Born : 7th March 1475-1564
Michelangelo was one of the most famous Artists in history. He was mainly interested in creating large marble statues, but his endless creativity energy also led him to become a great painter and architect as well as a poet. A great leader of Italian Renaissance, a period marked by a rebirth of interest in the art and learning of ancient Greece and Rome.
Born in the village of Caprese, in a respected Florence family, his father was a government agent. With a brief classical education that dealt with the literature, art and life of ancient Greece and Rome.at the age of 12, Michelangelo became an apprentice to the most popular painter in Florence, Domenico Ghirlandajo. Apart from painting, he took the guidance for sculptor making and was encouraged by a ruler Lorenzo de Medici who called him to stay in his palace. Later, he carved a life size statue of the Roman wine god Bacchus which marked his success chart. At 23, he carved a version of the traditional Pieta subject, the dead Christ in the lap of the mourning Virgin Mary. This statue, now in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, established him as a leading sculptor. The work looked stronger and more solemn as it was plainer and less decorative. Michelangelo’s David portrays the Israelite king partly as an ideal man, partly as an adolescent youth. The young figure faces his foe tensely but confidently with a bold scowl and his sling at the ready. From 1505, Michelangelo devoted nearly all his time to large projects, one being The Sistine Chapel, his most famous work. All of its decoration shows the history of the world according to the Bible. The earlier painters showed lives of Moses and Jesus Christ and the sequence of the Popes, Michelangelo’s contribution to the project was grandest of all. On the lowest part of the vault of the Sistine Chapel as well as on the upper walls, over the arched windows, Michelangelo painted The Ancestors of Christ, in the corners, he portrayed stories of the salvation of the jewish people, such as David and Goliath. He painted prophets seated on thrones who are believed to have foretold the coming of Messiah, scenes from book of Genesis – Creation of universe, Adam & Eve and illustrating the story of Noah. He used various techniques and during this time, wrote a satirical poem too.
Michelangelo resumed making the Pope’s tomb and carved three famous figures that resemble the painted prophets and decorative figures on the Sistine ceiling. He later in created the famous tombs for two princes and also designed the architecture of the Medici chapel. Settled in Rome later, he worked for Pope Paul III. From 1536-1541, Michelangelo painted the fresco of The Last Judgment for the altar wall of the Sistine chapel, destroying some of his earlier Ancestors of Christ to do so. He showed the resurrection and judgment of humanity. On top of The Last Judgment are winged angels with the cross upon which Christ died. The Last Judgment caused great controversy. Some say Christ was shown inappropriate, criticized nudity displayed.
Michelangelo devoted most of his time in architecture and poetry after 1546. His last painting finished when he was 75 years old, frescoes in the Pauline Chapel in the Vatican. During his old age, he made devotional drawings and wrote some of his finest poetry.
AGONY AND ECSTASY – 1965
Click to see some Michelangelo works
Museums online – Sistine Chapel
Works at Gutenberg
Michelangelo and works of St. Peter’s Basilca
Michelangelo’s conflict with Politics and Religion