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Michelangelo
written by "Rolland, Romain, 1866-1944"
...a contract and give me full powers. I will finish it in six years. Messer Domenico, give me an exact answer as to the intentions of the pope and the cardinal. That would afford me the greatest satisfaction."{53} Here it is Michelangelo himself who begs Leo X to give him this heavy burden, who trembles for fear of not getting it, and is consumed with the desire to bind himself to a new servitude! January 19, 1518, he signed a contract with Leo X by which he agreed to erect the faade of S. Lorenzo in eight years. It was to be composed of: First: An inferior order of eight fluted columns, eleven brasses[36] high, three portals with four statues five brasses high and seven bas-reliefs; and around the sides on each lateral face two columns, and between them a figure in high relief. Second: A superior order of eight pilasters from six to seven brasses high; on the faade four seated bronze statues; and on each side two pilasters and a statue. Third: The upper cornice carrying an entablature of eight pilasters in front and two on the side, with four niches in the faade, and one on each side intended for six marble statues five and a half brasses high. There were besides on the faade, undoubtedly in the lower story, seven bas-reliefs of marble with life-size subjects, five squares and two round plaques. In the centre a pediment with the arms of the Medici.{54} Michelangelo had the choice of executing the work himself or of having it done after his models. The heirs of Julius II were obliged to give way to the order of Leo X and to be satisfied with the permission which he gave to Michelangelo still to go on with the work on the monument of Julius in Florence. Even that permission was very soon withdrawn, according to Michelangelo. "Pope Leo," he writes, "does not want me to do the monument of Julius." When he began to work on it again in his atelier in Florence he says: "The Medici, who later on became Pope Clement and who was...

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