Why is Michelangelo famous?

Michelangelo is one of the most famous Italian artists ever to live, going down in history as one of the top three masters in the Renaissance era. He was a sculptor, painter, architect, as well as a poet who has influences present and past artists from all sections of the world.

Early Life of Michelangelo

His full name is Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni and was born on the 6th of March, in 1475, Caprese, Italy. Before his birth, his family were small bankers in Florence for generations. But the bank failed, forcing his parents to head to Caprese for more work. The family moved back to Florence with Michelangelo was only one month old. His mother passed away when he was only six, leading him to be placed under the care of a family of stonecutters. His father thought art was below the family’s status and discouraged a young Michelangelo from his keen interest. Despite this, his father set Michelangelo up for an apprenticeship with the most successful painter in Florence, Domenico Ghirlandaio, at age thirteen. After a year working with him, Domenico recommended him to Lorenzo the Magnificent, the Florentine ruler, leading to Michelangelo to study classical sculpture in the Medici gardens.

The Career of Michelangelo

  • Sculptures

    Michelangelo was first and foremost, a sculpture. Majority of his early works were sculptures, skilled at this medium since a young age. He was gifted in the human anatomy, using light and shadows to give his sculptures a natural presence.

    Pieta was one of his most famous sculptures. Jean Bilhères de Lagraulas, a representative of the French King Charles VIII commissioned a sculpture of the Virgin Mary holding the dead Jesus in 1498. Michelangelo was only 25 years old at the time and finished this piece in less than one year. The sculpture was seen as a huge success and is the only sculpture that has Michelangelo’s name carved on it.

    Michelangelo’s ‘David’ is recognised throughout the world, created in the year 1501 to 1504. Michelangelo was not the first to try to attempt this piece, with two prior artists who gave up before his attempt. David was an impeccable piece which depicted the strength and vulnerability of a treasured gem in the city of Florence.

  • Paintings

    The Sistine Chapel was both a success and a torment for Michelago. At this point in his career, he has never done frescos, preferring to work with materials that he could mould. He resisted the Pope Julius II’s request until the Pope offered a commission of 40 sculptures for his tomb. The paintings began in 1508 and lasted until 1512. The effort and strain on this work cause great pain to Michelago, with the permanent damage his eyesight from the ceiling frescos. Despite his struggles, the Sistine Chapel is one of the most beloved artworks in all of Italy. His design on the ceiling depicted of three hundred figures, all coming together to illustrate Man’s time on earth before the coming of Jesus Christ.

    The Last Judgement was created on the far wall of the Sistine Chapel, between years 1536 to 1541. When it was first unveiled, there was an outcry due to the number of nude figures shown in the holy chapel. Later on, however, it played a significant role in past artists, inspiring and motivating history’s great artists to produce their prize pieces.

Explore the Michelangelo masterpiece on our Vatican City and Sistine Chapel Tour today!

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