chapter  3
50 Pages

Michelangelo as the Petrarchan lover

WithLene Østermark-Johansen

Michelangelo's sexuality, his ideals of beauty, his attitudes to the Catholic Church and to Platonism was some of the issues quite naturally brought up for debate in this context. This chapter describes Michelangelo's friendship with Vittoria Colonna, studied first through the surviving sixteenth-century sources and then in a Victorian perspective. The madrigal to Vittoria is a complex fusion of his previous Petrarchan style and his new direct and deeply felt religious verse. Michelangelo's canzoniere, especially in the expurgated version known until 1863 like Petrarch's, to revolve around the image of one beloved lady, in vita and in morte. English scholars generally found A. Lannau-Rolland's views too emotional Michelangelo's Petrarchan love-poetry had not been well received at the beginning of the nineteenth century. On the basis of a few of the artist's sonnets he conjured up an image of Michelangelo as a lover to whom spiritual beauty is a recompense for the lady's well-known physical plainness.