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Michelangelo, famous as fairy,
propositioned the young Cavalieri.
Since he was a basso
he loved young Tommaso,
soprano, till armpits were hairy.

Alan Riding writes about three Michelangelo exhibitions in Florence (“In Florence, Michelangelo has his Moment: Three Exhibitions Explore How the Master Influence Art and the Notion of Beauty, ” The New York Times, August 20,2002) . What he writes about the master’s relationship with Tommaso de’Cavalieri might be very helpful to Cardinal Edgan and other church prelates who are being condemned for condoning pedophilia:

Michelangelo gave a gorgeous drawing of “The Rape of Ganymede” to Tommaso de’Cavalieri in 1532 when he was 12 and Michelangelo was 57. An undisguised allegory for the artist’s passion for the boy, it portrays Zeus as an eagle kidnapping a beautiful Trojan to become his cup bearer. In Michelangelo’s rendering, while the eagle grips the boy’s legs firmly with his talons, Ganymede’s relaxed arms suggest he welcomes the abduction. In 'The Punishment of Tityus, ' another mythological drawing given to Tommaso that is in the Casa Buonarroti show, Michelangelo seemingly implies that his love is accompanied by torment. Here the lustful Tityus is shown being punished by having a vulture devour his liver for eternity. Yet letters between Michelangelo and Tommaso hint at no particular anguish: in early-16th-century Florence, it seems, intimate relationships between men and boys were not uncommon.

© 2002 Gershon Hepner 8/20/02

Submitted: Tuesday, August 26, 2008

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