Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel

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Italian painter, sculptor, architect and poet

Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel



Cappella Sistina

Vatican | Holy See (Vatican City State)

On Painting the Sistine Chapel Ceiling
To Giovanni da Pistoia, July 1510
by Michelangelo Buonarroti

I've grown a goiter by dwelling in this den -
    As cats from stagnant streams in Lombardy,
    Or in what other land they hap to be -
    Which drives the belly close beneath the chin;
My beard turns up to heaven; my nape falls in,
    Fixed on my spine: my breast-bone visibly
    Grows like a harp: a rich embroidery
    Bedews my face from brush-drops thick and thin.
My loins into my paunch like levers grind:
    My buttock like a crupper bears my weight;
    My feet unguided wander to and fro;
In front my skin grows loose and long; behind,
    By bending it becomes more taut and strait;
    Crosswise I strain me like a Syrian bow:
            Whence false and quaint, I know,
    Must be the fruit of squinting brain and eye;
    For ill can aim the gun that bends awry.
                        Come then, Giovanni, try
    To succor my dead pictures and my fame,
    Since foul I fare and painting is my shame.

Credit: Web Gallery of Art