A fatal kind of Synastry that resulted in Michelangelo’s disfigurement!

It is an irony that Michelangelo, the man who produced some of the finest works our world has ever seen and who glorified earth with heavenly beauty, was physically “ugly” himself! And not just ugly but actually disfigured! Not by nature but out of an act of violence inflicted upon him by one of his fellow students bearing the name Pietro Torrigiano!

Torrigiano was anything but a minor personality. In time he would become a great artist himself. He is accredited as the person who kick-started the British Renaissance (he escaped to England after injuring Michelangelo – as the latter was a protegee of the omnipotent Florentine family of the Medici)! Torrigiano was gifted alright but somehow unlucky too, as he was born at the same time and place as Michelangelo. This meant that he was condemned to live at the shadow of Michelangelo’s towering geniusness. Thus, it does not surprise us at all the fact that he was very jealous of him.

All in all, he was a tough, “macho” kind of man (he was even drafted at some point as a mercenary soldier). Obviously he was longing for any kind of pretence that would offer him the chance to unleash his smouldering grudge towards Michelangelo. And this chance was  given to him on a day when the two were copying – as apprentists – side by side some frescoes. Michelangelo made some snide remark to Torrigiano who was so much enraged by it that he punched him on the nose, breaking it.

According to Torrigiano’s own testimony of the event:

“This Buonarroti (Michelangelo) and I used when we were boys to go into the Church of the Carmine to learn drawing from the chapel of Masaccio. It was Buonarroti’s habit to banter all who were drawing there; and one day, among others, when he was annoying me, I got more angry than usual, and clenching my fist, gave him such a blow on the nose, that I felt bone and cartilage go down like biscuit beneath my knuckles; and this mark of mine he will carry with him to the grave.”

There is obviously too much jealousy and animosity involved in the Michelangelo – Torrigiano relationship (especially from Torrigiano’s part). And since the quality of a relationship depends largely on the type of Synastry that is formed between its members it seems as though the Michelangleo – Torrigiano Synastry was not a particularly happy one. And as we will soon see, indeed it wasn’t!

We do have in our disposition the complete birth data for Michelangelo (his time of birth as well) so we can cast his complete natal chart (you may see it below). He was a double Pisces (Sun and Moon in Pisces) with a Sagittarius Ascendant! His natal Moon and the ruler of his horoscope (Jupiter) are both residing in his Second House (in a very “solid”, down to earth and artistic House, that is)! His Sun is conjuncted by the ultra-energetic and bellicose planet Mars. Being a double Pisces he was meek alright but he was probably exhibiting as well some sudden Martian outbursts!

We know as well Torrigiano’s date of birth: November 24, 1472 (Old Style of course – Julian Calendar). As you can see below Torrigiano was a Sagitturius with a Virgonean Moon. And as in Michelangelo’s case he has a bellicose Sun / Mars conjunction too (in a fiery sign this time – no coincidence he is described as a man with a rather violent temper):

Although we don’t know Torrigiano’s time of birth we can still conduct a decent synastric study for these two Italian Renaissance artists. You may see their Synastry below (Michelangelo’s chart in the inner wheel and Torrigiano’s in the outer one):

We should start with the fact that their solar signs (Pisces and Sagittarius) are inharmonious. Although they traditionally share the same ruler – Jupiter – their natures (feminine – masculine, aquatic – igneous) are quite different and it is very hard for them to find some common ground. Michelangelo’s and Torrigiano’s respective Marses are not helping them either in that sense, as they are forming a square aspect among them – magnifying and exacerbating even the most trivial friction in their interaction. And since both their Marses are aspecting their respective Plutos’ too the slightest friction among them was producing extreme turmoil in their souls and was thus escalating into a deadly hostility – as if their very existence were in jeopardy!

If we had to associate envy with a specific planet then most probably this would be Saturn (and Saturn is particularly envious in front of accomplishments, recognition and fame). And in the current Synastry Torrigiano’s Saturn is forming a harsh square aspect to both Michelangelo’s Sun and Mars! This means that Torrigiano was feeling somehow inadequate in front of Michelangeo. He must have been cultivating in his soul a deadly envy for the latter’s brilliance, vivacity and talents! And as he was a couple of years senior to Michelangelo he probably tried to control and manipulate him, untill things escalated into that famous punching!

You see, although Torrigiano was too “macho”, his Virgonean Moon was very sensitive to criticism.  Thus, Michelangelo’s remarks seem to have upset him rather excessively and disproportionately to the occasion. And this due to the fact that Michelangelo’s Mars and Pluto are forming stressful and somehow “corrosive” aspects with Torrigiano’s Moon in Virgo.

This brief synastric analysis would be rather incomplete if we did not mention the fact that Torrigiano’s Sun, Mars and Venus are all “falling” in Michelangelo’s Twelfth House. The Twelfth House is a somehow “debilitating” area of the chart. Thus, if you are a tough guy you don’t want your Sun and your Mars to fall in some other guy’s Twelfth House – especially if you consider him a competitor of yours. In such an eventuality, you feel rather weak and confused when interacting with that guy. We might say that Torrigiano was somehow feeling “belittled” even by Michelangelo’s mere presence! And that’s a very discomforting sensation to someone who has not worked with himself and has not experienced the transcendental “Ego dissolution” state as a potentially “elevating” thing…The only alternative left then to the “raw” kind of people – in order for them to jump out of the numbing and humiliating limbo of the Twelfth House – is to resort to spasmodic acts and to an apparently unmotivated aggression…

Thomas Gazis
Copyright: Thomas D. Gazis

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