|Artist Michelangelo||Burials Ascanio Condivi|
|Similar Moses, San Pietro in Vincoli, Sagrestia Nuova, The Last Judgement, Medici Chapel|
Michelangelo moses and the tomb of pope julius ii
The Tomb of Pope Julius II is a sculptural and architectural ensemble by Michelangelo and his assistants, originally commissioned in 1505 but not completed until 1545 on a much reduced scale. Originally intended for St. Peter's Basilica, the tomb was instead placed in the church of San Pietro in Vincoli on the Esquiline in Rome after the pope's death. This church was patronised by the della Rovere family from which Julius came, and he had been titular cardinal there.
As originally conceived, the tomb would have been a colossal structure that would have given Michelangelo the room he needed for his superhuman, tragic beings. This project became one of the great disappointments of Michelangelo's life when the pope, for unexplained reasons, interrupted the commission, possibly because funds had to be diverted for Bramante's rebuilding of St. Peter's. The original project called for a freestanding, three-level structure with some 40 statues. After the pope's death in 1513, the scale of the project was reduced step-by-step until, in April 1532, a final contract specified a simple wall tomb with fewer than one-third of the figures originally planned.
The most famous sculpture associated with the tomb is the figure of Moses, which was completed during one of the sporadic resumptions of the work in 1513. Michelangelo felt that this was his most lifelike creation. Legend has it that upon its completion he struck the right knee commanding, "now speak!" as he felt that life was the only thing left inside the marble. There is a scar on the knee thought to be the mark of Michelangelo's hammer.
The statues of the Dying Slave and the Rebellious Slave were finished but not included in the monument in its last and reduced design. They are now in the Louvre. Another figure intended for Pope Julius' tomb is The Genius of Victory, now in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. Other sculptures for the tomb were the Young Slave, the Atlas Slave, the Bearded Slave and the Awakening Slave. The sculptures of Rachel and Leah, allegories of the contemplative and the active life, were executed by Raffaello da Montelupo, a pupil of Michelangelo. The other sculptures are by less experienced pupils.