Condivi, Ascanio

, of Ripa Transona, the most obscure of modern artists, though a biographer of some celebrity, owes that and a place here to his connexion with Michael Angelo, whose life he published in 1553. If we believe Vasari, his imbecility was at least equal to his assiduity in study and desire of excelling, which were extreme. No work of his exists in painting or in sculpture. Hence Gori, the modern editor of his book, is at a loss to decide on his claim to either, though from the qualities of the writer, and the familiarity of M. Angelo, he surmises | that Condivi must have had merit as an artist. From the last no conclusion can be formed; the attachment of M. Angelo, seldom founded in congeniality, was the attachment of the strong to the weak, it was protection; it extended to Antonio Mini of Florence, another obscure scholar of his, to Giuliano Bugiardini, to Jacopo L’Indaco: all men unable to penetrate the grand motives of his art, and more astonished at the excrescences of his learning in design, than elevated by his genius. Condivi intended to publish a system of rules and precepts on design, dictated by Michael Angelo, a work, if ever he did compose it, now perhaps irretrievably lost; from that, had destiny granted it to us, we might probably have formed a better notion of his powers as an artist, than we can from a biographic account, of which simplicity and truth constitute the principal merit. Condivi published this life, consisting of fifty pages, under the title “Vita de Michelagnolo Buonarroti, raccolta per Ascanio Condivi da la Ilipa Transone. In Roma appresso Antonio Blado Stampatore Canierale nel M. D. LIII. alii XVI. di Luglio.” According to Beyero, in his “Memoriae Historico-criticae, lib. rariorum,” this is one of the scarcest books in Europe. In 1746, Gori republished it in folio, and as it was originally published ten years before the death of Michael Angelo, continued it to that period. Gori’s work is a small folio, printed at Florence, 1746. 1

1 Pilkington. Duppa’s Life of M. Aogelo, preface, p. 5 and 6.