chapter  1
43 Pages

Michelangelo as text

WithLene Østermark-Johansen

Michelangelo's studio assistant Condivi mentions plans for publication of the poems in his biography of his master. Walter Pater expressed this popular attitude in his essay on 'The Poetry of Michelangelo' of 1871, after an admittedly very limited reading of the artist's letters. Michelangelo had become a text in more than one sense of the word in the nineteenth century: the Renaissance texts about him were at least as popular as were his own poems and letters. The Vatican, the Archivio Buonarroti in the Bibliotheca Laurenziana in Florence and the British Museum hold nearly all of the manuscripts of Michelangelo's letters and poems. Once German scholars had been given access to the archives, they soon dominated the international arena of Michelangelo scholarship. From 1806 to 1858 no fewer than eight different editions of Michelangelo's Rime appeared in Italian: five were published in Italy, one in Germany, one in France and one in England.