Combining a high level of technical competence and rich artistic imagination to produce the perfect High-Renaissance blend of aesthetic harmony and anatomical accuracy, the divine artist of Italian Renaissance, Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni is revered as one of the most inspirational and talented artists in modern history.
Celebrated as the artist who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art, Michelangelo was born on March 6, 1475, in Caprese near Arezzo Tuscany. At the age of 6, Michelangelo was sent to a Florence grammar school but showed no interest in schooling. At 13, hewas apprenticed to the painter Ghirlandaio and learned the techniques of Fresco and draftsmanship.
In 1489, Michelangelo moved into the palace of Florentine ruler Lorenzo the Magnificent, of the powerful Medici family, to study classical sculptures in the Medici gardens. He studied under the famous sculptor Bertoldo di Giovanni there and exposed himself to many of great artists of past centuries as well as the masterpiece antiquities of ancient Greece and Rome. During this time he completed his first two commissions as a sculptor: marble reliefs, Madonna of the Stairs and Battle of the Centaurs.
After the death of Lorenzo de Medici, Michelangelo moved to Bologna and there he carved three statues for the shrine of St. Dominic, an angle with a candlestick, and saints, Petronius and Proculus. On the invitation of Cardinal Raffaele Riario, Michelangelo arrived in Rome in 1496 and there he sculpted ‘Pieta’, now in St. Peters in Vetican, in which the Virgin Mary weeps over the body of Jesus.
In 1504, Michelangelo returned to Florence and here he completed his most famous sculpture ‘David’ as the symbol of Florentine freedom. In 1505, Michelangelo was called back to Rome to work on a Tomb for Pope Julius ll. He worked on it over forty years but the work was never finished to his satisfaction but fortunately he completed some of his best known work during this time, most notably the ‘fresco on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel'. After its accomplishment Michelangelo was regarded as Italy's greatest living artist.
Michelangelo also designed the Medici Chapel and the Laurentian Library-located opposite the Basilica San Lorenzo in Florence. But his Turing glory in the field of architecture came when he was made chief architect of St. Peters Basilica in 1546.
Michelangelo was the first Western artist whose biography was published while he was alive ; one by the painter and architect Giorgio Vasari and second by Michelangelo’s assistance Ascanio Condivi.
Michelangelo’s extreme genius left little scope for works that escaped his influenced, damning all his contemporaries to settle for aping him. Appreciation of his artistic mastery has endured for centuries and his name has become synonymous with the best of the Renaissance Art.Although Michelangelo always considered himself a Florentine, he lived most of his life in Rome, where he died in 1564, at age 88.