The first page of David Markson’s copy of Michelangelo by Ludwig Goldscheider:
     On which Markson wrote as an inscription:     “Markson N.Y.C.     ————___1964”
—
     As any reader of Markson’s late novels knows, they are filled with what he told Michael Silverblatt on KCRW’s Bookworm were “incidental odds and ends, intellectual snippets—whatever you might call them—about literary people, about artists, about composers, about even sometimes sports figures.”
     And Markson always threw in these little “incidental odds and ends,” even in his early books, even though they have more of a narrative.     Going all the way back to his early detective novels you can already see his interests and obsessions with intellectual trivia forming.
     Though all Markson’s books are filled with these little bits of information, he rarely repeated the same tidbit twice.
     Also in the Silverblatt interview, Markson said:     “I try not to repeat anecdotes.”     And when further talking with Silverblatt about why he doesn’t put the same anecdotes in different books:     “I don’t want people to be stumbling over the same story.”
     True, a handful reoccur in a couple books, but for the most part, each little nugget is entirely unique in every new book.
     One of the few tidbits used more than twice though is one about Michelangelo—specifically about him never taking off his boots, even to bed.
     Some iteration of this information appears in four of Markson’s books (only one of these appearances is in his final tetralogy The Notecard Quartet though).
     The first mention of this story of Michelangelo and his boots is all the way back in Markson’s 1970 novel Going Down.     On pg. 187:     “And yet all I remember half the time are things like Michelangelo wearing his boots to bed.”
     This factoid is mentioned again on pg. 7 of Markson’s next novel Springer’s Progress:     “Dana get authentically grieved at him, find himself pondering that Michelangelo wore his boots to bed.”
     And on pg. 185 of Wittgenstein’s Mistress:     “Have I ever mentioned that Michelangelo practically never took a bath in his life, by the way?     And even wore his boots to bed?     On my honor, it is a well known item in the history of art that Michelangelo was not somebody one would particularly wish to sit too close to.     Which on second thought could very well change one’s view as to why all of those Medici kept telling him don’t bother to get up, as a matter of fact.”
     Lastly, in The Notecard Quartet, on pg. 23 of Vanishing Point, Michelangelo and his boots reappear:     “At certain seasons he kept those boots on for such a length of time that when he drew them off, the skin came away altogether with the leather.      Said Ascanio Condivi, a friend of Michelangelo’s.”

     The first page of David Markson’s copy of Michelangelo by Ludwig Goldscheider:

     On which Markson wrote as an inscription:
     “Markson N.Y.C.
     ————___1964”

     As any reader of Markson’s late novels knows, they are filled with what he told Michael Silverblatt on KCRW’s Bookworm were “incidental odds and ends, intellectual snippets—whatever you might call them—about literary people, about artists, about composers, about even sometimes sports figures.”

     And Markson always threw in these little “incidental odds and ends,” even in his early books, even though they have more of a narrative.
     Going all the way back to his early detective novels you can already see his interests and obsessions with intellectual trivia forming.

     Though all Markson’s books are filled with these little bits of information, he rarely repeated the same tidbit twice.

     Also in the Silverblatt interview, Markson said:
     “I try not to repeat anecdotes.”
     And when further talking with Silverblatt about why he doesn’t put the same anecdotes in different books:
     “I don’t want people to be stumbling over the same story.”

     True, a handful reoccur in a couple books, but for the most part, each little nugget is entirely unique in every new book.

     One of the few tidbits used more than twice though is one about Michelangelo—specifically about him never taking off his boots, even to bed.

     Some iteration of this information appears in four of Markson’s books (only one of these appearances is in his final tetralogy The Notecard Quartet though).

     The first mention of this story of Michelangelo and his boots is all the way back in Markson’s 1970 novel Going Down.
     On pg. 187:
     “And yet all I remember half the time are things like Michelangelo wearing his boots to bed.

     This factoid is mentioned again on pg. 7 of Markson’s next novel Springer’s Progress:
     “Dana get authentically grieved at him, find himself pondering that Michelangelo wore his boots to bed.”

     And on pg. 185 of Wittgenstein’s Mistress:
     “Have I ever mentioned that Michelangelo practically never took a bath in his life, by the way?
     And even wore his boots to bed?
     On my honor, it is a well known item in the history of art that Michelangelo was not somebody one would particularly wish to sit too close to.
     Which on second thought could very well change one’s view as to why all of those Medici kept telling him don’t bother to get up, as a matter of fact.”

     Lastly, in The Notecard Quartet, on pg. 23 of Vanishing Point, Michelangelo and his boots reappear:
     “At certain seasons he kept those boots on for such a length of time that when he drew them off, the skin came away altogether with the leather.
     Said Ascanio Condivi, a friend of Michelangelo’s.”

     Pg. 131 of David Markson’s copy of I, Michelangelo, Sculptor by Michelangelo:
     On which Markson wrote in the margins next to a mention in a letter of “Sebastiano”:     “(Sebastian del Piombo)”
—
     Sebastian del Piombo is mentioned in one of Markson’s books—also, no surprise, in relation to Michelangelo.
     On pg. 80 of Vanishing Point:     “Pope Leo X, to Sebastiano del Piombo, as to why he was holding off on commissions for Michelangelo:     There is absolutely no getting on with the man.”
     From pg. 192 of Wittgenstein’s Mistress:     “Certainly I would have found it more than agreeable to shake Michelangelo’s hand, no matter how the pope or Louis Pasteur might have felt about this.     In fact I would have been excited just to see the hand that had taken away superfluous material in the way that Michelangelo had taken it away.     Actually, I would have been pleased to tell Michelangelo how fond I am of his sentence that I once underlined, too.     Perhaps I have not mentioned having once underlined a sentence by Michelangelo.     I once underlined a sentence by Michelangelo.     This was a sentence that Michelangelo once wrote in a letter, when he had lived almost seventy-five years.     You will say that I am old and mad, was what Michelangelo wrote, but I answer that there is no better way of being sane and free from anxiety than by being mad.     On my honor, Michelangelo once wrote that.     As a matter of fact I am next to positive I would have liked Michelangelo.”
     There is absolutely no getting on with the man.

     Pg. 131 of David Markson’s copy of I, Michelangelo, Sculptor by Michelangelo:

     On which Markson wrote in the margins next to a mention in a letter of “Sebastiano”:
     “(Sebastian del Piombo)”

     Sebastian del Piombo is mentioned in one of Markson’s books—also, no surprise, in relation to Michelangelo.

     On pg. 80 of Vanishing Point:
     “Pope Leo X, to Sebastiano del Piombo, as to why he was holding off on commissions for Michelangelo:
     There is absolutely no getting on with the man.”

     From pg. 192 of Wittgenstein’s Mistress:
     “Certainly I would have found it more than agreeable to shake Michelangelo’s hand, no matter how the pope or Louis Pasteur might have felt about this.
     In fact I would have been excited just to see the hand that had taken away superfluous material in the way that Michelangelo had taken it away.
     Actually, I would have been pleased to tell Michelangelo how fond I am of his sentence that I once underlined, too.
     Perhaps I have not mentioned having once underlined a sentence by Michelangelo.
     I once underlined a sentence by Michelangelo.
     This was a sentence that Michelangelo once wrote in a letter, when he had lived almost seventy-five years.
     You will say that I am old and mad, was what Michelangelo wrote, but I answer that there is no better way of being sane and free from anxiety than by being mad.
     On my honor, Michelangelo once wrote that.
     As a matter of fact I am next to positive I would have liked Michelangelo.”

     There is absolutely no getting on with the man.

     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.”

     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.”

     Pg. 47 of David Markson’s copy of Classic Art: An Introduction to the Italian Renaissance by Heinrich Wolfflin:
     On which Markson put a check next to the following sentence:     “What is Michelangelo’s ideal of youthful beauty? A gigantic hobbledehoy, neither man nor boy, a stripling at the age when the body stretches itself and the huge hands and feet seem to have no relation to the size of the limbs.”
—-
     The oddly large size of the hands and feet on Michelangelo’s David was mentioned by Markson in his pre-tetralogy novels Springer’s Progress and Wittgenstein’s Mistress (and in both instances this was done in conjunction with a mention of the oddly small size of the table in Leonardo’s The Last Supper):     “Table in The Last Supper's too small. Hands and feet on Michelangelo's David are too big.” (Springer’s Progress, Pg. 76).     And:     “In fact it was similarly Leonardo’s own doing when he made the table in The Last Supper far too small for all of those Jewish people who are supposed to be eating at it.     Or Michelangelo’s, when he took away superfluous material on his David but left the hands and feet too big.” (Wittgenstein’s Mistress, Pg. 148).

     Pg. 47 of David Markson’s copy of Classic Art: An Introduction to the Italian Renaissance by Heinrich Wolfflin:

     On which Markson put a check next to the following sentence:
     “What is Michelangelo’s ideal of youthful beauty? A gigantic hobbledehoy, neither man nor boy, a stripling at the age when the body stretches itself and the huge hands and feet seem to have no relation to the size of the limbs.”

—-

     The oddly large size of the hands and feet on Michelangelo’s David was mentioned by Markson in his pre-tetralogy novels Springer’s Progress and Wittgenstein’s Mistress (and in both instances this was done in conjunction with a mention of the oddly small size of the table in Leonardo’s The Last Supper):
     “Table in The Last Supper's too small. Hands and feet on Michelangelo's David are too big.” (Springer’s Progress, Pg. 76).
     And:
     “In fact it was similarly Leonardo’s own doing when he made the table in The Last Supper far too small for all of those Jewish people who are supposed to be eating at it.
     Or Michelangelo’s, when he took away superfluous material on his David but left the hands and feet too big.” (Wittgenstein’s Mistress, Pg. 148).

     Pg. 22 of David Markson’s copy of I, Michelangelo, Sculptor by Michelangelo:
     On which Markson placed a check next to something Michelangelo said to Pope Julius II re: mural painting:     “It is not my trade.”
—-
     On pg. 86 of his masterpiece Wittgenstein’s Mistress, Markson has Kate bring up that same Michelangelo quote:     “Painting is not my trade, is another thing that Michelangelo once said. When he said this was when a pope told him that the Sistine Chapel might look more agreeable with some pictures up on top.”
     Though this was a dig at painting—Michelangelo, of course, considering himself more a sculptor—let us not forget that even being a sculptor wasn’t so glamorous at the time either:     “In the Renaissance, the difference between a sculptor and a common stonecutter, which eluded Michelangelo’s magistrate father—and who considered his son’s elected career demeaning.” (Pg. 180 of Markson’s Vanishing Point).
     Immediately preceding that passage in Vanishing Point, Markson wrote:     “For all the renown achieved by many, painters and sculptors in antiquity were considered little better than manual workers on a level with blacksmiths or shoemakers.     Cf. Plutarch: No well-born youth would want to be Phidias or Polyclitus, however much he may admire their art.” (Pg. 180).
     Throughout history, we’ve never been very good to those who choose artist as a profession.     Sure, once they reach a certain celebrity status, we praise them.     (Those who do achieve that level of appreciation being very few and far between).     Or long after they’re dead, we praise them.     (Though many more equally talented are forever forgotten).     But if there’s any immediate take-away from Markson’s tetralogy it is that collectively we humans treat our artists rather poorly.     We have little respect for their trade.

     Pg. 22 of David Markson’s copy of I, Michelangelo, Sculptor by Michelangelo:

     On which Markson placed a check next to something Michelangelo said to Pope Julius II re: mural painting:
     “It is not my trade.”

—-

     On pg. 86 of his masterpiece Wittgenstein’s Mistress, Markson has Kate bring up that same Michelangelo quote:
     “Painting is not my trade, is another thing that Michelangelo once said. When he said this was when a pope told him that the Sistine Chapel might look more agreeable with some pictures up on top.”

     Though this was a dig at painting—Michelangelo, of course, considering himself more a sculptor—let us not forget that even being a sculptor wasn’t so glamorous at the time either:
     “In the Renaissance, the difference between a sculptor and a common stonecutter, which eluded Michelangelo’s magistrate father—and who considered his son’s elected career demeaning.” (Pg. 180 of Markson’s Vanishing Point).

     Immediately preceding that passage in Vanishing Point, Markson wrote:
     “For all the renown achieved by many, painters and sculptors in antiquity were considered little better than manual workers on a level with blacksmiths or shoemakers.
     Cf. Plutarch: No well-born youth would want to be Phidias or Polyclitus, however much he may admire their art.” (Pg. 180).

     Throughout history, we’ve never been very good to those who choose artist as a profession.
     Sure, once they reach a certain celebrity status, we praise them.
     (Those who do achieve that level of appreciation being very few and far between).
     Or long after they’re dead, we praise them.
     (Though many more equally talented are forever forgotten).
     But if there’s any immediate take-away from Markson’s tetralogy it is that collectively we humans treat our artists rather poorly.
     We have little respect for their trade.

     Pg. 291 of David Markson’s copy of I, Michelangelo, Sculptor by Michelangelo:
     On which Markson has placed a check next to the quote:     “My memory and intellect went to wait for me elsewhere.”
—-
     This quote is used in Markson’s novel Vanishing Point:     “My memory and intellect have gone to wait for me elsewhere.      Wrote Michelangelo to Vasari at eighty-three.”     On pg. 187.
     To me, Markson’s tetralogy seems to be his defensive move against just such a travesty.  The books are his way of storing his memories and grasping at intellectual odds-and-ends to make sure that his memory and intellect do not go off and wait for him elsewhere. 
     Or: if they ever did go off to wait for him elsewhere, at least there would be record of them before they escape him.

     Pg. 291 of David Markson’s copy of I, Michelangelo, Sculptor by Michelangelo:

     On which Markson has placed a check next to the quote:
     “My memory and intellect went to wait for me elsewhere.”

—-

     This quote is used in Markson’s novel Vanishing Point:
     “My memory and intellect have gone to wait for me elsewhere.
     Wrote Michelangelo to Vasari at eighty-three.”
     On pg. 187.

     To me, Markson’s tetralogy seems to be his defensive move against just such a travesty.  The books are his way of storing his memories and grasping at intellectual odds-and-ends to make sure that his memory and intellect do not go off and wait for him elsewhere. 

     Or: if they ever did go off to wait for him elsewhere, at least there would be record of them before they escape him.

Pg. 16 of David Markson’s copy of I, Michelangelo, Sculptor by Michelangelo:
On which Markson has placed a line in the margins next to the text of an entire letter from Michelangelo to the Captain of Cortona, dated May 1518.
In the letter Michelangelo is arguing that a certain Master Luca did not pay him back his forty guili as had been supposed.
—-
This letter is mentioned on pg. 63 of This Is Not A Novel:"An extant letter of Michelangelo’s complains about money that Luca Signorelli borrowed and never repaid."
Money is one of the things that keeps being mentioned in Markson’s tetralogy.  Most often it is brought up in discussing certain artists living, and dying, in abject poverty—but there is also mention of various payments and loans and earnings.
I am reminded of something Markson wrote in the margins of this very book, on a different page, in a scan I posted previously on here a number of months ago:"Jesus Christ is there ever anything but money for anyone, with it or without!”
That sentiment is something the tetralogy seems to be asking (via its various implications) over and over again…
Is there ever anything but money for anyone?  With it or without?

Pg. 16 of David Markson’s copy of I, Michelangelo, Sculptor by Michelangelo:

On which Markson has placed a line in the margins next to the text of an entire letter from Michelangelo to the Captain of Cortona, dated May 1518.

In the letter Michelangelo is arguing that a certain Master Luca did not pay him back his forty guili as had been supposed.

—-

This letter is mentioned on pg. 63 of This Is Not A Novel:
"An extant letter of Michelangelo’s complains about money that Luca Signorelli borrowed and never repaid."

Money is one of the things that keeps being mentioned in Markson’s tetralogy.  Most often it is brought up in discussing certain artists living, and dying, in abject poverty—but there is also mention of various payments and loans and earnings.

I am reminded of something Markson wrote in the margins of this very book, on a different page, in a scan I posted previously on here a number of months ago:
"Jesus Christ is there ever anything but money for anyone, with it or without!”

That sentiment is something the tetralogy seems to be asking (via its various implications) over and over again…

Is there ever anything but money for anyone?  With it or without?