From Rome. Christus. 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.
MICHELAGNIOLO, in Rome.
(1) The Palazzo della Cancelleria.
(3) A Florentine engaged in the banking house of Iacopo Gallo, the latter a Roman. Both were on terms of considerable intimacy with Michelangelo,