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Così Nel Mio Parlar Vogli’ Esser Aspro

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Chapter Summary

As he began work on the tondo the young Michelangelo was confronting Leonardo's dismissive view of sculptors as mere mechanics. Landino thus provided an ethical basis for ennobling the most excellent practitioners of all the arts: liberal, Arti Maggiori (including the Arte di Lana) and Arti Minori (including artisans like painters and sculptors). Both the painter and the patron must have welcomed the vernacular and Latin expansion of the concepts of nobility and gentilezza as an opportunity for personal ennoblement through the most excellent exercise of their own minds and talents in their respective arts. Two or three incidents in sixteenth century art and art criticism suggest that Michelangelo was well understood by subsequent Italian poet-painters and litterati. This chapter discusses them.

Keywords: concepts of gentilezza; concepts of nobility; Italian poet-painters; Leonardo; Michelangelo

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