[Transcriber's note: Bold text is marked with =."
Obvious printer's errors have been corrected, all other inconsistencies are as in the original. The author's spelling has been maintained.
"Elecate" should be "Elacate".]
LIVES OF THE MOST EMINENT PAINTERS SCULPTORS & ARCHITECTS BY GIORGIO VASARI:
VOLUME V. ANDREA DA FIESOLE TO LORENZO LOTTO 1913
NEWLY TRANSLATED BY GASTON Du C. DE VERE. WITH FIVE HUNDRED ILLUSTRATIONS: IN TEN VOLUMES
PHILIP LEE WARNER, PUBLISHER TO THE MEDICI SOCIETY, LIMITED 7 GRAFTON ST. LONDON, W. 1912-14
CONTENTS OF VOLUME V
ANDREA DA FIESOLE [ANDREA FERRUCCI], AND OTHERS 1
VINCENZIO DA SAN GIMIGNANO [VINCENZIO TAMAGNI], AND TIMOTEO DA URBINO [TIMOTEO DELLA VITE] 9
ANDREA DAL MONTE SANSOVINO [ANDREA CONTUCCI] 19
BENEDETTO DA ROVEZZANO 33
BACCIO DA MONTELUPO, AND RAFFAELLO HIS SON 39
LORENZO DI CREDI 47
LORENZETTO AND BOCCACCINO 53
BALDASSARRE PERUZZI 61
GIOVAN FRANCESCO PENNI [CALLED IL FATTORE], AND PELLEGRINO DA MODENA 75
ANDREA DEL SARTO 83
MADONNA PROPERZIA DE' ROSSI 121
ALFONSO LOMBARDI, MICHELAGNOLO DA SIENA, GIROLAMO SANTA CROCE, AND DOSSO AND BATTISTA DOSSI 129
GIOVANNI ANTONIO LICINIO OF PORDENONE, AND OTHERS 143
GIOVANNI ANTONIO SOGLIANI 157
GIROLAMO DA TREVISO 167
POLIDORO DA CARAVAGGIO AND MATURINO 173
IL ROSSO 187
BARTOLOMMEO DA BAGNACAVALLO, AND OTHERS 205
FRANCIABIGIO [FRANCIA] 215
MORTO DA FELTRO AND ANDREA DI COSIMO FELTRINI 225
MARCO CALAVRESE 235
FRANCESCO MAZZUOLI [PARMIGIANO] 241
JACOPO PALMA [PALMA VECCHIO] AND LORENZO LOTTO 257
INDEX OF NAMES 267
ILLUSTRATIONS TO VOLUME V
PLATES IN COLOUR FACING PAGE
TIMOTEO DA URBINO (TIMOTEO DELLA VITE) A Muse Florence: Corsini Gallery 10
LORENZO DI CREDI Venus Florence: Uffizi, 3452 48
BERNARDINO DEL LUPINO (LUINI) S. Catharine borne to her Tomb by Angels Milan: Brera, 288 54
ANDREA DEL SARTO Madonna dell' Arpie Florence: Uffizi, 1112 94
DOSSO DOSSI A Nymph with a Satyr Florence: Pitti, 147 140
FRANCIABIGIO (FRANCIA) Portrait of a Man Vienna: Prince Liechtenstein 222
LORENZO LOTTO The Triumph of Chastity Rome: Rospigliosi Gallery 258
JACOPO PALMA (PALMA VECCHIO) S. Barbara Venice: S. Maria Formosa 260
RONDINELLO (NICCOLO RONDINELLI) Madonna and Child Paris: Louvre, 1159 264
PLATES IN MONOCHROME
ANDREA DA FIESOLE (ANDREA FERRUCCI) Font Pistoia: Duomo 6
SILVIO COSINI (SILVIO DA FIESOLE) Tomb of Raffaele Maffei Volterra: S. Lino 8
VINCENZIO DA SAN GIMIGNANO (VINCENZIO TAMAGNI) The Birth of the Virgin San Gimignano: S. Agostino, Cappella del S. Sacramento 12
TIMOTEO DA URBINO (TIMOTEO DELLA VITE) Madonna and Saints, with a Child Angel Milan: Brera, 508 12
TIMOTEO DA URBINO (TIMOTEO DELLA VITE) The Magdalene Bologna: Accademia, 204 16
ANDREA DAL MONTE SANSOVINO (ANDREA CONTUCCI) Altar-piece Florence: S. Spirito 22
ANDREA DAL MONTE SANSOVINO (ANDREA CONTUCCI) Tomb of Cardinal Ascanio Sforza Rome: S. Maria del Popolo 24
ANDREA DAL MONTE SANSOVINO (ANDREA CONTUCCI) The Madonna and Child, with S. Anne Rome: S. Agostino 26
BENEDETTO DA ROVEZZANO Tomb of Piero Soderini Florence: S. Maria del Carmine 38
BACCIO DA MONTELUPO S. John the Evangelist Florence: Or San Michele 42
AGOSTINO BUSTI (IL BAMBAJA) Detail from the Tomb: Head of Gaston de Foix Milan: Brera 44
RAFFAELLO DA MONTELUPO S. Damiano Florence: New Sacristy of S. Lorenzo 44
LORENZO DI CREDI Andrea Verrocchio Florence: Uffizi, 1163 50
LORENZO DI CREDI Madonna and Child, with Saints Paris: Louvre, 1263 52
LORENZO DI CREDI The Nativity Florence: Accademia, 92 52
LORENZETTO Elijah Rome: S. Maria del Popolo, Chigi Chapel 56
LORENZETTO S. Peter Rome: Ponte S. Angelo 56
BOCCACCINO Madonna and Child, with Saints Rome: Doria Gallery, 125 58
BERNARDINO DEL LUPINO (LUINI) The Marriage of the Virgin Saronno: Santuario della Beata Vergine 60
BALDASSARRE PERUZZI Cupola of the Ponzetti Chapel Rome: S. Maria della Pace 64
BALDASSARRE PERUZZI Palazzo della Farnesina Rome 66
BALDASSARRE PERUZZI Courtyard of Palazzo Massimi Rome 70
GIOVANNI FRANCESCO PENNI (IL FATTORE) The Baptism of Constantine Rome: The Vatican 78
GAUDENZIO MILANESE (GAUDENZIO FERRARI) The Last Supper Milan: S. Maria della Passione 80
ANDREA DEL SARTO "Noli Me Tangere" Florence: Uffizi, 93 86
ANDREA DEL SARTO The Last Supper Florence: S. Salvi 88
ANDREA DEL SARTO The Arrival of the Magi Florence: SS. Annunziata 90
ANDREA DEL SARTO Charity Paris: Louvre, 1514 98
ANDREA DEL SARTO Caesar receiving the Tribute of Egypt Florence: Poggio a Caiano 104
ANDREA DEL SARTO Portrait of the Artist Florence: Uffizi, 280 112
MADONNA PROPERZIA DE' ROSSI Two Angels (with The Assumption of the Virgin, after TRIBOLO) Bologna: S. Petronio 126
ALFONSO LOMBARDI The Death of the Virgin Bologna: S. Maria della Vita 134
MICHELAGNOLO DA SIENA Tomb of Adrian VI Rome: S. Maria dell' Anima 136
GIROLAMO SANTA CROCE Madonna and Child, with SS. Peter and John Naples: Monte Oliveto 138
DOSSO DOSSI Madonna and Child, with SS. George and Michael Modena: Pinacoteca, 437 140
GIOVANNI ANTONIO LICINIO OF PORDENONE The Disputation of S. Catharine Piacenza: S. Maria di Campagna 150
GIOVANNI ANTONIO LICINIO OF PORDENONE The Adoration of the Magi Treviso: Duomo 152
GIOVANNI ANTONIO SOGLIANI The Legend of S. Dominic Florence: S. Marco 162
IL ROSSO Madonna and Child, with Saints Florence: Uffizi, 47 190
IL ROSSO The Transfiguration Citta di Castello: Duomo 198
BARTOLOMMEO DA BAGNACAVALLO The Holy Family, with Saints Bologna: Accademia, 133 208
AMICO OF BOLOGNA (AMICO ASPERTINI) The Adoration Bologna: Pinacoteca, 297 210
INNOCENZIO DA IMOLA The Marriage of S. Catharine Bologna: S. Giacomo Maggiore 214
FRANCIABIGIO (FRANCIA) The Marriage of the Virgin Florence: SS. Annunziata 218
FRANCESCO MAZZUOLI (PARMIGIANO) The Marriage of S. Catharine Parma: Gallery, 192 246
FRANCESCO MAZZUOLI (PARMIGIANO) Madonna and Child, with Saints Bologna: Accademia, 116 250
JACOPO PALMA (PALMA VECCHIO) S. Sebastian Venice: S. Maria Formosa 260
LORENZO LOTTO The Glorification of S. Nicholas Venice: S. Maria del Carmine 262
LORENZO LOTTO Andrea Odoni Hampton Court Palace 262
RONDINELLO (NICCOLO RONDINELLI) Madonna and Child, with Saints Ravenna: Accademia 264
FRANCESCO DA COTIGNOLA The Adoration of the Shepherds Ravenna: Accademia 266
P. 151, l. 13, Vicenza is an error of the Italian text for Piacenza, the church referred to being in the latter town
ANDREA DA FIESOLE
LIVES OF ANDREA DA FIESOLE
AND OF OTHER CRAFTSMEN OF FIESOLE
Seeing that it is no less necessary for sculptors to have mastery over their carving-tools than it is for him who practises painting to be able to handle colours, it therefore happens that many who work very well in clay prove to be unable to carry their labours to any sort of perfection in marble; and some, on the contrary, work very well in marble, without having any more knowledge of design than a certain instinct for a good manner, I know not what, that they have in their minds, derived from the imitation of certain things which please their judgment, and which their imagination absorbs and proceeds to use for its own purposes. And it is almost a marvel to see the manner in which some sculptors, without in any way knowing how to draw on paper, nevertheless bring their works to a fine and praiseworthy completion with their chisels. This was seen in Andrea, a sculptor of Fiesole, the son of Piero di Marco Ferrucci, who learnt the rudiments of sculpture in his earliest boyhood from Francesco di Simone Ferrucci, another sculptor of Fiesole. And although at the beginning he learnt only to carve foliage, yet little by little he became so well practised in his work that it was not long before he set himself to making figures; insomuch that, having a swift and resolute hand, he executed his works in marble rather with a certain judgment and skill derived from nature than with any knowledge of design. Nevertheless, he afterwards gave a little more attention to art, when, in the flower of his youth, he followed Michele Maini, likewise a sculptor of Fiesole; which Michele made the S. Sebastian of marble in the Minerva at Rome, which was so much praised in those days.
Andrea, then, having been summoned to work at Imola, built a chapel of grey-stone, which was much extolled, in the Innocenti in that city. After that work, he went to Naples at the invitation of Antonio di Giorgio of Settignano, a very eminent engineer, and architect to King Ferrante, with whom Antonio was in such credit, that he had charge not only of all the buildings in that kingdom, but also of all the most important affairs of State. On arriving in Naples, Andrea was set to work, and he executed many things for that King in the Castello di San Martino and in other parts of that city. Now Antonio died; and after the King had caused him to be buried with obsequies suited rather to a royal person than to an architect, and with twenty pairs of mourners following him to the grave, Andrea, recognizing that this was no country for him, departed from Naples and made his way back to Rome, where he stayed for some time, attending to the studies of his art, and also to some work.
Afterwards, having returned to Tuscany, he built the marble chapel containing the baptismal font in the Church of S. Jacopo at Pistoia, and with much diligence executed the basin of that font, with all its ornamentation. And on the main wall of the chapel he made two lifesize figures in half-relief—namely, S. John baptizing Christ, a work executed very well and with a beautiful manner. At the same time he made some other little works, of which there is no need to make mention. I must say, indeed, that although these things were wrought by Andrea rather with the skill of his hand than with art, yet there may be perceived in them a boldness and an excellence of taste worthy of great praise. And, in truth, if such craftsmen had a thorough knowledge of design united to their practised skill and judgment, they would vanquish in excellence those who, drawing perfectly, only hack the marble when they set themselves to work it, and toil at it painfully with a sorry result, through not having practice and not knowing how to handle the tools with the skill that is necessary.
After these works, Andrea executed a marble panel that was placed exactly between the two flights of steps that ascend to the upper choir in the Church of the Vescovado at Fiesole; in which panel he made three figures in the round and some scenes in low-relief. And for S. Girolamo, at Fiesole, he made the little marble panel that is built into the middle of the church. Having come into repute by reason of the fame of these works, Andrea was commissioned by the Wardens of Works of S. Maria del Fiore, at the time when Cardinal Giulio de' Medici was governing Florence, to make a statue of an Apostle four braccia in height; at that time, I mean, when four other similar statues were allotted at one and the same moment to four other masters—one to Benedetto da Maiano, another to Jacopo Sansovino, a third to Baccio Bandinelli, and the fourth to Michelagnolo Buonarroti; which statues were eventually to be twelve in number, and were to be placed in that part of that magnificent temple where there are the Apostles painted by the hand of Lorenzo di Bicci. Andrea, then, executed his rather with fine skill and judgment than with design; and he acquired thereby, if not as much praise as the others, at least the name of a good and practised master. Wherefore he was almost continually employed ever afterwards by the Wardens of Works of that church; and he made the head of Marsilius Ficinus that is to be seen therein, within the door that leads to the chapter-house. He made, also, a marble fountain that was sent to the King of Hungary, which brought him great honour; and by his hand was a marble tomb that was sent, likewise, to Strigonia, a city of Hungary. In this tomb was a Madonna, very well executed, with other figures; and in it was afterwards laid to rest the body of the Cardinal of Strigonia. To Volterra Andrea sent two Angels of marble in the round; and for Marco del Nero, a Florentine, he made a lifesize Crucifix of wood, which is now in the Church of S. Felicita at Florence. He made a smaller one for the Company of the Assumption in Fiesole. Andrea also delighted in architecture, and he was the master of Mangone, the stonecutter and architect, who afterwards erected many palaces and other buildings in Rome in a passing good manner.
In the end, having grown old, Andrea gave his attention only to mason's work, like one who, being a modest and worthy person, loved a quiet life more than anything else. He received from Madonna Antonia Vespucci the commission for a tomb for her husband, Messer Antonio Strozzi; but since he could not work much himself, the two Angels were made for him by Maso Boscoli of Fiesole, his disciple, who afterwards executed many works in Rome and elsewhere, and the Madonna was made by Silvio Cosini of Fiesole, although it was not set into place immediately after it was finished, which was in the year 1522, because Andrea died, and was buried by the Company of the Scalzo in the Church of the Servi.
. Pistoia: Duomo)
Silvio, when the said Madonna was set into place and the tomb of the Strozzi completely finished, pursued the art of sculpture with extraordinary zeal; wherefore he afterwards executed many works in a graceful and beautiful manner, and surpassed a host of other masters, above all in the bizarre fancy of his grotesques, as may be seen in the sacristy of Michelagnolo Buonarroti, from some carved marble capitals over the pilasters of the tombs, with some little masks so well hollowed out that there is nothing better to be seen. In the same place he made some friezes with very beautiful masks in the act of crying out; wherefore Buonarroti, seeing the genius and skill of Silvio, caused him to begin certain trophies to complete those tombs, but they remained unfinished, with other things, by reason of the siege of Florence. Silvio executed a tomb for the Minerbetti in their chapel in the tramezzo of the Church of S. Maria Novella, as well as any man could, since, in addition to the beautiful shape of the sarcophagus, there are carved upon it various shields, helmet-crests, and other fanciful things, and all with as much design as could be desired in such a work. Being at Pisa in the year 1528, Silvio made there an Angel that was wanting over a column on the high-altar of the Duomo, to face the one by Tribolo; and he made it so like the other that it could not be more like even if it were by the same hand. In the Church of Monte Nero, near Livorno, he made a little panel of marble with two figures, for the Frati Ingesuati; and at Volterra he made a tomb for Messer Raffaello da Volterra, a man of great learning, wherein he portrayed him from nature on a sarcophagus of marble, with some ornaments and figures. Afterwards, while the siege of Florence was going on, Niccolo Capponi, a most honourable citizen, died at Castel Nuovo della Garfagnana on his return from Genoa, where he had been as Ambassador from his Republic to the Emperor; and Silvio was sent in great haste to make a cast of his head, to the end that he might afterwards make one in marble, having already executed a very beautiful one in wax.
Now Silvio lived for some time with all his family in Pisa; and since he belonged to the Company of the Misericordia, which in that city accompanies those condemned to death to the place of execution, there once came into his head, being sacristan at that time, the strangest caprice in the world. One night he took out of the grave the body of one who had been hanged the day before; and, after having dissected it for the purposes of his art, being a whimsical fellow, and perhaps a wizard, and ready to believe in enchantments and suchlike follies, he flayed it completely, and with the skin, prepared after a method that he had been taught, he made a jerkin, which he wore for some time over his shirt, believing that it had some great virtue, without anyone ever knowing of it. But having once been upbraided by a good Father to whom he had confessed the matter, he pulled off the jerkin and laid it to rest in a grave, as the monk had urged him to do. Many other similar stories could be told of this man, but, since they have nothing to do with our history, I will pass them over in silence.
After the death of his first wife in Pisa, Silvio went off to Carrara. There he remained to execute some works, and took another wife, with whom, no long time after, he went to Genoa, where, entering the service of Prince Doria, he made a most beautiful escutcheon of marble over the door of his palace, and many ornaments in stucco all over that palace, after the directions given to him by the painter Perino del Vaga. He made, also, a very beautiful portrait in marble of the Emperor Charles V. But since it was Silvio's habit never to stay long in one place—for he was a wayward person—he grew weary of his prosperity in Genoa, and set out to make his way to France. He departed, therefore, but before arriving at Monsanese he turned back, and, stopping at Milan, he executed in the Duomo some scenes and figures and many ornaments, with much credit for himself. And there, finally, he died at the age of forty-five. He was a man of fine genius, capricious, very dexterous in any kind of work, and a person who could execute with great diligence anything to which he turned his hand. He delighted in composing sonnets and improvising songs, and in his early youth he gave his attention to arms. If he had concentrated his mind on sculpture and design, he would have had no equal; and, even as he surpassed his master Andrea Ferrucci, so, had he lived, he would have surpassed many others who have enjoyed the name of excellent masters.
There flourished at the same time as Andrea and Silvio another sculptor of Fiesole, called Il Cicilia, who was a person of much skill; and a work by his hand may be seen in the Church of S. Jacopo, in the Campo Corbolini at Florence—namely, the tomb of the Chevalier Messer Luigi Tornabuoni, which is much extolled, particularly because he made therein the escutcheon of that Chevalier, in the form of a horse's head, as if to show, according to the ancient belief, that the shape of shields was originally taken from the head of a horse.
About the same time, also, Antonio da Carrara, a very rare sculptor, made three statues in Palermo for the Duke of Monteleone, a Neapolitan of the house of Pignatella, and Viceroy of Sicily—namely, three figures of Our Lady in different attitudes and manners, which were placed over three altars in the Duomo of Monteleone in Calabria. For the same patron he made some scenes in marble, which are in Palermo. He left behind him a son who is also a sculptor at the present day, and no less excellent than was his father.
. Volterra: S. Lino)
 See note on p. 57, Vol. I.
VINCENZIO DA SAN GIMIGNANO AND TIMOTEO DA URBINO
LIVES OF VINCENZIO DA SAN GIMIGNANO AND TIMOTEO DA URBINO
[TIMOTEO DELLA VITE]
Having now to write, after the Life of the sculptor Andrea da Fiesole, the Lives of two excellent painters, Vincenzio da San Gimignano of Tuscany, and Timoteo da Urbino, I propose to speak first of Vincenzio, as the man whose portrait is above, and immediately afterwards of Timoteo, since they lived almost at one and the same time, and were both disciples and friends of Raffaello.
Vincenzio, then, working in company with many others in the Papal Loggie for the gracious Raffaello da Urbino, acquitted himself in such a manner that he was much extolled by Raffaello and by all the others. Having therefore been set to work in the Borgo, opposite to the Palace of Messer Giovanni Battista dall' Aquila, with great credit to himself he painted on a facade a frieze in terretta, in which he depicted the Nine Muses, with Apollo in the centre, and above them some lions, the device of the Pope, which are held to be very beautiful. Vincenzio showed great diligence in his manner and softness in his colouring, and his figures were very pleasing in aspect; in short, he always strove to imitate the manner of Raffaello da Urbino, as may also be seen in the same Borgo, opposite to the Palace of the Cardinal of Ancona, from the facade of a house that was built by Messer Giovanni Antonio Battiferro of Urbino, who, in consequence of the strait friendship that he had with Raffaello, received from him the design for that facade, and also, through his good offices, many benefits and rich revenues at the Court. In this design, then, which was afterwards carried into execution by Vincenzio, Raffaello drew, in allusion to the name of the Battiferri, the Cyclopes forging thunderbolts for Jove, and in another part Vulcan making arrows for Cupid, with some most beautiful nudes and other very lovely scenes and statues. The same Vincenzio painted a great number of scenes on a facade in the Piazza di S. Luigi de' Francesi at Rome, such as the Death of Caesar, a Triumph of Justice, and a battle of horsemen in a frieze, executed with spirit and much diligence; and in this work, close to the roof, between the windows, he painted some Virtues that are very well wrought. In like manner, on the facade of the Epifani, behind the Curia di Pompeo, and near the Campo di Fiore, he painted the Magi following the Star; with an endless number of other works throughout that city, the air and position of which seem to be in great measure the reason that men are inspired to produce marvellous works there. Experience teaches us, indeed, that very often the same man has not the same manner and does not produce work of equal excellence in every place, but makes it better or worse according to the nature of the place.
=. San Gimignano: S. Agostino_)
Vincenzio being in very good repute in Rome, there took place in the year 1527 the ruin and sack of that unhappy city, which had been the mistress of the nations. Whereupon, grieved beyond measure, he returned to his native city of San Gimignano; and there, by reason of the sufferings that he had undergone, and the weakening of his love for art, now that he was away from the air which nourishes men of fine genius and makes them bring forth works of the rarest merit, he painted some things that I will pass over in silence, in order not to veil with them the renown and the great name that he had honourably acquired in Rome. It is enough to point out clearly that violence turns the most lofty intellects roughly aside from their chief goal, and makes them direct their steps into the opposite path; which may also be seen in a companion of Vincenzio, called Schizzone, who executed some works in the Borgo that were highly extolled, and also in the Campo Santo of Rome and in S. Stefano degl' Indiani, and who was likewise caused by the senseless soldiery to turn aside from art and in a short time to lose his life. Vincenzio died in his native city of San Gimignano, having had but little gladness in his life after his departure from Rome.
=. Milan: Brera, 508_)
Timoteo, a painter of Urbino, was the son of Bartolommeo della Vite, a citizen of good position, and Calliope, the daughter of Maestro Antonio Alberto of Ferrara, a passing good painter in his day, as is shown by his works at Urbino and elsewhere. While Timoteo was still a child, his father dying, he was left to the care of his mother Calliope, with good and happy augury, from the circumstance that Calliope is one of the Nine Muses, and the conformity that exists between poetry and painting. Then, after he had been brought discreetly through his boyhood by his wise mother, and initiated by her into the studies of the simpler arts and likewise of drawing, the young man came into his first knowledge of the world at the very time when the divine Raffaello Sanzio was flourishing. Applying himself in his earliest years to the goldsmith's art, he was summoned by Messer Pier Antonio, his elder brother, who was then studying at Bologna, to that most noble city, to the end that he might follow that art, to which he seemed to be inclined by nature, under the discipline of some good master. While living, then, in Bologna, in which city he stayed no little time, and was much honoured and received by the noble and magnificent Messer Francesco Gombruti into his house with every sort of courtesy, Timoteo associated continually with men of culture and lofty intellect. Wherefore, having become known in a few months as a young man of judgment, and inclined much more to the painter's than to the goldsmith's art, of which he had given proofs in some very well-executed portraits of his friends and of others, it seemed good to his brother, wishing to encourage the young man's natural genius, and also persuaded to this by his friends, to take him away from his files and chisels, and to make him devote himself entirely to the study of drawing. At which he was very content, and applied himself straightway to drawing and to the labours of art, copying and drawing all the best works in that city; and establishing a close intimacy with painters, he set out to such purpose on his new road, that it was a marvel to see the progress that he made from one day to another, and all the more because he learnt with facility the most difficult things without any particular teaching from any appointed master. And so, becoming enamoured of his profession, and learning many secrets of painting merely by sometimes seeing certain painters of no account making their mixtures and using their brushes, and guided by himself and by the hand of nature, he set himself boldly to colouring, and acquired a very pleasing manner, very similar to that of the new Apelles, his compatriot, although he had seen nothing by his hand save a few works at Bologna. Thereupon, after executing some works on panel and on walls with very good results, guided by his own good intellect and judgment, and believing that in comparison with other painters he had succeeded very well in everything, he pursued the studies of painting with great ardour, and to such purpose, that in course of time he found that he had gained a firm footing in his art, and was held in good repute and vast expectation by all the world.
Having then returned to his own country, now a man twenty-six years of age, he stayed there for some months, giving excellent proofs of his knowledge. Thus he executed, to begin with, the altar-piece of the Madonna for the altar of S. Croce in the Duomo, containing, besides the Virgin, S. Crescenzio and S. Vitale; and there is a little Angel seated on the ground, playing on a viola with a grace truly angelic and a childlike simplicity expressed with art and judgment. Afterwards he painted another altar-piece for the high-altar of the Church of the Trinita, together with a S. Apollonia on the left hand of that altar.
By means of these works and certain others, of which there is no need to make mention, the name and fame of Timoteo spread abroad, and he was invited with great insistence by Raffaello to Rome; whither having gone with the greatest willingness, he was received with that loving kindness that was as peculiar to Raffaello as was his excellence in art. Working, then, with Raffaello, in little more than a year he made a great advance, not only in art, but also in prosperity, for in that time he sent home a good sum of money. While working with his master in the Church of S. Maria della Pace, he made with his own hand and invention the Sibyls that are in the lunettes on the right hand, so much esteemed by all painters. That they are his is maintained by some who still remember having seen them painted; and we have also testimony in the cartoons which are still to be found in the possession of his successors. On his own account, likewise, he afterwards painted the bier and the dead body contained therein, with the other things, so highly extolled, that are around it, in the Scuola of S. Caterina da Siena; and although certain men of Siena, carried away by love of their own country, attribute these works to others, it may easily be recognized that they are the handiwork of Timoteo, both from the grace and sweetness of the colouring, and from other memorials of himself that he left in that most noble school of excellent painters.
Now, although Timoteo was well and honourably placed in Rome, yet, not being able to endure, as many do, the separation from his own country, and also being invited and urged every moment to come home by the counsels of his friends and by the prayers of his mother, now an old woman, he returned to Urbino, much to the displeasure of Raffaello, who loved him dearly for his good qualities. And not long after, having taken a wife in Urbino at the suggestion of his family, and having become enamoured of his country, in which he saw that he was highly honoured, besides the circumstance, even more important, that he had begun to have children, Timoteo made up his mind firmly never again to consent to go abroad, notwithstanding, as may still be seen from some letters, that he was invited back to Rome by Raffaello. But he did not therefore cease to work, and he made many works in Urbino and in the neighbouring cities. At Forli he painted a chapel in company with Girolamo Genga, his friend and compatriot; and afterwards he painted entirely with his own hand a panel that was sent to Citta di Castello, and likewise another for the people of Cagli. At Castel Durante, also, he executed some works in fresco, which are truly worthy of praise, as are all the other works by his hand, which bear witness that he was a graceful painter in figures, landscapes, and every other field of painting. In Urbino, at the instance of Bishop Arrivabene of Mantua, he painted the Chapel of S. Martino in the Duomo, in company with the same Genga; but the altar-panel and the middle of the chapel are entirely by the hand of Timoteo. For the same church, also, he painted a Magdalene standing, clothed in a short mantle, and covered below this by her own tresses, which reach to the ground and are so beautiful and natural, that the wind appears to move them; not to mention the divine beauty of the expression of her countenance, which reveals clearly the love that she bore to her Master.
In S. Agata there is another panel by the hand of the same man, with some very good figures. And for S. Bernardino, without that city, he made that work so greatly renowned that is at the right hand upon the altar of the Buonaventuri, gentlemen of Urbino; wherein the Virgin is represented with most beautiful grace as having received the Annunciation, standing with her hands clasped and her face and eyes uplifted to Heaven. Above, in the sky, in the centre of a great circle of light, stands a little Child, with His foot on the Holy Spirit in the form of a Dove, and holding in His left hand a globe symbolizing the dominion of the world, while, with the other hand raised, He gives the benediction; and on the right of the Child is an angel, who is pointing Him out with his finger to the Madonna. Below—that is, on the level of the Madonna, to her right—is the Baptist, clothed in a camel's skin, which is torn on purpose that the nude figure may be seen; and on her left is a S. Sebastian, wholly naked, and bound in a beautiful attitude to a tree, and wrought with such diligence that the figure could not have stronger relief nor be in any part more beautiful.
At the Court of the most illustrious Dukes of Urbino, in a little private study, may be seen an Apollo and two half-nude Muses by his hand, beautiful to a marvel. For the same patrons he executed many pictures, and made some decorations for apartments, which are very beautiful. And afterwards, in company with Genga, he painted some caparisons for horses, which were sent to the King of France, with such beautiful figures of various animals that they appeared to all who beheld them to have life and movement. He made, also, some triumphal arches similar to those of the ancients, on the occasion of the marriage of the most illustrious Duchess Leonora to the Lord Duke Francesco Maria, to whom they gave vast satisfaction, as they did to the whole Court; on which account he was received for many years into the household of that Duke, with an honourable salary.
=. Bologna: Accademia, 204_)
Timoteo was a bold draughtsman, and even more notable for the sweetness and charm of his colouring, insomuch that his works could not have been executed with more delicacy or greater diligence. He was a merry fellow, gay and festive by nature, and most acute and witty in his sayings and discourses. He delighted in playing every sort of instrument, and particularly the lyre, to which he sang, improvising upon it with extraordinary grace. He died in the year of our salvation 1524, the fifty-fourth of his life, leaving his native country as much enriched by his name and his fine qualities as it was grieved by his loss. He left in Urbino some unfinished works, which were finished afterwards by others and show by comparison how great were the worth and ability of Timoteo.
In our book are some drawings by his hand, very beautiful and truly worthy of praise, which I received from the most excellent and gentle Messer Giovanni Maria, his son—namely, a pen-sketch for the portrait of the Magnificent Giuliano de' Medici, which Timoteo made when Giuliano was frequenting the Court of Urbino and that most famous academy, a "Noli me tangere," and a S. John the Evangelist sleeping while Christ is praying in the Garden, all very beautiful.
 In the original edition of 1568.
ANDREA DAL MONTE SANSOVINO
LIFE OF ANDREA DAL MONTE SANSOVINO
SCULPTOR AND ARCHITECT
Although Andrea, the son of Domenico Contucci of Monte Sansovino, was born from a poor father, a tiller of the earth, and rose from the condition of shepherd, nevertheless his conceptions were so lofty, his genius so rare, and his mind so ready, both in his works and in his discourses on the difficulties of architecture and perspective, that there was not in his day a better, rarer, or more subtle intellect than his, nor one that was more able than he was to render the greatest doubts clear and lucid; wherefore he well deserved to be held in his own times, by all who were qualified to judge, to be supreme in those professions. Andrea was born, so it is said, in the year 1460; and in his childhood, while looking after his flocks, he would draw on the sand the livelong day, as is also told of Giotto, and copy in clay some of the animals that he was guarding. So one day it happened that a Florentine citizen, who is said to have been Simone Vespucci, at that time Podesta of the Monte, passing by the place where Andrea was looking after his little charges, saw the boy standing all intent on drawing or modelling in clay. Whereupon he called to him, and, having seen what was the boy's bent, and heard whose son he was, he asked for him from Domenico Contucci, who graciously granted his request; and Simone promised to place him in the way of learning design, in order to see what virtue there might be in that inclination of nature, if assisted by continual study.
Having returned to Florence, then, Simone placed him to learn art with Antonio del Pollaiuolo, under whom Andrea made such proficience, that in a few years he became a very good master. In the house of that Simone, on the Ponte Vecchio, there may still be seen a cartoon executed by him at that time, of Christ being scourged at the Column, drawn with much diligence; and, in addition, two marvellous heads in terra-cotta, copied from ancient medals, one of the Emperor Nero, and the other of the Emperor Galba, which heads served to adorn a chimney-piece; but the Galba is now at Arezzo, in the house of Giorgio Vasari. Afterwards, while still living in Florence, he made an altar-piece in terra-cotta for the Church of S. Agata at Monte Sansovino, with a S. Laurence and some other saints, and little scenes most beautifully executed. And no long time after this he made another like it, containing a very beautiful Assumption of Our Lady, S. Agata, S. Lucia, and S. Romualdo; which altar-piece was afterwards glazed by the Della Robbia family.
. Florence: S. Spirito)
Then, pursuing the art of sculpture, he made in his youth for Simone del Pollaiuolo, otherwise called Il Cronaca, two capitals for pilasters in the Sacristy of S. Spirito, which brought him very great fame, and led to his receiving a commission to execute the antechamber that is between the said sacristy and the church; and since the space was very small, Andrea was forced to use great ingenuity. He made, therefore, a structure of grey-stone in the Corinthian Order, with twelve round columns, six on either side; and having laid architrave, frieze, and cornice over these columns, he then raised a barrel-shaped vault, all of the same stone, with a coffer-work surface full of carvings, which was something novel, rich and varied, and much extolled. It is true, indeed, that if the mouldings of that coffer-work ceiling, which serve to divide the square and round panels by which it is adorned, had been contrived so as to fall in a straight line with the columns, with truer proportion and harmony, this work would be wholly perfect in every part; and it would have been an easy thing to do this. But, according to what I once heard from certain old friends of Andrea, he used to defend himself by saying that he had adhered in his vault to the method of the coffering in the Ritonda at Rome, wherein the ribs that radiate from the round window in the centre above, from which that temple gets its light, serve to enclose the square sunk panels containing the rosettes, which diminish little by little, as likewise do the ribs; and for that reason they do not fall in a straight line with the columns. Andrea used to add that if he who built the Temple of the Ritonda, which is the best designed and proportioned that there is, and made with more harmony than any other, paid no attention to this in a vault of such size and importance, much less should he do so in a coffered ceiling with far smaller panels. Nevertheless many craftsmen, and Michelagnolo in particular, have been of the opinion that the Ritonda was built by three architects, of whom the first carried it as far as the cornice that is above the columns, and the second from the cornice upwards, the part, namely, that contains those windows of more graceful workmanship, for in truth this second part is very different in manner from the part below, since the vaulting was carried out without any relation between the coffering and the straight lines of what is below. The third is believed to have made the portico, which was a very rare work. And for these reasons the masters who practise this art at the present day should not fall into such an error and then make excuses, as did Andrea.
After that work, having received from the family of the Corbinelli the commission for the Chapel of the Sacrament in the same church, he carried it out with much diligence, imitating in the low-reliefs Donato and other excellent craftsmen, and sparing no labour in his desire to do himself credit, as, indeed, he did. In two niches, one on either side of a very beautiful tabernacle, he placed two saints somewhat more than one braccio in height, S. James and S. Matthew, executed with such spirit and excellence, that every sort of merit is revealed in them and not one fault. Equally good, also, are two Angels in the round that are the crowning glory of this work, with the most beautiful draperies—for they are in the act of flying—that are anywhere to be seen; and in the centre is a little naked Christ full of grace. There are also some scenes with little figures in the predella and over the tabernacle, all so well executed that the point of a brush could scarcely do what Andrea did with his chisel. But whosoever wishes to be amazed by the diligence of this extraordinary man should look at the architecture of this work as a whole, for it is so well executed and joined together in its small proportions that it appears to have been chiselled out of one single stone. Much extolled, also, is a large Pieta of marble that he made in half-relief on the front of the altar, with the Madonna and S. John weeping. Nor could one imagine any more beautiful pieces of casting than are the bronze gratings that enclose that chapel, with their ornaments of marble, and with stags, the device, or rather the arms, of the Corbinelli, which serve as adornments for the bronze candelabra. In short, this work was executed without any sparing of labour, and with all the best considerations that could possibly be imagined.
By these and by other works the name of Andrea spread far and wide, and he was sought for from the elder Lorenzo de' Medici, the Magnificent, in whose garden, as has been related, he had pursued the studies of design, by the King of Portugal; and, being therefore sent to him by Lorenzo, he executed for that King many works of sculpture and of architecture, and in particular a very beautiful palace with four towers, and many other buildings. Part of the palace was painted after designs and cartoons by the hand of Andrea, who drew very well, as may be seen from some drawings by his own hand in our book, finished with a charcoal-point, and some other architectural drawings, showing excellent design. He also made for that King a carved altar of wood, containing some Prophets; and likewise a very beautiful battle-piece in clay, to be afterwards carved in marble, representing the wars that the King waged with the Moors, who were vanquished by him; and no work by the hand of Andrea was ever seen that was more spirited or more terrible than this, what with the movements and various attitudes of the horses, the heaps of dead, and the vehement fury of the soldiers in combat. And he made a figure of S. Mark in marble, which was a very rare work. While in the service of that King, Andrea also gave his attention to some difficult and fantastic architectural works, according to the custom of that country, in order to please the King; of which things I once saw a book at Monte Sansovino in the possession of his heirs, which is now in the hands of Maestro Girolamo Lombardo, who was his disciple, and to whom it fell, as will be related, to finish some works begun by Andrea.
. Rome: S. Maria del Popolo)
Having been nine years in Portugal, and growing weary of that service, and desirous of seeing his relatives and friends in Tuscany again, Andrea determined, now that he had put together a good sum of money, to obtain leave from the King and return home. And so, having been granted permission, although not willingly, he returned to Florence, leaving behind him one who should complete such of his works as remained unfinished. After arriving in Florence, he began in the year 1500 a marble group of S. John baptizing Christ, which was to be placed over that door of the Temple of S. Giovanni that faces the Misericordia; but he did not finish it, because he was almost forced to go to Genoa, where he made two figures of marble, Christ, or rather S. John, and a Madonna, which are truly worthy of the highest praise. And those at Florence remained unfinished, and are still to be found at the present day in the Office of Works of the said S. Giovanni.
He was then summoned to Rome by Pope Julius II, and received the commission for two tombs of marble, which were erected in S. Maria del Popolo—one for Cardinal Ascanio Sforza, and the other for the Cardinal of Recanati, a very near relative of the Pope—and these works were wrought so perfectly by Andrea that nothing more could be desired, since they were so well executed and finished, and with such purity, beauty, and grace, that they reveal the true consideration and proportion of art. There may be seen there, also, a Temperance with an hourglass in her hand, which is held to be a thing divine; and, indeed, it does not appear to be a modern work, but ancient and wholly perfect. And although there are other figures there similar to it, yet on account of its attitude and grace it is much the best; not to mention that nothing could be more pleasing and beautiful than the veil that she has around her, which is executed with such delicacy that it is a miracle to behold.
In S. Agostino at Rome, on a pilaster in the middle of the church, he made in marble a S. Anne embracing a Madonna with the Child, a little less than lifesize. This work may be counted as one of the best of modern times, since, even as a lively and wholly natural gladness is seen in the old woman, and a divine beauty in the Madonna, so the figure of the Infant Christ is so well wrought, that no other was ever executed with such delicacy and perfection. Wherefore it well deserved that for many years a succession of sonnets and various other learned compositions should be attached to it, of which the friars of that place have a book full, which I myself have seen, to my no little marvel. And in truth the world was right in doing this, for the reason that the work can never be praised enough.
. Rome: S. Agostino)
The fame of Andrea having thereby grown greater, Leo X, who had resolved that the adornment with wrought marble of the Chamber of the Madonna in S. Maria at Loreto should be carried out, according to the beginning made by Bramante, ordained that Andrea should bring that work to completion. The ornamentation of that Chamber, which Bramante had begun, had at the corners four double projections, which, adorned by pillars with bases and carved capitals, rested on a socle rich with carvings, and two braccia and a half in height; over which socle, between the two aforesaid pillars, he had made a large niche to contain seated figures, and, above each of these niches, a smaller one, which, reaching to the collarino of the capitals of those pillars, left a frieze of the same height as the capitals. Above these were afterwards laid architrave, frieze, and richly carved cornice, which, going right round all the four walls, project over the four corners; and in the middle of each of the larger walls—for the Chamber is greater in length than in breadth—were left two spaces, since there was the same projection in the centre of those walls as there was at the corners; whence the larger niche below, with the smaller one above it, came to be enclosed by a space of five braccia on either side. In this space were two doors, one on either side, through which one entered into the chapel; and above the doors was a space of five braccia between one niche and another, wherein were to be carved scenes in marble. The front wall was the same, but without niches in the centre, and the height of the socle, with the projection, formed an altar, which was set off by the pillars and the niches at the corners. In the same front wall, in the centre, was a space of the same breadth as the spaces at the sides, to contain some scenes in the upper part, while below, the same in height as the spaces of the sides, but beginning immediately above the altar, was a bronze grating opposite to the inner altar, through which it was possible to hear the Mass and to see the inside of the Chamber and the aforesaid altar of the Madonna. Altogether, then, the spaces and compartments for the scenes were seven: one in front, above the grating, two on each of the longer sides, and two on the upper part—that is to say, behind the altar of the Madonna; and, in addition, there were eight large and eight small niches, with other smaller spaces for the arms and devices of the Pope and of the Church.
Andrea, then, having found the work in this condition, distributed over these spaces, with a rich and beautiful arrangement, scenes from the life of the Madonna. In one of the two side-walls, he began in one part the Nativity of the Madonna, and executed half of it; and it was completely finished afterwards by Baccio Bandinelli. In the other part he began the Marriage of the Virgin, but this also remained unfinished, and after the death of Andrea it was completed as we see it by Raffaello da Montelupo. On the front wall he arranged that there should be made, in two small squares which are on either side of the bronze grating, in one the Visitation and in the other the scene of the Virgin and Joseph going to have themselves enrolled for taxes; which scenes were afterwards executed by Francesco da San Gallo, then a young man. Then, in that part where the greatest space is, Andrea made the Angel Gabriel bringing the Annunciation to the Virgin—which happened in that very chamber which these marbles enclose—with such grace and beauty that there is nothing better to be seen, for he made the Virgin wholly intent on that Salutation, and the Angel, kneeling, appears to be not of marble, but truly celestial, with "Ave Maria" issuing from his mouth. In company with Gabriel are two other Angels, in full-relief and detached from the marble, one of whom is walking after him and the other appears to be flying. Behind a building stand two other Angels, carved out by the chisel in such a way that they seem to be alive. In the air, on a cloud much undercut—nay, almost entirely detached from the marble—are many little boys upholding a God the Father, who is sending down the Holy Spirit by means of a ray of marble, which, descending from Him completely detached, appears quite real; as, likewise, is the Dove upon it, which represents the Holy Spirit. Nor can one describe how great is the beauty and how delicate the carving of a vase filled with flowers, which was made in this work by the gracious hand of Andrea, who lavished so much excellence on the plumes of the Angels, the hair, the grace of their features and draperies, and, in short, on every other thing, that this divine work cannot be extolled enough. And, in truth, that most holy place, which was the very house and habitation of the Mother of the Son of God, could not obtain from the resources of the world a greater, richer, or more beautiful adornment than that which it received from the architecture of Bramante and the sculpture of Andrea Sansovino; although, even if it were entirely of the most precious gems of the East, it would be little more than nothing in comparison with such merits.
Andrea spent an almost incredible amount of time over this work, and therefore had no time to finish the others that he had begun; for, in addition to those mentioned above, he began in a space on one of the side-walls the Nativity of Jesus Christ, with the Shepherds and four Angels singing; and all these he finished so well that they seem to be wholly alive. But the story of the Magi, which he began above that one, was afterwards finished by Girolamo Lombardo, his disciple, and by others. On the back wall he arranged that two large scenes should be made, one above the other; in one, the Death of Our Lady, with the Apostles bearing her to her burial, four Angels in the air, and many Jews seeking to steal that most holy corpse; and this was finished after Andrea's lifetime by the sculptor Bologna. Below this one, then, he arranged that there should be made a scene of the Miracle of Loreto, showing in what manner that chapel, which was the Chamber of Our Lady, wherein she was born, brought up, and saluted by the Angel, and in which she reared her Son up to the age of twelve and lived ever after His Death, was finally carried by the Angels, first into Sclavonia, afterwards to a forest in the territory of Recanati, and in the end to the place where it is now held in such veneration and continually visited in solemn throng by all the Christian people. This scene, I say, was executed in marble on that wall, according to the arrangement made by Andrea, by the Florentine sculptor Tribolo, as will be related in due place. Andrea likewise blocked out the Prophets for the niches, but did not finish them completely, save one alone, and the others were afterwards finished by the aforesaid Girolamo Lombardo and by other sculptors, as will be seen in the Lives that are to follow. But with regard to all the works wrought by Andrea in this undertaking, they are the most beautiful and best executed works of sculpture that had ever been made up to that time.
In like manner, the Palace of the Canons of the same church was also carried on by Andrea, after the arrangements made by Bramante at the commission of Pope Leo. But this, also, remained unfinished after the death of Andrea, and the building was continued under Clement VII by Antonio da San Gallo, and then by the architect Giovanni Boccalino, under the patronage of the very reverend Cardinal da Carpi, up to the year 1563. While Andrea was at work on the aforesaid Chapel of the Virgin, there were built the fortifications of Loreto and other works, which were highly extolled by the all-conquering Signor Giovanni de' Medici, with whom Andrea had a very strait friendship, having become first acquainted with him in Rome.
Having four months of holiday in the year for repose while he was working at Loreto, he used to spend that time in agriculture at his native place of Monte Sansovino, enjoying meanwhile a most tranquil rest with his relatives and friends. Living thus at the Monte during the summer, he built there a commodious house for himself and bought much property; and for the Friars of S. Agostino in that place he had a cloister made, which, although small, is very well designed, but also out of the square, since those Fathers insisted on having it built over the old walls. Andrea, however, made the interior rectangular by increasing the thickness of the pilasters at the corners, in order to change it from an ill-proportioned structure into one with good and true measurements. He designed, also, for a Company that had its seat in that cloister, under the title of S. Antonio, a very beautiful door of the Doric Order; and likewise the tramezzo and pulpit of the Church of S. Agostino. He also caused a little chapel to be built for the friars half-way down the hill on the descent to the fountain, without the door that leads to the old Pieve, although they had no wish for it. He made the design for the house of Messer Pietro, a most skilful astrologer, at Arezzo; and a large figure of terra-cotta for Montepulciano, of King Porsena, which was a rare work, although I have never seen it again since the first time, so that I fear that it may have come to an evil end. And for a German priest, who was his friend, he made a lifesize S. Rocco of terra-cotta, very beautiful; which priest had it placed in the Church of Battifolle, in the district of Arezzo. This was the last piece of sculpture that Andrea executed.
He gave the design, also, for the steps ascending to the Vescovado of Arezzo; and for the Madonna delle Lagrime, in the same city, he made the design of a very beautiful ornament that was to be executed in marble, with four figures, each four braccia high; but this work was carried no farther, on account of the death of our Andrea. For he, having reached the age of sixty-eight, and being a man who would never stay idle, set to work to move some stakes from one place to another at his villa, whereby he caught a chill; and in a few days, worn out by a continuous fever, he died, in the year 1529.
The death of Andrea grieved his native place by reason of the honour that he had brought it, and his sons and the women of his household, who lost both their dearest one and their support. And not long ago Muzio Camillo, one of the three aforesaid sons, who was displaying a most beautiful intellect in the studies of learning and letters, followed him, to the great loss of his family and displeasure of his friends.
Andrea, in addition to his profession of art, was truly a person of much distinction, for he was wise in his discourse, and reasoned most beautifully on every subject. He was prudent and regular in his every action, much the friend of learned men, and a philosopher of great natural gifts. He gave much attention to the study of cosmography, and left to his family a number of drawings and writings on the subject of distances and measurements. He was somewhat small in stature, but robust and beautifully made. His hair was soft and long, his eyes light in colour, his nose aquiline, and his skin pink and white; but he had a slight impediment in his speech.
His disciples were the aforesaid Girolamo Lombardo, the Florentine Simone Cioli, Domenico dal Monte Sansovino (who died soon after him), and the Florentine Leonardo del Tasso, who made the S. Sebastian of wood over his own tomb in S. Ambrogio at Florence, and the marble panel of the Nuns of S. Chiara. A disciple of Andrea, likewise, was the Florentine Jacopo Sansovino—so called after his master—of whom there will be a long account in the proper place.
Architecture and sculpture, then, are much indebted to Andrea, in that he enriched the one with many rules of measurement and devices for drawing weights, and with a degree of diligence that had not been employed before, and in the other he brought his marble to perfection with marvellous judgment, care, and mastery.
 See note on p. 57, Vol. I.
BENEDETTO DA ROVEZZANO
LIFE OF BENEDETTO DA ROVEZZANO
Great, I think, must be the displeasure of those who, having executed some work of genius, yet, when they hope to enjoy the fruits of this in their old age, and to see the beautiful results achieved by other intellects in works similar to their own, and to be able to perceive what perfection there may be in that field of art that they themselves have practised, find themselves robbed by adverse fortune, by time, by a bad habit of body, or by some other cause, of the sight of their eyes; whence they are not able, as they were before, to perceive either the deficiencies or the perfection of men whom they hear of as living and practising their own professions. And even more are they grieved to hear the praises of the new masters, not through envy, but because they are not able to judge, like others, whether that fame be well-deserved or not.
This misfortune happened to Benedetto da Rovezzano, a sculptor of Florence, of whom we are now about to write the Life, to the end that the world may know how able and practised a sculptor he was, and with what diligence he carved marble in strong relief against its ground in the marvellous works that he made. Among the first of many labours that this master executed in Florence, may be numbered a chimney-piece of grey-stone that is in the house of Pier Francesco Borgherini, wherein are capitals, friezes, and many other ornaments, carved by his hand in open-work with great diligence. In the house of Messer Bindo Altoviti, likewise, is a chimney-piece by the same hand, with a lavatory of marble, and some other things executed with much delicacy; but everything in these that has to do with architecture was designed by Jacopo Sansovino, then a young man.
Next, in the year 1512, Benedetto received the commission for a tomb of marble, with rich ornaments, in the principal chapel of the Carmine in Florence, for Piero Soderini, who had been Gonfalonier in that city; and that work was executed by him with incredible diligence, seeing that, besides foliage, carved emblems of death, and figures, he made therein with basanite, in low-relief, a canopy in imitation of black cloth, with so much grace and such beautiful finish and lustre, that the stone appears to be exquisite black satin rather than basanite. And, to put it in a few words, for all that the hand of Benedetto did in this work there is no praise that would not seem too little.
And since he also gave his attention to architecture, there was restored from the design of Benedetto a house near S. Apostolo in Florence, belonging to Messer Oddo Altoviti, Patron and Prior of that church. There Benedetto made the principal door in marble, and, over the door of the house, the arms of the Altoviti in grey-stone, with the wolf, lean, excoriated, and carved in such strong relief, that it seems to be almost separate from the shield; and some pendant ornaments carved in open-work with such delicacy, that they appear to be not of stone, but of the finest paper. In the same church, above the two chapels of Messer Bindo Altoviti, for which Giorgio Vasari of Arezzo painted the panel-picture of the Conception in oils, Benedetto made a marble tomb for the said Messer Oddo, surrounded by an ornament full of most masterly foliage, with a sarcophagus, likewise very beautiful.
Benedetto also executed, in competition with Jacopo Sansovino and Baccio Bandinelli, as has been related, one of the Apostles, four and a half braccia in height, for S. Maria del Fiore—namely, a S. John the Evangelist, which is a passing good figure, wrought with fine design and skill. This figure is in the Office of Works, in company with the others.
Next, in the year 1515, the chiefs and heads of the Order of Vallombrosa, wishing to transfer the body of S. Giovanni Gualberto from the Abbey of Passignano to the Church of S. Trinita, an abbey of the same Order, in Florence, commissioned Benedetto to make a design, upon which he was to set to work, for a chapel and tomb combined, with a vast number of lifesize figures in the round, which were to be suitably distributed over that work in some niches separated by pilasters filled with ornaments and friezes and with delicately carved grotesques. And below this whole work there was to be a base one braccio and a half in height, wherein were to be scenes from the life of the said S. Giovanni Gualberto; while endless numbers of other ornaments were to be round the sarcophagus, and as a crown to the work. On this tomb, then, Benedetto, assisted by many carvers, laboured continually for ten years, with vast expense to that Congregation; and he brought the work to completion in their house of Guarlondo, a place near San Salvi, without the Porta alla Croce, where the General of the Order that was having the work executed almost always lived. Benedetto, then, carried out the making of that chapel and tomb in such a manner as amazed Florence; but, as Fate would have it—for even marbles and the finest works of men of excellence are subject to the whims of fortune—after much discord among those monks, their government was changed, and the work remained unfinished in the same place until the year 1530. At which time, war raging round Florence, all those labours were ruined by soldiers, the heads wrought with such diligence were impiously struck off from the little figures, and the whole work was so completely destroyed and broken to pieces, that the monks afterwards sold what was left for a mere song. If any one wishes to see a part of it, let him go to the Office of Works of S. Maria del Fiore, where there are a few pieces, bought as broken marble not many years ago by the officials of that place. And, in truth, even as everything is brought to fine completion in those monasteries and other places where peace and concord reign, so, on the contrary, nothing ever reaches perfection or an end worthy of praise in places where there is naught save rivalry and discord, because what takes a good and wise man a hundred years to build up can be destroyed by an ignorant and crazy boor in one day. And it seems as if fortune wishes that those who know the least and delight in nothing that is excellent, should always be the men who govern and command, or rather, ruin, everything: as was also said of secular Princes, with no less learning than truth, by Ariosto, at the beginning of his seventeenth canto. But returning to Benedetto: it was a sad pity that all his labours and all the money spent by that Order should have come to such a miserable end.
By the same architect were designed the door and vestibule of the Badia of Florence, and likewise some chapels, among them that of S. Stefano, erected by the family of the Pandolfini. Finally, Benedetto was summoned to England into the service of the King, for whom he executed many works in marble and in bronze, and, in particular, his tomb; from which works, through the liberality of that King, he gained enough to be able to live in comfort for the rest of his life. Thereupon he returned to Florence; but, after he had finished some little things, a sort of giddiness, which even in England had begun to affect his eyes, and other troubles caused, so it was said, by standing too long over the fire in the founding of metals, or by some other reasons, in a short time robbed him completely of the sight of his eyes; wherefore he ceased to work about the year 1550, and to live a few years after that. Benedetto endured that blindness during the last years of his life with the patience of a good Christian, thanking God that He had first enabled him, by means of his labours, to live an honourable life.
Benedetto was a courteous gentleman, and he always delighted in the society of men of culture. His portrait was copied from one made, when he was a young man, by Agnolo di Donnino. This original is in our book of drawings, wherein there are also some drawings very well executed by the hand of Benedetto, who deserves, on account of all those works, to be numbered among our most excellent craftsmen.
BACCIO DA MONTELUPO AND RAFFAELLO, HIS SON
LIVES OF BACCIO DA MONTELUPO
AND OF RAFFAELLO, HIS SON
So strong is the belief of mankind that those who are negligent in the arts which they profess to practise can never arrive at any perfection in them, that it was in the face of the judgment of many that Baccio da Montelupo learnt the art of sculpture; and this happened to him because in his youth, led astray by pleasures, he would scarcely ever study, and, although he was exhorted and upbraided by many, he thought little or nothing of art. But having come to years of discretion, which bring sense with them, he was forced straightway to learn how far he was from the good way. Whereupon, seeing with shame that others were going ahead of him in that art, he resolved with a stout heart to follow and practise with all possible zeal that which in his idleness he had hitherto shunned. This resolution was the reason that he produced in sculpture such fruits as the opinions of many no longer expected from him.
Having thus devoted himself with all his powers to his art, and practising it continually, he became a rare and excellent master. And of this he gave a proof in a work in hard-stone, wrought with the chisel, on the corner of the garden attached to the Palace of the Pucci in Florence; which was the escutcheon of Pope Leo X, with two children supporting it, executed in a beautiful and masterly manner. He made a Hercules for Pier Francesco de' Medici; and from the Guild of Porta Santa Maria he received the commission for a statue of S. John the Evangelist, to be executed in bronze, in securing which he had many difficulties, since a number of masters made models in competition with him. This figure was afterwards placed on the corner of S. Michele in Orto, opposite to the Ufficio; and the work was finished by him with supreme diligence. It is said that when he had made the figure in clay, all who saw the arrangement of the armatures, and the moulds laid upon them, held it to be a beautiful piece of work, recognizing the rare ingenuity of Baccio in such an enterprise; and when they had seen it cast with the utmost facility, they gave Baccio credit for having shown supreme mastery, and having made a solid and beautiful casting. These labours endured in that profession, brought him the name of a good and even excellent master; and that figure is esteemed more than ever at the present day by all craftsmen, who hold it to be most beautiful.
Setting himself also to work in wood, he carved lifesize Crucifixes, of which he made an endless number for all parts of Italy, and among them one that is over the door of the choir of the Monks of S. Marco at Florence. These are all excellent and full of grace, but there are some that are much more perfect than the rest, such as the one of the Murate in Florence, and another, no less famous than the first, in S. Pietro Maggiore; and for the Monks of SS. Fiora e Lucilla he made a similar one, which they placed over the high-altar of their abbey at Arezzo, and which is held to be much the most beautiful of them all. For the visit of Pope Leo X to Florence, Baccio erected between the Palace of the Podesta and the Badia a very beautiful triumphal arch of wood and clay; with many little works, which have either disappeared or been dispersed among the houses of citizens.
Having grown weary, however, of living in Florence, he went off to Lucca, where he executed some works in sculpture, and even more in architecture, in the service of that city, and, in particular, the beautiful and well-designed Temple of S. Paulino, the Patron Saint of the people of Lucca, built with proofs of a fine and well-trained intelligence both within and without, and richly adorned. Living in that city, then, up to the eighty-eighth year of his life, he ended his days there, and received honourable burial in the aforesaid S. Paulino from those whom he had honoured when alive.
A contemporary of Baccio was Agostino, a very famous sculptor and carver of Milan, who began in S. Maria, at Milan, the tomb of Monsignore de Foix, which remains unfinished even now; and in it may still be seen many large figures, some finished, some half completed, and others only blocked out, with a number of scenes in half-relief, in pieces and not built in, and a great quantity of foliage and trophies. For the Biraghi, also, he made another tomb, which is finished and erected in S. Francesco, with six large figures, the base wrought with scenes, and other very beautiful ornaments, which bear witness to the masterly skill of that valiant craftsman.
Baccio left at his death, among other sons, Raffaello, who applied himself to sculpture, and not merely equalled his father, but surpassed him by a great measure. This Raffaello, beginning in his youth to work in clay, in wax, and in bronze, acquired the name of an excellent sculptor, and was therefore taken by Antonio da San Gallo to Loreto, together with many others, in order to finish the ornamentation of that Chamber, according to the directions left by Andrea Sansovino; where Raffaello completely finished the Marriage of Our Lady, begun by the said Sansovino, executing many things in a beautiful and perfect manner, partly over the beginnings of Andrea, and partly from his own invention. Wherefore he was deservedly esteemed to be one of the best craftsmen who worked there in his time.
He had finished this work, when Michelagnolo, by order of Pope Clement VII, proceeded to finish the new sacristy and the library of S. Lorenzo in Florence; and that master, having recognized the talent of Raffaello, made use of him in that work, and caused him to execute, among other things, after the model that he himself had made, the S. Damiano of marble which is now in that sacristy—a very beautiful statue, very highly extolled by all men. After the death of Clement, Raffaello attached himself to Duke Alessandro de' Medici, who was then having the fortress of Prato built; and he made for him in grey-stone, on one of the extremities of the chief bastion of that fortress—namely, on the outer side—the escutcheon of the Emperor Charles V, upheld by two nude and lifesize Victories, which were much extolled, as they still are. And for the extremity of another bastion, in the direction of the city, on the southern side, he made the arms of Duke Alessandro in the same kind of stone, with two figures. Not long after, he executed a large Crucifix of wood for the Nuns of S. Apollonia; and for Alessandro Antinori, a very rich and noble merchant of Florence at that time, he prepared a most magnificent festival for the marriage of his daughter, with statues, scenes, and many other most beautiful ornaments.
Having then gone to Rome, he received from Buonarroti a commission to make two figures of marble, each five braccia high, for the tomb of Julius II, which was finished and erected at that time by Michelagnolo in S. Pietro in Vincula. But Raffaello, falling ill while he was executing this work, was not able to put into it his usual zeal and diligence, on which account he lost credit thereby, and gave little satisfaction to Michelagnolo. At the visit of the Emperor Charles V to Rome, for which Pope Paul III prepared a festival worthy of that all-conquering Prince, Raffaello made with clay and stucco, on the Ponte S. Angelo, fourteen statues so beautiful, that they were judged to be the best that had been made for that festival. And, what is more, he executed them with such rapidity that he was in time to come to Florence, where the Emperor was likewise expected, to make within the space of five days and no more, on the abutment of the Ponte a S. Trinita two Rivers of clay, each five braccia high, the Rhine to stand for Germany and the Danube for Hungary.
After this, having been summoned to Orvieto, he made in marble, in a chapel wherein the excellent sculptor Mosca had previously executed many most beautiful ornaments, the story of the Magi in half-relief, which proved to be a very fine work, on account of the great variety of figures and the good manner with which he executed them.
. Milan: Brera)
Then, having returned to Rome, he was appointed by Tiberio Crispo, at that time Castellan of the Castello di S. Angelo, as architect of that great structure; whereupon he set in order many rooms there, adorning them with carvings in many kinds of stone and various sorts of variegated marbles on the chimney-pieces, windows, and doors. In addition to this, he made a marble statue, five braccia high, of the Angel of that Castle, which is on the summit of the great square tower in the centre, where the standard flies, after the likeness of that Angel that appeared to S. Gregory, who, having prayed that the people should be delivered from a most grievous pestilence, saw him sheathing his sword in the scabbard. Later, when the said Crispo had been made a Cardinal, he sent Raffaello several times to Bolsena, where he was building a palace. Nor was it long before the very reverend Cardinal Salviati and Messer Baldassarre Turini da Pescia commissioned Raffaello, who had already left the service of the Castle and of Cardinal Crispo, to make the statue of Pope Leo that is now over his tomb in the Minerva at Rome. That work finished, Raffaello made a tomb for the same Messer Baldassarre in the Church of Pescia, where that gentleman had built a chapel of marble. And for a chapel in the Consolazione, at Rome, he made three figures of marble in half-relief. But afterwards, having given himself up to the sort of life fit rather for a philosopher than for a sculptor, and wishing to live in peace, he retired to Orvieto, where he undertook the charge of the building of S. Maria, in which he made many improvements; and with this he occupied himself for many years, growing old before his time.
I believe that Raffaello, if he had undertaken great works, as he might have done, would have executed more things in art, and better, than he did. But he was too kindly and considerate, avoiding all conflict, and contenting himself with that wherewith fortune had provided him; and thus he neglected many opportunities of making works of distinction. Raffaello was a very masterly draughtsman, and he had a much better knowledge of all matters of art than had been shown by his father Baccio. In our book are some drawings by the hand both of the one and of the other; but those of Raffaello are much the finer and more graceful, and executed with better art. In his architectural decorations Raffaello followed in great measure the manner of Michelagnolo, as is proved by the chimney-pieces, doors, and windows that he made in the aforesaid Castello di S. Angelo, and by some chapels built under his direction, in a rare and beautiful manner, at Orvieto.
But returning to Baccio: his death was a great grief to the people of Lucca, who had known him as a good and upright man, courteous to all, and very loving. Baccio's works date about the year of our Lord 1533. His dearest friend, who learnt many things from him, was Zaccaria da Volterra, who executed many works in terra-cotta at Bologna, some of which are in the Church of S. Giuseppe.
LORENZO DI CREDI
LIFE OF LORENZO DI CREDI
PAINTER OF FLORENCE
The while that Maestro Credi, an excellent goldsmith in his day, was working in Florence with very good credit and repute, Andrea Sciarpelloni placed with him, to the end that he might learn that craft, his son Lorenzo, a young man of beautiful intellect and excellent character. And since the ability and willingness of the master to teach were not greater than the zeal and readiness with which the disciple absorbed whatever was shown to him, no long time passed before Lorenzo became not only a good and diligent designer, but also so able and finished a goldsmith, that no young man of that time was his equal; and this brought such honour to Credi, that from that day onward Lorenzo was always called by everyone, not Lorenzo Sciarpelloni, but Lorenzo di Credi.
Growing in courage, then, Lorenzo attached himself to Andrea Verrocchio, who at that time had taken it into his head to devote himself to painting; and under him, having Pietro Perugino and Leonardo da Vinci as his companions and friends, although they were rivals, he set himself with all diligence to learn to paint. And since Lorenzo took an extraordinary pleasure in the manner of Leonardo, he contrived to imitate it so well that there was no one who came nearer to it than he did in the high finish and thorough perfection of his works, as may be seen from many drawings that are in our book, executed with the style, with the pen, or in water-colours, among which are some drawings made from models of clay covered with waxed linen cloths and with liquid clay, imitated with such diligence, and finished with such patience, as it is scarcely possible to conceive, much less to equal.
For these reasons, then, Lorenzo was so beloved by his master, that, when Andrea went to Venice to cast in bronze the horse and the statue of Bartolommeo da Bergamo, he left to Lorenzo the whole management and administration of his revenues and affairs, and likewise all his drawings, reliefs, statues, and art materials. And Lorenzo, on his part, loved his master Andrea so dearly, that, besides occupying himself with incredible zeal with his interests in Florence, he also went more than once to Venice to see him and to render him an account of his good administration, which was so much to the satisfaction of his master, that, if Lorenzo had consented, Andrea would have made him his heir. Nor did Lorenzo prove in any way ungrateful for this good-will, for, after the death of Andrea, he went to Venice and brought his body to Florence; and then he handed over to his heirs everything that was found to belong to Andrea, except his drawings, pictures, sculptures, and all other things connected with art.
The first paintings of Lorenzo were a round picture of Our Lady, which was sent to the King of Spain (the design of which picture he copied from one by his master Andrea), and a picture, much better than the other, which was likewise copied by Lorenzo from one by Leonardo da Vinci, and also sent to Spain; and so similar was it to that by Leonardo, that no difference could be seen between the one and the other. By the hand of Lorenzo is a Madonna in a very well executed panel, which is beside the great Church of S. Jacopo at Pistoia; and another, also, which is in the Hospital of the Ceppo, and is one of the best pictures in that city. Lorenzo painted many portraits, and when he was a young man he made that one of himself which is now in the possession of his disciple, Gian Jacopo, a painter in Florence, together with many other things left to him by Lorenzo, among which are the portrait of Pietro Perugino and that of Lorenzo's master, Andrea Verrocchio. He also made a portrait of Girolamo Benivieni, a man of great learning, and much his friend.
For the Company of S. Sebastiano, behind the Church of the Servi in Florence, he executed a panel-picture of Our Lady, S. Sebastian, and other saints; and for the altar of S. Giuseppe, in S. Maria del Fiore, he painted the first-named saint. To Montepulciano he sent a panel that is now in the Church of S. Agostino, containing a Crucifix, Our Lady, and S. John, painted with much diligence. But the best work that Lorenzo ever executed, and that to which he devoted the greatest care and zeal, in order to surpass himself, was the one that is in a chapel at Cestello, a panel containing Our Lady, S. Julian, and S. Nicholas; and whoever wishes to know how necessary it is for a painter to work with a high finish in oils if he desires that his pictures should remain fresh, must look at this panel, which is painted with such a finish as could not be excelled.
While still a young man, Lorenzo painted a S. Bartholomew on a pilaster in Orsanmichele, and for the Nuns of S. Chiara, in Florence, a panel-picture of the Nativity of Christ, with some shepherds and angels; in which picture, besides other things, he took great pains with the imitation of some herbage, painting it so well that it appears to be real. For the same place he made a picture of S. Mary Magdalene in Penitence; and in a round picture that is in the house of Messer Ottaviano de' Medici he painted a Madonna. For S. Friano he painted a panel; and he executed some figures in S. Matteo at the Hospital of Lelmo. For S. Reparata he painted a picture with the Angel Michael, and for the Company of the Scalzo he made a panel-picture, executed with much diligence. And, in addition to these works, he made many pictures of Our Lady and others, which are dispersed among the houses of citizens in Florence.