Michelangelo was an Italian sculptor, painter, architect and poet. Together with Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael, he was responsible for the most outstanding achievements of the Italian Renaissance. He also altered public perceptions about the status of artists, being seen as creative thinkers instead of just craft workers.
Michelangelo came from a distinguished family, who opposed his artistic ambitions. He always insisted that he was a sculptor, first and foremost, and he built his reputation with his statues of the PietÃ and David. Even so, he could not refuse when Pope Julius II invited him to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Working virtually unaided, Michelangelo took four years to complete this enormous fresco. Powerful and heroic, it remains one of the greatest landmarks of Western art.
The unfinished Entombment is a rare example of a panel painting by Michelangelo. The most famous section of the decorations of the Sistine Chapel is The Creation Of Adam, where God reaches out to touch the hand of the first man. The Last Judgement is another powerful fresco in the Sistine Chapel.
Michelangelo's final frescoes, carried out in the Vatican, include the Conversion Of St Paul. His sculpture included The Moses, commissioned by Pope Julius II for his tomb.