Michelangelo

Michelangelo

Style: High Renaissance

Lived: March 6, 1475 - February 18, 1564 (15th - 16th century)

Nationality: Italy

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was born on March 6, 1475 near Arezzo, in Tuscany, Italy. He was raised in Florence and later lived with a sculptor and his wife in Settignano where his father owned a small farm and a marble quarry.

In 1488 Michelangelo chose to be the apprentice of Domenico Ghirlandaio for 3 years. Domenico, who was impressed by his talent, recommended him to Lorenzo de' Medici, the ruler of Florence. From 1490 to 1492, Michelangelo attended Lorenzo's school and was influenced by many prominent artists who expanded and modified his ideas on art.

After the death of Lorenzo in 1492, Piero de' Medici refused to support Michelangelo's artwork. Michelangelo decided to leave Florence and stay in Bologna. When Cardinal San Giorgio purchased Michelangelo's marble Cupid he decided to summon him to Rome in 1496. In Rome he produced the 'Bacchus' and the 'PietÓ'. Four years later, Michelangelo returned to Florence where he produced the marble David, his most famous work.

In 1503 he was summoned back to Rome by the newly appointed Pope Julius II and was commissioned to build the Pope's tomb. However, numerous other tasks (such as the monumental paintings on the ceiling of the Vatican's Sistine Chapel), held him from completing this work. He worked on it for 40 years without ever finishing it.

In 1513 Pope Julius II successor Pope Leo X (member of the Medici family) commissioned Michelangelo to reconstruct the exterior of the San Lorenzo church in Florence. Michelangelo agreed hesitatingly. He spent three years creating drawings and models for the facade, which were among the most frustrating in his career as work was abruptly cancelled by his patrons before any real progress had been made.

The Medici family later came back to Michelangelo with another grand proposal, now for a family funerary chapel at the San Lorenzo church. This project was more fully realized. It is the best example we have of the integration of the artist's architectural and scuptural vision, since Michelangleo created both the interior plan as well as the major sculptures.

In 1527, the Florentine citizens threw out the Medici family and restored the republic. A siege of the city followed, and Michelangelo supported his beloved Florence by working on the city's fortifications. The city fell in 1530 and the Medici were restored to power. Michelangelo left for Rome in the mid-1530s, leaving his assistants to complete the Medici chapel.

Michelangelo died in Rome on February 18th, 1564, at the age of 89. His body was brought back for interment, fufilling his last request to be buried in his beloved Tuscany.

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