Page:The Life of Michael Angelo.djvu/228

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THE LIFE OF MICHAEL ANGELO

ceased, the whole of his life, to assist the unfortunate, both known and unknown. Not only did he ever show the most touching affection for his old servants and for those of his father—for a certain Mona Margherita, whom he took into his house after the death of old Buonarroti, and whose decease caused him "more distress than if she had been a sister";[1] for a humble carpenter, who had worked on the scaffolding of the Sistine Chapel, and for whose daughter he provided a dowry;[2] but he was constantly giving to the poor, and especially to the disreputable poor. He liked to associate his nephew and niece with these acts of charity, to inspire them with a taste for similar actions, and to get them to carry them out, without his name being mentioned, for he desired that his charity should remain a secret.[3] "He loved

  1. and he worked gratuitously at St. Peter's. No one condemned love of money more severely than he did. "Avidity of gain is a very great sin," he wrote to his brother Buonarroto. Vasari indignantly protests against the calumnies of the enemies of Michael Angelo, and recalls the many things his master gave: to Tommaso de' Cavalieri, Bindo Altoviti, Sebastiano del Piombo, and Gherardo Perini, priceless drawings; to Antonio Mini, the "Leda," with all the cartoons and models; to Bartolommeo Bettini, an admirable "Cupid kissing Venus"; to the Marquis of Vasto, a "Noli me tangere"; to Roberto Strozzi, the two "Slaves"; to his servant Antonio, "Christ taken down from the Cross," &c. "I do not think," he concludes, "that a man who gave such things, worth thousands of scudi, can be taxed with avarice."

  2. Letters to Giovan Simone (1533); and to Leonardo Buonarroti (November 1540).
  3. Vasari.
  4. "It seems to me that you neglect almsgiving too much," he wrote to Leonardo (1547).
    "You write to me that you would like to give this woman four gold crowns for the love of God. That pleases me" (August 1547).
    "Be careful to give in cases where there is real need, and