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.
MICHELAGNIOLO, Sculptor, in Rome.
(1) Lionardo Buonarroti, already mentioned as having entered Savonarola's order of Dominicans.
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.