Michelangelo Buonarroti, one of the most famous italian sculptor, painter and architect in the world, died on February 18 1564. He became famous for his works made using the precious marbles of our city.
Various studies and testimonies, such as those of Carlo Frediani and Vasari, confirm the assiduous presence of the artist in Carrara in search of the precious marmble. It can be said that Michelangelo came to Carrara for the first time around 1496 to choose the marbles to perform the “Pietà” ( today it is in St. Peter’s Basilica, in the Vatican).
Subsequently, his visits became more and more frequent, here Michelangelo could establish business relationships, choose the best marbles and learn the techniques used by the marble workers of the city. His longest stay coincides with the commission of the mausoleum of Pope Julius II. During this period Michelangelo spent about 8 months in the city studying our precious marbles.
Another concrete news of Michelangelo’s presence is the inscription engraved on the bas-relief of the Fantiscritti, where among the many signatures, one can read that of Buonarotti. Moreover, today one quarry is called “Cava Michelangelo”.
We remind all citizens that the Carmi di Carrara Museum inside Villa Fabbricotti located in the Padula Park ,hosts a permanent exhibition that testifies to the close link between Michelangelo and our Carrara marble .The visitors can admire some reproductions of the most famous works, videos, photographs, prints and historical documents.
A contemporary of the time, described the artist in the act of “pulling out” one of his famous figures from the marble, with these words:
«Io posso dire di aver visto Michelangelo, a sessant’anni, buttar giù più scaglie di un durissimo marmo in un quarto d’ora, che tre giovani scalpellini in un’ora. Una cosa incredibile a chi non l’ha vista! Egli si avventava sul marmo con tale impeto e furia, da farmi credere che tutta l’opera dovesse andare in pezzi. Con un sol colpo staccava scaglie grosse tre o quattro dita, e così vicino al segno stabilito, che se avesse fatto saltar via un tantin più di marmo, correva rischio di rovinar tutto». In fact, Michelangelo affirmed that the figure is already inside the block of marble, it is only a question of pulling it out, of freeing it, removing the surplus, the useless matter that surrounds it.
We want to remember this extraordinary artist with one of his most famous quotes:
“Marble is like man, before undertaking something, you must know it well and know everything you have inside. So, if there are air bubbles in you, I’m wasting my time “.