Condivi says that the commission was given to Michelangelo by the papal architect Bramante in the hope that Michelangelo would be shown up as an inferior painter to Raphael.
A fine injured tempera painting of the subject in the storerooms of the National Gallery in London may presumably be an early copy.Michelangelo had fully purposed, as soon as he could get free of his task on the Medici tombs, to devote all his powers to the completion of the Julian monument in accordance with the new contract of 1532.
When the cardinal discovered the fraud he caused the dealer to refund; but as to Michelangelo himself, it was represented to the young sculptor that if he went to Rome the amateur who had just involuntarily paid so high a tribute to his skill would certainly befriend him.
Michelangelo died after a short illness in 1564 at 88, surviving far past the usual life expectancy of the era. A pietà he had begun sculpting in the late 1540s, intended for his own tomb, remained unfinished but is on display at the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, in Florence—not very far from where Michelangelo is buried, at the Basilica di Santa Croce.
Michelangelo carved a number of works in Florence during his time with the Medici, but in the 1490s he left Florence and briefly went to Venice, …
Trained in the traditions of the earlier Florentine school, they were unable, it seems, to interpret Michelangelo's designs in fresco either with sufficient freedom or sufficient uniformity of style to satisfy him.
In this work Michelangelo approached a well-known classical theme, that of the god of wine attended by a satyr, but freed himself from its constrictions with a completely original solution.
Michelangelo began accordingly, but could rest content with nothing so meagre, and soon proposed instead a design of many hundred figures embodying the story of Genesis from the Creation to the Flood, with accessory personages of prophets and sibyls dreaming on the new dispensation to come, and, in addition, those of the forefathers of Christ.
The work of Michelangelo, after being trailed in derision through the streets, was broken up and its fragments cast into the furnace.Meanwhile the artist himself, as soon as his work was done, had followed his reconciled master back to Rome.
Michelangelo had during its progress been harassed alike by delays of payment and by hostile intrigue, his ill-wishers casting doubts on his capacity, and vaunting the superior powers of Raphael.
Then, on 19 August 1497, Michelangelo wrote to his father that he had begun to work on his own account.' His first sculpture in Rome was the which has recently come to light, though sadly damaged.
Michelangelo's had a curious history; it was probably thought wise to send it away from the Florence of Savonarola because of its erotic character, so, on the advice of Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco, it was aged with patina and sent to Rome.
We should remember that it was at this time that the political ascendancy of Savonarola in Florence was drawing to its tragic end, and that this man represented for Michelangelo the symbol of his inner conflict.
Kauffmann subsequently recognized in it the influence of Michelangelo but, inexplicably, sought too far afield and attributed it to the circle of Francesco da Sangallo.
To the influence and the malice of Bramante Michelangelo attributed the unwelcome invitation he now received to interrupt the great work of sculpture which he had just begun in order to decorate the Sistine chapel with frescoes.