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Michelangelo Buonarotti biography
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Interesting on the Medici Tombs are the names he gave to the statues of the sarcophagi: Dawn, Dusk, Day and Night. Work on the tombs continued long after Michelangelo went back to the Rome in 1534, although he never returned to his native city. “I never knew a people more ungrateful and arrogant than the Florentines.”
Michelangelo returned to Sistine Chapel after twenty-five years. Pope Paul III asked him to decorate the altar wall with the Last judgment. Michelangelo finished this largest fresco of the renaissance in 1541. He portrayed all the figures nude, which was later considered controversial and caused a real scandal and another artist a decade added so prudish draperies later.
In 1538 Michelangelo had met Vittoria Colonna, a poetess and highly cultivated woman. Between them a deep friendship developed, one might say a pure love, only platonic, inspirated by poetry and faith. The most intense period of their relationship lasted from 1544 until Colonna’s death in 1547; years filled with long conversations, frequent visits. Michelangelo gave her three drawings, sonnets and madrigals. Her death was another hurt in his life, he saw out his lady, his family, his friends and enemies, he was alone. More and more he fumbled with the thought of death and begun to hate his art, but never lost his believe and love for God. In spite of his melancholy, he designed Campidoglio (capitol), worked on St. Peter’s Basilica and carved the Rondanini pieta. In the last years of his life he produced tenebrous drawings of the Crucifixion and the Lament over the Dead Christ. He carved Florentine Pieta, for his own tomb, but dissatisfied he broke off the legs and arms. Friends that remained him persuaded him to start work on it again. Still perfectly lucid in age of almost ninety, he created one of his most spiritual images. "I live alone and miserable, trapped as marrow under the bark of the tree. My voice is like a wasp caught in a bag of skin and bones. My teeth shake and rattle like the keys of a musical instrument. My face is a scarecrow. My ears never cease to buzz. In one of them, a spider weaves its web, in the other one, a cricket sings all night long. My rattling catarrh won't let me sleep. This is the state where art has led me, after granting me glory. Poor, old, beaten, I will be reduced to nothing, if death does not come swiftly to my rescue. Pains have quartered me, torn me, broken me and death is the only inn awaiting me."
Michelangelo Buonarotti died on February 18th, 1564 in Rome, but he is buried in his real home, in Florence.