Apr 14: Hello Old Friend

I missed one, yesterday, obviously, so instead of doing today's (which was about Sir Francis Drake), I am indulging myself with yesterday's reading -- Cellini! He's my favorite. Why? Here's how today's selection opens:

NOW let us return to Piero Torrigiani, who, with my drawing in his hand, spoke as follows: “This Buonarroti [Michelangelo, to you -- ed.] and I used, when we were boys, to go into the Church of the Carmine, to learn drawing from the chapel of Masaccio. 1 It was Buonarroti’s habit to banter all who were drawing there; and one day, among others, when he was annoying me, I got more angry than usual, and clenching my fist, gave him such a blow on the nose, that I felt bone and cartilage go down like biscuit beneath my knuckles; and this mark of mine he will carry with him to the grave.”

Tip to young writers: always try to add a scene where Michelangelo's nose gets broken like a biscuit. Today's selection involves the perils of freelancing; specifically, how hard it is to get paid -- something that hasn't changed a bit since the Renaissance:
...I took it into my head, as soon as I had finished them, to change my master; I had indeed been worried into doing so by a certain Milanese, called Pagolo Arsago. 2 My first master, Firenzuola, had a great quarrel about this with Arsago, and abused him in my presence; whereupon I took up speech in defence of my new master [and] I reminded him of the money he owed me. He laughed me in the face; on which I said that if I knew how to use my tools in handicraft as well as he had seen, I could be quite as clever with my sword in claiming the just payment of my labour.
If only I had taken those dang swordplay lessons, I might be able to get by without an agent today. On the other hand, my agent would definitely have prevented me from doing something like this (Cellini has gotten into a fight with his former masters):
...my rage grew to such a pitch that, turning wholly to evil, and being also by nature somewhat choleric, I waited till the magistrates had gone to dinner; and when I was alone, and observed that none of their officers were watching me, in the fire of my anger, I left the palace, ran to my shop, seized a dagger and rushed to the house of my enemies, who were at home and shop together. I found them at table; and Gherardo, who had been the cause of the quarrel, flung himself upon me. I stabbed him in the breast, piercing doublet and jerkin through and through to the shirt, without however grazing his flesh or doing him the least harm in the world. When I felt my hand go in, and heard the clothes tear, I thought that I had killed him; and seeing him fall terror-struck to earth, I cried: “Traitors, this day is the day on which I mean to murder you all.”
Who knew that the goldsmith business was such a den of passions? I also like that someone who "turns wholly to evil" is willing to admit that, yeah, I'm a little choleric too. Cellini lives not like other men; and, if he made up half this stuff as he is said to, I prefer his embroidery to that of the James Freys and so forth.

1 comments:

George said...

You can't just "grab" or "pick up" or a dagger.

It must be "seized!"