Born in Italy in 1475, Michelangelo Buonarroti became one of the most well-known artists of the Renaissance era. His famous works are admired by many worldwide, and his style remains a great influence among artists. He is considered one of the greatest artists of all time. In addition to his artistic creations, Michelangelo also spread his talents in the fields of architecture, engineering and poetry. Because of his outstanding achievements during his lifetime, he often was called II Divino, which means "the divine one."
Michelangelo was influenced by art at a young age, leaving his studies at age 13 to become an apprentice to famous Italian painter, Domenico Ghirlandaio. His artistic abilities were considered superior to that of his peers. Michelangelo's paintings included nude and clothed figures in various poses and positions, as seen in his artistic masterpiece, the painting of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. This assignment from Pope Julius II took Michelangelo four years to complete.
After studying art with Ghirlandaio, Michelangelo went to study at Lorenzo de Medici's school of sculpture. He learned human anatomy by studying corpses, a permission granted to him by Niccolo Bichiellini, prior of the church Santo Spirito. In exchange, Michelangelo carved a wooden crucifix for Bichiellini. His first two sculptures, the Battle of the Centaurs and the Madonna of the Stairs, were completed when he was 16 years old. Michelangelo went on to create two of his most famed sculptures, the Pieta and David, before the age of 30.
The Architect and Engineer
Michelangelo's reorganization of Capitoline Hill depicts his famed architectural and engineering talents. He reconstructed the Palazzo dei Senatori and the Palazzo dei Conservatori and designed the Piazza dei Campidoglio. His admiration for the human body influenced his architectural design. Additionally, he challenged the opinions of other artists with his choice to use an oval base in his design. Michelangelo's architectural work also includes the reconstruction of St. Peter's Basilica, a Renaissance church located in Vatican City.
Michelangelo also authored more than 300 poems. His sonnets and lyric poems paid homage to those he admired. He covered topics such as love, desire, suffering, spirituality, and mystical nature. Michelangelo didn't hold his poetry in as high esteem as he did his artwork, even considering it to be foolish. Some of his poetry was homoerotic in nature, leading to questions regarding his sexuality. These poems, originally censored upon publication due to cultural and religious beliefs, have since been published in their original context.
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