Artist Spotlight: Michelangelo Buonarroti

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Monday, May 18th, 2015

There are not enough words to describe the accomplishments of Michelangelo Buonarroti. He is one of the most famous artists of the high to late Italian Renaissance, and one of the greatest artists of all time.

When he was 6 years old, Michelangelo lost his mother and had to fight long and hard with his father for permission to apprentice as an artist. At the age of 12, he studied under sculptor Bertoldo di Giovanni. It was here, in the studio of di Giovanni, that he found the work that fulfilled his passion.

His most famous sculptures include the 18-foot David (1501-1504), and the Pieta (1497-1500). He was also the sculptor of the beautifully decorated tombs of the powerful Medici family, however, perhaps Michelangelo’s greatest masterpiece of all time was his painting of the Sistine Chapel (1508-1512).

While Michelangelo was clearly a master artist, accounts of his life seem to portray him as lonely and ill-tempered, arrogant and demanding. However, he created works of heartbreaking beauty and heroism that are held in awe to this day.

Born: March 6, 1475, Caprese, Italy

Died: February 18, 1564, Rome, Italy

Famous work: David (1501-1504), The Pieta (1497-1500)

Facts about Michelangelo Buonarroti:

  • His two best known sculptural works, David and The Pieta, were created before he turned thirty.
  • A master sculptor, painter and architect.
  • Accepted commissions to paint the ceiling and altar wall, Last Judgement, of the Sistine Chapel.
  • Famous in his own time: had two biographies published during his life.
  • Success-driven throughout his career, and sensitive to artistic rivalries.
  • Pursued the arts, despite his father’s beliefs that manual labor was beneath his family’s social standing.

QUOTE: “An artist paints with his brains and not with his hands.”

Michelangelo Buonarroti art by Adam Lunger ’07