Living in the 15th and 16th centuries, the Italian High Renaissance sculptor, painter, architect, poet, and engineer Michelangelo… had only to send assistants off to market to bring back what he needed. Though vanishingly few of this prolific creator’s papers survive today, we do happen to have a few of the grocery lists he sent with them, like that which you see above.
John Updike once wrote that â€œexcellence in the great things is built upon excellence in the small,” and the observation holds up ideally when we think about Michelangelo’s numerous great achievements â€” PietÃ , David, The Last Judgment, St. Peter’s Basilica â€” in comparison to this humble yet striking rundown of ingredients for a meal, of the same basic kind each of us scrawl out regularly. But when Michelangelo scrawled, he scrawled with both a craftsmanâ€™s practical precision and an artistâ€™s evocative flair. â€œBecause the servant he was sending to market was illiterate,â€ writes the Oregonianâ€˜s Steve Duin in a review of a Seattle Art Museum show, â€œMichelangelo illustrated the shopping lists â€” a herring, tortelli, two fennel soups, four anchovies and â€˜a small quarter of a rough wineâ€™ â€” with rushed (and all the more exquisite for it) caricatures in pen and ink.â€ As we can see, the true Renaissance Man didnâ€™t just pursue a variety of interests, but applied his mastery equally to tasks exceptional and mundane. Which, of course, renders the mundane exceptional.
Only six acres, but quite a trophy property!
The eight-bedroom villa, located near Siena, was bought by the Renaissance master in 1549 and remained in the Buonarroti family until 1867 â€“ more than 300 years after his death. The home is surrounded by the vineyards of Chianti, with views of Tuscanyâ€™s rolling hills. Since Michelangelo purchased the home in 1549, the home has only had three owners including the current owner, who possess the original deed to the property. The deed describes Michelangelo as â€œa dear sculptor and Florentine citizenâ€. The property, believed to date back to the 11th century, also comes with eight bathrooms, an old mill and a lemon grove and could be yours for $8,165,250 (excluding closing costs).
Located on over six acres above the rolling hills, the 12,915 square feet of living space is contained in three multi-story buildings, including an ancient tower, believed to date back to the 11th century. The original architecture is accented throughout with large stone fireplaces, beamed and barrel ceilings. Consisting of eight bedrooms and seven full baths, all rooms pay homage to the period and modern conveniences, though all available, blend into the background. The kitchen has all the rustic romance of the early centuries with high-end appliances that do not take away from the original architecture. Grounds are park-like with lawns and mature plantings with a lemon orchard, olive grove and Chianti vineyards, as well as the original olive oil mill. The listing agent is Joni Hazelton of Handsome Properties International.
The British Province of the Society of Jesus must be gearing up for a major weekend in Las Vegas. They just sold the oldest intact surviving European book, the Stonyhust Gospel, to the British Library for Â£9m ($14.3m). Now, they’re getting ready to put up the spout a painting identified by an Italian art historian as a Michelangelo which could conceivably fetch $100m or more at auction.
Campion Hall, one of six Permanent Private Halls (essentially small-scale divinity schools, operated by different religious denominations or religious orders thereof) at Oxford University, owns a painting purchased by a previous master at a Sotheby’s auction in 1930.
It was scientifically-examined using infrared photography by Antonio Forcellino, an art historian who has written several books on Michelangelo (including the just-published The Lost Michelangelos), who found that the painting was based upon a cartoon in hand of Michelangelo himself.
The painting was previously believed to have been executed by Marcello Venusti, a Mannerist painter who sometimes worked from Michelangelo’s designs. But Forcellino was convinced that the painting was really the work of the master’s own hand, and he was able to associate the painting with a close friend of the famous artist, Tommaso Cavalieri, by the presence of 18 seals of the Cavalieri family coat of arms still present on the edge of the panel.
Art Info story
BBC radio interviews Campion Hall Master Brendan Callaghan 2:13 audio