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It was a time were Rome under Julius II became again the centre of the Arts and the World. Francesco Albertini made in those years a guidebook of Rome, Opusculu de Mirabilibus Nove et Veteris Urbis Rome, published in 1520. What Julius II achieved is such a short time, aside his wars, is really incredible. He was of course fortunate to have fantastic artists that surrounded himself: Bramante, Michelangelo and Raphael.
His rival, 51 years old, was the famous Leonardo da Vinci. When he saw the drawings of Michelangelo, he did everything in his power to get this prodigious rival out of Florence.
In Rome, the competition was not less fearful: Bramante, the appointed architect of the new St. Peter's Basilica, didn't want Michelangelo back. He knew that he would lose his job against Michelangelo in who he recognized his superior. And indeed, with time he will loose his job and was nicknamed "Ruinante", he only demolished the old basilica, but never built the new one. As a wheeler-dealer, Bramante went to Pope Julius II with the following: “saying that for a man to prepare himself a tomb during his own lifetime was an evil augury and a hurrying on of his death. And they persuaded his Holiness that on the return of Michelagnolo, he should cause him to paint in memory of his uncle Sixtus the vaulting of the chapel that he had built in the Palace. In this manner it seemed possible to Bramante and other rivals of Michelagnolo to draw him away from sculpture, in which they saw him to be perfect, and to plunge him into despair, they thinking that if they compelled him to paint, he would do work less worthy of praise, since he had no experience of colors in fresco, and that he would prove inferior to Raffaello, and, even if he did succeed in the work, in any case it would make him angry against the Pope; so that in either event they would achieve their object of getting rid of him. And so, when Michelagnolo returned to Rome, the Pope was not disposed at that time to finish his tomb, and requested him to paint the vaulting of the chapel.” And here is starting the Agony of Michelangelo. Forty years struggling against the pope, other popes and the heirs of Julius II for building the tomb. At the end he made only one statue: the Moses.
How he came to be a painter
Bartolomeo Veneto, Lucrezia Borgia
Convinced by the intriguing Bramante, Pope Julius II send a message to Michelangelo to return to Rome and to paint the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo, who taught that painting was an inferior art, refused to come to Rome, saying that he was an architect, a sculptor and not a painter.
It is said that Pope Julius II was so furious about the refusal of Michelangelo, that he send a delegation to Florence, warning them, if they didn't send Michelangelo to Rome, he would feel obliged to invade Florence. And so, a few days later Michelangelo arrived in Rome to start his masterpiece in the Sistine Chapel, that would change the history of art.
Here on the left the sonnet that Michelangelo wrote towards the completion of the vault, where he complains that he couldn't move his neck anymore. But the last line is still the best, where he, after four and a halve years painting, exclaims: and I am NOT a painter !!!