Michelangelo's Memory

CONDIVI (in his Michelangelo Biography, 1553): 'Michelangelo has a most tenacious memory, insomuch that, though he has painted so many thousands of figures, he has never produced one that resembled another figure of his or had the same attitude. And I heard him say that he never draws a line without asking himself whether he has not drawn such a line before; and if that is the case, he erases it.'

Vasari (1568) confirmed the statement that Michelangelo did not repeat himself: 'He possessed a tenacious and profound memory . . . He never created anything that reminded too much of an earlier work of his because he remembered accurately whatever he had produced.'

Discussing the figures of the Last Judgement, Vasari adds: 'Here you can see in which varied ways Michelangelo rendered similar attitudes and gestures, and how curiously different they appear in the figures of young men, and old men, and women.'

Ludwig Goldscheider (1962) "It is true that they appear different from one another, but they were probably drawn from very few wax or clay manikins."