Page:The Life of Michael Angelo.djvu/73

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41
STRENGTH

powerful will had again changed. There was no longer any question of a mausoleum but of a colossal bronze statue which he proposed to raise at Bologna. In vain did Michael Angelo protest "that he knew nothing about the casting of bronze." He had to set to work to learn, with the result that his life became a torment. He lived in a wretched room, with a single bed, in which he slept with his two Florentine assistants, Lapo and Lodovico, and with his metal-founder, Bernardino. Fifteen months passed full of all sorts of troubles. He quarrelled with Lapo and Lodovico, who robbed him.

"This scamp Lapo," he wrote to his father, "gave every one to understand that he and Lodovico did all the work, or at least that they worked in collaboration with me. He could not understand that he was not the master until I turned him out; then, for the first time, did he see that he was in my employment. I drove him forth as I would a brute."[1]

Lapo and Lodovico complained noisily, and, in addition to spreading calumnies against Michael Angelo in Florence, succeeded in extorting money from his father under the pretext that he had robbed them.

The incapacity of the founder next became apparent.

"I would have believed that Maestro Bernardino was capable of casting even without fire, so great was my faith in him."

In June 1507 the casting of the statue failed; the figure was successful only as far as the waist. Everything had to be recommenced. Michael Angelo was occupied with the work until February 1508 and nearly ruined his health over it.

"I have hardly time to eat," he wrote to his brother. "I live in a state of the greatest inconvenience

  1. Letter to his father, February 8, 1507.