Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Birthplace of Michelangelo

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

Recently I returned to the birthplace of Michelangelo Buonarroti for a party that one of my collectors held in their home there. The morning after the party, I revisited the renovated Museo Michelangiolesco that celebrates the life and work of the famous artist and architect.

One of my first and most important teachers, Michelangelo was probably born in the Palazzo del Podestà, the home of his parents Lodovico di Leonardo di Buonarroti di Simoni and Francesca di Neri del Miniato di Siena. At the time of his birth (6 March 1475), babies were born at home and not in a hospital.

Podestà is the title for a delegate from the Florentine government who worked this area. Michelangelo’s father held this political post for six months during this time. Palazzo is the Italian word for “palace” but this stone house looks quite simple by today’s standards. I included a detail shot of the stairs leading to the upper floor where the living quarters were, but you may see a better image of the (left) building on the museum’s site.

Some of the furniture in the home is contemporary with Michelangelo’s time, but are not original to this space. Other furniture, such as the bed, is a reproduction in a Renaissance style from the 1900s. Also in the home are reproductions of works of art in which Michelangelo was a subject, including my two favorites: monochromatic sketches by Francescho Furini titled “Michelangelo sul letto di Morte / Michelangelo on his death bed” 1627-28 and “La Madre di Michelangelo incinta cade da cavallo / The pregnant mother of Michelangelo falls from her horse” created in 1628.

The name “Michelangelo” was added to “Caprese” in 1911 and this charming little town is north and east of Arezzo. When I was there, the Michelangiolesco Museum and its lovely grounds on the hilltop were open Monday through Friday 10:30 am to 6:30 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday, and holidays from 10 am to 7 p.m. Tickets are four euros each, with discounts for groups and children.

P.S. I hope that you enjoy my little self-portrait with Michelangelo! Ha.

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