Born: Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni on March 6, 1475 near Arezzo, Caprese, Tuscany, Italy
Died: February 18, 1564 [age 88] in Rome, Italy
Famous Works: David, The Creation of Adam and Pieta
Michelangelo was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet and engineer.
Born to Lodovico di Leonardo di Buonarroti di Simoni, the Judicial Administrator in the small town of Caprese and Local Administrator of Chiusi, and Francesca di Neri del Miniato di Siena. Michelangelo was the apprentice of Domenico Ghirlandaio, who taught him different techinques in painting and art in general. Michelangelo spent the majority of his life in Italy working for Popes in Rome and doing individual projects in Florence.
Michelangelo’s output in every field during his long life was prodigious; when the sheer volume of correspondence, sketches, and reminiscences that survive is also taken into account, he is the best-documented artist of the 16th century. Two of his best-known works,
Michelangelo’s output in every field during his long life was prodigious; when the sheer volume of correspondence, sketches, and reminiscences that survive is also taken into account, he is the best-documented artist of the 16th century. Two of his best-known works, the Pieta and David, were
sculpted before he turned thirty. Despite his low opinion of painting, Michelangelo also created two of the most influential works in fresco in the history of Western art: the scenes from Genesis on the ceiling and The Last Judgment on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. As an architect, Michelangelo pioneered the Mannerist style at the Laurentian Library. At 74 he succeeded Antonio da Sangallo the Younger as the architect of St. Peter’s Basilica. Michelangelo transformed the plan, the western end being finished to Michelangelo’s design, the dome being completed after his death with some modification.
In a demonstration of Michelangelo’s unique standing, he was the first Western artist whose biography was published while he was alive. Two biographies were published of him during his lifetime; one of them, by Giorgio Vasari, proposed that he was the pinnacle of all artistic achievement since the beginning of the Renaissance, a viewpoint that continued to have currency in art history for centuries. In his lifetime he was also often called Il Divino “the divine one”. One of the qualities most admired by his contemporaries was his terribilità, a sense of awe-inspiring grandeur, and it was the attempts of subsequent artists to imitate Michelangelo’s impassioned and highly personal style that resulted in Mannerism, the next major movement in Western art after the High Renaissance.