The Bentivogli, sometime lords of Bologna, had been driven out by the Papal forces, and it was as a result of this reoccupation that Julius visited the city, as related in Michelangelo's letters. Shortly after the Pope's departure, however, Annibale Bentivoglio made the attempt to which this letter refers, but was repulsed by the Papal Legate, the Cardinal di Pavia.
I have no time to reply to thy last letter as it deserves, but thou mayst learn that I am well and shall soon have finished, and expect to win very great honour ; all of which proceedeth from the grace of God. Directly I have completed my work I shall come to Florence, and then I will deal in such a way with all the matters of which thou writest that ye shall be satisfied, and Lodovico and Giovansimone as well. I pray thee go and seek out the Herald and the Commandant Tommaso (Balducci) : tell them I have not time to write, or rather, to reply to their very welcome letters ; but that by the next post I will assuredly write something to them by way of reply. Also I beg thee to seek out San Gallo, and to tell him that I expect to have finished soon. Find out how he is, and tell him that by the next post I will write and inform him how the work is going on. No more.
The — day of October.
Buonarroto, — I marvel that thou writest to me so seldom. I am sure thou hast more leisure for writing to me than I have for writing to thee, so let me have news from thee frequently.
Thy last letter informed me that thou hadst good 49 reason to wish for my speedy return, with the result that for several days I was uneasy in my mind. Therefore, when thou writest, write boldly and explain matters clearly so that I may understand them. Let this suffice.
Know that I look forward to my early return far more eagerly than ye could possibly do, for I live here in the greatest discomfort, subject to the greatest anxieties, and do nothing but labour day and night. I have undergone and am undergoing so much strain that, if I were obliged to make another figure, I do not believe my life would suffice for it, as the undertaking has been one of enormous difficulty ; had it been entrusted to anyone else it would have turned out a failure. But I believe the intercessions of somebody or other have assisted me and kept me in health, for all Bologna was of opinion that I should never complete it : both since it was cast and before, when there was no one who believed the casting would ever take place. However, it is now well on the way to completion, though it will not be finished by the end of this month as I had expected ; but next month it will certainly be off my hands, and I will return to Florence. So be of good cheer, all of ye, for I will do as I promised, whatever happens. Cheer Lodovico and Giovansimone in my name and let me know how Giovansimone is getting on : strive to learn and acquire a knowledge of the business, so that when the time comes ye may know how to trade for yourselves, which will be before long.
On the tenth day of November.
May 10th, 1508 :
"I record that on this tenth day of May, in the year one thousand five hundred and eight, I, Michelagniolo, sculptor, have received from his Holiness, our p.51lord Pope Julius the Second, five hundred ducats of the Camera, which were paid to me by Messer Carlino, Chamberlain, and by Messer Carlo degli Albizzi, on account of the paintings in the vault of the Chapel of Pope Sixtus, on which I begin to work this day, under the conditions and stipulations set forth in the document prepared by His Most Reverend Lordship of Pa(via) and subscribed by my hand.
"For the assistant painters who are to come from Florence, who will be five in number, twenty gold ducats of the Camera each, with this proviso : that is to say, when they have arrived and have entered into an agreement with us, the aforesaid twenty ducats which each will have received shall be reckoned as part of their wages, these wages to be due as from the day of their departure from Florence. And if they shall not enter into an agreement with us, they are to retain one-half of the said sum for the expenses of their journey and for their time."