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POPE JULIUS II
(2 of 3)
by
Sharon R. Hoover
Ital334, Prof. Barbara Nucci, May 1999

A Chronology of
Events in Italy

60,000 BC - 1300 AD

1300 AD - 1998 AD

 

Academic
Articles

Amalfi


Baths of Baiae;
Observations and Inferences
The Casamari Abbey
Christianity-
The First 400 Years
Agriculture in the
Roman Empire
Pope Julius II

Eleonora Pimentel
Fonseca
The Parthenopean Republic


The Effect of Mussolini's 
Pronatalist View on Women

 







     An indefatigable politician, Julius formed various alliances with the Spanish, French, and city states; then, dissolved them and allied himself to others in order to defeat his former partners. (Brusher 432)  Unlike many popes who desired additional lands and riches only to enrich their relatives, Julius actually wanted to restore the papal states that had been lost through previous wars and nepotism. (DeRosa 112)  He was remarkably successful.  According to Lintner, he incorporated the papal states into a "powerful and united entity." (108)  DeRosa says that the papal states which Julius established "remained virtually unchanged" until 1870 (112).  Cheetham credits Julius with actually saving the papacy which he believes was about to dissolve into "just another bishopric" equal to others in the world. (192)

     Juliusís patronage of the arts left us beautiful works which are now considered to be among the worldís greatest masterpieces, including the Sistine Chapel ceiling, St. Paulís Basilica, and the Vatican Galleries. (Lintner 108)  Also, Juliusís collection is the nucleus of the statuary seen today in the Belvedere garden. (Bull 33)  Lintner says that Julius changed the face of Rome more than anyone since Augustusís time. (108)  Yet, Lintner also admits that much of the work the grand masters performed for Julius was more a means of satisfying his desire for self-aggrandizement than for the glory of the art itself. (115)  Perhaps the reason that he brought three of the finest ever artists to the papal court (Bramante, Michelangelo, and Raphael) was his "extreme tendency toward self-glorification." (Liebert 125)

     Raphael was commissioned in 1508 to paint the walls of 4 rooms in the Vatican Palace.  (Raphael)  Julius is featured prominently in several of the frescoes. (Liebert 125)  Raphaelís famed portrait of Julius, in which he resembles an Old Testament prophet according to Liebert, now hangs in London. (123)

     Julius first ordered Michelangelo to Rome in 1505 to create a tomb for him, a tomb which wasnít finished until 1547, 34 years after Juliusís death. (Liebert 119) The relationship between the pope and the artist was stormy. (Liebert 153)  DeRosa reported that Julius struck Michelangelo "more than once"  with the stick the pope always carried; but he also reported that Julius struck anyone who irritated him. (111)

     To commemorate his triumphal entry into Bologna in 1506, Julius commanded Michelangelo to immediately cast his statue in bronze, a work which was, unfortunately, lost three years later when the Bolognese and the French threw out the popeís troops and melted his monument. (Liebert 125)  Michelangeloís statue, Moses, which now resides in St. Peterís Basilica, was designed for Juliusís tomb.  (Liebert 210)  There is some debate over the horns on Mosesís head.  One theory says that they represent the light that shined from his head (Moses-222); another says that the horns were a result of Michelangelo mistaking "rays of light" for "horns" in a translation error. (Moses-wvusd)  Considering the relationship between Julius and the sculptor, and assuming Liebertís theory that Michelangelo created Moses as he saw Julius, (210) is correct, one might wonder if the horns could have been a deliberate reference to Michelangeloís opinion of Juliusís nature, imposing the horns of a devil on the righteous man.

      When Michelangelo returned to Rome in 1508, Julius assigned him the task of painting the Sistine Chapel ceiling, a job which Michelangelo did not want. (DeRosa 111)  In spite of Juliusís commitment to the arts, he was so busy with his military pursuits and illness that he did not view the finished first half of the ceiling until a year after itís completion. (Liebert 153)  Nevertheless, Julius II sang mass at the Sistine Chapel at the unveiling of the completed ceiling on All Saints Day 1512 (DeRosa 112), and Michelangelo reported in a letter "...the Pope is very well satisfied." (Liebert 163)


 

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