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Michelangelo Buonarroti 1475-1564

Michelangelo was arguably the most famous artist of the Italian Renaissance, and inarguably one of the greatest artists of all time. He considered himself a sculptor, primarily, but is equally well known for his paintings.

Motherless by the age of six, he began studying under Domenico Ghirlandajo, who was the most fashionable painter in Florence at the time.  He found his true passion in apprenticeship to Bertoldo di Giovanni, the sculptor. His sculpture came to the attention of the Medicis and he gained their patronage.

Michelangelo's output was stunning in quality, quantity and scale. His most famous statues include the 18-foot David (1501-1504) and the Pietà (1499), but his sculpture encompassed many other pieces including elaborately decorated tombs. He did not consider himself a painter, and (justifiably) complained throughout four straight years of the work, but created one of the greatest masterpieces of all time on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (1508-1512). Additionally, he painted The Last Judgement (1534-1541) on the altar wall of the same chapel many years later. As an old man, he was tapped by the Pope to complete the half-finished St. Peter's Church in the Vatican. Not all of the plans he drew were utilized but, after his death, architects built the dome still in use today.

Accounts of his life seem to portray Michelangelo as a prickly-tempered, mistrusting and lonely man, lacking in both interpersonal skills and confidence in his physical appearance. Perhaps that is why he created works of such heartbreaking beauty and heroism that they are still held in awe these many centuries later.

 

Study of a male nude by Buonarroti
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The Creation of Adam from the Sistine Ceiling by Buonarroti
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David by Michelangelo Sistine Ceiling Buonarroti
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The fall of Man from the Sistine Ceiling by Buonarroti
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