the artist's aversion to trusting his money in the hands of other people.
From Bologna, February 13th, 1507.
To Buonarroto di Lodovico Buonarrota Simony
BUONARROTO, — I send this as cover to two letters one is to go to Piero Aldobrandini, and the other to Giovanni Balducci in Rome. The latter I wish thee to hand to Bonifazio Fazi so that he may send it on, the other give to the aforesaid Piero. p38 Concerning those two scoundrels, I have no time to tell the whole story of their knavery, and I beg all of you — and tell Lodovico the same — not to refer to their behaviour in any way, for we have not to deal with them in this matter. Let this suffice.
The thirteenth day of February, 1506. MICHELAGNIOLO,
Buonarroto, — Learn that we have cast my statue, and that I was not over fortunate with it, the reason being that Maestro Bernardino, either through ignorance or misfortune, failed to melt the metal sufficiently. It would take too long to explain how it happened : enough that my figure has come out up to the waist, the remainder of the metal — half the p. 47 bronze, that is to say — having caked in the furnace, as it had not melted ; and to get it out the furnace must be taken to pieces. I am having this done, and! this week I shall have it built up again. Next week I shall recast the upper portion and finish filling the mould, and I believe it will turn out tolerably well after so bad a beginning, though only as the result of the greatest labour, worry and expense. I was ready to believe that Maestro Bernardino could melt his metal without fire, so great was my confidence in him : but all the same it is not that he is not a skilled master, or that he did not work with a will. But he who tries may fail. His failure has been costly to him as well as to me, for he has disgraced himself to such an extent that he dare not raise his eyes in Bologna.
If thou shouldst meet Baccio d'Agnolo, read this letter to him and beg him to inform San Gallo in Rome, and commend me to him. Commend me also to Giovanni da Ricasoli and to Granaccio. If this turns out satisfactorily I hope to be finished with it in from fifteen to twenty days, when I will return to you. If it is not successful I should perhaps have to do it again, but I will keep you informed.
Leonardo da Vinci sketches an epigastric parasitic thoracopagus (a person with the body of a child growing out of their chest) that he saw in Florence, on his way to Rome.
Leonardo da Vinci applied to join the confraternity of S. Giovanni dei Fiorentini in Rome, probably in a moment of depression at a court which had little or no consideration for him, in the hope that a religious institution could provide him with quiet shelter and affectionate assistance, and to which he could leave all his possessions, just as he was leaving drawings and other belongings to another religious institution in Florence, the hospital of S. Maria Novella, in which he was accommodated at the time he was working on the Battle of Anghiari.
Michelangelo despatches Pietro Urbano to Rome with orders to complete the statue of Christ Triumphant there, and to arrange with the purchaser for placing it upon a pedestal.
Michelangelo's friend Cardinal Leonardo Grosso writes to him from Rome, on Michelangelo's depression at the course of the suit against him by the heirs of Pope Julius II regarding the incompletion of the Pope's tomb:
> I am also told that you have declined your pension, which seems to me mere madness, and that you have thrown the house up, and do not work. Friend and gossip, let me tell you that you have plenty of enemies, who speak their worst; also that the Pope and Pucci and Jacopo Salviati are your friends, and have plighted their troth to you. It is unworthy of you to break your word to them, especially in an affair of honour. Leave the matter of the tomb to those who wish you well, and who are able to set you free without the least encumbrance, and take care you do not come short in the Pope's work. Die first. And take the pension, for they give it with willing heart.