Page:The Life of Michael Angelo.djvu/220
THE LIFE OF MICHAEL ANGELO
these household quarrels. "Oh, that she had never been here!" he wrote in 1560, after dismissing a servant named Girolama.
His room was as dark as a tomb, "spiders created there a thousand pieces of work and unwound their little distaffs." Halfway up the staircase he had painted a figure of Death, bearing a coffin on his shoulders.
He lived like a poor man, ate hardly anything, and, "being unable to sleep, used to get up at night to work with his chisel. He had made a helmet of paper, and kept a lighted candle above the middle of his head, which lighted the work without embarassing his hands."
- "La mia scura tomba..." ("Poems," lxxxi).
Dov' è Aragn' e mill' opre et lavoranti
Et fan di lor filando fusaiuolo.
- On the coffin was the following epitaph:
Io dico a voi, ch' al mondo avete dato
L'anima e 'l corpo e lo spirto 'nsieme:
In questa cassa oscura è 'l vostro lato."
(The same, cxxxvii.)
"I tell you, you who gave soul, body, and spirit to the world at one and the same time—in this dark box you hold everything."
- "He was very sober. When a youth he remained content with a little bread and wine, in order to devote himself entirely to work. In his old age, from the time he painted 'The Last Judgment,' he used to drink a little, but only in the evening, when the day's work was over, and in the most moderate manner. Although he was rich, he lived like a poor man. Never or rarely did a friend eat with him. He did not like presents, as he always felt obliged to make a return. His sobriety made him watchful and caused him to need very little sleep" (Vasari).
- Vasari, noticing that he did not use wax lights, but candles made of goat fat, sent him forty pounds of the latter. His servant brought them to him, but Michael Angelo refused to accept them. "Sir," said the servant, "they have broken my arms, and I don't want to take them back to the house.