At this time Michelangelo's mind seems to have been much occupied with circular compositions. He painted a large Holy Family of this shape for his friend Angelo Doni, which may, I think, be reckoned the only easel-picture attributable with absolute certainty to his hand. Condivi simply says that he received seventy ducats for this fine work.
Vasari adds one of his prattling stories to the effect that Doni thought forty sufficient; whereupon Michelangelo took the picture back, and said he would not let it go for less than a hundred: Doni then offered the original sum of seventy, but Michelangelo replied that if he was bent on bargaining he should not pay less than 140.
'Tell Mamma Doni that we give up the rooms next week Friday in next week. Make her understand. 'Parfaitement, Madame. And Marie left the room. Lucy advanced with a face of dismay. 'Ten days more! Eleanor. Eleanor tapped her lightly on the cheek, then kissed her, laughing. 'Are you too hot? 'Dear! don't talk about me! But you promised me to be gone before August.
The great statue of "David," the two unfinished medallions of Madonna in relief, the "Holy Family of the Tribune" painted for Angelo Doni, and the Cartoon of the "Battle of Pisa" were now produced; and no man's name, not even Lionardo's, stood higher in esteem thenceforward.
Michael Angelo also cast a bronze group of the Madonna with her Son in her lap, which was sent into Flanders by certain Flemish merchants, the Moscheroni, great people at home; they paid him one hundred ducats for it. And, in order not altogether to give up painting, he executed a round panel of Our Lady for Messer Agnolo Doni, a Florentine citizen, for which he received seventy ducats.
Vasari says that Michael Angelo asked seventy ducats for the work, but that Doni only offered forty when the picture was delivered. Michael Angelo sent word that he must pay a hundred or send back the picture. Doni offered the original seventy; but Michael Angelo replied that if he was bent on bargaining, he should not pay less than one hundred and forty.
Emilio snatched up his trousers, jumped out of bed, escaped into the dressing-room, put on his clothes, came back and hurried to the door. These were his thoughts while dressing: "Massimilla, beloved daughter of the Doni, in whom Italian beauty is an hereditary prerogative, you who are worthy of the portrait of Margherita, one of the few canvases painted entirely by Raphael to his glory!
"That crazy fellow," said the physician, in French, to Vendramin, "does not know what he wants. Here is a man who can make of a Massimilla Doni a being apart from the rest of creation, possessing her in heaven, amid ideal splendor such as no power on earth can make real.
Watts of the British Museum from the original in that collection. It is doubtless the copy which Milton received. Of the Doni mentioned in the letter, as Dati's predecessor in the chair of Belles Lettres at Florence, we had a glimpse Vol. I. p. 746. He died, Mr. Watts says, in Dec. 1647, and left to Dati the charge of publishing his works.
Here in the Uffizi are two of his early works, the Holy Family and a Madonna and Child , where, behind the Virgin holding her divine Son in her lap, you may see four naked shepherds, really the first of their race. This picture was painted for Lorenzo de' Medici, and doubtless influenced Michelangelo when he painted his Holy Family for Messer Angelo Doni, who haggled so badly over his bargain.