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Michelangelo’s margin notes

The Telegraph has posted an interesting piece about the insights into Michelangelo that can be gleaned from his sketchbook margin notes.

The Renaissance artist is best known for great works such as the statue of David and the Sistine Chapel ceiling but he also left behind around 600 cartoons and drawings.

The scraps of writing on about a third of the drawings include lines of poetry, memos to his assistants, explanatory notes to some of his greatest works and “achingly personal expressions of ambition and despair surely meant for nobody’s eyes but his own”, according to Leonard Barkan, a professor of comparative literature at Princeton University.

In the margin of one drawing he carefully documented the money he had spent on chickens, oxen and his father’s funeral.

Next to a drawing of a Madonna and child he wrote a parody of a love poem that began: “You have a face sweeter than boiled grape juice, and a snail seems to have passed over it.”

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