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The best commendation of his works is in their influence. The impulse of his grand style was instantaneous upon his contemporaries. Every stroke of his pencil moved the pencil in Raphael's hand. Raphael said, “I bless God I live in the times of Michael Angelo.” Sir Joshua Reynolds, two centuries later, declared to the British Institution, “I feel a self-congratulation in knowing myself capable of such sensations as he intended to excite.

It will be readily conceded, that a man of such habits and such deeds, made good bis pretensions to a clear perception and to accurate delineation of external beauty. But inimitable as his works are, in all three arts, his whole life confessed that his hand was all inadequate to express his thought." He alone,” he said, “ was an artist whose hands can perfectly execute what his mind has conceived ;" and such was his own mastery, that they said, “ the marble was flexible in his hands.” Yet, contemplating ever with love the idea of absolute beauty, he was still dissatisfied with his own work. The things proposed to him in his imagination were such, that, for not being able with his hands to express so grand and terrible conceptions, he often abandoned his work. This is the reason hy he so often only blocked his statue. A little before he died, he burned a great number of designs, sketches, and cartoons made by him, being impatient of their defects. Grace in living forms, except in very rare instances, did not satisfy him.

He never made but one portrait, (a cartoon of Messer Tommaso di Cavalieri,) because he abhorred to draw a likeness.unless it were of infinite beauty. Such was his devotion to art.

But let no man suppose, that the images which his spirit worshipped were mere transcripts of external grace, or that this profound soul was taken or holden in the chains of superficial beauty. To him, of all men, it was transparent. Through it, he beheld the eternal spiritual beauty which ever clothes itself with grand and graceful outlines, as its appropriate form. He spoke of external grace as “the frail and weary weed, in which God dresses the soul which he has called into Time." C6 As from the fire, heat cannot be divided, no more can beauty from the eternal.” He was conscious in his efforts of higher aims than to address the eye. He sought, through the eye, to reach the soul. Therefore, as, in the first place, he sought to approach the Beautiful by the study of the True, so he failed not to make the next step of progress, and to seek Beauty in its highest form, that of Goodness. The sublimity of his art is in bis life. He did not only build a divine temple, and paint and carve saints and prophets. He lived out the same inspiration. There is no spot upon his fame. The fire and sanctity of his pencil breathe in his words. When he was informed that Paul IV. desired he should paint again the side of the chapel where the Last Judgment was painted, because of the indecorous nudity of the figures, he replied, “Tell the Pope that this is easily done. Let him reform the world and he will find the pictures will reform themselves.” He saw clearly, that if the corrupt and vulgar eyes, that could see nothing but indecorum in his terrific prophets and angels, could be purified as his own were pure, they would only find occasion for devotion in the same figures.

As he refused to undo his own work, Daniel di Volterra was employed to clothe the figures; hence ludicrously called Il Braghettone. When the Pope suggested to him, ihat the chapel would be enriched, if the figures were ornamented with gold, Michael Angelo replied, “ In those days, gold was not worn ; and the characters I have painted, were neither rich nor desirous of wealth, but holy men, with whom gold was an object of contempt.”

It was not until he was in the seventy-third year of his age, that he undertook the building of St. Peter's. On the death of San Gallo, the architect of the church, Paul III. first entreated, then commanded the aged artist, to assume the charge of this great work, which, though commenced forty years before, was only commenced by Bramante, and ill continued by San Gallo. Michael Angelo, who believed in his own ability as a sculptor, but distrusted his capacity as an architect, at first refused and then reluctantly complied. His heroic stipulation with the Pope was worthy of the man and the work He required that he should be permitted to accept this work without any fee or reward, because he undertook it as a religious act ; and, furthermore, that he should be absolute master of the whole design, free to depart from the plans of San Gallo and to alter what had been already done. This disinterestedness and spirit, — no fee and no interfer

, ence, - reminds one of the reward named by the ancient Persian. When importuned to claim some compensation of the empire for the important services he had rendered it, he demanded, “that he and his should neither command nor obey, but should be free.” However, as it was undertaken, so was it performed. When the Pope, delighted with one of his chapels, sent him one hundred crowns of gold, as one month's wages, Michael sent them back. The Pope was

. angry, but the artist was immovable. Amidst endless annoyances, from the envy and interest of the office-holders and agents in the work whom he had displaced, he steadily ripened and executed his vast ideas. The combined desire to fulfil, in everlasting stone, the conceptions of his mind, and to complete his worthy offering to Almighty God, sustained him through numberless vexations with unbroken spirit. In answer to the importunate solicitations of the Duke of Tuscany, that he would come to Florence, he replies, “ that to leave St. Peter's in the state in which it now was, would be to ruin the structure, and thereby be guilty of a great sin;" that he hoped he should shortly see the execution of his plans brought to such a point that they could no longer be interfered with, and this was the capital object of his wishes, “if," he adds, “ I do not commit a great crime, by disappointing the cormorants who are daily hoping to get rid of me.”

A natural fruit of the nobility of his spirit is bis admiration of Dante, to whom two of his sonnets are addressed. He shared Dante's “ deep contempt of the vulgar, not of the simple inhabitants of lowly streets or humble cottages, but of that sordid and abject crowd of all classes, and all places, who obscure, as much as in them lies, every beam of beauty in the universe.” In like manner, he possessed an intense love of solitude. He lived alone, and never, or very rarely, took his meals with any person.

As will be supposed, he had a passion for the country, and in old age speaks with extreme pleasure of his residence with the hermits in the mountains of Spoleti ; so much so, that he says he is only half in Rome, since, truly, peace is only to be found in the woods.” Traits of an almost savage independence mark all his history. Although he was rich, he lived like a poor man, and never would receive a present from any person ; because it seemed to him, that if a man gave him any thing, he was always obligated to that individual. His friend Vasari mentions one occasion on which his scruples were overcome. It seems that Michael was accustomed to work at night, with a pasteboard cap or helmet on his head, into which he stuck a candle, that his work might be lighted and his hands at liberty. Vasari

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observed that he did not use wax candles, but a better sort made of the tallow of goats. He therefore sent hiin four bundles of them, containing forty pounds. His servant brought them after night-fall, and presented them to him. Michael Angelo refused to receive them. Messer Michael Angelo," replied the man, “these candles have well nigh broken my arm, and I will not carry them back; but just here, before your door, is a spot of soft mud, and they will stand upright in it very well, and there I will light them all.”—“ Put them down, then,” returned Michael, “since you shall not make a bonfire at my gate. Meantime he was liberal to profusion to his old domestic Urbino, to whom he gave at one time two thousand crowns, and made him rich in his service.

Michael Angelo was of that class of men who are too superior to the multitude around them to command a full and perfect sympathy. They stand in the attitude rather of appeal from their contemporaries to their race. But he did not, therefore, fix his eye upon his own greatness, and avert it from the good works of others. It has been the defect of some great men, that they did not duly appreciate or did not confess the talents and virtues of others, and so lacked one of the richest sources of happiness and one of the best elements of humanity. This apathy perhaps happens as often from preoccupied attention as from jealousy. It has been supposed that artists more than others are liable to this defect. But Michael Angelo's praise on many works is to this day the stamp of fame. . Michael Angelo said of Masaccio's pictures, that when they were first painted they must have been alive. He said of his predecessor, the architect Bramante, that he laid the first stone of St. Peter's, clear, insulated, luminous, with fit design for a vast structure. He often expressed his admiration of Cellini's bust of Altoviti. He loved to express admiration of Titian, of Donatelli, of Ghiberti, of Brunelleschi. And it is said, that, when he left Florence to go to Rome, to build St. Peter's, he turned his horse's head on the last bill from which the noble dome of the Cathedral (built by Brunelleschi) is visible, and said, “Like you, I will not build ; better than you I cannot.” Indeed, as we have said, the reputation of many works of art now in Italy derives a sanction from the tradition of his praise. It is more commendation to say, “This was Michael Angelo's favorite,” than to say, “ This was carried to Paris by Napoleon.” Michael, however, had the philosophy to say, “Only an inventor can use the inventions of others.

There is yet one more trait in Michael Angelo's history, which humanizes his character without lessening its loftiness; this is his platonic love. He was deeply enamoured of the most accomplished lady of the time, Vittoria Colonna, the widow of the Marquis di Pescara, who, after the death of her husband, devoted herself to letters, and to the writing of religious poetry. She was also an admirer of his genius, and came to Rome repeatedly to see him. To her his sonnets are addressed; and they all breathe a chaste and divine regard, which is not to be paralleled in any amatory poetry except that of Dante and Petrarch. They are founded on the thought, that beauty is the virtue of the body, as virtue is the beauty of the soul; that a beautiful person is sent into the world as an image of the divine beauty, not to provoke but to purify the sensual into an intellectual and divine love. He therefore enthrones his mistress as a benignant angel, who is to refine and perfect his own character. Condivi, his friend, has left this testimony ; “ I have often heard Michael Angelo reason and discourse upon love, but never heard him speak otherwise than upon platonic love. As for me, I am ignorant what Plato has said upon this subject; but this I know very well, that, in a long intimacy, I never heard from his mouth a single word that was not perfectly decorous and having for its object to extinguish in youth every improper desire, and that his own nature is a stranger to depravity.” The poems themselves cannot be read without awakening sentiments of virtue. An eloquent vindication of their philosophy may be found in a paper by Signor Radici, in the London “ Retrospective Review," and, by the Italian scholar, in the Discourse of Benedetto Varchi upon one sonnet of Michael Angelo, contained in the volume of his poems published by Biagioli, from which, in substance, the views of Radici are taken.

Towards his end, there seems to have grown in him an invincible appetite of dying, for be knew that his spirit could only enjoy contentment after death. So vehement was this desire that, he says, “ his soul can no longer be appeased by the wonted seductions of painting and sculpture.' A fine melancholy, not unrelieved by his habitual heroism, pervades his

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