The Times (Feb. 25) had on its front page a story from Vatican City quoting Curator Fabrizio Mancinelli of the Vatican, charging me with perpetuating the "myth" in "The Agony and the Ecstasy," my biographical novel about Michelangelo, that Michelangelo frequently worked, at the top of his enormously high scaffolding just under the Sistine vault, sometimes in a sitting position and sometimes lying down.
Where and by whom did this alleged myth originate? By Michelangelo himself, circa August, 1509, in one of his great poems called: "On the Painting of the Sistine Chapel":
\o7 I've grown a goitre by dwelling in this den--
as cats from stagnant streams in Lombardy,
or in what other land they hap to be--
which drives the belly close beneath the chin:
my beard turns up to heaven; my nape falls in,
fixed on my spine: my breastbone visibly
grows like harp: a rich embroidery
bedews by face from brush-drops thick and thin.