artistic subjects, gave him advice concerning his work, and accompanied him on horseback to St. Peter’s.
In the month of August 1561 he had an attack. Having sat for three consecutive hours with naked feet, drawing, he was suddenly seized with pains and fell into convulsions. His servant Antonio found him unconscious. Cavalieri, Bandini and Calcagni hastened to his house, but on their arrival Michael Angelo had come to himself. A few days afterwards he began to go out again on horseback and to work on the drawings for the Porta Pia.
The intractable old man would, under no pretext whatsoever, allow people to look after him. His friends were continually tortured by the thought that he was alone with negligent and unscrupulous servants and at the mercy of a fresh attack.
His heir Leonardo had formerly received such rude rebuffs when he had wished to come to Rome to watch over his uncle’s health that he no longer dared to risk the journey. In July 1563 he inquired of him through Daniello da Volterra if he would like to see him, and, in view of the suspicions which his visit might inspire in Michael Angelo’s distrustful mind, added that his affairs were prospering, that he was rich and had no longer need of anything. The roguish old man replied that, since this was so, he was delighted, and that he would give the little he possessed to the poor.
A month later Leonardo, by no means satisfied with the reply, returned to the charge and expressed the anxiety he felt on the subject of his health and those who surrounded him. This time Michael Angelo sent him a
- He was eighty-five years of age.
- It was then that he recollected the contract he had made, sixty years before, with the heirs of Pius III., for the Piccolomini altar of Sienna, and wished to carry it out.