Michelangelo's powers were so great that his sublime ideas were often
inexpressible. He spoiled many works because of this.
Shortly before his
death he burned a large number of designs, sketches, and cartoons so
that none might see the labors he endured in his resolution to achieve
I have, myself, some drawings by his hand which were found
in Florence, and these, although they give evidence of his great genius,
yet prove that the hammer of Vulcan was necessary to bring Minerva
from the head of Jupiter. He used to make figures nine, ten, even twelve
heads high, simply to increase their grace.
He would say that tlie artist must have his measuring tools in the eye, rather than in the hand, as it is the eye that judges. He used the same idea in architectural designs.
The duke (Cosimo) has a statue ten feet high, repre- senting Victory with a captive. He has, besides, a group of four captives, merely roughhewn, that show how Michelangelo extracted statues fronT^ the stone. The method is to take a figure of wax, lay it in a vessel of j water and gradually emerge it, and then note the most salient parts. j Just so, the highest parts were extracted first from the marble.