Michelangelo Buonarroti was well known in his time for his sculptures, paintings, architecture and writings. He believed that the highest form of art was sculpture, and painting came in a close second. Born in Arezzo, Italy, he lived to 89 years of age and accomplished a great deal in his lifetime. His work was in high demand and he often spent several years working on projects before they were completed.
Michelangelo was a famous painter during the Renaissance. His fame was confirmed when in 1505 Pope Julius II invited him to Rome to construct the pope's tomb. Additionally, he was asked to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. While the side walls had already been painted in the 15th century, the ceiling depicts various important scenes from the Bible, including the sacrifice of Noah, the flood, the temptation, the forming of the universe, as well as the creation of Adam and Eve.
Michelangelo was considered a mannerist architect. Mannerism consisted of a type of architecture that used complex ornamentations and originality. Mannerists didn't completely abandon classical traditions as they used them to help reinforce the architect's structures. Michelangelo was commissioned to complete St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, the Laurentian Library and the Medici Chapel. All of these structures were prominent structures that still receive visitors today. His contributions to the architecture of his time provide a context with which to view his importance and fame as an architect in the High Renaissance.
Michelangelo was a prolific writer with more than 500 letters, poems and musings about his craft. These writings span more than 67 years and give insight into the creative process and thoughts of this great artist. His correspondence with famous people of the time confirms that he was a well-recognized artist and in high demand. Most notably, his letters begin with a letter from when he was 21 years old and end just days before his death. His letters provide a complete account of his family, business and artistic endeavors.
The marble sculpture "Pieta" was created from 1498 to 1500. Pieta was Michelangelo's first large-scale sculpture. The statue was dedicated to a French cardinal and carved in Rome. The fact that he was commissioned to carve such an important statue serves as a testament to his fame during his life. Without the recognition necessary, he would have never been asked to complete this statue. The statue depicts Mary mourning while holding the deceased Jesus Christ.
- "A History of Western Art"; Laurie Schneider Adams; 2006
- Cartage: Italian Mannerism or Late Renaissance
- "Michelangelo and the Art of Letter Writing"; Deborah Parker; 2010
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