Francesco Giamberti architect
Antonio da Sangallo the Elder (1455-1534) Florentine architect
Francesco da Sangallo sculptor
In this July a worship of an image of the Virgin Mary(1) at Prato began; people rushing there from all the country round. It worked miracles like that of Bibbona, so that building was begun and great expense incurred.
(1) This is the Madonna called della Carceri, which is worshipped at Prato, where there was soon built a very elegant temple after the design of Giuliano da San Gallo. Ferdinando Baldanzi wrote a fine description of it, which can be read in the Calendario Pratense of 1847. A church was also built at Bibbona in the Volterrano, in honour of the other image mentioned on the 12th June, 1482. Savonarola alludes to the prodigies worked by these two images in the second of his Poesie tratte dall' autografo, in which he says:
"O anima cecata Tu senti mille segni A Prato e a Bibbona"
The classical statue of Laocoön and His Sons is unearthed in Rome. On the recommendation of Giuliano da Sangallo and Michelangelo, Pope Julius II purchases it and places it on public display in the Vatican a month later.
Guliano (sic), I learn from a letter sent by you that the Pope was angry at my departure, that he is willing to place the money at my disposal and to carry out what was agreed upon between us ; also, that I am to come back and fear nothing. As far as my departure is concerned, the truth is that on Holy Saturday I heard the Pope, speaking at table with a jeweller and the Master of the Ceremonies, say that he did not want to spend another baiocco on stones, whether small or large, which surprised me very much. However, before I set out I asked him for some of the money required for the continuance of my work. His Holiness replied that I was to come back again on Monday: and I went on Monday, and on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, and on Thursday as His Holiness saw. At last, on the Friday morning, I was turned out, that is to say, I was driven away : and the person who turned me away said he knew who I was, but that such were his orders. Thereupon, having heard those words on the Saturday and seeing them afterwards put into execution, I lost all hope. But this alone was not the whole reason of my departure. There was also another cause, but I do not wish to write about it ; enough that it made me think that, if I were to remain in Rome, my own tomb would be prepared before that of the Pope. This is the reason for my sudden departure. Now you write to me on behalf of the Pope, and in similar manner you will read this letter to the Pope. Give His HoHness to understand that I am more eager to proceed with the work than ever I was before, and that if he really wishes to have this tomb erected it would be well for him not to vex me as to where the work is to be done, provided that within the agreed period of five years it be erected in St. Peter's, on the site he shall choose, and that it be a beautiful work, as I have promised : for I am persuaded that it will be a work without an equal in all the world if it be carried out.
p24 If His Holiness now wishes to proceed, let him deposit the said money here in Florence with a person whose name I will communicate to you. I have a quantity of marble in preparation at Carrara, which I will have sent here, and I will do the same with the marble I have in Rome, although it will entail a considerable loss to me : but I should disregard that if by this means I could obtain permission to carry out the work here. From time to time I would despatch the pieces as they are finished, in such a manner that His Holiness would be as well content as if I were working in Rome — more, indeed, because he would see the completed works without having any anxiety. With regard to the aforesaid money and work, I will bind myself in any way His Holiness may direct, and I will furnish whatever security here in Florence he may require. Let it be what it may, I will give him full security, even though it be the whole of Florence. There is yet one thing I have to add : it is this, that the said work could not possibly be done for the price in Rome, but it could be done here because of the many conveniences which are available, such as could not be had in Rome. Moreover, I should do better work and take more interest in it, because I should not have to think about a number of other things. However, Guliano mio carissimo I beg of you to let me have an answer, and quickly. I have nothing further to add. This 2nd day of May, 1506.
Sculptor, in Florence.
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.
Let me know how Giovansimone is.
On the 6th day of July.
P.S. With this I shall enclose a letter for Giuliano da San Gallo in Rome. Send it as securely and as quickly as thou canst : if he should be in Florence, give it into his hands.
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.