No one should think it strange that Michelangelo loved solitude, for he was deeply in love with his art, which claims a man with all his thoughts for itself alone. Anyone who wants to devote himself to the study of art must shun the society of others. In fact, a man who gives his time to the problems of art is never alone and lacks food for thought, and those who attribute an artist's love of solitude to outlandishness and eccentricity are mistaken, seeing that anyone who wants to do good work must rid himself of all cares and burdens: the artist must have time and opportunity for reflection and solitude and concentration.
HE SAID to himself as he walked through a great lonely park: "How beautiful she would be in one of those gorgeous and elaborate court costumes, as, in the soft evening air, she descended the marble stairs of a palace facing broad lawns and lakes! For by nature she has the air of a princess.
Later, passing through a little street he stopped in front of a print shop, and looking through a portfolio and finding a picture of a tropical scene, he thought: "No! it is not in a palace that I should like to cherish her dear life. We should never feel at home in one. Besides there would be no place on those gold encrusted walls to hang her portrait; and in those formal halls there is never an intimate corner. Decidedly here I have found the place in which to live and cultivate the dream of my life."
And while his eyes continued to examine every detail of the print, he went on musing: "A lovely wooden cabin by the sea and all around those curious glossy trees whose names I have forgotten... in the air an in definable, an intoxicating fragrance... in the cabin the heavy scent of musk and roses... and farther, behind our little domain, the tops of masts rocking on the waves... all around us, beyond our bedroom with its shutters softening the glare to a rosy glow, and decorated with cool mats and heady flowers and Portuguese rococo chairs of heavy somber wood (where she will sit so calmly and well fanned, smoking her slightly opiumed tobacco), and beyond the veranda, the twittering of birds drunk with the sun and the chattering of little negro girls... while at night, as an accompaniment to my dreams, the plaintive song of the music-trees , the melancholy filaos! Yes, truly this is the setting I have been looking for. What do I want of a palace?"
And a little father on, as he was walking along a wide avenue, he noticed a cozy little inn, and in the window, gay with curtains of striped calico, two laughing faces. And instantly: "Really," he cried, "what a vagabond my mind must be to go looking so far afield for pleasure that is so near at hand. Pleasure and happiness are to be found in the first inn you fire, gaudy crockery, a passable supper, a vigorous wine, and a very wide bed with sheets, a little coarse, but cool; what could be better?"
And going home at that hour of the day when Wisdom's counsels are not silenced by the roar of the outside world, he said to himself: "I have possessed tree homes today, and was equally happy in all of them. Why should I drive my body from place to place, when my soul travels so lightly? And why carry out one's projects, since the project is sufficient pleasure in itself?"