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Last Judgment.” The one who cried the loudest was Aretino. This master of pornographic literature undertook to give lessons in decency to the chaste Michael Angelo! He wrote him an impudent Tartuffe-like letter, accusing him of having represented “things which would have made a house of debauchery blush,” and denouncing him to the rising Inquisition for ungodliness, “for unbelief,” he said, “would be a less crime than this of attacking the faith of others.” He advised the Pope to destroy the fresco. In addition to his denunciation of Lutheranism, he made ignoble insinuations regarding Michael Angelo’s morals, and, in conclusion, he accused him of having robbed Julius II. To this infamous blackmailing letter, in which everything that was most
“‘Michael Angelo at Rome, in the Pope’s Chapel, has represented Our Lord, His Mother, St. John, St. Peter, and the Heavenly Court, and all these personages, even the Virgin Mary, are nude and in attitudes which have not been inspired by the severest religious feeling…’”—(A. Baschet’s “Paul Véronèse devant le Saint Office,” 1880.)
- ↑ It was done out of revenge. He had endeavoured, in his customary manner, to extort some works of art from him. Moreover, he had had the effrontery to outline a programme for “The Last Judgment.” Michael Angelo had politely declined this offer of collaboration and had turned a deaf ear to the demand for presents. Aretino wished to show Michael Angelo what lack of respect towards him might cost.
- ↑ One of Aretino’s comedies, “L'Hipocrito,” was the prototype of “Tartuffe” (P. Gauthiez’s “L'Arétin, 1895).
- ↑ He made an insulting allusion to “Gherardi and Tomai” (Gherardo Perini and Tommaso dei Cavalieri).
- ↑ This attempt at blackmail was impudently displayed. At the end of his threatening letter, after reminding Michael Angelo of what he expected from him—namely, presents—Aretino added the following postscript: “Now that I have somewhat expended my anger, and made you see that if you are “divino” I am not ‘acqua,’ tear up this letter, like me, and come to a decision …”