Michelangelo Quits Painting for Sculpting - Piece 17

It's now 1489 and Michelangelo, age 14, has just completed his first painting: the Temptation of St Anthony of which he is very proud. But all is not well for him.
His father Lodovico wants him to give up painting and get a real job while his teacher Domenico Ghirlandaio is telling him it will take years of hard work for him to become a fresco painter. Now Michelangelo was never known for being a patient man so it's unlikely he had much as a teenager. And he's not getting what he wants from either his father of Ghirlandaio.
Enter 40 year old Lorenzo de' Medici, The Magnificent, and the first of many larger than life characters we will meet. Lorenzo became the head of the Medici family at age twenty and survived the Pazzi assassination attempt that killed his brother. He is one of the richest men in the world and the de facto ruler of Florence although he holds no title.
It was about this time that Lorenzo started a new school in the San Marco garden to revive the dying art of marble sculpting. While painters were thriving in Florence, Lorenzo lamented that no one had taken Donatello's place in sculpting. And for Lorenzo that was personal. Donatello worked for his grandfather, Cosimo de' Medici, whom Lorenzo revered, and he wanted to find his own Donatello, which of course turned out to be Michelangelo.
Now it's no secret Michelangelo left Ghirlandaio's workshop to become a sculptor, but what makes this move fascinating is what it meant to his father. If there was one profession Lodovico Buonarroti hated even more than painters it was the stoneworkers, be it stonecutters or sculptors: they were all the same to Lodovico.
Perhaps Lodovico's hated stoneworkers because they were much to close for comfort. The only property he owned was in Settignano, a little village a few miles outside of Florence, a place known for its rock quarries and stonecutters. Probably most of his neighbors were stonecutters, a far cry from the upper crust of society Lodovico aspired to be part of. I doubt he wanted to be seen with these people and definitely didn't want his son to become one of them.
But obviously Michelangelo was very comfortable working with stone. He spent several years as a boy living in Settignano and said years later that he gained his prowess as a sculptor from being weaned by a stonecutter's wife. Who's to say he didn't pick up a hammer and chisel with his young friends as they imitated their fathers knowing all of them would become stonecutters.
However, the important question for us is how Michelangelo went from being a painter to a sculptor, something else Vasari and Condivi disagreed on.
According to Vasari, Lorenzo the Magnificent asked Ghirlandaio if he sent his two best: Michelangelo and his friend Francesco Granacci.
But Michelangelo through Condivi said this was all wrong, that it was Granacci who first took him to San Marco, and that once he saw all of the great art works there he never wanted to leave.
The undeniable fact is Michelangelo left painting for sculpting, but why? Did he do so willingly or possibly because he was afraid of failing as a painter, a seed of doubt planted by his father? Or was he forced to go by Ghirlandaio?
It's interesting to ask again why Michelangelo carried such anger for Ghirlandaio even though Ghirlandaio seemed to have had nothing but praise for him and possibly helped him become a sculptor. Michelangelo would have us believe that Ghirlandaio was a jealous man who would have sent him away so as not to compete with him.
But I wonder if what really angered Michelangelo was that he may have thought Ghirlandaio gave up on him, sending him off to carve stone instead of wanting to teach him how to become the great painter he always wanted to be.
Michelangelo had always dreamed of being a painter, and now he wasn't. And like all unfulfilled dreams, that ate at him.

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