Michelangelo was a painter, sculptor, architect and poet and one of the great artists of the Italian Renaissance.
Michelangelo Buonarroti was born on 6 March 1475 in Caprese near Florence (Italy) where his father was the local magistrate. A few weeks after his birth, the family moved to Florence. In 1488, Michelangelo was apprenticed to the painter Domenico Ghirlandaio. He then lived in the household of Lorenzo de' Medici, the leading patron of the arts in Florence.
After the Medici were expelled from Florence, Michelangelo travelled to Bologna and then, in 1496, to Rome. His primary works were sculpture in these early years. His 'Pietà' (1497) made his name and he returned to Florence a famous sculptor. Here he produced his 'David' (1501-1504).
In 1505, Pope Julius II summoned Michelangelo back to Rome and commissioned him to design Julius' own tomb. Due to quarrels between Julius and Michelangelo, and the many other demands on the artist's time, the project was never completed, although Michelangelo did produce a sculpture of Moses for the tomb.
Michelangelo's next major commission was the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican (1508-1512). It was recognised at once as a great work of art and from then on Michelangelo was regarded as Italy's greatest living artist.
The new pope, Leo X, then commissioned Michelangelo to rebuild the façade of the church of San Lorenzo in Florence. The scheme was eventually abandoned, but it marks the beginning of Michelangelo's activity as an architect. Michelangelo also designed monuments to Giuliano and Lorenzo de' Medici in the Medici Chapel in San Lorenzo.
In 1534, Michelangelo returned to Rome where he was commissioned to paint 'The Last Judgement' on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel (1537-1541). From 1546 he was increasingly active as an architect, in particular on the great church of St Peter's. He died in Rome on 18 February 1564.
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