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Carrara

1505

Michelangelo is summoned to Rome by Pope Julius II, commissioned to create the tomb for the pope, and spends eight months in the quarries of Carrara selecting marble for the tomb.

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Pope Julius II (1443-1513), aged 62: pope; cardinal

1506

May 2

on Wednesday

1 year, 4 months, 1 day later

p22 From Florence, May 2nd, 1506.
To the Florentine Maestro Guliano da San Gallo Architect to the Pope, in Rome.

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.

Your MICHELAGNIOLO,
Sculptor, in Florence.

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The moon was waxing gibbous that night.
Sunrise in Carrara was at 5:53 AM and sunset was at 5:59 PM.
Sunrise in Florence was at 5:53 AM and sunset was at 5:59 PM.

1507

January 31

on Thursday

9 months, 4 days later

p29 From Rome, January 31st, 1507.
To Lodovico di Lionardo di Buonarrota Simoni, in
Florence. To be delivered at the Customs
House, Florence.

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.

p31 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.

Your MICHELAGNIOLO, in Rome.

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.

Note

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.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waning gibbous that night.
Sunrise in Lucca was at 6:10 AM and sunset was at 6:17 PM.
Sunrise in Florence was at 6:10 AM and sunset was at 6:17 PM.
Sunrise in Carrara was at 6:10 AM and sunset was at 6:17 PM.
Sunrise in Rome was at 6:10 AM and sunset was at 6:17 PM.

1517

9 years, 11 months, 8 days later

Michelangelo spends the large part of the year at Carrara, quarrying marble. He hires a house there from Francesco Pelliccia.

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1521

April 9

on Saturday

4 years, 3 months, 9 days later

Michelangelo says that (...) he received money from the Cardinal de' Medici for a journey to Carrara, whither he went and stayed about three weeks, ordering marbles for "the tombs which are to be placed in the new sacristy at S. Lorenzo. And there I made out drawings to scale, and measured models in clay for the said tombs." He left his assistant Scipione of Settignano at Carrara as overseer of the work, and returned to Florence.

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The moon was waxing crescent that night.
Sunrise in Carrara was at 5:58 AM and sunset was at 6:04 PM.

Source: Primary

Symonds, John Addington. "The Life of Michelangelo Buonarotti", Modern Library (New York), p. 230

1521

July 20

on Wednesday

3 months, 12 days later

Michelangelo again goes to Carrara -- on the business of quarrying marbles for the tombs of S. Lorenzo -- and stays for nine days.

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The moon was a full moon that night.
Sunrise in Carrara was at 6:01 AM and sunset was at 6:08 PM.

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Source: Primary

Symonds, John Addington. "The Life of Michelangelo Buonarotti", Modern Library (New York), p. 230

1521

August 19

on Friday

1 month later

Michelangelo's assistant Scipione of Settignano returns to Florence from Carrara about the business of the marble blocks for the tombs of S. Lorenzo.

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The moon was a full moon that night.
Sunrise in Florence was at 5:59 AM and sunset was at 6:06 PM.
Sunrise in Carrara was at 5:59 AM and sunset was at 6:06 PM.

Source: Primary

Symonds, John Addington. "The Life of Michelangelo Buonarotti", Modern Library (New York), p. 230

1601

79 years, 5 months, 5 days later

Giuliano Finelli is born in Carrara.

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Giuliano Finelli (1601-1653): sculptor

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