Michelangelo's mother fell ill and died when he was a child. His father sent the boy to live with a stonecutter and his family. "Along with the milk of my nurse I received the knack of handling chisel and hammer," he wrote. Michelangelo always considered himself a sculptor rather than a painter. But he could not refuse the commission of Pope Julius II to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The commission stretched into a four year labor of incredible scope, beauty, skill, and torment. Hung beneath the ceiling for hours at a time, forever spattered with paint, Michelangelo became contorted, “like a cat from Lombardi.” But the physical indignities paled in comparison to Michelangelo’s fear that he was unequal to the task at hand: "My painting is dead," he lamented in a letter to a friend, "Defend it for me, Giovanni. Protect my honor. I am in the wrong place – I am not a painter."
The song references, in part, Michelangelo’s poem The Lover and The Sculptor.
Did she carry her boy? With what weight did he lie? Inanimate stone, dust in the gloom.
I'm a Lombard cat, just a bat on his back.
Has he done it again? Has he punished my pride? With the neck of a bull, and a killer's hands.
I'm a Lombard cat, just a bat on his back. I'm a martyr skinned, no more than a belly with chin.
The good I seek, the pain from which I fly, divinely proud and fair, are hid in thee. My art would fail my heart's desire; no breath her lips to sigh.
Into madness he roams, untouched by its charms. Blackened orb of the night, wordless crash on the sands.
I'm a Lombard cat, just a bat on his back. I'm a martyr skinned, no more than a belly with chin. I'm a counterweight, a mere tug on his freight. I'm a Lombard cat, just a bat on his back.
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