Page:The Life of Michael Angelo.djvu/41

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
17
INTRODUCTION

“Ah! grant; oh! grant that I no longer return to myself.”[1]

I can hear that tragic cry issuing from the sorrowful face whose anxious eyes still look at us in the Museum of the Capitol.[2]

He was of medium stature, broad-shouldered, strongly built and muscular. His body deformed by work, he walked with raised head, hollowed out back and protruding stomach. So do we see him in a portrait by Francis of Holland—a portrait in which he is represented upright, in profile and dressed in black: a Roman cloak over his shoulders, a piece of stuff on his head, and, on the top of it, well pulled down, a large black felt hat.[3] He had a round skull, a square forehead, swollen over the eyes and lined with wrinkles. His hair was black, by no means thick, dishevelled and becurled. His small,[4] sad, strong eyes were horn-coloured, variable, and speckled with yellow and blue. His big, straight nose, with a bump in the middle, had been broken by a blow from Torrigiani’s fist.[5] He had deep lines from the nostrils to the corners of the lips. His mouth was delicate, with

  1. “De fate, c’a me stesso piu non torni.” (Poems, cxxxv. On the death of his father, 1534.)
  2. The description which follows is inspired by various portraits of Michael Angelo, especially by that of Marcello Venusti at the Capitol, by Francis of Holland’s engraving, which dates from 1538-1539, and by that of Guilio Bonasoni, which is of 1546 Use has also been made of Condivi’s account of 1553. His disciple and friend, Daniello da Volterra, and his servant, Antonio del Franzese, made several busts of him after his death.
  3. Thus did those who opened his coffin in 1564, when his body was brought from Rome to Florence, still find him. He appeared to be asleep, with his felt hat on his head and his spurred boots on his feet.
  4. Condivi. Venusti’s portrait represents them as fairly large.
  5. About 1490-1492.