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centred upon his work for the tomb of his patron, which he had been compelled to abandon for a time; but Leo X. required him for something else. He was all-powerful in Florence, where, thanks to Julius and the league of Cambray, he had established his family in 1512, and he wanted to endow his country with monuments which should recall to the vanquished citizens of that glorious republic the magnificence of their former patrons, and thus make them forget the institutions which they had just lost a second time.
The church of San Lorenzo, which was built by Brunelleschi, and which was the burial-place of several members of the Pope's family, was unfinished; he resolved to complete the
; front. Several artists, among whom were San Gallo, the two Sansovinos, and Raphael, sent in plans for this important work; but Michelangelo's was successful, and he went to Carrara in 1515 to get the necessary marbles cut out.
Leo did not leave him there long at rest. Learning that there were marbles at Serravezza, in the highest part of the mountains of Pietra Santa, and on Florentine territory, which rivalled those from Carrara, he ordered Michelangelo to go and begin to work the quarries. The sculptor pointed out in vain the enormous expenditure which the opening of these quarries would involve. There were roads to carry right up the mountain, marshes to cross, and the marble was of an inferior quality. Leo would listen to nothing.
Michelangelo set out, opened the roads, got out the marble, and remained in this solitude from 1516 to 1521. The result of four years of the flower of his age and genius spent there was the transport of five columns, four of nich remained on the sea-coast, and the fifth is at this day unused and lying among the rubbish in the Piazza di San Lorenzo.
Without wishing to deny all that the Arts owe to Leo X., his services must be accepted with some reserve.
Accomplished, and of amiable manners, but crafty and blundering ; always vacillating between France and the Emperor; ambitious above everything to find places for his family; and to counterbalance such faults, having neither the valour, nor the affection for Italy which Julius II. undeniably displayed, his political character can not, I think, be defended.
He had the merit of being the patron of Raphael, whose compliant and easy character pleased him, and who, thanks to his patronage, left the impress of a master-piece upon every moment of his short life. We must not forget that it was by heedless extravagance, and by a general traffic, that Leo encouraged the pleiad of artists which has cast such lustre upon his name. His obstinacy in employing Michelangelo despite his repugnance and entreaties, upon a work which his own versatility of character and the embarrassments of the Lombard war ought to have made him abandon, has doubtless robbed us of some wonderful works. Michelangelo might have finished the tomb of Julius, and we should now have a gigantic monument which would rival the greatest works of ancient sculpture.
Some expressions of Condivi show us into what a state of annoyance and discouragement Michelangelo was thrown hy the instability of Leo, and the uselessness of such work. “On his return to Florence he found the ardour of Leo quite subsided; there he was for a long time filled with vexation, unable to do anything, having been hurried about from one scheme to another up to that time, to his intense disgust.” It was, however, about this period, in 1520, that Leo ordered the tombs of his brother Giuliano and his nephew Lorenzo for