This excerpt about Michelangelo’s work on the Sistine Chapel from a book I’m reading made me laugh:
He was plagued by his patron who insisted upon being let into the chapel to see what he was paying for. The Pope kept asking when it would be finished, as he clambered up the scaffold with his stick, impatient to have the chapel opened before he died. ‘How much longer will it take?’
‘When it satisfies me as an artist,’ Michelangelo replied on one occasion, eliciting from (Pope) Julius the angry reply, ‘And we want you to satisfy us, and finish it soon.’
Later Michelangelo refused to commit himself further than to say he would finish it when he could. ‘When I can! When I can!’ the Pope, infuriated, shouted back at him. ‘What do you mean? When I can. I’ll soon make you finish it!’ He hit him with his stick, then threatened to hurl him off the scaffold if he did not get on more quickly.
– Christopher Hibbert, Rome: The Biography of a City
Ah, if only software were more art than tool, if only we were masters of Michelangelo’s calibre, if only our customer’s pockets were as deep as the Vatican’s.