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Michelangelo Buonarroti

Michelangelo Buonarroti was born in 1475. He was born in a small town

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called Caprese, in Tuscany, Italy. Michelangelo was one of the most famous

artists of the Italian Renaissance. According to Charles de Tolnay

Michelangelo’s three greatest works of his later life, were the Tomb of Pope

Julius II, the Sistine Chapel ceiling, and the Medici Chapel(37).

Michelangelo’s specialty was painting the human body unclothed. In

order to learn to paint the human body so well he would dissect human corpses.

His artistic talents were noticed at a very early age. Michelangelo went to

study with Domenico Ghirlandago, who taught him about painting. He then went on

to work with Donatello to learn about sculpture. Between the years of 1490-1492

Michelangelo lived in the house of Lorenzo de’ Medici and was influenced by

Neoplatonic thought. Some of Michelangelo’s early painting showed the influence

of Giotto and Masaccio. Also many of his early sculptures show the influence of

Donatello (Columbia University Press) .

Michelangelo’s artistic career can be divided into two periods. In the

early period he focused on realism. During this early period Michelangelo’s

works included the “Pieta” and the “David.” At the age of 24 he completed a

statue called the “Pieta,” showing the dead Jesus Christ in his mother’s arms.

In 1501 Michelangelo returned to Florence, Italy to sculpt the famous nude

sculpture called the “David.” The “David” measures 18 feet tall, and is so

massive that it took 40 men to move it from Michelangelo’s workshop(World Book


The second period of Michelangelo’s career was based upon his

imagination. In 1505 Michelangelo was summoned by Pope Julius II to fabricate

his tomb. Michelangelo was so excited about making the tomb for the Pope that

he spent many months looking for the perfect piece of marble to make the tomb.

A short time after starting the tomb Pope Julius II selected Michelangelo to

decorate the Sistine Chapel ceiling.

The Sistine Chapel is in the palace of The Vatican in Rome. The Sistine

Chapel was built by Pope Sixtus IV in 1473. The Sistine Chapel ceiling took

over four years to complete, 1508-1512. Michelangelo was able to accomplish

this enormous job in such a short amou…

…ecause of Michelangelo’s unhappiness with

the Pope it caused him not to express his true feelings to the Pope. This made

Michelangelo more upset and frustrated. Michelangelo’s relationship with the

Pope became a vicious cycle(Liebert 152).

Michelangelo was one of the most recognized artists of the Italian

Renaissance. He was a great sculptor, painter, writer, and poet. He was a true

Renaissance man. One of his best works was the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Even

though he was unhappy with the outcome of the Sistine Chapel ceiling, the

ceiling turned out to be magnificent

List Of Works Cited

De Tolnay, Charles. The Art and Thought of Michelangelo. New York:

Random House, 1964

Janson, H.W. History of Art. New York: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1966.

Liebert, Robert S MD. Michelangelo, A Psychoanalytic Study of His Life

and Images. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983.

“Michelangelo.” Concise Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia. Online.

Columbia University Press, 1994.

“Michelangelo.” The World Book Encyclopedia. 1959. Vol. XI.

pages 5015-5016.

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