Pg. 27 of David Markson’s copy of Old Masters: Great Artists in Old Age by Thomas Dormandy:
On which Markson placed a check next to the following footnote regarding Pope Julius II:
“He was the last pope to lead his troops on horseback into battle as well as the only one to be hit on the head with a broomstick by an enraged genius (Michelangelo espying him peeping at the unfinished ceiling of the Sistine Chapel).”
From the first page of David Markson’s last novel The Last Novel:
“From high up on the Sistine ceiling scaffolding, Michelangelo was known to now and then drop things—brooms, even fairly long boards.
Most frequently, it appeared, when the pope happened to be lurking below for a glimpse at his latest efforts.”
On pg. 35 of the same novel, Markson returns to the relationship between artist and pope, between Michelangelo and Julius II:
“From the beginnings of the legend of Michelangelo’s sense of his own worth:
He treats the Pope as the King of France himself would not dare to treat him—unquote.”
And then returns to the broom-dropping image on pg. 56:
“I’ve finished that chapel I was painting. The Pope is quite satisfied.
Wrote Michelangelo to his father, after four years’ effort—and with no further need to let fall brooms or lumber.”