Page:The Life of Michael Angelo.djvu/194
THE LIFE OF MICHAEL ANGELO
for he was extremely modest." The Florentines accepted the plan without changing it in anything. One of Michael Angelo's friends, Tiberio Calcagni, made, under his superintendence, a wooden model of the church, " which was so rare a work of art that, for beauty, richness and variety such a building had never been seen before. Building was commenced and 5000 crowns were expended. Then money was lacking, work was stopped, and Michael Angelo experienced the most violent sorrow." This church was never built and even the model disappeared.
Such was Michael Angelo's last artistic disappointment. How could he have had the illusion, when dying, that St. Peter's, hardly commenced, would ever be completed, that any of his works would survive him? Perhaps he himself, had he been free, would have shattered them. The story of his last piece of sculpture, "Christ taken down from the Cross," in the Cathedral in Florence, shows to what a state of detachment from art he had attained. If he still continued his work as a sculptor, he was no longer prompted by faith in art, but by faith in Christ, and because "his mind and his strength could not resist the temptation to create." But when he had completed his work he broke it. "He would have destroyed it altogether had not his servant, Antonio, begged him to give it to him."
- Vasari. It was in 1553 that he began this work, the most touching of all his works, for it is the most intimate. "We feel on looking at it that the artist speaks only for himself; he suffers and abandons himself to his suffering. Moreover, he has, it appears, represented himself in the old man with sorrowful face who supports the body of Christ.
- In 1555.
- Tiberio Calcagni bought it from Antonio, and asked Michael