Michelangelo’s poem complaining about his misery painting the Sistine Chapel

Miguel Ángel Buonarroti, considered one of the greatest artists in history, left exceptional works in sculpture and painting, among which the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel stands out. However, it seems that he was not very interested in carrying out that intervention.

Born in Rome in 1475, he was a Renaissance architect, sculptor and painter who excelled in all the arts in which he worked, characterized by his perfectionism .

Despite his recognition, there are some little-known details of his life that are fascinating to those learning about them for the first time. One of these is the lack of motivation and the poem he wrote about his work painting the biblical frescoes in the Chapel.

Apparently, when Pope Julius II he asked Michelangelo to intervene on the roof of the place in 1508, he declared that he was not interested, since sculpture was his favorite and he preferred to do another type of work other than biblical frescoes due to the little experience he had with them.

However, he set out to work on that work of paintings almost as an imposition by Pope Julius II, but it ended up being an exceptional legacy for the history of universal art.

(Read more: ‘Much animal’, theatrical learning about the sex of animals).

The Creation of Adam

This painting, by Michelangelo, is one of nine biblical frescoes painted by him on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.


Sistine Chapel

(Keep reading: The neighborhood circus that brings joy to the most vulnerable).

Although it seems incredible that this work of Renaissance art , described by many as majestic, was made almost in a forced way.

As an example of this, there is a poem in Italian written by Michelangelo and dedicated to his friend Giovanni da Pistoia , in which he decided to capture the ‘torture’ that painting that ceiling meant.

Below, you can read the poem ‘Michelangelo‘ in Spanish: ‘To Giovanni da Pistoia, when the author was painting the vault of the Sixtine Chapel’ which is described in the musical book ‘They can’t take that away from me’ by Gail Mazur.

When the author painted the Vault of the Sistine Chapel

Michelangelo: To Giovanni da PistoiaWhen the author painted the Vault of the Sistine Chapel

I’ve already got a goiter from this torture,
hunched here like a cat in Lombardy
(or anywhere else where the poison of the water is stagnant).

My stomach is crushed under my chin, my beard
points to the sky, my brain is crushed in a coffin,
my chest writhes like a harpy’s. My brush,
on top of me all the time, drips paint
so that my face is a good floor for excrement!

My haunches dig into my guts,
my poor butt strains to counterbalance,
every gesture I make is blind and meaningless.
My skin hangs loose beneath me,
my spine is all knotted up from folding in on itself. taut as a Syrian bow.

Because I’m stuck like this,
my thoughts are crazy, perfidious nonsense:
anyone shoots badly for a crooked blowgun.

My painting is dead.
Defend it for me, Giovanni, protect my honor.
I’m not in the right place, I’m not a painter.

(Also read: A journey through the work of master Fernando Botero in posters).

Michelangelo poem

Photograph of Michelangelo’s original poem in Italian.


Sistine Chapel

Poetic works

The lines written by Michelangelo on his painting on that ceiling were not the only poetic creations of the artist, because according to what was described on the website of the Sistine Chapel, 302 fragments came into his possession. b> and compositions of him.

The total number of poems that have come down to us is 302, including fragments and unfinished compositions, although we are certain that Michelangelo Buonarroti wrote more verses than we have. The earliest of those we have is from 1503, and the latest from 1560”, they describe on their website.

Perhaps the most striking poetic work is ‘When the author painted the vault of the Sistine Chapel’ which, to the surprise of many, expresses its discontent with the fact of painting the ceiling of the Chapel, which is also considered one of the masterpieces of painting and one of the most important tourist places in Europe.