Michelangelo’s Biography

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was famously known as Michelangelo was an Italian painter, sculptor, architect, and poet. He lived between 1475- 1564. He was among the four iconic High Renaissance artists whose work is celebrated to this day. He is best known for his Pieta sculpture, David, Moses, and The Last judgment at the wall of the Sistine Chapel. He has been celebrated for his keen eye for detail

Background

Michelangelo was born on 6th March 1475 in the Florentine republic in Caprese, a place now known as Caprese Michelangelo, Tuscany named after the famous artist. His father, Lodovico di Leonardo Buonarroti Simoni, was a small scale banker in Florence. The bank failed, and at the time of Michelangelo’s birth, he was a local administrator of Chiusi Della Verna. His mother, Francesca di Nera del Miniato di Siena died when he was six years old after a prolonged illness. During his mother’s illness, and after her death, Michelangelo lived with his nanny and husband, who was a stonecutter and sculpture in Settignano. Here he learned his skill of chiseling and hammering stones into sculptures.

He was sent to school as a young man, but he had little interest in studies. He enjoyed copying paintings and hanging out with other painters. 

At 13 years, he was apprenticed to Domenico Ghirlandaio, a master artist who had the largest art workshop in the city of Florence. He started receiving his salary at 14 years after Michelangelo’s father pleaded with Ghirlandaio to pay his son as an artist. Ghirlandaio sent two of his best students to Lorenzo de Medici, a ruler of Florence. Among them was Michelangelo.

His Work

His first two sculptures were The Madonna of the steps and The battle of the Centaurs, which he sculpted at Medici’s Humanist academy between 1490-1492.

He left the academy after Medici died. Cardinal Raffaele Rairio invited him to Rome after being impressed with a sculpture Michelangelo had tried to dupe him with. He had buried the sculpture to pass it off as an ancient relic, although Cardinal Rairio outwitted him. 

His star shone in Rome. His World-renowned sculptures are as follows;

  • Pieta (1498-1499) is a spectacular sculpture of the Virgin Mary with the body of Jesus after the crucifixion. It is located at the St. Peter’s Basilica
  • David (1501 -1504) – Michelangelo’s eye for perfection with great detail on the human anatomy is depicted on the sculpture of David. 17 foot well-built prophet stands majestic with a sling he used to kill Goliath
  • The creation of Adam (1508 -1512) – This wonderful painting of a nude Adam and God surrounded by angels beautifies the Sistine Chapel’s walls.
  • Moses (1513 -1515) – Moses is seated guarding the tablets with the Ten Commandments. The sculpture casts a potent spell at the San Pietro Chapel, Rome.
  • The Judgement Day (1536-1541) – This painting adorns an entire wall of the Sistine Chapel. It depicts the second coming of Christ, as written in the book of Revelation.

Michelangelo’s outstanding attention to detail has been hailed throughout the centuries. He was an icon whose life and work ethic continues to teach generations.