Our Artists

Michelangelo (Michelangelo Buonarroti)

Michelangelo’s works have profoundly marked the history of Western art. A total understanding of anatomy and movement, formal beauty and great expressiveness are just some of the terms used to describe the sum of his work, which led him to be considered as one of the greatest artists of the Renaissance.

Biography

His early days in Florence

Michelangelo showed an interest in and a talent for art at a very early age and started out as a pupil of the Florentine painter Domenico Ghirlandaio. He was his apprentice for 3 years. Impressed by his talents, Ghirlandaio introduced him to the patron Lorenzo de Medici, who invited him to his court. Michelangelo added to his interest in sculpture by studying the collection of ancient Greek statues owned by the Medici. In 1492, he had already completed two marble bas-reliefs: La Bataille des Centaures et des Lapithes et La Vierge à l'Escalier (The Battle between the Centaurs and the Lapiths and the Madonna on the Staircase) (Casa Buonarroti in Florence). Within the Medici family, he regularly joined a circle of humanists and scholars, including the future popes Leon X and Clement VII. On the death of his patron in 1492, Michelangelo left Florence for Bologna, then Rome, where he settled in 1496.

Monumental sculptures

It was in Rome, where he had the opportunity to examine large numbers of ancient statues and ruins, that he completed his first large-size statue: Bacchus (Museo Nazionale del Bargello de Florence). At the same time he produced a Pieta, representing the Virgin Mary sitting, holding the dead Christ in her lap. It is in its original place in St Peter Basilica in Rome.

On his return to Florence, he completed his most famous sculpture between 1501 and 1504: David. It shows David holding a sling in his hand after his fight with Goliath. It was initially placed in the Piazza della Signoria outside the Palazzo Vecchio, but is now to be found in the Galleria dell' Accademia in Florence.

The Sistine chapel

From 1508 to 1512 Michelangelo painted a whole series of frescoes for the vault of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. This vast ensemble is made up of nine panels illustrating scenes from Genesis, of which La Création d'Adam (The creation of Adam) is the most famous image. Michelangelo produced another work for the Sistine Chapel: Le Jugement dernier (The Last Judgement) which he completed in 1541.

Michelangelo, architect

Michelangelo the architect was famous in Florence and Rome. In Florence, in 1521, he designed the sacristy in the San Lorenzo basilica, which houses the tombs of the Medici. He was also given the task of creating the décors for the Laurentian library inside the basilica compound. In Rome he designed the Piazza Campidoglio. He also built the dome of the Saint Peter Basilica, for which became the architect in 1546. In the same year he was given the job of completing the building works for the Palazzo Farnese.

Works

Tondo Pitti (c. 1504-1505)
Tondo Taddei (c. 1505-1507)
L’Esclave rebelle (The rebellious slave) (1513)

Useful links

Casa Buonarroti, Florence
Galleria dell' Accademia, Florence
Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence
Vatican Museums, Rome

Identity

Nationality(ies) : Italian
Born on : 06/03/1475
Died on : 18/02/1564
Profile : Architect, Engineer, Painter, Poet , Sculptor
Artistic current(s) : Renaissance
Theme(s) covered : Fine Art, Portraits - Characters

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