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24 September 2014
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The Divine Michelangelo - Michelangelo on women, money and never washing... top 10 quotes

1. I already have a wife who is too much for me; she is my art, and my works are my children. [As quoted in his complete poems and selected letters]

2. Never wash yourself. Allow yourself to be rubbed, but don't wash yourself. [His father's advice in a letter to Michelangelo]

3. I have travelled all over Italy for ten years, borne every humiliation, suffered every toil, wrecked my body in every labour and placed my life in a thousand dangers. [From a letter to his brother, Giovansimone, in June 1509 when Michelangelo was painting the Sistine Chapel ceiling]

4. Do you know that women who are chaste remain much fresher than those who are not? [Michelangelo explaining why the Virgin Mary in the Pietà looks so young]

5. Let it be enough for you to have bread and live virtuously and poorly like Christ, as I do here. I live meanly and don't bother about life or honour... and I live with the greatest toil and a thousand worries. It is now about 15 years since I had a happy hour. [From a letter to his father, October 1512 as he finishes the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel]

6. I had cause to think that if I remained in Rome, my tomb would be made sooner than the Pope's. That was the reason for my sudden departure. [From a letter to his friend Giuliano Sangallo explaining why he fled Rome in 1506 after Pope Julius II cancelled a commission for his tomb. The cause of his flight was not known until now. In fact Michelangelo had used money the Pope paid for the tomb to buy himself a farm]

7. However rich I may have been, I have always lived like a poor man. [Michelangelo to his biographer Condivi]

8. What Raphael knew of art he learned from me. [Michelangelo told his biographer Condivi that Raphael copied his work]

9. I live shut up here, like the doughy middle inside the bread crust, poor and all alone, like a genie shut up inside a bottle. [From a poem written by Michelangelo]

10. I told Your Holiness that painting is not my art; what I have done is spoiled. [Michelangelo telling the Pope that the painting of the Sistine Chapel had gone wrong]


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