Michelangelo Biography

Michelangelo was an Italian sculptor, painter, architect and poet. He is considered to be one of the greatest artists of the High Renaissance period. Know more about his childhood, life, achievements, works & timeline, in this brief biography

Quick Facts

Birthday: March 6, 1475

Nationality: Italian

Famous: Quotes By Michelangelo Left Handed

Died At Age: 88

Sun Sign: Pisces

Also Known As: Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni

Born Country: Italy

Born in: Caprese Michelangelo, Italy

Famous as: Sculptor

Family:

father: Ludovico di Leonardo di Buonarotto Simoni

mother: Francesca di Neri del Miniato di Siena

siblings: Buonarroto Buonarroti Simoni, Giovan Simone Buonarroti Simoni, Gismondo Buonarroti Simoni, Leonardo Buonarroti Simoni

Died on: February 18, 1564

place of death: Rome

Personality: ESFP

Diseases & Disabilities: Depression

Founder/Co-Founder: Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze

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Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, popularly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian sculptor, painter, architect, and poet. He is considered to be one of the greatest artists of the High Renaissance period. Born in Florence, he lived with a family of stonecutters from the age of six after the death of his mother. Michelangelo never paid attention in school and instead expressed interest in painting. He later became an apprentice under a painter before studying in the sculpture gardens of the powerful Medici family. Thereafter, he started focusing on his work, establishing a remarkable career as a painter and sculptor in the Italian Renaissance. Two of his most significant initial works that helped him achieve fame were the statues of ‘Pieta’ and 'David’ which were recognized for their artistic technique. Subsequently, he was commissioned by Pope Julius II to design his tomb, a project on which he worked for four decades. Meanwhile, after receiving much appreciation for his works as a sculptor, he was commissioned to design the ceiling of Rome's Sistine Chapel, a project which fueled his imagination to produce one of the most influential works in the history of Western Art. Some of his other major works include the design of ‘Medici Chapel’ and ‘Laurentian Library.’ His painting of ‘The Last Judgment’ on the altar wall of Sistine Chapel is considered a masterpiece. Michelangelo was the greatest artist of his time and his name has become synonymous with the best of the Italian Renaissance.

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Childhood & Early Life
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Career
  • In 1492, after the death of Lorenzo, the Medici family fell from power. This forced Michelangelo to move to Bologna where he continued his studies. In 1494, he carved three saints for the church of San Domenico.
  • In 1495, he returned to Florence and began his work as a sculptor. During this period, he worked on two small statues, ‘St. John the Baptist’ and a sleeping Cupid.
  • Impressed by the quality of his design, Cardinal Raffaele Riario invited him to Rome and asked him to work on a statue of the Roman wine god ‘Bacchus.’
  • In 1497, he was commissioned by Cardinal Jean de Bilhères-Lagraulas to work on ‘Pieta,’ a sculpture showing Virgin Mary grieving over the body of Jesus. The sculpture is currently located at ‘St. Peter’s Basilica’ in Vatican City.
  • In 1499, he returned to Florence, but this time as a star artist. He was recognized as the most talented sculptor of Italy and was commissioned to carve a statue of ‘David.’ He turned a huge piece of marble into an impressive figure. The statue was placed on the gable of ‘Florence Cathedral.’
  • In early 1505, he was called back to Rome by Pope Julius II to design his tomb which included about 40 life-sized statues. He worked on the project for the next 40 years, facing constant interruptions as he had to accomplish other tasks.
  • In 1508, Julius commissioned him to decorate the ceiling of Sistine Chapel, a project which took about four years to complete. After the ceiling was completed in 1512, Michelangelo continued to work on the tomb of Julius II for the next several years.
  • During this time, he also designed the Medici Chapel in Florence and the historical Laurentian Library at ‘San Lorenzo's Church,’ Florence. In 1534, he settled in Rome and later met Vittoria Colonna who became the subject of many of his poems and sonnets.
  • In 1534, he was commissioned to paint a fresco of ‘The Last Judgement’ on the altar wall of Sistine Chapel, a project which he completed in 1541.
  • In 1546, he was appointed the chief architect of ‘St. Peter’s Basilica,’ Rome. He devoted himself entirely to architecture and poetry during his later years.
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Major Works
  • At the age of 25, he carved ‘Pieta,’ a sculpture in which Mary supports the dead Christ across her knees. Created from a single piece of Carrara marble, the fluidity of its fabric and the positions of the subjects were awe-inspiring for the early spectators. It remains one of his most admired works.
  • His most ambitious project was the design of Sistine Chapel’s ceiling which contains over 300 figures. Although the original plan was to paint 12 apostles, he proposed a more complex scheme. His work incorporated Christian symbology and prophecy.
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Personal Life & Legacy
  • He died after a brief illness on February 18, 1564, at his home in Rome. He was 88 years old at the time of his death. As per his wish, his mortal remains were buried in Florence.
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Michelangelo

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