Pietro Aretino & Michelangelo/2

In Rome Pietro Aretino was so hated by one of the victims of his pen, Bishop Giberti, that this even tried to kill him.
One night, while he was on his way home from a party, he was stabbed twice by a masked assassin hired by Giberti. Although he was almost on the verge of death, he slowly began to recover. He had to learn to write with his left hand because his right was so badly damaged and two fingers had to be cut off.
It was that episode that made him decide to leave Rome. Healed from these serious injuries, Aretino went to Mantua at the court of Federico Gonzaga and in 1527 accepted the hospitality offered him by Venice, the anti-Papal city par excellence, “seat of all vices”, as he noted with gusto.
This was an extremely liberal place and pretty much perfect for him.

He went to live in a superb palace on the Grand Canal, surrounded by a group of women who were called “le Aretine“. They were housekeepers, assistants and concubines, a condition that was considered enviable. From one of these, Caterina Sandella, he had two daughters, to whom he gave the name of Adria, out of gratitude to Venice, and Austria in honour of Charles V of Habsburg.

He was also surrounded by a lot of art objects but in his museum there was not a single work by Michelangelo Buonarroti.
Employing his friends Benvenuto Cellini and Giorgio Vasari as intermediaries, on various occasions he made him understand indirectly that he would appreciate one of his drawings but he never received any answer about that.

In 1537, he addressed one of his celebrated letters to Buonarroti, which he began by praising the great artist:

“But in the presence of Michelangelo, there is nothing to do but to admire. There are in the world many kings; there is but a single Michelangelo…”

The letter continued in this tone until it came to the question of the Last Judgment that Michelangelo was painting in Rome, the great fresco covering the whole altar wall of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican, which depicts the Second Coming of Christ and the final and eternal judgment by God of all humanity.
Here Aretino began to give advice to the artist and attempted to teach him how he ought to paint. He concluded by making renewed offers of service, proposing to glorify his name.

The painter’s reply was polished and laconic, with a certain amount of irony hidden under his compliments.

Aretino preferred not to remark the irony, and, in a new letter, solicited a souvenir, even if it was but a little drawing, one of those which the artist was in the habit of tossing into the fire.

Michelangelo did not reply, and for five years he was left him in peace.

To be continued

A Roma Pietro Aretino era talmente odiato da una delle vittime della sua penna, il vescovo Giberti, che questi tentò di ucciderlo
Una notte, mentre tornava a casa da un ricevimento, fu pugnalato due volte da un sicario assoldato da Giberti. Sebbene fosse quasi in punto di morte, piano piano iniziò a riprendersi. Fu costretto però a imparare a scrivere con la mano sinistra perché la sua destra era stata così gravemente danneggiata e che due dita dovettero essere tagliate.
Fu quell’episodio che gli fece prendere la decisione di lasciare Roma. Guarito da quelle gravi ferite, l’Aretino si recò a Mantova alla corte di Federico Gonzaga e nel 1527 accettò l’ospitalità offertagli da Venezia, città antipapale per eccellenza, “sede di ogni vizio possibile”, come annotò con gusto.

Questo era un luogo estremamente liberale e praticamente perfetto per lui.
Andò ad abitare in un superbo palazzo sul Canal Grande, circondato da un gruppo di donne che venivano chiamate dalla gente “le aretine”, Avevano la funzione di governanti, aiutanti e concubine, una condizione che veniva ritenuta invidiabile. Da una di queste, Caterina Sandella, ebbe due figlie, a cui impose il nome di Adria, per gratitudine alla città lagunare, e Austria, in onore di Carlo V d’Asburgo.

Era circondato anche da innumerevoli oggetti d’arte ma nel suo museo non c’era una sola opera di Michelangelo Buonarroti.
Impiegando come intermediari i suoi amici Benvenuto Cellini e Giorgio Vasari, in varie occasioni, gli fece capire indirettamente che avrebbe gradito molto ricevere un suo disegno ma su questo suo desiderio non ricevette mai risposta.

Nel 1537 indirizzò al Buonarroti una delle sue celebri lettere, che cominciava intessendo grandi lodi per l’artista, come:
“E ben debbo io osservarvi che il mondo ha molti re e un sol Michelagnolo”.

La lettera continuava in questo tono fino a quando arrivava alla questione del Giudizio Universale a cui Michelangelo aveva posto mano da poco più di un anno. Stava infatti dipingendo a Roma, il grande affresco che ricopre l’intera parete d’altare della Cappella Sistina in Vaticano e che raffigura la seconda venuta di Cristo e l’ultima ed eterna giudizio di Dio su tutta l’umanità.
Qui Aretino si mise a dare consigli all’artista, quasi a volergli insegnare come dovesse dipingere. Concludeva con rinnovate offerte di servigi, proponendosi di glorificare il suo nome.

La risposta del pittore fu lucida e laconica, con una certa ironia nascosta sotto i suoi complimenti e le gentilezze .

L’Aretino preferì non rimarcare l’ironia e, in una nuova lettera, sollecitò l’invio di un omaggio, un ricordo, anche solo un piccolo disegno, uno di quei cartoni che l’artista aveva l’abitudine di gettare nel fuoco.

Michelangelo non rispose, e per cinque anni fu lasciato in pace.

continua

79 thoughts on “Pietro Aretino & Michelangelo/2

  1. Caspiterina! Non avrei mai pensato che un uomo di chiesa riuscisse a spingersi a tanto, 😮. E meno male che uno dei dieci comandamenti dice: “Non uccidere”. Per fortuna che l’Aretino è riuscito a guarire, in barba al vescovo che lo voleva morto.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Purtroppo mi sa che anche oggi il potere ha la meglio sul senso spirituale, 😞 e non è giusto. Lasciare certi reati impuniti, persino quelli commessi da chi professa la fede, il perdono, la carità e poi di nascosto ne fa di ogni, è davvero avvilente. Così come vengono puniti i reati commessi da persone al di fuori del clero allo stesso modo devono essere condannati i reati commessi da persone che, con il fatto che indossano l’abito talare, si credono immuni perché uomini di chiesa ma che poi sotto sotto hanno sempre qualche “scheletro nell’armadio”.

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  2. Luisa ! Your depiction as to how Pietro Aretino , an excellent painter of Renaissance period of Italy , was so hated by one of the victims of his pen , Bishop Giberti , who tried to kill him while he was on his way home from a party at night . He was stabbed twice by a mask assassin hired by Bishop Giberti . His right hand was damaged as his two fingers were cut off and he managed to survive anyhow as he was on the verge of death . It shows that the Papal authorities that time virtually were Devils in disguise . So cruel . So anti-culture . And virtually so anti-people that they tried to halt the tide of historical development like Renaissance which not only enlightened Italian people but people of the entire Europe and later people at large the world over as such . I , as a serious student of history , feel that two events that had everlasting effects on the mankind , were : 1. Renaissance , and 2. Industrial Revolution . These two world events changed the fate of mankind as they paved the way for the medieval world to move towards that of the modern . And the Papal authorities tried to crush those Heroes of Renaissance , Pietro Aretino was one of them who was compelled to leave Rome, the land of Pope , to Mantua at the court of Federico Gonzaga and accepted the hospitality of Venice— the anti-Papal city par excellence and ‘ the city of all vices ‘ in 1527 AD . Your descriptions of all those moments of history enlightens us enormously as the Renaissance did to the people of Italy and later on the entire Europe . Thanks !

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Ce lo vedo proprio Michelangelo che accetta consigli altrui su come dipingere o scolpire, lui che era gelosissimo dei suoi cantieri di lavoro. Se non ricordo male, al silenzio del Genio, l’Aretino si indignò, giacché a lui, sostenne, rispondevano papi, re e imperatori. Quella volta rimase in ombra, e senza omaggio. Poi, dopo cinque anni…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. He remained there for 29 years, until his death in 1556. An anecdote suggests that he died in a extremely particular way: while listening to an obscene story he laughed so hard that he fell backwards and bang his head.

      Like

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