Michelangelo Buonarroti

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Last Judgment (1) 1537-41

Last Judgment (1) 1537-41

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Creation of Adam 1510

Creation of Adam 1510

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Michelangelo – A talented artist in modern history


Michelangelo was a painter, sculptor, architect, and poet and one of the great artists of the Italian Renaissance. He was a brilliant mind and a beautiful artist, and one of the powerful men of Italy. Michelangelo Buonarroti was born on 6 March 1475 in Caprese near Florence, Italy, where his father was the local magistrate. A few weeks after his birth, the family moved to Florence. In 1488, he was apprenticed to the painter Domenico Ghirlandaio. 

Early life

He then lived in the household of Lorenzo de Medici, the leading patron of the arts in Florence. After Medici was expelled from Florence, he traveled to Bologna and Rome in 1496. His primary works were a sculpture in these early years.

Although he was never married, he was devoted to a pure and noble widow named Vittoria Colonna; she was the subject of many of his poems and sonnets. Their friendship was remembered as a great love friendship until Colonna died in 1547.

Famous masterpieces

Hie' Pieta' (1497) made his name, and he returned Florence a famous sculptor. Here he produced his 'David (1501-1504). In 1505 pope Julius II summoned Michelangelo back to Rome and commissioned him to design Julius' own tomb. 

Due to quarrels between Julius and Michelangelo, and the many other demands on the artist's time, the project was never completed. However, Michelangelo did produce a sculpture of Moses for the tomb.

Michelangelo's next major commission was the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican (1508-1512). It was recognized at once as a great work of art, and from then on, Michelangelo was regarded as Italy's greatest living artist. The new Pope, Leo X, then commissioned Michelangelo to rebuild the facade of the church of San Lorenzo in Florence. The scheme was eventually abandoned, but it marks the beginning of Michelangelo's activity as an architect. Michelangelo also designed monuments to Giuliano and Lorenzo de Medici in the Medici chapel in San Lorenzo.


In 1534, Michelangelo returned to Rome, where he was commissioned to paint 'the last judgment' on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel (1537-1541). From 1546, he was increasingly active as an architect, in particular on the great church of St. Peter's. He died in Rome on 18th February 1564.