In 1506, after it found the state of degradation of the frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, painted twenty years before Julius II is considering ordering new ones. But Papa, megalomaniac by nature, is not willing to settle for one of thousands of formidable artists who inhabited Italy at the time.
Michelangelo wants more: 343 characters painted
In a letter of 10 May 1508, Michelangelo announces it has just signed a contract to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling, and that gets down to work immediately. He also mentions and received a first tranche of 500 ducats, of the 3,000 promised for the work.
In fact, this challenge excites him. Fresca is the perfect opportunity for his genius to be recognized by everyone. And because Bramante be put nose out of joint. Plus the opportunity to give it one snotty nose Rafael, who had been commissioned to decorate the papal bedroom walls.
Because it wants a total triumph, Michelangelo was not satisfied with the official order, which requires painting of the 12 apostles medallions and geometric motifs decorating the central departments. That’s what it seems to be a “work poor”, he writes Pope. Therefore asks to add new frescoes dedicated to Genesis, ie a total of 343 characters that had to be painted.
Within three months, Michelangelo’s drawings and begin reading with great work with Noah, above the entrance. In January 1509, in a letter to his father laments that work progresses too slowly:
“This, because of the difficulty of work itself, and the fact that it is not my job. Therefore, it takes long. God help me! “Vasari writes:
“Finally, Michelangelo finished cartons for chapel and has hired several painters in Florence, which was so little pleased that thanked them and decided to paint it all by yourself.”
Could it be true? When restoring frescoes were discovered painters interventions assistants.They were probably commissioned to prepare plaster, to which the cards, write the names of the characters in the cartridges.
The defeat of Rafael
Despite what is said, Michelangelo did not paint lying on his back, but standing on scaffolding. The anguished cries of position and droplets of paint to fall continuously on its face.
From time to time, the Pope goes to check how the work progresses. Each time the meetings end with a scandal.
During the summer of 1510, when the job is half, Pope commits to dismantle the scaffolding, in order to have an overview of the work. It is so pleased that not hear him Bramante, which suggests that work be continued by Rafael.
Reinstalling scaffolding costs more, and Michelangelo ran out of money. So he is forced to leave after Julius at war, to beg some money. Maybe reapuce to work until February 1511.
This time, the work is progressing at a crazy pace. It does not even use the cards to make the contours of the characters.
After four years of “agony and ecstasy” finally finished his fresco, opened on November 1, 1512, All Saints Day. It is a real triumph. They all have to bow to the genius of Michelangelo.Including Bramante and Raphael.