Michelangelo, Drawing, and the Subject of Art

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Publication: The Art Bulletin
Author: Keizer, Joost
Date published: September 1, 2011

On January I, 1521, Albrecht Dürer recorded in his diary, "I have done a good Veronica in oil, worth twelve guilders. I gave it to Francisco, the agent in Portugal. I then painted another Veronica in oil, better than the first, and gave it to the agent Brandan in Portugal."1 On die face of it, Dûrer's note constituted simply the bookkeeping of an artist trafficking in international imagery, fixing price, quantity, quality, medium, and destination. Yet for Hans Belting, writing in 1990, Dûrer's seemingly formulaic notation revealed a whole culture in transition, a culture well on its way to becoming modern while at the same time not completely divorced from a traditional understanding of the image.2 Dûrer's paintings of Veronica still belonged to that venerated tradition of the icon. Veronica had captured the first and "true" image of Christ, the "vera icon" imprinted without human hands on the sweat cloth (sudarìum) Veronica had offered Christ. The sudarium legitimized the Christian icon.3 After the fall of Constantinople in 1204, the cloth - or at least a version of it - was brought to Rome, where it served as the most important indulgenced image in the Christian world. By about 1500, the vera icon had become the best-known and most authoritative of all images, stamped on badges, copied in paintings, and endlessly replicated in prints. At one point all pictures of Christ sought their origins in that single prototype, an image made without human hands. Dûrer's images of Veronica, on the other hand, did not simply point to the vera icon in Rome - or some copy of it - they also insisted on Dûrer's authorship. For Belting, these pictures were held up as art (Kunst) , the one painting having surpassed the other in its execution and therefore fetching a better price. Francisco and Brandan received a "Durer" as well as a "Veronica."

Such a double conception of the image, Belting argued, first arose in Italy, a region Durer had visited twice. Dürer was impressed by the cult of art he found in Venice. In a letter to his friend Willibald Pirckheimer on December 7, 1506, he reported that everyone he had met there was "very knowledgeable about the art of painting."'1 Durer, according to Beltingj was thereby positioned between two cultures, the one still adhering to an idea of the image that privileged subject matter over the name of the painter and the other, arising in Italy, slowly shifting emphasis away from subject matter proper to adopt art tfieory as its primary subject of representation. "The material image," Belting explained, "dissolves itself in an image about artistic conception, which is justified by the artist's imagination and is addressed to that of the beholder." About 1500, the subject of Italian art could well be called Disegno, Concetto, or Ideas'

Art's path to becoming modern is often seen as its slow emancipation from the Christian cult.6 Preachers had indeed a lot to say about the divorce of art from religion in the years around 1500. Take, for instance, a sermon by the Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola, preached in Florence in February 1498, in which the monk ranted against the understanding of pictures as deposits of specific artistic personae, the "modern" picture Belting saw arising at the time. Savonarola directed his criticism against the aphorism "Every painter paints himself." The dictum had been current in Florence since the 1470s, and for Savonarola it epitomized a deeply felt retreat from the Christian cult value of pictures toward a cult of art and artists. The subject of religious images, the friar complained, was now not so much the figure (Christ, a saint, a prophet) represented in or through the painting but the artist responsible for the painting.7

Savonarola's words arrogate a unique place for art in early modern society, which showed no signs of a more widespread culture of unbelief.8 No claims for a comparable secularization process could, for example, be made at the time for texts, which were simply divided between secular and religious writing. Nobody was pointing to an erosion of religious subject matter in religious texts. In fact, Savonarola lamented the fact that non-Christian texts, like Livy's Histories, were discussed in an allegorical way, a mode of interpretation that he thought should be exclusively reserved for the Bible.9 By the end of the fifteenth centuiy, the interpretation of texts and pictures moved in opposite directions, the first elaborating on allegory, the second getting rid of it. This movement suggests an extensive hollowing out of subject matter in pictures, not just in religious images, at the time.

The model proposed by Belting privileges the religious artwork as a site of modernization over the secular artwork. Because secular artworks - that is, works with a nonreligious subject matter - never stood in the service of Christian religion to begin with, Belting and others imply, they lack the capacity to reform or to emancipate, exactly the capacity that art historians identify as the motivating force for the modernization of art. Still, the exclusive position of art in early modern society that preachers like Savonarola appear to point to also indicates that any artwork - not just religious images - could be emancipated from its duty to simply illustrate subject matter. This became a problem only in the realm of religious art, which is why preachers singled out those pictures for criticism. If, as Belting maintains, the modern institution of art arose from the capacity of art to foreground art theory as a subject of representation, then there is no reason to disqualify the contribution of secular painting. Belting, for instance, mentions Leon Battista Alberti's De pittura, written in 1435, as a foundational text for the theoretical preoccupation of Italian art and its steady modernization.10 Alberti located his "modern" conception of art in secular painting. The historia, that "great work of the painter," was a large work for public display - hardly similar to the relatively small cult images Belting talks about - and the examples of historiae Alberti mentioned were of nonreligious subject matter: the Calumny of Apelles and an ancient relief of the Carrying of the Dead Meleager.11

The contribution of early sixteenth-century secular imagery to the modern conception of art is exemplified by Michelangelo's Battle of Cascina cartoon (1504). This artwork, which had a substantial impact, did away with traditional content and took instead the making of art as its subject. Scholarship on the cartoon is marked by an interpretative dilemma, an ironic sense of indecision that seems to mirror the double culture of art that Belting recognized in the same period. For some, the work still adheres to a traditional understanding of subject matter: an image of battle, the subject of which can be located in text and the objective of which is to incite contemporary Florentines to defend their city as heroically as the story "illustrated" by Michelangelo. Others, instead, deny the work any kind of social relevance. They define subject matter as nothing more than a pretext for the artist to paint the "Michelangelesque" nude. There is, however, another way to interpret it. While the cartoon evidences an erosion of iconography, the work's thematizing of its own making never asserted the pure autonomy that formalist scholars have granted it. Informed by a culture of historical revision, Michelangelo's Cascina cartoon served as an argument in favor of the social and political centrality of a new institution of art, one that looks decidedly modem. Whereas in the eyes of Belting, religious art's withdrawal from conventional subject matter resulted in its disengagement from (Christian) society, the model offered here grants the secular work of art a new social responsibility exacdy because of its denial of iconography.

The Subject of History

Sometime in the fall of 1504, for the first and last time in a career spanning more than seven decades, Michelangelo was commissioned to paint a moment from history. The Signoria (a group of eight citizens headed by the gonfaloniere which ran the daily business of die government) asked the artist, previously occupied with biblical and antique subject matter, to paint the Florentine victory over Pisa, fought near the village of Cascina, eight miles to the southeast of the harbor city, on July 26, 1364. The fresco was destined for the Sala del Gran Consiglio, a giant space built behind the Palazzo della Signoria (the Florentine town hall) between 1494 and 1498. The room was constructed in response to an important political event: the expulsion of the Medici family from Florence on November 9, 1494. The Medici had de facto ruled over Florence for sixty years, and their expulsion marked a watershed in Florentine politics and culture. The structure òf government that replaced the Medici until the family's return in 1512 was called the Governo Popolare, the "government of the people," at whose constitutional heart was placed the Gran Consiglio, or Great Council, in whose meeting place Michelangelo was to paint his mural. Consisting of three thousand men who discussed and voted on proposais made by the Signoria, the council replaced a Medici politics of selection and privilege to become what one contemporary called "the soul of the Governo Popolare," that "foundation of liberty."12 Inscriptions announced the hall's political creed, and initial attempts at decoration pictured an atmosphere of political replacement and defacement.13 Objects appropriated from the expelled Medici family were displayed as trophies of war, including some of the most expensive items of Lorenzo de' Medici's collection of antiquities. The altarpiece that once adorned the private chapel at the Palazzo Medici now stood on an altar at the Sala del Gran Consiglio. It was in this charged political atmosphere that Michelangelo's fresco was commissioned. A year before, Leonardo da Vinci had been called on to paint the Florentine victory over the Milanese at Anghiari in 1441 for the same room. Leonardo's and Michelangelo's frescoes would have been paired on the west wall of the room.14 Leonardo began his fresco in 1505 but left it unfinished; Michelangelo never started to paint. He produced only a preparatory cartoon, which was torn to shreds in the course of the sixteenth century by artists eager to copy the figures contained in it.13 A painted grisaille copy of the whole cartoon was commissioned from Aristotile da Sangallo by Giorgio Vasari in 1542 to preserve Michelangelo's by then famous composition (Fig. I).16

It is difficult to think of a more political commission than the one for Michelangelo's and Leonardo's battle pieces, especially Michelangelo's.17 War was at the heart of the politics of the Governo Popolare at the time. The Florentines were fighting a costly battle against Pisa, which had reclaimed its independence in 1494 in die wake of the dramatic political events that had also led to the expulsion of the Medici. The war was draining the city of almost all its tax revenues; it was die subject of daily discussion during government assemblies that met in the Sala del Gran Consiglio.18 A historical batde could have served as a model for current military politics, which is how most historians interpret Michelangelo's cartoon.

These in terpre tarions, despite the solidity of the relation between art and politics that they map out, favor the viewpoint of reconstruction too much and care too little about die structure of Michelangelo's composition. Political consideration of Michelangelo's cartoon often departs from what the cartoon could have been - a finished painting whose only duty was to communicate political propaganda - employing a too narrow iconologica! method that makes meaning primarily reside in a body of text Michelangelo purportedly sought to illustrate. Scholars often deduce meaning from what the cartoon never was and what, it can be argued, Michelangelo decided early on his work should not become.

The faithful copy of Michelangelo's cartoon by da Sangallo shows nineteen men, drawn in various poses and larger than life.'9 Most of them are nude. Naked men climb out of a pool of water just visible on the lower border of the composition; others try to dress, hastily, apparently in the face of approaching danger. The source of that threat is not figured in the painted copy, and it is not at all clear if it ever featured in the cartoon. There is a drawing in the British Museum, London, that shows the main group of the bathers and includes some men on horses in the upper left corner, in the direction where the man on the left is pointing (Fig. 2). The background Of the London copy looks awkwardly detached from the foreground. The nude men form the primary work; the soldiers in die background register as added material, perhaps to make sense of the pointing figures in the cartoon, as, we will see, another copyist would do.20

Background details remain mere ornaments pushed to the margins of the composition. But what is marginal in Michelangelo's work was central in the text he purportedly "illustrated." The Battle of Cascina was preserved in at least two extensive historical descriptions: Filippo Villani's fourteenthcentury Cronica and Leonardo Bruni's Historiae florentine populi, published in 1442 and translated into Italian by Donato Acciauolo in 1492. A copy of Acciauolo's translation was kept in the quarters of the gonfaloniere Piero Soderini, the head of the Signoria at the time of the commission. It has been convincingly argued that Soderini was largely responsible for the commission and that it is therefore likely that Soderini gave Michelangelo access to Bruni's, and not Villani's, text.21

Bruni's pages tell of the tremendous heat that day, when Florentine soldiers were doing little more than waiting. The Florentine captain, Galeotto Malatesta, had fallen ill. A small group of Pisans would sometimes show up at camp, pretending to attack, at first causing some confusion among the Florentine soldiers, but after a while they stopped noticing. Most of the Florentine soldiers had fallen asleep in their tents; others decided to refresh themselves in the river nearby. Now the Pisans, aware of the Florentines' low guard, started the onslaught. They attacked the side of the Florentine camp where the forces from Arezzo were stationed - a bad decision, it turned out, for, unlike their bathing and sleeping Florentine companions, the Aretines were alert. They checked the first onset arid prevented thé Florentine army from stiffering a humiliating defeat. The sound of battle finally drove the rest of the (Florentine) soldiers to arms. And in the end, the Pisäns were safely pushed back within their city walls, surrounded, but not defeated. Neglecting the core of Bruni's account, which tells of the battle proper- - of military tactics and the movement of troops - Michelangelo chose to depict what was in fact nothing more than a subordinate clause in the Historiae: "The heat was tremendous, and a large part of the soldiery was unarmed or lying down in their tents or bathing in the river that flowed nearby."22 There is no mention in Bruni of those same soldiers climbing out of the river at the sound of battle. He just wrote that the "clamor rose the rest to arms." The grand narrative sweep of Bruni's history is set aside in Michelangelo's collection of men portrayed in the most quotidian of actions, putting on trousers and stockings with an almost perversely absorbed attention. It is difficult to imagine a representation of war further removed from tradition than Michelangelo's. Unlike Paolo Uceello's Battles -of San Romano of 1432 and Leonardo's contemporaneous Battle of Anghiari (which survives only in copies), Michelangelo's cartoon is oblivious to battle.

Michelangelo's digressions into mundane details could hardly count as the stuff of history, at least not according to the standards of depictions of history and history writing as they were being formulated at the time. In history writing, historia could consist of either meaningful acts of histoiy (res gestae) or the narration of those acts.23 For instance, in his Actius of 1495, the Neapolitan humanist Giovanni Pontano, following Cicero, defined history as thé narration of "things done [which] usually consist of the stuff of war." The narration of past wars, Pontano continues, serves to supply the present with models of civic virtue.24 In that strict sense of the word, Leonardo's Battle of Anghiari qualifies better as a historia than Michelangelo's representation. Leonardo was given an iconographie program, which maps out the fullness of history with overwhelming precision. It details a progression in time from the moment the commander addresses his troops prior to the battle, to the battle itself, ending with a triumphal march. He was to include numerous contemporary figures, their positions meticulously described, the number of soldiers arduously plotted out, and the articulation of the terrain at Anghiari given its proper due.26

Yet it may be Michelangelo's refusal to present a model of civic virtue, as proposed by Pontano, that shows his resistance to the contemporary models of writing and representing history. The battle fell short of embodying a glorious moment in Florentine military history, and it is not difficult to read a loss of civic virtue on the part of the Florentines into Bruni's pages. Bruni recounts that after having barely survived the Pisan onslaught, the soldiers from Florence started to rebel against their officers. The men depicted in Michelangelo's work could barely register as role models for civic virtue, save, of course, for the men from Arezzo. Bruni's emphasis on Aretine military virtue is perhaps not surprising in the context of a book by a notable citizen of Arezzo, but, perhaps more relevant, by Michelangelo's time the Aretines were considered the enemies of Florence, not its allies. In revolt against the Florentines, the Aretines added more militar)' concerns to the already overextended Florentine government. The Aretine rebellion was frequently discussed in government meetings. The city's second chancellor, Niccolò Machiavelli, even dedicated a whole treatise to its forceful suppression, published a year before Michelangelo received his commission.26 Other, more glorious victories over Pisa were available to the Florentines at the time, such as the victory of 1406, narrated at length in Bruni's Historiae, which secured the subjection of Pisa to Florence for almost ninety years. At least from the perspective of 1504, the Cascina victory would have read as a minor instance in a range of far more successful military campaigns against the harbor city in the fifteenth century.27

Earlier scholarship did not need such justification to declare subject matter as mere aporia. Scholars have often taken a formalist approach to the Cascina cartoon. Many granted Michelangelo unprecedented artistic leeway. Sydney Freedberg, for instance, wrote of "a constraint of the subject of the artist's interests and will," and Cecil Gould, in the only monograph on the cartoon, guessed that Michelangelo had the last word in determining subject matter.28 Their ínterpre* tations ultimately serve to announce the Cascina cartoon as little more than a testament to Michelangelo's artistic freedom, from even the constraints of iconography dictated by his patron. Michelangelo, the argument goes, turned on those few words in Bruni merely to produce the "Michelangelesque nude" that met with such an enthusiastic response throughout Europe in the sixteenth century. To be sure, Michelangelo's cartoon somehow pointed to the future; its peculiar composition generated a copious copying industry naturally following from the claims Michelangelo was making in the cartoon. But Michelangelo could not turn toward the future of reception until he had reordered art's past. Michelangelo's reconsideration of the subject of art began as a dismantling of art's former dependence on text.


Nineteen men have rarely shown such resistance to forming an integrated whole. Organized in three overlapping planes, they stand isolated from one another, actors unaware of the plot they are acting out. The man in the first row at left reaching for the water, apparently to rescue a drowning companion, for example, is badly placed: hands begging for help appear farther downstream. At right, a bearded man tries to put on his stockings, with great difficulty pulling fabric over what we imagine to be wet skin. Like the man standing in the background, concentrating on his attempt to close that last button of his garb, he is oblivious to the chaos surrounding him. And in instances where contact is on the verge of being established, Michelangelo refuses to carry it through. In the middle of the composition, a man turns to the back row in an effort to connect with the soldier behind him, but the latter is too absorbed in winding a cloth around his head to answer his companion's gaze.

It is riot enough to say that the cartoon tells a story of military chaos. Michelangelo's studied fragmentation of storytelling breaks down what was arguably the most esteemed model of representation at the time: the historia as it was developed by Leon Battista Alberti. Although conforming in format to Alberti's definition of die historia - a large work for a public space publicum opus) that included multiple figures - -Michelangelo's cartoon completely subverts the narrative consistency that Alberti had made a hallmark of die historia?9 Michelangelo's figures simply do not "fit together to represent and explain the historia."(TM) More precisely, it is the dependence of art on text to which Alberti subscribed that Michelangelo resisted. Alberti defined painting almost purely as a vehicle of textual transmission. If Michael Baxandall was right and Alberti modeled his concept of composition on the Ciceronian periodic sentence, then painting is not only based on words, it can also easily be translated back into verbal form.31 The notion of historia dissolves the distinction between text and image altogether. Grounded in text, painting could well do without manual execution. Literary invention, Alberti said, "can give pleasure even by itself and without pictorial representation."'12 Historia, then, effectively shifts attention away from the how of representation to the what, from painting proper to the textual subject matter it purports to illustrate.33 The words of die writer become interchangeable with the lines and colors of die painter, grammar with the structure of art, and the training of the artist with that of the schoolboy learning to write.34 "I look at a good painting," Alberti confides to us in his De re aedificatoria (1485), "with as much pleasure as I take in reading a good story [historia]. Both are the work of painters: one paints with words, the other tells the story with his brush."30 Breaking down the Albertian concordance between text and image, Michelangelo insisted on art's own dynamic, on its inner logic: on how art related to its history and tradition of making.

Michelangelo's emancipation from textual narrative, both as an a priori assumption of art making and a means of describing artworks, developed in the course of his work on the cartoon. A comparison between a preliminary compositional drawing at the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence with the Sangallo copy (Figs. 3, 1) illuminates Michelangelo's abstraction from narrative and shows how he raised the artistic process as a proper subject of representation.36 Take, for instance, the seated figure turning away from us in the center of the cartoon, so studiously avoiding contact with the stooping man. In Michelangelo's earliest drawing he looks at the man behind him, a gesture reciprocated by that man, turning in response to his seated comrade. In the cartoon, however, the turning figure faces a man wrapping a turban around his head, avoiding contact, and the bending soldier is now found staring at the water, leaving his erstwhile companion as nothing more than an isolated figure study. The isolation of Michelangelo's figures results from the process by which Michelangelo made art and his willingness to keep that process visible. After having finished the stage of outlining the general composition with stylus and chalk, of which tire Uffizi sheet is an example, Michelangelo began drawing the individual figures from life on separate sheets, placing his models in poses similar to those he had oudined in the compositional study. Two of these are seen in a sheet kept in the Teylers Museum in Haarlem. Its life drawings in black chalk are preliminary to the running figure at die far right of the composition and die naked figure visible behind him (Figs. 4, 5). They were certainly drawn after Michelangelo had outlined the whole composition; parts that would have been invisible on the cartoon, such as the running man's lower left leg and die other's left arm, were left undrawn or only faintly indicated with chalk. At die moment of reintegrating these separate figure studies into the composition, the figures retained some of the individual status tiley had acquired in the design stage of drawing after life. Disconnected and separated, they pose unaware of the others, as a model would have once done in Michelangelo's workshop. The contours of the figures, both in the preparatory drawings and in the cartoon, are thickened, as if to emphasize their self-containedness. The cartoon might best be characterized as an assembly of isolated figure drawings.37

Drawing as End

Much of what I have argued above and what will follow below rests on the premise that Michelangelo's cartoon - a drawing, and therefore traditionally belonging to the preparatory stage of art - was somehow finished, its disintegrated composition not just the result of its status as a work in process. That premise needs to be buttressed.

This is what we know about the genesis of the cartoon. Michelangelo started working on it in the late summer of 1504, not in the Sala del Gran Consiglio but in a provisional workshop allocated to him by the Signoria át the Dyers' Hospital of S. Onofrio, which was located a stone's throw from his father's house.38 The cartoon was true to the size of the planned fresco, whose dimensions would have been twenty-three by fifty-nine feet.39 Michelangelo's figures were once described as over-life-size.40 It was finished by February 1505, when Michelangelo received his final payment; a few days later, he left for Rome.41 Michelangelo briefly returned to Florence in May 1506, but there is no evidence that he pursued the commission further at this point.42 Michelangelo never started painting.

A crucial step was taken sometime before the end of Au* gust 1505, when the cartoon was transported to the Sala del Gran Consiglio in the artist's absence. A document of August 31 registers payments for three little slats (panchoncelli) that were used to "put the cartoon by Michelangelo up on the ballatoio" a location in the Sala del Gran Consiglio."13 Although the term ballatoio could be rendered as "gallery" or "balcony," it was also sometimes employed to indicate an elevation or podium. Francesco Sacchetti, for instance, called the wooden elevations around the altar of the Annunciation in SS. Annunziata ballatoi.44 Since there was no balcony in the Sala del Gran Consiglio, the ballatoio almost certainly refers to die podium where the council of the Dodici Buonomini (a group of twelve elected men that the Signoria was required to consult before making government decisions) sat during meetings, or perhaps a structure built on top of that; this was indeed the podium above which, Nicolai Rubinstein has demonsnated, Michelangelo's fresco would have been located. "' Installed there, the cartoon was no longer simply a working model the artist would use as the basis of the fresco: it literally sat in the place of the fresco.

Michelangelo's cartoon remained in the Sala del Gran Consiglio until the room was dismantled after the Governo Popolare fell in 1512. Substituting for the painting that was never begun, for seven years the cartoon therefore served a permanent function formerly reserved for painting alone. In this capacity, Michelangelo's work lasted longer than Leonardo's, which was eventually replaced by the (unfinished) painting. Leonardo's cartoon must have left the room at least by 1510, when Francesco Albertini, the Florentine priest and writer of guidebooks, saw it in the Sala del Papa at S. Maria Novella, which Leonardo had used as a provisional workshop.46 It is even possible that Leonardo's cartoon, unlike Michelangelo's, never left his workshop.

Cartoons and drawings had previously been considered as preparatory media, to be discarded or at best kept for future projects in the workshop the moment the painting was done. However, circumstantial evidence suggests that Michelangelo never planned to use his cartoon as a means of transferring his design to the wall, a procedure that entailed pricking the contours of the figures and therefore the destruction of the drawing. Carmen Bambach has demonstrated that Michelangelo's Cascina cartoon and Leonardo's cartoon for the Battle of Anghiari were the first ben finito cartoons to have been produced, that is, cartoons that were not used for physically transmitting the design onto the wall.47 Albeit initially functioning as a model for the composition, ben finito cartoons were primarily appreciated as self-sufficient works of art. Later in the sixteenth century, they were avidly collected.'8 Bambach showed that a so-called substitute cartoon would have been used for the actual transfer of the composition to the wall. In fact, she establishes that Leonardo produced such a second cartoon at the moment he started painting on the wall in 1505. Michelangelo never made a second cartoon, because he never began painting.

Substituting for the missing painting, Michelangelo's work never posed for a painting. In his description of the work, Albertini employed the term disegni, which can be translated as either "drawings" or "designs." It might be that Albertini chose the plural disegni instead of die single disegno because a cartoon consisted of many sheets of paper (he employed the plural, too, for Leonardo's cartoon at S. Maria Novella), or, more likely, that Michelangelo (in common with Leonardo) employed different drawing techniques in it, as reported by Vasari. Importantly, Albertini did not use an iconographie designation for the work. What mattered to him was the fact that the composition consisted of drawings for Michelangelo's cartoon, either emphasizing the medium of drawing or the process of making (design). Apparendy, Michelangelo's cartoon registered more naturally in its capacity as medium than as iconography. Tellingly, Albertini denoted Leonardo's unfinished painting in the same room with an iconographie designation, "horses."

The Cascina cartoon claims an unprecedented autonomy for drawing, and drawing that is not just carefully polished but that also consciously shows the traces of its manufacture. Vasari recorded that the Cascina cartoon contained "many groups of figures drawn in different ways, some outlined in charcoal, others sketched with a few strokes, some shaded gradually and heightened with lead white."49 Insisting on the specificity of its medium, never pretending to look life painting, Michelangelo's cartoon at the same time managed to pose for a completed work, a role previously reserved for painting and sculpture alone. In 1587, the art theoretician Giovanni Armenini wrote of cartoons like Michelangelo's that "one can say that such is the same work [as painting], except for the colors, and that is why one sees these always being made with complete industry and study."50 When Michelangelo's patrons decided to put the cartoon in the place reserved for the painting, they revealed a very early appreciation for the medium of drawing. What they appreciated were Michelangelo's sketchlike strokes, the different drawing techniques that Vasari described, all indicative of the work's lack of finish. This was a giant leap. The sixteenth century is full of criticism of works of art that were not finished, often understood as lacking effort and therefore severely undermining the artist's work ethic.51

All this is certainly not to say that Michelangelo never intended to put paint to wall, nor that his patrons asked him to stop working the moment he finished his cartoon. At the same time, the Fiorentine government was quite ready to accept a cartoon as a finished work of art, otherwise it simply would not have been installed in place of die missing fresco at a moment when there was no reason to think Michelangelo was not going to return to Florence to start painting. Before Michelangelo received his commission, Leonardo da Vinci had already been given the option to design only a cartoon.52 What stands out about the decision of Michelangelo's patrons to substitute the cartoon for the missing fresco is that it was not just a matter of convenience, made because the cartoon was at hand and looked like a painting. The cartoon itself- - in its disconnectedness, its refusal to illustrate, its emphasis on process and making - already marked a departure from Michelangelo's original brief to "illustrate" a story of war and victory. Looking at it, it is as if we stand in Michelangelo's workshop.

Not History but a Theory of History

In place of telling a story of war and turning to the illustration of written history, Michelangelo's cartoon advanced the making of art itself as a subject of representation. In the medium of drawing, meaning resides foremost in style, expressed with the pen or stylus.53 Pliny had spoken of the drawn line as something without representational responsibility except for itself in discussing a drawing by Protogenes and Apelles. He maintained that it disclosed "nothing save lines which eluded sight, and among the numerous works by excellent masters it was like a blank."34 Nothing declares itself further removed from traditional subject matter than the drawn line - that is, as long as the artist does not ahn with these lines at the kind of finish for which most Renaissance painting is famous. In leaving his work at a point before the drawing and design had reached this kind of finish, much less going on to painting it, Michelangelo made it possible to see in this composition the promise of a theory of a mode of making turned into a theory of artistic production - a theory accounting for the history of art from the Egyptians to die sixteenth century.55 In Italian die word for drawing (disegno) also means design. Disegno has a long and intricate history in the Renaissance, for it came to connote not just any design but a certain sense of judgment and order, a sense that at some point came to be considered typically Florentine.

Disegno is manifest both physically, in drawing, and mentally, in design. Ontologically more grounded than any other medium, drawing precedes painting, sculpture, and architecture. Disegno is invention still unconcerned with iconography. About the time Michelangelo was working on his cartoon, Leonardo da Vinci was experimenting with multifigure groups on paper. A sheet of his (now at Windsor Castìe) began as a drawing of Leda, drawn in chalk. Leda's body then became the body of the Virgin, to which the artist added Saint Anne, Saint John die Baptist, and the Lamb. That move was a breakthrough in narrative possibilities. Leonardo took a pen in hand and returned once more to where he started, turning the Virgin into Leda again, adding Leda's babies coming out of their eggs to her left, and transforming the figure of Christ into a baby resting in her right hand.56 Caught up in what drawing - the purely visual and nontextual - had to offer, Leonardo set aside die difference between mythological mother and the mother of Christ. Entirely unrelated in subject matter. Leda and Anne find affiliation in Leonardo's exercise in narrative. Years later, in 1533, Michelangelo's friend Sebastiano del Piombo recommended thai the artist take a drawing of Ganymede - clearly referring to the finished drawing Michelangelo had just made for Tommaso Cavalieri - and tum it into a Saint John of the Apocalypse by simply adding a halo.57

Sixteenth-century writers often used Michelangelo as the ultimate demonstration and model of disegno. For some, like Vincenzo Danti, Michelangelo's art constituted "nothing other than a treatise."38 An informed reader might think immediately of that famous sixteenth-century discourse that makes disegno mediate between the polarizing qualities of intellect and hand, between idea and execution, ultimately announcing their complete resolution in disegno. Yet this discourse and its theoretical reflections postdated Michelangelo's cartoon by several decades. Earlier theorists of disegno understood the term differently, more as a model structuring the history of art than one attempting to explain the relation between hand and mind. In die fifteenth century, Lorenzo Ghiberti had already equated painting and sculpture with practice and drawing (disegno) with theory. Since "theory [teorica] is the origin and fundament of every art," he wrote, die artist "should be an expert in the theory of the aforesaid art, that is, disegno.''59 Instead of considering disegno ses something that mediates between mind and hand, Ghiberti understood disegno as a theory of the historical foundations of art. Drawing had guided the history of art since its earliest beginnings. Representation originated, Ghiberti had learned from Pliny, when the Egyptian artist Philocles began tracing the shadow of man, an act he defined as "the principle [principio] and first origin" of the arts. Philocles "gave principles [principi] to drawing [disegno], and to that most distinguished theory [that is, drawing] ."60 The word principio is crucial to Ghiberti 's understanding of disegno's historical function. It can mean both "principle" and "beginning." Drawing at once stands at the beginning óf art's history and will structure history's course as its principle of order. "When disegno has a beginning [principio]" Agnolo Bronzino declared in the sixteenth century, "there occurred in diss case what happened to many other things, to a little beginning [principio] things were added and things grew with the duration of time."61

The historical claims attributed to the drawn line made drawing easily applicable to a history of artistic origins. Many fifteenth-century writers, for instance, contended that the origin of Florentine painting could be pinned down to that one historical moment when Cimabue discovered Giotto drawing some sheep in the hills north of Florence.62 At the same time, drawing begins to lose its ties to a single historical moment when it also structures the microhistory of any individual artist's practice. All Florentine painters and sculptors (or goldsmiths or woodcarvers) started their profession with the art of drawing, which inaugurated them into the principles of their profession, as Giotto did by drawing animals in the Etrurian hills.63 Drawing was what artists continued to do for the rest of their lives. Every new painting, sculpture, or building originated on paper. The historical path by which art had arrived in the present was reenacted daily in die workshop of the Florentine artist.

Born from that one historical moment when Philocles traced the shadow of man, and reborn ad infinitum into the future of art making, disegno was not itself subject to historical time. Disegno never dimmed and never grew old. It was always there. Disegno served as the agent of historical development but is not history itself. It produced thé objects of history but never posed as a finished historical product, at least not until Michelangelo lay bare its principles in the fall of 1504. Drawing persisted as a pervasive force throughout history, as an underground stream, a fountain, Petrarch said, from which historical artists tapped their inventions.64 This was exactly what Ghiberti meant when he declared that disegno "unites the causes of both the sculptor and the painter" and that "disegno is the fundament and theory of these two arts."63 And this is also why Ghiberti found nothing remarkable about the fact that no drawings survived from the draftsmen he lauded. For him, drawing existed somewhere outside historical time, posing as various invisible origins, never as one historical beginning. It was only when Vasari began his Libro de' disegni, a collection of drawings by important Italian artists, sometime between 1550 and 1568 that we first find an interest in the history of drawings as historical artifacts. But even here a clear historical perspective on the medium is lacking: Vasari venerated the earliest drawing in die Libro because he thought it had been produced by Cimabue, but it was later found that the drawing was made about a century after Cimabue 's death.66

A desire to uncover the historical foundation of art was what probably drove Michelangelo to fashion a composition of nude men. If drawing offered one way to lay bare history's principio, then the male nude provided another. Like drawing, the male nude was grounded more deeply both in time and in design than die dressed male. A consciousness of its roots m time developed because tire oldest works of art known to the Renaissance were nude Roman sculptures; the male nude's importance in design derived from die fact that every artist trained himself through nude drawing and every new cornmission started from that practice, even when the project asked for dressed figures. "Just as for a clothed figure," Alberti wrote, "we first have to draw die naked body beneath and then cover it with clothes."1*' At the initial stage of design, Benvenuto Cellini declared in the mid-sixteenth century, "one always makes nudes [ignudi] and only later dresses them."68 The sheer number of nude studies tirat survive from Renaissance workshops, usually of apprentices and almost always gendered male, shows how profoundly Alberti \s words were ingrained in the practice oí' Florentine workshops, from which perspective Cellini was clearly writing.69

Yet radier than dressing his figures as Alberti and everyone before had suggested, Michelangelo stopped short before the end of design, leaving the process of design visible. The panicking male nudes trying to dress stand in as figures for the dressing of art itself in the course of making a painting. In representing the act of dressing, Michelangelo left that process visible. The Cascina cartoon presents itself as the undressed history of art making, as the principle of art and art history stripped bare in nineteen naked men.


Michelangelo's work does not attach to a single moment. As a drawing, it is a work reaching deep into the structure of time while simultaneously finding its fulfillment not in Michelangelo's moment but in the future of reception. Artists gathered to draw after Michelangelo's figures when the cartoon was on display in the Sala del Gran Consiglio, probably already from the summer of 1505 onward.70 Vasari famously baptized the work "a school for craftsmen."71 Cellini later called it "a school for all die world."72 Modern art history regularly locates it at the origins of Florentine Mannerism.73

Of all the drawings after the cartoon that survive, only two show the composition as a whole: the one produced by da Sangallo, on commission by Vasari, and the version at the British Museum, which adds the aforementioned background figures. All other artists consistently copied isolated figures or sometimes figure groups. Paying little attention to the cartoon's compositional structure, their drawings and prints contrasted sharply with those after Leonardo's cartoon, which consisten dy reproduce the narrative structure of the work.74 Michelangelo's narrative can, for instance, be seen to break up in the hands of die young Raphael, who, already in 1506-7, focused on the turning figure in the center of the composition and die seated man next to him.7''' Uninterested in the way in which Michelangelo's figures might enact dieir movements in the service of narrative, Raphael capitalized on the educational potential of dieir unprecedented and ambitious poses. Somewhat later, Marcantonio Raimondi produced two prints that again isolate individual figures from any possible narrative logic. The first, datable to 1508, portrays the naked man climbing ashore at the extreme left (Fig. 6); the second, dated 1510, includes the figure pointing to die left and the one reaching for the water (Fig. 7). The addition of die two figures in the later print radically distances it from Michelangelo's narrative. In the absence of water, or better, in die absence of the work's iconographie index, the gesture of the figure that bends toward the river is drained of any narrative meaning. In Michelangelo's cartoon the figure's reaching toward the river could still be explained as giving a hand to a fellow soldier swimming under the surface, but in Raimondi's print he reaches at a hand sticking out of a rock. The print further enhances the status of the figures as excerpts by projecting them against a background taken from a print by Lucas van Leyden, which not only displaces Michelangelo's. figures from Cascina to lócate them in a northern landscape but also suggests that the only place where these figures ought to reside is in die world of art.75

On die rocks of his 1508 print, Raimondi inscribed "I [N] V[ENTT] Ml[CHAEL] A[n]g[ELO] R.[ORENT!NUS]." It is the first print to use the term "invenit" in the history of printmaking, advertising Michelangelo's invention without including the name of the printmaker.77 In his later, more famous prints after Raphael, Raimondi similarly used the "invenit" clause, but those prints differ from the ones after Michelangelo in two fundamental ways. First, they copy Raphael's entire composition and identify both the fresco's subject matter and location.78 Second, they are reproduced not after the frescoes themselves but after Raphael's preparatory studies.79 In his copies after Michelangelo, Raimondi neither registered the original site of Michelangelo's cartoon nor explained its iconography, although the prints were, as will become apparent below, made directiy after the cartoon and not from Michelangelo's preparatory drawings. It was therefore not so much the changing nature of the print medium per se as it was the specific qualities of Michelangelo's work that made Raimondi decide to adopt a different practice when approaching the different artists. Raimondi treated Michelangelo's work exacdy as what it was: a design. His Cascina copies might then be better compared with the prints he made after those drawings Raphael created with no other intention than to turn them into prints, such as the Massacre of the Innocents. Still, in contrast to Raphael's practice, Michelangelo's cartoon presented a lasting prototype for copying, permanentiy on display as a model of invention until it finally disintegrated in the hands of its copyists.

Michelangelo's biographer Ascanio Condivi wrote in 1553 that pieces of the cartoon were diligently preserved "as a sacred thing."80 Condivi's words mark a Benjaminiart shift in the appreciation of artworks, from a cult of religion to a cult of beauty, wherein the veneration of base material comes to be inscribed with die language of the sacred.81 This is a broader version of the secularization process, no longer confined to an erosion of the Christian cult in favor of a cult of art, but a more encompassing shift in the artwork's referential responsibility from traditional subject matter - Walter Benjamin mentions Venus - toward an appreciation of base material and artifice, (Renaissance artists and scholars were indeed remarkably oblivious to the subject matter of the statues they unearthed.82) Condivi's employment of a language formerly belonging to the culture of the relic marks an awareness of that shift in referentiality. Pieces of the cartoon were considered relics ("come cosa sacra") of a once complete whole, like pieces of a saint's body, scattered all over the world. The physical disintegration of Michelangelo's work, torn to shreds about 1540, did little to diminish its exemplary status. As the cartoon was already a collection of unintegrated figure studies, its physical disintegration recapitulated Michelangelo's breaking down of the artwork's capacity to tell stories other than about itself.

Raimondi's first print after the cartoon dramatizes the trajectory of the cartoon implicated in Condivi's words, away from the documentation of subject matter toward the registration of the process of art making - a worlâ of intricate lines, varying poses, clifferent techniques, of authorship, and the work's becoming. The print with the climbing figure reverses a tradition of reproducing artworks in prints that was only half a century old. Early in the history of printing, woodcuts already reproduced other works of art.83 A German woodcut from the 1480s, but going back to a much earlier print, shows an image of the crucified Christ surrounded by the coats of arms of the Bavarian monastery of Tegernsee. The arms indicate not only the place of the woodcut's origins but also - or, perhaps, exclusively - the place of the image it is replicating.84 The monastery boasted two miraculous crucifixes, before one of which Emperor Heinrich II had allegedly knelt.85 It is, however, doubtful that the woodcut replicates the exact physical appearance of the "original." Early reproductive prints, David Areford pointed out, claimed to replicate authoritative prototypes without looking like that prototype.86 Rather than transcribing the physical properties of the original - its stylistic peculiarities, frames, inscriptions, and the like - early prints reproduce the miraculous efficacy of the saint depicted by the original. That efficacy rested less in what the image looked like than in what it depicted. Raimondi's print, produced at the moment when an emphasis on invention came to replace a model of replication, (re) turns to replication in order to document the physical properties of an artwork with unprecedented precision. Never had the exact contours, lines, and poses mattered so much to the reproducing engraver. Note, for instance, the difference between Raimondi's print and an engraving by the German artist lsrahel Meckenem, published between 1495 and 1500 and usually considered the first, faithful copy of an artwork in print. Méckenem's print reproduces the famous Byzantine image of the Imago pietatis in the church of S. Croce in Rome. A long inscription on the print insists on the exactness of the reproduction: "This image is counterfeited in the manner and likeness [ad instar et similitudinem] of diat first Imago Pietatis in the church of Santa Croce in die City of Rome, which the most saintly Pope Gregory die Great had painted in the way it appeared to him in a vision revealed to him from above."87 Despite this claim to being a true likeness of an image, Meckenem's print updates the archaic style of die prototype. The body of Christ is naturalized, his shoulders made less broad and boxlike, his body endowed with volume and a more naturalistic anatomy than seen in die body of the icon. The print, in fact, looks more like an image of Christ tiian of the icon; it is closer to the prototype of the picture it purports to duplicate than to diat picture. The "style" in which Saint Gregory had painted the icon did not matter to Meckenem as Michelangelo's manner mattered to Raimondi.

The prints after Michelangelo's cartoon replace a culture of reproduction concerned more with subject matter than with the exact physical properties of the original. They appropriate and radicalize die culture of replicating an icon, language and all, after they shift the reproductive responsibility of the copy from traditional iconography to artifice and authorship. "Secularization" is not so much its driving force as it is a consequence of a larger process of stripping artworks away from their proper subject matter.

What Michelangelo propagated in the cartoon was more tiian a cult of authorship. The male nudes climbing out of die water and getting dressed do not establish a rhyming between authorship and work.8* These nudes do not argue for the "Michelangelesque male nude." To be sure, it was Michelangelo who was responsible for the work and, surely, it was Michelangelo's name that was connected with the cartoon in at least one engraving and in several written sources. The cartoon, however, constituted an effort to formulate an encompassing "theory" of picture making, one that could do without authorship altogether as long as it adhered to die notion oï disegno - the "autiior" of die history of art. In other words, Michelangelo's cartoon anticipates not the biographies in Vasari 's Vite but die prefaces. The prefaces to the Lives dieorize the underlying and binding force of individual accomplishments. They are less concerned with the audiorship of individual artists than with the underlying structures determining the course of the history of art. Vasari theorized in the prefaces that individual artists were subjected to a historical force much bigger and more encompassing than die sum of individual creators.89 For Michelangelo, as it would later be for Vasari, that force was disegno.

What Counted as Art History at die Time?

By 1510, Michelangelo's figures had reached such canonical status diat quoting them in the margins of fresco cycles became something of a common practice among the artists of what Vasari called the maniera moderna, the generation immediately following Michelangelo. Raphael reproduced the soldier carrying fabric and a lance on the extreme right of the cartoon in reverse as the running figure at the extreme left of his School of Athens (Fig. 8).90 Andrea del Sarto mirrored the man lying in the lower right corner of Michelangelo's composition as a beggar on the left side in his own Miracle of the Relics of San Filippo Benvisti at SS. Annunziata (Fig. 9). The turning figure in die center of Michelangelo's cartoon appears in the background of del Sarto's modello for an Adoration, again in reverse. And in Rosso Fiorentino's Assumption of the Virgin, Michelangelo's "running" soldier reappears, reversed, in the third figure from die left, with his back turned to die viewer (Fig. 10). All quotations appear extraneous to die narrative in which they are inserted. As bystanders irrelevant to the story, they stand deprived of any meaning otiier dian referencing Michelangelo's work. In their iconographie irrelevance· - beggar, youngster posing on a ledge, a mere Rückenfigur - they do nothing more than index the historical pedigree of die images in which they appear.

The reception of Michelangelo's cartoon simply reinforced what was already at die basis of its conception: a conglomerate of isolated figure studies that has more to say about die history of representation than the city's glorious military past. The cartoon presented history undressed in its most rudimentary form, and its studious lack of resolution invited its viewers to translate it into a finished work. Reception anticipates models of future experience, hnagining "untested models of perception and conduct," it operates as an index of the work's historical status - of its newness and its radicalness.91 The novelty of Michelangelo's cartoon, which profoundly shifted the viewer's horizon of expectations, is illustrated in the unprecedented reflections by Raimondi, Raphael, and others on the status of invention and the relation of figure to story. If reception is somehow indicative of the "new questions" Michelangelo's work was to answer, then those questions would be of less concern to the iconography of history than to the structure of art's history.

An emphasis on isolated passages rather than on die composition as a whole has important parallels in the writing of art history. Reading Vasari, we get the impression that the history of art exists in a succession of excerpts. It is almost as if art's history can only come into being when the object of inquiry is severed from the textual narrative that governed fresco cycles - when, in other words, figures are understood as isolated from the historia. In a passage on Giotto's frescoes at Assisi, Vasari, for instance, elaborated at length on "a thirsty man, in whom the desire for water is vividly seen, drinking, bending down on die ground by a fountain with very great and truly marvelous expression, in a manner that it almost seems a living person that is drinking."92 For Vasari, an artwork's historical status can be measured by the influence it had on later generations of artists. A shivering nude inserted by Masaccio in the scene of baptism at the Brancacci Chapel, S. Maria del Carmine, had been admired and copied by artists "old and modern."93 Shaping the history of art to come, Masaccio had "given order through his art to the beautiful manner of our times."94

As is well known, Michelangelo had himself already worked out the division of art history into three periods later championed by Vasari - the first dominated by the art of Giotto, the second by Masaccio, and the third towered over by Michelangelo, an artist acutely aware of his place in history. In his youth, about a decade or so before he began the Cascina cartoon, Michelangelo had made faithful copies of Giotto's and Masaccio's works. These drawings, Alexander Nagel recendy reminded us, maintain the stylistic integrity of their model. Especially the drawing after Giotto does little to amend the clearly trecento pose of its model.95 In it, Michelangelo registered something of the stylistic strangeness of a bygone age. But what has escaped comment so far is that Michelangelo's figures are surprisingly lifted from their narrative, anticipating Vasari's emphasis on the excerpt as the object of art historical interest.

Michelangelo apparently cared litde about die complete narrative structure by which our discipline today defines Giotto's and Masaccio's historical importance.96 In his drawing after Masaccio, Saint Peter stands severed from the tribute collector, rendering the saint's gesture incomprehensible to anyone who does not know the context of Masaccio's fresco (Figs. 11, 12). In his drawing after Giotto's Ascension of Saint John the Evangelist in the Peruzzi Chapel, S. Croce, he divorced the bystanders, already exempted from the main narrative in Giotto, even further from the main story (Figs. 13, 14). Whereas the bending figure in Giotto's fresco peeks into the tomb from which Saint John ascended, the man in Michelangelo's drawing stares into nothingness.

Art history, Michelangelo and Vasari contended, registered in deviations from narrative, never in the telling of the dominant plot. The artists who adopted Michelangelo's Battle of Cascina figures in their own work shared that belief. References to die cartoon consistently appear in the margins of paintings - in those parts of the picture with no responsibility for recounting the main subject. If art history could register in deviations from narrative, then Michelangelo's audiórship could survive the tearing to shreds of his cartoon. When Michelangelo's excerpting was itself subject to severing, the tearing to shreds of his cartoon only served to disseminate a notion of authorship as disegno.

The Design of History

The kind of historical thought at the basis of Michelangelo's cartoon was more than an argument in favor of artistic autonomy: a discourse on art accessible only to other artists.97 Michelangelo's is not a socially disengaged formalism. Questions of historical patterns and origins formed the daily business of the political world surrounded by the cartoon in the main council hall of the Florentine government. It was exactly in its capacity to theorize its own history that art could enter other histories, that it could show its relevance for society at large. Sixteenth-century thought conveys a consistent attempt to attribute a broad social value to disegno, and not just in the writings of art theoreticians at pains to show that die emancipation of art was also a path to social engagement.98 Francesco Guicciardini, Florentine patrician, historiographer, and diplomat, expounded a theory of history that came close to the understanding of disegno as a principle fhat governs all historical products. Among the most conspicuous members of the Great Council that met in die room where Michelangelo's cartoon was on display, Guicciardini used a pictorial vocabulary to make the case for historiography's political use:

The world is so constituted diat everytiiing which exists at present has existed before, under different names, at different times and different places. Thus everytiiing diat has existed in the past is partly in existence now and partly will exist at other times, returning into being ever)·' day, but in different disguises and different colors [sotto varie coperte è vari colorii, so that without a very good eye one takes it for new and fails to recognize it. But someone with a sharp eye, who knows how to compare and contrast one event with another and considers what die substantial differences are and which matter less, easily recognizes it and with calculations and measurements of past events knows how to calculate and measure quite a lot of die future. So there's no doubt that proceeding altogether in this way, we shall err very little in our discussions and we shall be able to predict much of what is going to happen in this new political system [of the Governo Popolare].99

To begin with, Guicciardini 's vocabulary bears a strong relation to die theory of disegno as an underlying force of history, whose colors change only with historical progress. It is even more striking that he would base his theory of political history - which is often considered a landmark in political and historical thought - on a theory earlier developed for die history of art.100 Here art history functions as a model for historiographical and political reform. Art does not reflect or illustrate politics, it produces a model of historical thought adopted by the practitioners of politics. Guicciardini expounded a theory of history that he hoped would salvage die fragile government for which Michelangelo designed his cartoon. The need to find a new model for historical understanding arose in direct response to the refractory history of the recent period.101 The calm historical continuity diat had marked life in Florence during Medici times, when power had smoothly passed from one generation to die next, was shattered in 1494 when Piero de' Medici was expelled. The Governo Popolare was haunted by internal strife and external tiireats for die eighteen years it lasted. A sense of historical discontinuity informs much early sixteentivcentury historiography. Machiavelli was not alone in diinking diat die last decade of die fifteentfi century had broken history in two halves: the one, Medicean, of a tranquil continuum, the other, post-Medicean, full of scars, breaks, and ruptures.102 The Governo Popolare witnessed the publishing of an unprecedented number of political blueprints, now considered essays in die boundaries of historicist thought, but then serving as concrete models for politics.103

In Florence around 1500, history writing ceased to be die mere chronicling of historical events. In the hands of Guicciardini, Machiavelli, and otiiers, the very principle of history - its discontinuities, inconsistencies, and contingencies - became the subject of historical inquiry. Understanding die laws of history enables one not only to "predict . . . what is going to happen," as Guicciardini said, but also to manipulate future history. In 1498, die Florentine government commissioned from die Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola, also die de facto steward of die Governo Popolare and "architect" of the Gran Consiglio and its council room, a theoretical statement on its form of government diat seamlessly folded the present into die pre-Medici past as if to suggest that republicanism remained untouched by historical particulars.104 Savonarola in fact argued diat the tradition of republican diought never really died in die fifteenth century, even if the Medici had tried to suppress it. Republicanism existed as a steady understream of history. It might not surface at the time of regimes hostile to its principles, but its structure remained unaffected - forever there for future politics to tap into. Republican thought, Savonarola contended, comes closer to something resembling the design of history than res gestae, the products of history.105

Savonarola's vested interest in asserting diat republics exist outside of time was of course a response to his realization of their historical vulnerability. His need to insist on the Florentine Republic's atemporality grew directiy out of a discussion about the lack of republican euros in the overthrown Medici government. History needed a dieoretical model diat could offer clarity in an age of volatile change. Even for an ardent friar like Girolamo, divine providence was not always a sufficient answer to what seemed to be happening to Florence around die turn of the century.

At the time, art needed no less a theoretical model of its history than politics. The decade following die Medici expulsion in 1494 witnessed the consistent breaking down of the model of patronage developed Under Medici rule - a model of trust and belief in art that had produced such stellar artists as Donatello, Andrea del Verrocchio, Leonardo da Vinci, and Michelangelo himself. The sculptor Donatello was said to have received commissions from his patron and friend Cosimo de' Medici not only because Cosimo needed specific objects but also because he wanted to keep the art of sculpture alive in the city.106 Akin to a political equilibrium shattered into pieces in 1494, die calm continuum of art patronage during the Medici years yielded to discontinuity in the wake of die Medici expulsion. A former trust in ait to articulate political meaning gave way to art's destruction in the name of politics.

Political rupture gained visual weight when paintings and sculptures were burned in the infamous bonfires of 1497 and 1 498, claiming die works of Donatello and Sandro Botticelli among the casualties.107 The bonfires of "die vanities" that Savonarola instigated, although mostiy understood as acts of religious purification, produced a carefully orchestrated visual effect that replaced a prolific artistic production with a sense of absence. "Surrounding the structure [of the stake]," one witness wrote, "were seven tiers, one above the otiier at equal intervals, on which were set all die aforesaid objects with a not disagreeable artfulness. . . . [T]his edifice, which was as decorative as it was appropriate, was rendered pleasing and delightful to die eyes of everyone in its entirety no less tiian in its parts."108 As existing works of art were destroyed, patrons ceased commissioning new ones, inaugurating one of die most benighted moments in the history of Florentine culture. Many artists had fled the city to seek economic refuge elsewhere.109 The former copula between art and politics needed restoration through reconfiguration. That reconfiguration is the subject of Michelangelo's cartoon.

The Politics of Education

For some, Michelangelo's cartoon radically withdrew from the world of volatile politics that had occasioned its commission. Autonomy might simply be construed as art's will to be free from the constraints of patronage and politics, usually expressed through iconography. Michelangelo's cartoon complicates the dream of an autonomous form of art. His revision of an artwork's representational responsibilities soon acquired enormous political force in die room where the political future of Florence was discussed on a daily basis. The political potential of Michelangelo's work lay in its educational creed. The cartoon set the basis not just for one work (Michelangelo's never-begun fresco) but also for a whole new future of painting. Granted, many fifteenth-century altarpieces and fresco cycles lived second lives as comparable proto-academies of art. Besides its status as a work in the service of religion in the traditional, iconographie sense, the Brancacci Chapel, for instance, lived just such a life. Ait historians indeed often point out the similarities between Masaccio's chapel and Michelangelo's cartoon, one even suggesting diat the cartoon replaced the Brancacci Chapel as an academy for Florentine artists - all arguments, of course, in favor of Belting's thesis of art's slow emancipation from religion.110 But the educational purpose of Masaccio's chapel remained purely one of reception; it remained secondary to its religious function. Michelangelo's drawing, laying bare to its pupils the principles of art, maintains a stronger relation between inception and reception. Michelangelo was slighdy more conscious of his work's historical impact tiian was Masaccio.

An artist's visit to die Sala del Gran Consiglio to view the cartoon was a regulated rimai. Access was reserved for the council's diree thousand members; others faced restrictions. Artists not elected to the Gran Consiglio had to obtain permission to enter the room from either one of the Palazzo della Signoria's heralds, with Michelangelo's consent, or from the commander of die Palazzo della Signoria, all acting on behalf of the gonfaloniere Soderini, held responsible for the reception of Michelangelo's work as well as its commission.111 Some artists succeeded in viewing Michelangelo's work and some did not. The list of those fortunate« is supplied by Vasari, and die drawings of these masters offer additional proof of their access. All of them were notably talented - Raphael, Andrea del Sarto, Rosso Fiorentino - or intending to publish Michelangelo's invention, name and all, as did Raimondi and, later, Agostino Veneziano.112 Exclusivity secured the work's iconicity and controlled its reception. Allowing certain artists in while keeping others out, the Signoria, through the heralds, assured reception in the hands of the few. With Michelangelo's cartoon, the reception of art apparently became a matter of state; even the head of the Florentine government worried about access to the work.

Artistic education had proven a powerful tool of cultural control. Michelangelo's cartoon replaced and displaced a former Medici politics of education, vestiges of which were put on display in the Sala del Gran Consiglio.113 The works of ex-Medici possession gathered in the council room in the years following the expulsion of the Medici had once adorned their palace, as well as the Giardino di S. Marco, the sculpture garden where Michelangelo had received his training as a sculptor and that had functioned as an art academy of sorts. It was through the sculpture garden that Lorenzo de' Medici managed to support - and hence to control - the production of Florentine art. The marble busts and Lorenzo's famous bronze horse head had once served as models for artists coming of age in Medicean Florence.114 They had offered models for the style Lorenzo had propagated by allowing artists access to his collections.115 According to Vasari, Lorenzo had founded the garden, "which was like a school and academy for young painters and sculptors and for all those others who attended to disegno," with an urgent didactic aim.116

In 1494, the Medici epoch was "brought to a symbolic close" at the Giardino di S. Marco when it was looted and dismanded, its grounds sold to the highest bidder.1 17 Michelangelo had fled from the garden days before the expulsion. In the source mentioning his flight, the artist was described as "Michelangelo, the sculptor from the garden [Michelagnolo ischultore dal g[i] ordino]" as if art and artist had become commodities tied to a certain, politicized place and moment. Vasari even mentions that Michelangelo had run from Medici employ and the garden because he was discontented with Piero de' Medici's "bad politics."118 Michelangelo's experiences while absent from Florence brought about a change in loyalty. After wandering to Venice, Bologna, and Rome, he returned to Florence in the spring of 1501, when he started to work for patrons tied to the polities of the Governo Popolare.119 But a true symbolic close of Lorenzo's politics of artistic education did not occur until the summer of 1505, when Michelangelo's Cascina cartoon was installed in the symbolic heart of the government that had replaced not only Lorenzo's politics but also his cultural program. With Michelangelo working in the service of the Florentine Republic, receiving a regular income as a republican court artist of sorts, his art was to set a new direction for Florence's visual future, aimed to eclipse Lorenzo's cultural hegemony.120 The Governo Popolare could claim a new blueprint for art when it decided to install the work in its council room in the fall of 1505.

The politics of that gesture was understood by the returning Medici in 1512. After they regained power, within weeks the Sala del Gran Consiglio was dismanded and turned into soldiers' barracks, for many a Florentine a sign of disrespect for the city's republican system.121 Michelangelo's cartoon was taken out of the room and, after a brief spell at die Sala del Papa, where Leonardo's cartoon was also kept, put on display at the Palazzo Medici, where its didactic potential continued to be exploited. This was where, as Vasari described it, the many artists eager to copy it ended up tearing it to pieces.122 It was a gesture that was part of the Medici's larger program of reasserting control over artistic education. In 1513, the family reacquired the Giardino di S. Marco and restored it to its old function. The Medici continued to dominate the education of sculptors and painters for the better part of the sixteenth century. And they did so through control of drawing. Cultural control culminated in the family's support of the Accademia del Disegno, established in 1561 as the first professional stronghold of its sort in Western art history, which institutionalized the making of art as a political program.123 At once serving as a model for die future emancipation of art and tracing back its origins to Michelangelo's disegno, the Accademia del Disegno defined drawing as art's exclusive path to the picturing of empire.

Whereas the religious image opened itself up to the modern institution of art only by shaking off its responsibility to religious society - by promoting art theory to a subject of representation in and of itself· - the secular artwork showed that the stripping of iconography revealed the historical premises of the artwork. Those premises, in turn, proved to be of social and political value. They were placed at the heart of European art academies, whose origins lay in die Accademia del Disegno. Michelangelo's work privileges the primacy of its constructive function over the function of art to illustrate any kind of a priori meaning located elsewhere, outside the work.124 The cartoon resists being seen as iconography in its literal meaning of an image (eikon) of writing (graphein). Referencing itself and art's history, it might be mistaken for the perfect example of the autonomous work of art, a work whose only concern is itself and the history of which it forms part. Yet here formalism is far more capable than iconography of retrieving the political meaning of the artwork. Political meaning can emerge through iconography only when the text that the artwork purportedly illustrates is considered to have political meaning. It therefore buys into the trap of the translatability of text into image set by the Albertian historia that Michelangelo's image deconstructs. In the years around 1500, when the whole episteme of representation came under the pressure of volatile political change, the problem of how art showed had to be worked out before art could return to die comfortable state of what it showed.125


I would like to thank the Wo anonymous reviewers for The Art Bulletin and the editor-in-chief, Karen Lang, For iheir helpful comments. Unless otherwise indicated, translations are mine.

1. Hans Rupprich, ed., Dürer: Schriftlicher Nachlass, 3 vols. (Berlin: Deutscher Verein für Kunstwissenschaft, 1956), Vol. 1, 165.

2. Hans Belting, Bild und Kult: Eine Geschichte des Bikies vor tieni Zeitalter der Kunst Munich: C. H. Beck, 1990), 523.

3. See Gerhard Wolf, Schleier und Spiegel: Traditionen des Christusbildes und die Bitdkonzepte der Renaissance (Munich: W. Fink, 2002),

4. Rupprich, Dürer, 43.

5. Belting, Bild und Kult, 535.

6. See, besides Belong, Joseph Leo Koerner, The Reformation of the Image (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004); Christopher S. Wood, AUtrecht Alldorfer and the Origins of Landscape (London: Reaktion. 1993); and Alexander Nagel, Michelangelo and the Reform of An (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2000). More recently, Nagel has argued for a more widespread stripping of iconography in Italian an of about 1500; Nagel, "Structural Indeterminacy in Early SixteenthCentury Italian Painting," in Subject as Aporia in Early Modern Ari, ed. Nagel and Lorenzo Pericolo (Farnham, U.K.: Ashgate, 2010), 14-42. However, for Nagel the stripping of iconography led to a recon figuration of iconographie models and ultimately to speculation about the subject matter of paintings rather than the acceptance of an artwork taking itself and its own process of becoming as a subject of representation in and of itself. To Nagel's claim that the structural indeterminacy of early sixteenth-century an calls for philosophical inquiry on die part of the beholder - a kind of inquiry that can only happen in painting and is quite free from art's responsibility to represent anything outside itself - I add die claim that this inquiry, at least in Michelangelo's case, leads to a reflection on die way an artwork is related to the history of art making. And it is that history, in turn, that finally escapes die model of artistic autonomy. At least in Florence, the history of art became a system mobilized for political means.

7. Girolamo Savonarola, Prediche sopra Ezechiele, ed. Roberto Ridolfi, 2 vols. (Rome: Angelo Belardelli. 1955), vol. 1, 343,

8. Lucien Febvre, Tlte Problem of Unbelief in the Sixteenth Century: The Religion of Rabelais, trans. Beatrice Gottlieb (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1982).

9. Girolamo Savonarola, Prediche sopra Amos e Zaccaria, ed. Paolo Ghiglieri. 3 vols. (Rome: Angelo Belardetti, 1971), vol. I1 75-76.

10. Belting. Bild und Kult, 524.

11. Leon Battista Alberti, On Painting and On Sculpture: The Latin Texts of "De Pìctura" and "De Statua," trans, and ed. Cecil Grayson (London: Phaidon, 1972). 71 . 73, 75, 95-97.

12. Francesco Guicciardini, Opere di Francesco Guicciardini, ed. Emanuella Lugani Scarano, 3 vols. (Turin: Unione TipograficoJîditrice Torinese, 1970-81), vol. 1, 401, 398: "la anima del governo populare." And: "fondamento delle libertà."

13. The inscriptions in the Sala del Gran Consiglio are recorded by Luca Landucci, Diario fiorentina dal 1450 al 1516, continuato da un anonimo fino al 1542, ed. Iodoco Del Badia (Florence: Sansoni, 1883), 126. For the decoration of the room before Michelangelo's commission, see Johannes Wilde, "The Hall of die Great Council of Florence," journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 7 (1944): 72-78.

14. Michelangelo's contract for The Battle of Cascina does not survive; however, circumstantial evidence indicates that he probably received his commission in September 1504; see Luisa Morazzi, * "La Battaglia di Cascina' di Michelangelo: Nuora ipotesi sulla data di commissione," Prospettiva 53-56 (1988-89); 320-24. Leonardo's contract does noi survive either. However, on October 24, 1503, Leonardo received the keys to the Sala del Papa at S. Maria Novella, where he began working on his cartoon. He probably had been awarded die commission shortly before; see Luca Beltrami, ed.. Documenti e memorie riguardanti la vita e le opere, di Leonardo da Vinti (Milan; Treves, 1919), 81. Wilde, "The Hall of the Great Council," 80, had previously argued that die battle scenes were destined for the eastern wall of the Sala del Gian Consiglio. For the archaeological evidence refuting Wilde's claim, see H. Travers Newton and H. Spencer Jr., "Appunti sulla Battaglia dt Anghiari di Leonardo," Prospettiva 19 (1977): 99-101. And for the archival evidence, see Nicolai Rubinstein, The Paleixo Vecchio, I29H-1532: Government, Architecture, arid Imagery in the Civic Palace of the Florentine Republic (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995), 73. It should therefore be understood that die altar was situated on the opposite east wall, which is Only natural considering diat altars were often oriented io die easL

15. See Giorgio Vasari, Le vite de' più eccellenti pittori, scultori e architettori neue redazioni del i550 e 1568, ed. Rosanna Bettarini and Paola Barocchi, 6 vols. (Florence: Sansoni, 1966-71), voi. 6, 25. Pieces of die cartoon were dispersed over various Italian collections, traces of it documented into die seventeenUi century; see Charles de Tolnay, The Youth of Michelangelo, 2nd ed. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1947), 211-12.

16. Vasari, /Le vite, vol. 5, 393. For the cartoon, see Alessandro Cecchi's entry in L'officina delta maniera: Varietà e. fierezza nell'arte fiorentina del cinquecento fra le due. repubbliche 1494-1530, by Cecchi and Antonio Natali (Florence: Giunta Regionale Toscana; Venice: Marsilio, 1996) -, 113.

17. Wilde, "The Hall of the Great Council." 65, wrote, "This is one of the rare cases where a clearly definable historical occurrence expressed itself clearly in a work of art or - to put the statement in reverse form - where the existence and significance of a work of art can be completely explained by reference to a political event" The most exhaustive political interpretations of die commissions are Nicolai Rubinstein, "Machiavelli and the Mural Decoration of the Hall of die Great Council of Florence," in Mtisagetes: Festschrift ßer Wall/ram ftinz zu seinem 60. Geburtstag am 5. Februar 1989, ed. Ronald G. Kecks (Berlin: Gebrüder Mann Verlag, 1991), 275-85; and Alessandro Cecchi, "Niccolò Machiavelli o Marcello Vjrglio Adriani? Sul programma e l'assetto compositivo delle 'Battaglie' di Leonardo e Michelangelo per la Sala del Maggior Conciglio in Palazzo Vecchio," Prospettiva 83-84 (1996): 102-15.

18. For the Pisan war and its contemporary impact, see Humfrey Butters, Governors and Government in Early Sixteenth-Century Florence, 1502-1509 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985), 83-1 14.

19. It was stated that Michelangelo's figures were larger than life in a description of fragments of the cartoon in Turin in a seventeenth-century inventory: "large, more than life [grandi più del naturale]" and "bigger than life [più grandi del naturale] ." See Le Gallerie Nazionali Italiane: Notizie e documenti (Rome: Ministero per la Pubblica Istruzione, 1897). 62. quoted in Tolnay, KoW(A of Michelangelo, 211-12.

20. On the difference between work ergon) and supplementary work (parergon) in early modern art, see Victor I. Stoichita, The Self-Aware image: An Insight into Early Modern Meta-Painting, trans. Anne-Marie Glasheen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 22. On die hierarchy between foreground and background in Renaissance art, see Jeroen Stumpel, "On Grounds and Backgrounds: Some Remarks about Composition in Renaissance Painting," Simiolus 19 (1988): 21943. Most scholars believe that the background figures in the London copy Were not on Michelangelo's original cartoon. Michael Hirst ("I disegni di Michelangelo per la Battaglia di Cascina [ca. 1504.]," in Tecnica e stile: Esempi di pittura murale del. Rinascimento italiano, ed. Eve Borsook and Fiorella Superbi Gioffredi [Milan: Silvana, 1986]) and others believed that they were based either on an oral tradition about what Michelangelo intended to paint on the wall or that they were pieced together from drawings, whether by Michelangelo or not. Vasari tells of additional soldiers carrying tambourines, again insisting on the primacy of the foreground nudes; Vasari, Le vite, vol. 6, 24. In die case of Michelangelo's life, we can trust Vasari more diati is usually assumed; see Hirst, "Michelangelo and His First Biographers," Proceedings of the British Academy 92 (1997): 63-84.

21. Cecchi. "Sul programma." The ensuing batde in the background of die cartoon, albeit composition ally suppressed, reveals diat Michelangelo must have been asked to follow die account of the batde in Bruni. It is only in Bruni diat we are told that die badiing soldiers rushed to arms after hearing "die clamour dial arose"; see Leonardo Bmni, Histoty of the Florentine People, trans, and ed. James Han kins, 2 vols. (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press; London: I Tatti Renaissance Library, 2001-4), vol. 2, 460-67 (bk. 8, sec. 69-72). Cf. Giovanni Villani, Matteo Villani, and Filippo Villani, Croniche storiche di Giovanni, Matteo e Filippo Villani: A miglior lezione ridotte coU.'aiulo dei testi a pernia, ed. 1. Montier and Francesco GherarcU Drogamanni, 7 vols. (Milan: Borroni e Scotti, 1848). voi. 6, 493-97 (bk. 1 1, par. 97).

22. Bruni. History of the Florentine People, vol. 2, 463 (bk. 8, sec. 69).

23. See Anthony Grafton. "Historia and Istoria- Aiberti's Terminology in Context," / Tatti Studies: Essays in the Renaissance 8 (1999): 48-49. For the telling of history at the time, see Coen Maas, " 'Covered in the Thickest Darkness of Forgetfulness': Humanist Commonplaces and the Defence of Medievalism in Janus Dousa's Metrical History," in Early Modern. Medievalisms: The Interplay between Scholarly Reflection and Artistic Production, ed. Alica C. Montoya, Sophie van Romburgh, and Wim van Anrooij (Leiden: Brill. 2010), 330-45.

24. Giovanni Pontano, Dialoge, ed. Hermann Kiefer (Mimich: Fink, 1984), 217-18, On Pontano and history writing, see Felix Gilbert Machiavelli and Guicciardini: Politics and History in Sixteenth-Century Florence (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1965). 209.

25. Leonardo da Vinci, The Literary Works of Leonardo da Vinci, trans, and ed. Jean-Paul Richter, 2 vols. (London: Oxford University Press, 1939), yol. 1. 381-82 (sec. 669).

26. Niccolò Machiavelli, Del mod/? di trattare i popoli di Valdichiana ribellate, in Opere, ed. Corrado Vìvami. 3 vols. (Turin: Einaudi-Gallimard, 1997), vol. 1, 22-26. And see Francesco Guicciardini's remarks on die .Aretine issue in Denis Fachard, ed.. Consulte e pratiche della Repubblica Fiorentina (I '505-1 5 i2) (Geneva: Droz, 1988), 77. For the Aretine rebellion in general, see Butters, Governors and Government, 44, 51, 55.

27. For the Florentine campaigns against Pisa, see Michael E. Mallet, "Pisa and Florence in die Fifteenth Century: Aspects of die Period of die First Florentine Dominion," in Florentine Studies: Politics and Society in Renaissance Florence, ed. Nicolai Rubinstein (London: Faber and Faber, 1968). 403-41.

28. Sydney J. Freedberg, Painting of the High Renaissance in Rome and Florence, 2 vols. (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1961). vol. 1, 46; and Cecil Gould, Michelangelo: Battle of Cascina (Newcastle upon Tyne: Printing Section University, 1966), n.p. There is a tradition in Michelangelo scholarship that argues against elaborate iconographie interpretations by pointing out that Michelangelo was more concerned with issues of planning and structural problem solving. These studies mainly pertain to the New Sacristy in Florence and the Sistine Ceiling in Rome, boui structurally complicated works diat needed ingenious planning. Estelle Lingo maintains that practical issues of planning and architectural framing in die Medici Chapel took precedence over considerations of iconography, a position that goes back to nineleendi-century and early twentieth-century German formalist scholarship; Lingo, "The Evolution of the Magnifici Tomb: Program versus Process in the Iconography of the Medici Chapel," Artibus et Historiae 16, no. 32 (1995): 91-100. For a similar argument for the Sistine Ceiling, see Kathleen Weil-Garris Brandt, "Michelangelo's Projects for the Sistiné Ceiling: Their Practical and Artistic Consequences," in Michelangelo Drawings, ed. Craig Hugh Smyth (Washington, D.C: National Gallen· of Art, 1992), 57-87. A similar tradition is already present in writing on Michelangelo's architecture from Vasari onward; see, for instance, Andreas Prater, Michelangelos Medio-Kapelle: "Ordine composto" als Gestaltungsprinzip von Architektur und Ornament (Waldsassen: Sdfdand-Verlag, 1979); Stefan Krieg, "Das Archi tekturdetail bei Michelangelo: Stuthen zu seiner Entwicklung bis 1534," Römisches Jahrbuch der Bibliotheca Hertziana 33 (2003): 101-258; and Cam my Brothers, Michelangelo, Drawing and tlte Invention i>f Architecture- (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008). I am largely sympathetic to Ulis tradition of Michelangelo as a practica! designer in the cases of the ceiling and the New Sacristy. However, I want to emphasize that I am not arguing that practical considerations put pressure on matters of iconography in the case of die Cascina cartoon, which was a neady shaped and smooth surface and not an irregularly shaped ceiling with spandrels and pendentives or a chapel consisting of three different stories.

29. Alberti, On Painting, 103-5.

30. Ibid., 82-83.

31. Michael Baxandall, Giotto and the Orators: Humanist Observers of Painting in Italy and the Discovery of Pictorial Composition (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971), 121-39. '

32. Alberti, On Painting, 95.

33. David Rosand, "Ekphrasis and die Renaissance of Painting: Observations on Alberti's Third Book," in Rorilegium Columbianum: Essays in Honor of Paul Oskar Kristeller, ed. Karl-Ludwig Selig and Robert Sommertine (New York: Italica Press. 1987). 147-65.

34. Alberti. Ow Painting, 97.

35. Leon Battista Alberti, On the Art of Building in Ten Books, trans. Joseph Rykwert, Neil Leach, and Robert Tavernor (Cambridge, Mass.: MlT Press, 1988). 220 (bk. 7. sec. 10). For the Latin text, see Alberti, L'architettura (De re aedificatoria), ed. Giovanni Orlandiili with Paolo Portoghesi, 2 vols. (Milan: Edizioni Tl Polifilo, 1966), vol. 2, 609-11. Alberti's insistence on die literary basis of art echoes far into the sixteendi century; see, for instance, Giovanni Armenini, De' veri precetti della pittura (1587), in Scritti d'arte del cinquecento, ed. Paola Barocchi, 3 vols. (Milan: Ricciardo Ricciardi, 1971-77), voi. 2, 2006. By Armenini's time, die textual basis of painting could serve as a powerful argument for the legitimacy of art in Counter-Reformation debates, yet it is important to point out that within those debates Michelangelo's an was sometimes singled out as still being able to disturb painting's dependence on words. Giovan Andrea Gilio, writing in the year of die artist's death (1564), tiiought diat Michelangelo claimed a kind of knowledge in the Last 'Judgment diat could not be accounted for by the Bible. For Guio, the painter of historia- in which category he had placed Michelangelo's fresco - should be a mere translator of written language into a visual one, and Michelangelo had ceased to play die role of mere translator. See Gilio, Dialogo nel quale si ragiona degli errori e degli abusi de' pittori circa l'istorie (1564), in Trattati d'arte del cinquecento fra manierismo e controriforma, ed. Paola Barocchi, S vols. (Bari: Laterza, 1960-62), voi. 2, 39: "The painter of the historia is none other than a translator, who translates the story from one language into another, from pen to brush, from writing into painting [ 7 pittore. istorico altro non è che un traslatore, che porti l'istoria da una lingua in un'altra, e questi da la penna al pennello, da la scrittura a la pittura]."

36. For the différence in storytelling between die Uffizi drawing and the copy by da Sangallo in Holkham Hall, see Hirst, "Disegni di Michelangelo," vol, 1, 45; and idem, Michelangelo and His Drawings (New Haven: Yale University Press. 1988), 44. This was also pointed out by Freedberg, Painting of the High Renaissance, vol. 3, 46-47; and Gould, Michelangelo,

37. Johannes Wilde, "Michelangelo and Leonardo," Burlington Magazine 95 (1953): 77, wrote that thè cartoon looked like a "forest of marble statues." Such a claim, however, denies the medium specificity that 1 situate at the heart of drawing; see below.

38. Vasari. L· vite, vol. 6, 23; and see Morozzi, " 'La Battaglia di Cascina,' " for the documents Of Michelangelo's presence there in the fall of 1504.

39* For die documents, see Karl Frey, "Stuthen zu Miehelagniolo Buonarroti und zur Kunst seiner Zeit," pt. 3, Jahrbuch der Königlich Preussischen Kunstsammlungen 30 (1909): suppl., 133, does. 193-94. Assistants were paid through the months of November and December for help on the cartoon; see Beltrami, Documenti e memorie, 95. For the measurements of die surfaces to be painted, see Wilde, "Michelangelo and Leonardo," 73-74. These measurements conform largely to the estimates of die sizes for both Leonardo's and Michelangelo's cartoons by Carmen C. Bambach, "The Purchases of Cartoon Paper for Lee*· nardo's Battle of Anghiari and Michelangelo's Battle of Cascina," I Tatti Studies: Essays in the Renaissance 8 (1999): 105-33. Michelangelo used a trestle to adjust die scaffolding in height, which enabled him to move the scaffolding not only along the lengdi but also along the height of the cartoon; for the document, see Frey, "Stuthen," suppl., 133, doc. 199. And see Hirst, "Disegni di Michelangelo," 46-47, 52, 54-55, for speculations on die nature of Michelangelo's "scaffolding [ponte]." Vasari described a similar device in use by Leonardo; see Vasari, Le vite, vol. 4, 33.

40. See n. 19 above.

41. Frey, "Stuthen," suppl., 133, doc. 208. That these payments document the completion of the cartoon was most recently argued by Hugo Chapman, Michelangelo Drawings: Closer to the Master (London: British Museum Press, 2005), 78. For Michelangelo's itinerary in those months, see Michael Hirst, "Michelangelo in 1505," Burlington Magazine 133 (1991): 760-66.

42. Instead, Michelangelo seems to have spent most of his time on the Saint Matthew, which he left unfinished in die courtyard of the Opera del Duomo in November 1506, when he was called to Bologna by Pope Julius II; see Michael Amy, "The Dating of Michelangelo's Saint Matthew." Burlington Magazine 142 (2000): 493-96.

43. Frey, "Stuthen," suppl., 135, doc. 234. Some scholars have argued that the ballatoio must have been a structure at S. Onofrio, an argument diat cannot be substantiated because diat building no longer exists; see, for instance. Christian Adolf Isermeyer, "Die Arbeiten Leonardos und Michelangelos für den grossen Ratsaal in Florence," in Stuthen zur Toskanischeii Kunst: Festschrift flsr Ludwig Heinrich Heydenrewk zum 23. Man i963, ed. Wolfgang Lotz and Lise Lotte Möller (Munich: Prestel, 1964), 123. Yet die document that tells of the installation of the cartoon can be read only in relation to other payments for work at the Palazzo della Signoria. It closes with other things for payments for "other things for [altre cose per in palagio]." A notary would have never added "other [altre]" if he thought diat the panclwncelli were not for the Palazzo. Morozzi, " 'La Battaglia di Cascina.' " 322, also argued, using different philological evidence, that die ballatoio mentioned in die document was located in the Sala del Gran Consiglio. The cartoon is documented as being in this room in numerous letters and in a guidebook of 1510; Francesco Albertini, Memoriale di molte statue el picture di Fhrenlia (1510), in Five Early Guides to Rome and Florence, ed. Peter Murray (Farnborough, U.K.: Gregg, 1972). 11. For the letters, see n. Ill below.

44. Francesco Sacchetti, R trecentonovelle, ed. Valerio Man ucci (Rome: Salerno Editrice, 1996), 625.

45. Rubinstein, TAe Palazzo Vecchio, 73.

46. Albertini, Memoriale, 9, 11.

47. Bambach, "The Purchases of Cartoon Paper." Admittedly, Leonardo da Vinci had exhibited a cartoon of Saint Anne at die Florentine church of SS. Annunziata in die spring of 1501, but that cartoon had been on view for only a few days. Leonardo's cartoon is lost, and it is uncertain whether it was actually a ben finito cartoon. A description of it survives in a letter by Fra Pietro da Novellare to Isabella d'Esté; see Leonardo da Vinci, !¿onardo da Vinci: I documenti e le testimonianze contemporanee, ed. Edoardo Volata (Milan: Castello Sforzesco, 1999), 13435, no. 150. For the exhibition at SS. Annunziata, see Vasari, L· vite, voi. 4, 29.

48. Some ben finito cartoni, for instance, Leonardo's in the National Gallery in London, survive to this day, which indicates that they were kept by collectors as self-sufficient works of art. For the practice of collecting cartoons, see Carmen C. Bambach, Drawing and Painting in the Italian Renaissance Workslwp, 1400-1600: Theory and Practice (Cambridge: Cambridge Universi ty Press, 1999), 276-77.

49. Vasari, Le vite, vol. 6, 24.

50. Armenini, De' veri precetti della pittura, 2026-27.

51. Of course, Michelangelo left many works unfinished. For a good overview of Michelangelo's non finito, see Jürgen Schulz, "Michelangelo's Unfinished Works." Art Bulletin 57 (1975): 366-73. Ascanio Condivi's Life of Michelangelo, published in 1553, could still be read as one giant effort to account for the large number of works dial die artist never completed; see Hirst, "Michelangelo and His First Biographers."

52. Beltrami, Documenti e memorie, 87. It is perhaps telling that Piero Soderini, who supervised die commission, never complained about Michelangelo's failure to finish his painting in the Sala del Gran Consiglio; Soderini awarded Michelangelo other commissions as a token of appreciation. At the same time, the gonfaloniere Soderini continued to rant against the "untrustworthy" Leonardo, who, aldiough having begun work on the actual fresco, was accused of having received too much money: see ibid., 112. In die summer of 1506, Soderini tried to secure a block of marble for Michelangelo diat was to serve as a pendant to the artist's David. Even as late as 1516, while Soderini was in exile in Rome, he asked Michelangelo for advice on die design of a tabernacle, and this correspondence reveals an intimate friendship between the two; see William E. Wallace, "Friends and Relics at San Silvestro in Capite, Rome," Sixteenth Century fojimal 30 (1999): 419-39. For the dynamics of die friendship between Soderini and Michelangelo during the period of the cartoon, seejpost Keizer, "History, Origins. Recover)-: Michelangelo and die Politics of Art" (PhD diss.. Universiteil Leiden, 2008). 124-32.

53. See Willibald Sauerländer, "From Stilus to Style: Reflections on the Fate of a Notion," Art History 6 (1983): 253-70. Philip Sohm, Style in the Art Themy of Early Modern Italy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), argued diat the connection between stylus and style was made lor the first time in die seventeendi century. My argument here, however, aims to distinguish the meaning öf the line as much as possible from iconography, which for all its dependence on extravisual input might be defined as the opposite of style.

54. Pliny the Elder, Pliny's Chapters on the History of Art, trans. KJex-Blake, ed. Eugenie Sellers-Strong (Chicago: Argonaut, 1968), 121-23. And see David Rosand, Drawing Acts: Studies in Graphic Expression and Representation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 7.

55. Among other publications, seé M. Poirier, "The Role of die Concept of Disegno in Mid-Sixteenth-Century Florence," in The Age of Vasari, ed. Michael Milkovich and Dean A. Porter (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame, 1970). 53-66; Robert Williams, Art, Theory and Culture in Sixteenth-Century Florence: From Tedine to Metatechne (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1997), 29-72; andjoselita Ciaravino, Un art paradoxal: La notimi de disegno en Italie (XVème-XVIeme siècles) (Paris and Turili: L'Harmattan, 2004). And for the history of the English translation of disegno as "design," see Michael Baxandall, "English Disegno," reprinted in Words for Pictures: Seven. Papers on Renaissance Art and Criticism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), 83-97.

56. Windsor Castle, the Royal Library, 12337r. The sequence of drawing has been untangled by Johannes Nathan. "Some Drawing Parctices of Leonardo: New Light on die .SY. Anne," Mitteilungen des KunslhUtorischen Institutes in. ñorenz 36 ( 1 992) : 85- 10 1 .

57. Michelangelo, // carteggio di MichelangeL·, ed. Paola Barocchi, 5 vols. (Florence: Sansoni. 1965-83), vol. 3, 18. Erwin Panofsky argued that Sebastian o's advice concealed an intellectually informed joke: in die Ovide moralisêe Ganymede is interpreted as a préfiguration of Saint John the Evangelist; Panofsky, "The Neoplatonic Movement and Michelangelo," in Studies in lconology: Humanistic Themes in the Art of the Renaissance, 3rd ed. (New York: Harper and Row, 1972), 213. This might well be, but die fact remains that Sebastiano could assume that different iconographies could be applied io a single drawing.

58. Vincenzo Danti. "? primo libro del Trattato delle perfette proporzioni: Di tutte le cose che imitare e ritrarre si possano con l'arte del disegno" (1567), in Barocchi, Trattali d'arte, vol. 1, 212: "La quale non è altro che un trattato, nel quale si dimostra chiaramente come si possa con regola procedere dintorno a tutte le parti dell'arte del disegno; ma .sopratutta et in particiliare nelle proporzione della figura dell'uomo."

59. Lorenzo Ghiberti. / commentarti: Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze, U. I, 333, ed. Lorenzo Bartoli (Florence: Giunti, 1998), 47. 49-50.

60. Ibid., 81. Cf. ibid., 51: "[the art of painting] was discovered when the shadow of a man cast by the sun was traced [essere trovato cotta ombra del sole parata innanzi alla forma dell'huomo virile]," and see other versions of die story at 53-54. See Leonardo da Vinci, Treatise on Painting, trans, and ed. A, Philip McMahoii, 2 vols. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1956). vol. 2, fol. 49v (par. 98), for a similar version of the origins of art. Ghiberti's and Leonardo's references are to Pliny, Chapters on the History of Art, 85-87.

61. Agnolo Bronzino, in Alessandro Allori, "II Primo Libro de' ragionamenti delle regole del disegno d'Alessandro Allori con M. Agnolo Bronzino" (1565), in Barocchi, Scritti d'arte, voi. 2 (1945): "quando ebbe principio il disegno, è avvenuto in questo come in di molte altre cose, che da un picciol principio son poi sempre venute ampliando e crescendo con la lunghezza del tempo. . . ."

62. Ghiberti, Comnumtarii, 83: "The art of painting arose in Etruria. In die town of Vespignano, near Florence, a boy of admirable genius was bom who was able to draw a sheep from nature. Cimabue. who was passing by on his way to Bologna, saw the boy sitting on the ground, drawing a sheep on a slab of stone." Cf. Leonardo, The Literary Works, vol. 1, 371-72 (par. 660).

63. See Cennino Cennini. Il libro dell'arte, ed. Franco Brunello. 2nd ed. (Vicenza: Neri Pozza. 1982), 8 (sec. 5). On a sheet In London (British Museum, London, 1859-5-14-818), Michelangelo urged his pupil Antonio Mini. "Draw. Antonio, draw, and don't waste time."

64. Francesco Petrarca. Phisicke against fortune, aswell prosperous, as adverse. .... trans. Thomas Twyne (London: Richard Watkyns, 1579), 58v. cited in Baxandall, Giotto and the Orators, 56.

65. Ghiberti, Commentant, 47.

66. For Vasari's Libro de' disegni, see Jenò Lányi, "Der Entwurf zur Fonte Gaia in Siena." Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst 61 (1927-28): 265ff. For thé dating of the drawing, as well as die moment Vasari inserted it into his Libra, see Erwin Panofsky i "Das erste Blatt aus dem 'Libro' Giorgio Vasaris: Eine Studie über der Beurteilung die Gotik in der italienischen Renaissance mit einem Exkursus über zwei Fassadenprojekte Domenico Beceafumis." Stüdet-fakivuch 6 (1930): 25-72.

67. .Alberti. On Painting, 75.

68. Benvenuto Cellini, Opere, ed. Bruno Maier (Milan: Rizzoli, 1968), 850: "sempre si fanno prima ignudi e poi si vestono."

69. die practice of drawing after the male nude, see Philippe Costamagna, "The Formation of Fiorentine Draftsmanship: Life Studies from Leonardo and Michelangelo to Pontormo and Salviati," Master Drawings 43 (2005): 274-91. And for nude drawing before Michelangelo, mainly in the work of the Poliamolo brothers, see Alison Wright, The Polùiiuolo Brothers: The Arts of Florence and Rome (New Haven: Yale University Press. 2005), 153-88.

70. For the drawings after the cartoon, see Wilhelm Köhler, "Michelangelos Schlachtkarion." Kunstgesc.hichtliches Jahrbuch derk.k. Zentral-Kommission für Erforschung und Erhaltung der Kunst- und historischen Denkmahle 1 (1907): 150-66.

71. Vasari, Le vite, vol. 6, 25.

72. Benvenuto Cellini. The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini, trans, and ed. George Bull (London: Penguin, Ì956). 31.

73. See most recendy Cecchi and Natali, L'officina della- maniera, passim; and David Franklin, Painting in Renaissance Florence, 1500-1550 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001), passim.

74. For the drawings after Leonardo's cartoon, see Paul Joannides, "Leonardo da Vinci, Peter-Paul Rubens. Pierre Nolasque Bergeret and the 'Fight for die Standard,' " Achademia amarao Vinci 1 (1988): 76-86.

75. Vatican, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Vat. IaL 13391. See Eckhart Knab, Erwin Mitsch, and Konrad Oberhuber, Raphael: Die Zeichnungen (Suiugart: Urachhaus, 1983). 571 (no. 160).

76. For Rai p?? p di 's print, see In ? is H. Shoemaker and Elizabedi Broun, The Engravings of Marcantonio Raimondi (Lawrence: Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas; Chapel Hill: Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina, 1981), 90-93, Bernadine Barnes also emphasized diat the copyists of die cartoon focused on isolated figures and figure groups, and diat a will to isolate was related to the fragmented state of the composition; Barnes. Mirfwlangelo in Print: Reproductions as Response in the Sixteenth Cenluty (Famham. U.K.: Ashgate, 2010). 9-28. However, for Bannes, fragmentation was the result of Michelangelo's incompetence in making an integrated composition, an argument she holds is borne out by the Uffizi sheet. Barnes's contention that young artists were incapable of copying whole compositions could be countered with reference to Raphael, who isolated a figure from Michelangelo's cartoon while at die same time copying the whole of Leonardo's composition.

77. Wolfgang Braunfels, "Die 'Inven tio' des Kûnsders," i? Lotz. and Möller, Stuthen zur Toskanischen Kunst, 20, diought that Raphael's Massacre of the Innocents, made about 1510, could claim that honor. See now David Landau and Peter Parshall, The Renaissance Print, 14701550 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994), 144, for the dating of Raimondi's print after Michelangelo to 1508. For the use of ihe term invenit, see Silvia Gavuzzo-Stewart, "Sull'use» di inventi nelle stampe," itatianist 10 (1990): 103-10; and Lisa Pon, Raphael, Dürer, and Marcantoniti Raimondi: Copying and the Italian Renahsance Print (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004), 80.

78. See, for example, Raimondi's print after Raphael's Parnassus, reproduced in Shoemaker and Broun, Engravings of Marcantonia Raimondi, 157, fig. 48b, which is inscribed "Raphael Pinxit in Vaticano."

79. See Corinna Höper, " 'Mein lieber Freund und Kupferstecher': RaIfael in der Druckgraphik des 16. bis 19. Jahrhunderts," in Raffael und die Folgen: Das Kunstwerk in Zätaltern. seiner Graphischen Reproduziediarkeil (Ostfildern-Ruil: Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2001), 63.

80. Ascanio Condivi, Vita di Mùhelagnolo Buonarroti, ed. Giovanni Nencioni (Florence: S.P.E.S., 1998), 28. In 1535, the Venetian poet Pietro Aretino asked Vasari for drawings after die two statues of the Medici captains that Michelangelo had carved for die Medici Chapel. In his diank-you letter to the future historian of Florentine art, Aretino wrote that he had shown the drawings to painters as if tbey were relics (reliqiàa); Giorgio Vasari, Der Literarische Nachlass Giorgio Vasaris, ed. Karl Frey, 3 vols. (Munich: Georg Müller, 1923), vol. 1, 35.

81. Waller Benjamin, "The Work of Art in die Age of Its Technological Reproducibility," in The Work of Art in the. Age of Its Technological Reproducibility and Other Writings cm Media, trans. Edmund Jephcott et al., ed. Michael W.Jennings, Brigid Doherty, and Thomas Y. Levin (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2008), 1955.

82. Leonard Barkan. Unearthing the Past: Archaeology and Aesthetics in the Making of Renaissance Culture New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999).

83. LiIIi Fischel, "Reproduzierende Graphik im 15. Jahrhundert," Philobiblon 8 (1964): 246-59.

84. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C, 1943.3.632. See Peter Parshall and Rainer Schoch, Origins of European Printmaking: Fifteen lh^Century Woodcuts and Their Public (Washington, D.C: National Gallery of Ari, 2005), 161-64, cat. no. 38.

85. Helmut Möhring, Die Tegernseer Altarre.label des Gabriel Angler and die Münchner Malerei von 1430-1450 (Munich: Scaneg, 1997), 61-62,

86. David S. Areford, "Multiplying die Sacred: The FifteentivGentury Woodcut as Reproduction, Surrogate, Simulation," in TIw Woodcut in Fifteen.th-Cent.ury Europe, ed. Péter Parshall (Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art,' 2009) , 1 1 9-53.

87. Peter Parshall, "Imago Contrafacta: Images and Facts in the Northern Renaissance," Art History 16 (1993): 554-79, at 556.

88. In this sense, Michelangelo's cartoon is different from thé cult of authorship studied by Ernst Kris and Otto Kurz, Die Legende » Künstler: Ein geschichtlicher Versuch (Vienna: Krystall-Verlag, 1934); and Catherine M. Soussloff. The Absohtte Artist: The Historiography of a Concept (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997).

89. Philip Sohm, Ordering History with Style: Giorgio Vasari on the Art of History," in Antiquity and its Interpreters, ed. Alina Payne, Ann Kuttner, and Rebekah Smick (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 40-54.

90. See the comment by Matthias Winner in Hirst, "Disegni di Michelangelo," 49.

91. For the theory that reception indicates the historical status of the "original," a work shifting the viewer's horizon of expectations, see Hans Robert Jauss, "Literary History as a Challenge to Literary Theory," trans. Elizabeth Benzinger. New Literary History 2 (1970): 7-37.

92. Vasari, Lévite, vol. 2, 100.

93. Ibid.

94. Ibid.

95. Nagel, Michelangelo, 3-10.

96. A modern example of highlighting Giotto's and Masaccio's narrative qualities is Jules Lubbock, Storytelling in Christian Art from Giotto to Masaccio (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), 39-83, 205-25. See Hans Bloemsma, "Bellissimi favellatori: De verbalende schiiderkunst van het Duecento en de stit nuovo" (PhD diss., Rijksuníversiteit Groningen, 2006), for a correction on the modern view that Giotto and his contemporaries invented narrative painting.

97. In numerous articles, Charles Hope has argued diat Renaissance patrons, were scarcely concerned with what they commissioned, as long as it was beautiful. The real discourse on art, according to Hope, was accessible only to artists, who, constandy quoting their fellow artists' works, cared Uttle about die social value of their practice; see, for example, Hope, "Artists, Patrons and Advisors in the Italian Renaissance," in Patronage in the Renaissance, ed, Guy Fitch Lytle and Stephen Orgel (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981), 323-28.

98. See Michelangelo's words recorded in Francisco de Holanda, Diálogos em Roma (1538): Conversations on Art with Michelangelo Buonarroti, trans, and ed. Grazia Dolores Folliero-Metz (Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag C. Winter, 1998), 93; and Romano Alberti. Origine e progresso dell'Accademia del disegne. de' Pittori. Scultori e Architetti di Roma recitati sotto il reggimento dell'Eccellente Sig. Cavaliero Federico Zuccari. e raccolti da Romano Alberti," in Barocchi, Scritti d'arte, voi. 2, 2048.

99. Guicciardini, Dialogue m the Government of Florence, trans, and ed. Alison Brown (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1994), 16; and Idem, Opere, vol. 1, 314: "el mondo è condizionato in modo die tutto quello che è stato per el passato, parte è al presente, parte sarà in altri tempi e ogni dì ritorna in essere, ma sotto varie coperte e varie colori, in modo che chi non ha l'occhio molto buono, lo piglia per nuovo e non lo riconosce; ma chi ha la vista acuta e che sa applicare e distinguere caso da caso, e considerare quali siano la diversità snstanziali e quali quelle che importano manco, facilmente lo riconosce, e co' calculi e misura delle cose passate sa calculare e misurare assai del futuro."

100. Robert Klein, " 'Giudizio' et 'gusto' dans la théorie de l'ari au Cinquecento." Rinascimento I (1961): 105-16. For the modernity of Guicciardini 's historical thought, see the literature quoted in n. IUl below.

101. See J. G. A. Pocock, The Machiavellian Moment: Florentine Political Thought and the Atlantic Republican Tradition (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1975), I1 who writes diat the dramatic circumstances following die year 1494 made die Florentines partly lose dieir trust in die "timeless" world of the Bible and look for the intelligibility of time through historical analysis. Gilbert, Machiavelli and Guicciardini, 32, is still useful. Also see Gennaro Maria Barbuto, JLo politica dopo la tempesta: Ordine e crisi nel pensiero di Francesco Guicciardini (Naples: Liguori, 2002).

102. Niccolò Machiavelli, Tutte te opere, ed· Maria Martelli (Florence: Sansoni, 1971 ) , 844: "Soon after die death of Lorenzo, there began to grow those evil deeds which, not much later . . . ruined Italy, and con* tinue to ruin her." Cf. Bernardo Rucellai. De. bello italico (London: Gulielmi Bowyer, 1733), 3, quoted in Gilbert, Machiavelli and Guicciardini, 259. And see, for instance, the comments of Bernardo da Diacetto at a government meeting on July 3, 1502, in Denis Facliard, ed., Consulte e pratiche della Repubblica Fiorentina (i498-1505), 2 vols. (Genera: Droz, 1993), voi. 2, 816: "o la liberatione o la ruina . . . preghi) Idio ci liberi da tante tribulationi." On the moment of crisis Bernardo is referring to, see Sergio Bertelli, "La crisi del 1501: Firenze e Cesare Borgia," in Essays Presented lo Myron P. dimore, ed. Bertelli and Gloria Ramakus (Florence: La Nuova Italia, 1978), 1-19. For the financial crisis during die post-Medicean years, see L. F. Marks, "La crisi finanziaria a Firenze dal 1494 al 1502," Archivio Storico itediano 112 (1954): 40-72.

103. For die practice of writing political treatises in early sixteenth-century Florence, see John M. Najemy, A History of Florence, 1200-1575 (Maiden. Mass.: Blackwell, 2006), 381-90; and James Han kins, "Humanism and the Origins of Modern Political Thought," in Cambridge Companion to Renaissance Humanism, ed. Jill Kraye (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 118-41.

104. The dedication of the treatise mentions diat it was commissioned by die Signoria; see Girolamo Savonarola, Prediche sopra Aggeo con il trattato circa il -reggimento e governo della Città di Firenze, ed Luigi Firpo (Rome: Angelo Belardetti, 1965), 435: "Composto ad instanzia delli eccelsi signori al tempo di Giuliano Salviati gonfaloniere di iustizia." For Savonarola as the architect of the Gran Consiglio and its council room, see Wilde, "The Hall of the Great Council," 66-68.

105. Savonarola, Trattato circa it reggimento, 448-49.

106. Vespasiano da Bisticci, L· vite, ed. Aulo Greco, 2 vols. (Florence: Istituto Palazzo Strozzi, 1970), vol. 1, 193.

107. For the bonfires, see Horst Bredekamp, "Renaissance Kultur als 'Hölle': Savonarolas Verbrennungen der Eitelkeiten," in Bildersturm: Die Zerstörung des Kunstwerks, ed. Martin Warnke (Frankfurt: Syndikat, 1973), 41-64.

108. Girolamo Beninern, "Commento," in Canzone d'un Piagnone per- bruciamento della vanità nel Carnevale del 1498 [sic], ed. Isodoro del Lungo (Florence: Grazzhii, 1864), xxi-xxii.

109. For die crisis in Fiorentine art patronage at die time, see Marcia B. Hall, "Savonarola's Preaching and die Patronage of Art," in Christianity and the Renaissance: Image and Religious Imagination in the Quattrocento, ed. Timodiy Verdón and John Henderson (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press. 1990), 493-522.

110. Freedberg, Painting of the High Renaissance, vol. 1, 46.

111. Michelangelo. Il carteggio di Michelangelo, vol. 1. 83. Another letter documents Michelangelo's recommendation of "a young Spaniard" (probably Alonso. Beruguete) from Rome to his brotiier Buonarroto, who is asked to provide die foreign painter with the key, presumably from the commander; see ibid., vol. 1. 170. For unknown reasons, the Spaniard was eventually denied access.

112. For Véneziano's print, see Adam von Bartsch, The Illustrated Bartsch, vol. 27, The Works of Marcantonio Raimondi and His School, ed. Konrad Oberhuber (New York: Abaris Books, 1978), 132, no. 463.

113. See above.

114. For a reconstruction of die antiquarian objects on display at die garden, see Paola Barocchi, ed., // Giardino di San Marco: Maestri e compagni del gioiiane Michelangelo (Florence: Silvana Editoriale, 1992).

115. For Lorenzo's collection, see Laurie Fusco and Gino Corti, Lortnta de' Medici, Collector and Antiquarian (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006). The Giardino di S. Marco was once considered a Vasarian myth, but now see Caroline Elam, "Lorenzo de' Medici's Sculpture Garden," Mitteilungen des kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz 36 (1992): 41-84. The garden was already mentioned in the Codice Magliabechiano in connection with Leonardo da Vinci's artistic education; see // Codice. Magliabechiano, ed. Karl Frey (Berlin: Grote, 1892), UO: "From a young age he stayed with Lorenzo de' Medici, who, giving him a stipend, made him work for him in the garden on die Piazza di S. Marco, Florence."

116. Vasari, /.«? vite, vol. 4, 124: "erano come una scuola et academia ai giovanetti pittori e scultori et a tutti gl'altri che attendevano al disegno ___ "

117. Elani, "Lorenzo de' Medici's Sculpture Garden," 50.

118. Vasari, Le vite, voi. 6, 13. Michelangelo's flight is described in a contemporary letter: see Giovanni Poggi, "Della partenza di Michelagniolo Buonarrori da Firenze," Rivista d'Arte 4 (1906): 34. The letter offers proof for Vasari's claim that Michelangelo learned sculpture in the garden; see Vasari, ibid., 9-10.

119. Joost Ketzer, "Giuliano Salviati, Michelangelo and die 'David,' " Burlin.gt.on Magazine 151 (2Ö08): 664-68.

120. Michelangelo was on a regular salary while working on die Battle of Cascina; see die documents published in Frey, "Stuthen zu Michelagniolo," sappi., 133. docs. 205, 208; and Rab Hatfield, The Wealth of Michelangelo (Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 2002). 151-52. who noted that Michelangelo's situation was unusual and might have been prompted by Soderini.

121. See, for instance, Landucci, Diario ftormlino, 333. In his "Discourse on the Florentine Government after the Death of Lorenzo de' Medici the Younger." Machiavelli advised Leo X to open die Sala del Gran Consìglio again in order to satisfy the Florentine citizens revolting against the Medici. See Machiavelli, Opere, 29.

122. See Vasari, U vite, vol. 6, 25.

123. Karen-edis Barzman, 77«? Horentine Academy and the Early Modern State (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000).

124. My thinking on this issue is informed by P. N. Medvedev and/or M. M. Bakhtin, The Formal Method in Literary Scholarship: A Critical inlrty auction to Sociological Poetics, trans. Albert J. Wehrle (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985), 41-53. *

125. The problem for Michelangelo identified here, then, might not have been much different from die one faced by painters working in the wake of Byzantine iconoclasti!, for which see Charles Barber, Figure and Likeness: On the. Limits of Representation in Byzctntine lconoclasm(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002). 62, who wrote that "Christology could not adequately define die epistemic function of the icon because it was unable to provide an answer to die iconoclasts' question as to how die icon could trudifully show the things il purported to describe. In changing focus from what the icon shows to how it shows, . . . iconoclasm is not only a matter of Christian economy but also of the trudi in painting." A similar argument has been made for German Reformation art by Koerner, Reformation of the Image. For formalism's capacity to renieve political meaning in modern art and a formidable critique of die iconologica! method, see Yve-Alain Bois, "Whose Formalism?" Art Bulletin 78 (1996): 9-12; and idem, "Resisting Blackmail," in Painting as Model (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1990). xi-xxx.

Author affiliation:

Joost Keizer is assistant professor of the history of art at Yale University. Before coming to Yale, he was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer al Columbia University [History of Art Department, Yale University, PO Box 208272, New Haven, Conn. 06520, foost.keizer@yale. edu],

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