Friday, October 24, 2014

Michelangelo Buonarroti, Portrait of Andrea Quaratesi (c. 1532),
Michelangelo's favorite student. 410 x 290 mm. (The British Museum)

Drawn in black chalk, the portrait shows the head and shoulders of a young man, Andrea Quaratesi (1512-85) who was one of several noble youths much admired by Michelangelo.
Though from a noble Florentine family, it is possible that Michelangelo tried to teach this young Florentine how to draw, as the artist wrote on a drawing: 'Andrea, have patience'. The young man wears contemporary dress, a cap flat on his head, as he looks out to his left.
Michelangelo rarely gave his drawings away, other than to close friends or pupils. He presented these carefully finished 'presentation drawings' only to those whom he admired and loved. In his own words, they were carried out 'for love rather than duty'.

Sonnet XXX

Je vois par vos beaux yeux une douce lumière
que par les miens, aveugles, je ne saurais voir ;
je porte avec vos pieds un fardeau sur l'échine
que les miens claudicants, n'auraient jamais souffert ;
Je vole avec vos ailes, moi qui suis sans plumes,
par votre esprit sans cesse entraîné dans le ciel ;
je suis à votre gré ou livide ou vermeil,
transi dans le soleil ou chaud par froide brume.
Mon désir ne réside qu'en votre vouloir,
mes pensées ne se forgent que dans votre coeur,
mes paroles ne naissent que de votre souffle.
Je ressemble à ce qu'est, d'elle-même, la lune
dont nos yeux ne sauraient découvrir dans le ciel
qu'une portion : celle qu'embrase le soleil.

Michel-Ange, Sonnet à Tommaso Cavalieri
Trad. de Pierre Leyris

 Sonetto XXX
Veggio co' bei vostri occhi un dolce lume,
Che co' miei ciechi già veder non posso;
Porto co' vostri piedi un pondo addosso,
Che de' mie zoppi non è già costume.
Volo con le vostr'ale senza piume;
Col vostr'ingegno al ciel sempre son mosso;
Dal vostr'arbitrio son pallido e rosso,
Freddo al sol, caldo alle più fredde brume.
Nel voler vostro è sol la voglia mia,
I mie' pensier nel vostro cor si fanno,
Nel vostro fiato son le mie parole.
Come luna da sè sol par ch'io sia;
Chè gli occhi nostri in ciel veder non sanno
Se non quel tanto che n'accende il sole.
 Michael Angelo Buonarroti
Sonetto XXX "A Tommaso de' Cavalieri"

Sonnet XXX
"With your fair eyes a charming light I see,
For which my own blind eyes would peer in vain;
Stayed by your feet the burden I sustain
Which my lame feet find all too strong for me;
Wingless upon your pinions forth I fly;
Heavenward your spirit stirreth me to strain;
E’en as you will, I blush and blanch again,
Freeze in the sun, burn ’neath a frosty sky.
Your will includes and is the lord of mine;
Life to my thoughts within your heart is given;
My words begin to breathe upon your breath:
Like to the moon am I, that cannot shine
Alone; for lo! our eyes see nought in heaven "
Save what the living sun illumineth."

Michelangelo Buonarroti
Sonnet XXX "To Tommaso de' Cavalieri"
Trad. John Addington Symonds

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