Cecchino dei Bracci

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Cecchino Bracci.

Cecchino Bracci (real name Francesco de Zanobi Bracci) was a pupil of Michelangelo. He died at the age of sixteen at Rome on the 8th of January 1544 and is buried in Santa Maria in Aracoeli.


After Cecchino's death, his uncle Luigi del Riccio felt the blow severely. On 12 January del Riccio wrote to his friend Donato Gionnoti, at Vicenza: "Alas, my friend Donato! Our Cecchio is dead. All Rome weeps. Michelangelo is making for me the design of a decent sepulture in marble; and I pray you to write me the epitaph, and to send it to me with a consolatory letter, if time permits, for my grief has distraught me. Patience! I live with a thousand and a thousand deaths each hour. O God! How has Fortune changed his aspect!"

As a response to Luigi, Michelangelo composed more than forty-two epigrams for four lines each. The family Bracci had moved to Florence in 1395 from Vinci In the XVI° century they were among the rich bankers families friends of the Medici. They had acquired palazzo Neroni in via de' Ginori and a chapel in Santa Maria Novella. Filippo, brother of Cecchino married Costanza Soderini. The family, related to the famous Fortebraccio da Montone, hosted him, in 1418. "Fortebraccio stayed with his relatives". The Pope Martino V° had invited Fortebraccio to Florence to remove the excomunication moved against him. Cecchino went to Rome with his uncle Luigi del Riccio, to be introduced to the papal court. During his staying he met some of the major Florentine artists working in the city.

Pope Paulus III° had spent a long time in Florence hosted by the Medici and was introduced to the great Florentine art world Cechino's beauty and manners made him soon to be loved in the papal court. When he died in 1544, his uncle Luigi del Riccio, was devastated and begged his friend Michelangelo, to design the tomb and to write some verses as epitaph. He was buried in the church of the Ara Coeli the most ancient and sacred church in Rome.

References in Michelangelo's Poetry[edit]

Bracci is seen in Michelangelo's poem G.193 where he laments that he never got to really know him. He states:

Scarce had I seen for the first time his eyes,
Which to your living eyes were life and light,
When, closed at last in death's injurious night,
He opened then on God in Paradise.

The tomb[edit]