18 May 2008

The Sistine Chapel set up

Perhaps this is no surprise but it is entertaining to think that Michelangelo stuck two fingers up at his enemies afterwards....

Few who see the Sistine Chapel imagine that it was born out of base rivalry and petty jealousy. Michelangelo was awarded the commission unaware that he was the target of a conspiracy hatched by Donato Bramante, the architect of St Peter's Basilica, and the painter Raphael, who persuaded Pope Julius II to oblige Michelangelo – a sculptor with little painting experience – to take on the commission. They believed that, faced with a work on such a vast scale, he was bound to fail and be humiliated.

Art historians believe Bramante and Raphael's hatred of Michelangelo stemmed from a dispute he was having with their friend, Leonardo da Vinci. Superstars of their times, Michelangelo and Leonardo had huge egos. Neither missed an opportunity to criticise the other. An account of the episode is included in writings by Giorgio Vasari, a fellow artist, who claimed Michelangelo tried to refuse the commission and even recommended Raphael for the job. Eventually, under papal duress, he was forced to agree. His completed work had a profound effect on his would-be tormentors. Vasari later wrote that Bramante, who held keys to the chapel, let Raphael in to examine the paintings. On seeing them, Raphael went back to a work he was painting in another church and scraped it off the wall.


Crushed said...

Your story is PARTLY true.

Look closely at this paining, by Raphael.

There is a tradition that Raphael added Michaelangelo in later- and analysis of the painting agrees with this.

Tradition says, he did so after the incident you describe here.

billie said...

huh- history comes alive. who knew? dueling artists :)

jams o donnell said...

Thanks for the info Crushed

Ah spats are commonplace Betmo. Paint brucshes at 20 yards!

CC said...

Muy interesante!

Michaelangelo, Raphael, and Leonardo later made a truce and combined forces with Donatello to make up the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

How I love happy endings.

jams o donnell said...

LOL EWBL. A happy ending indeed... and a share of teh merchadise sales I hope!