Michael Angelo Buonarroti –by: Charles Holroyd
First Page:Michael Angelo Buonarroti By Charles Holroyd,
Keeper of the National Gallery of British Art, with Translations of the Life of the Master by His Scholar, Ascanio Condivi, and Three Dialogues from the Portuguese by Francisco d'Ollanda
London Duckworth and Company
New York Charles Scribner's Sons
From an early proof of the engraving by GIULIO BONASONI ( In the Print Room of the British Museum )
Preface Illustrations PART I CHAPTER I CHAPTER II CHAPTER III CHAPTER IV CHAPTER V CHAPTER VI CHAPTER VII CHAPTER VIII CHAPTER IX CHAPTER X CHAPTER XI PART II CHAPTER I CHAPTER II CHAPTER III CHAPTER IV CHAPTER V CHAPTER VI CHAPTER VII CHAPTER VIII CHAPTER IX CHAPTER X CHAPTER XI APPENDIX FIRST DIALOGUE SECOND DIALOGUE THIRD DIALOGUE THE WORKS OF MICHAEL ANGELO A LIST OF THE PRINCIPAL BOOKS CONSULTED BY THE AUTHOR ERRATUM INDEX
Of all the many lives of Michael Angelo that have been written, that by his friend and pupil, Ascanio Condivi, is the most valuable. For not only is it a contemporary record, like the lives inserted by Giorgio Vasari in the two editions of his famous book, "The Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects," published in Florence in 1550 and 1568; but Condivi's work has almost the authority of an autobiography, many phrases are in the same words, as certain letters in the hand of Michael Angelo still in existence, especially those relating to the early life and the ancestry of the master, to his favourite nephew Lionardo, and concerning the whole story of the Tragedy of the Tomb to Francesco Fattucci and others.
Condivi's description of his master's personal appearance is so detailed that we can see him with his sculptor's callipers measuring the head of his dear master, and gazing earnestly into his eyes, recording the colours of their scintillations, with the patience of a painter.
Vasari's account has been translated more than once, but Condivi's never, at least never completely. Extracts have been given, and it has been the main resource of every writer on the master; but the faithful and reverent character of the whole work can only be given in a complete translation, its transparent honesty, and its loving devotion. Even had the subject of this naif and unscholarly narrative been an ordinary man in an ordinary period, it would have been worth translating for its truth to life and human nature, much more, therefore, when it is about the greatest craftsman of the Cinque Cento.
Condivi published his "Vita di Michael Angelo Buonarroti" on July 16, 1553; probably incited thereto by the master himself, who desired to correct certain misstatements of his excellent friend, Giorgio Vasari, without hurting that worthy's feelings. Nevertheless, we gather from what Vasari says in his second edition that he somewhat resented the appearance of this new biographer. Perhaps this coloured his unflattering account of Condivi as an artist, when describing Michael Angelo's scholars: "Ascanio della Ripa took great pains, but no results have been seen, whether in designs or finished works. He spent several years over a picture for which Michael Angelo had given him the cartoon, and, at a word, the hopes conceived of him have vanished in smoke." What a good thing it would have been for Vasari's reputation if his art work had vanished in smoke, too, and only his biographies remained. Condivi lives, as he said he wished to live, in the dedication of his work to Pope Julius III., with the name of being a faithful servant and disciple of Michael Angelo.
A second edition of the "Vita di Michael Angelo," by Ascanio Condivi, was published at Florence in 1746. The introduction informs us that Condivi was born at Ripa Transona, and that he outlived his master ten years, dying on February 17, 1563 (1564), aged nearly eighty nine years...