Sunday, July 25, 2004

Michelangelo Buonarroti: "The Scandal
Even before its official unveiling, the Judgment became the target of violent criticisms of a moral character. Vasari relates that Biagio da Cesena, the Vatican's master of Ceremonies, said that 'it was mostly disgraceful that in so sacred a place there should have been depicted all those nude figures, exposing themselves so shamefully, and that it was no work for a papal chapel but rather for the public baths and taverns.'
Michelangelo was not slow to take his revenge: the poor Biagio was portrayed in hell, in the figure of Minos, 'shown with a great serpent curled around his legs, among a heap of devils.'
Others accused the painter of heresy. These included Pietro Aretino, who, in a famous letter, even called for the fresco's destruction, the Dominican preacher Ambrogio Politi called Caterino, and Giovanni Andrea Gilio, who drew up a long statement of charges against Michelangelo in his Dialoghi.
But the nudity of the figures worried neither Paul III nor his successor Julius III. It was not until January 1564, and therefore about a month before Michelangelo's death, that the assembly of the Council of Trent took the decision to 'amend' the fresco."

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