Page:The Life of Michael Angelo.djvu/77
he could to avoid the redoubtable honour; he even went so far as to propose Raphael in his place, saying that this was not a branch of art in which he could succeed. But the Pope persisted in his demands and Michael Angelo had to give way.
Bramante raised a scaffolding for Michael Angelo in the Sistine Chapel, and some painters who had had experience in fresco painting were brought from Florence to assist him. But Michael Angelo was one of those men who would receive no sort of assistance whatsoever. He began by declaring that Bramante’s scaffolding was useless and by raising another. As to the Florentine painters, he took a dislike to them, and, without explanation, put them to the door. “One morning he destroyed everything they had painted, shut himself up in the chapel and would not open the door to them. He would not let himself be seen even in his own house. When the joke seemed to them to have lasted long enough they returned to Florence, profoundly humiliated.”
Michael Angelo remained alone with a few workmen, and, far from the greater difficulty checking his boldness, he enlarged his plan and decided to paint not only the ceiling, as had at first been proposed, but the walls.
This gigantic undertaking was begun on May 10, 1508. Dark years—the darkest and the most sublime of his whole life! Here we see the legendary Michael Angelo,
Signatura” (“The School of Athens” and the “Dispute of the Holy Sacrament”) between April and September 1508.
- In the letters of 1510 to his father, Michael Angelo laments on the subject of one of these assistants, who was good for nothing “except to be waited upon . . . . . This occupation was doubtless lacking to me! I had not enough to do already! . . . . He makes me as wretched as a brute.”