(Not the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle)


Michelangelo Buonarroti was born on the date March 6, 1475 in the Italian town of Caprese where his father was working as a magistrate. His mother was ill and because of this his family moved to Florence. After a number of years he was put into a family of stone workers.

After a year in that workshop he was recommended by Ghirlandaio to move into the Florentine Palace of the Medici family to classical sculpture in the gardens. Here Michelangelo study under the artist Bertoldo di Giovanni. Also, under permission of the Catholic Church, he was allowed to study cadavers, which would later allow him to detail human bodies in such an anatomically way.

Around 1492 he ran away from Florence because his master had died. After studying in Bologna, Michelangelo returned to Florence in 1945. A Cardinal bought a sculpted Cupid from Michelangelo's art dealer believing it was an antique. After discovery the Cardinal was so impressed with the artist's work the Cardinal invited Michelangelo to come to Rome. This is where he would live and work for the rest of the life.

He was put to work on the ceiling of Sistine Chapel. This project completely absorbed him. He guarded this artwork until he revealed it. He was so guarded towards it he fired all of his assistants whom he also found incompetent.

He achieved great success in almost all of his works. But this was not without a tradeoff. He was a perfectionist and would not compromise in his work. His quick temper gained him enemies and critics. Most notably, he had a deep enmity towards Leonardo Da Vinci.

His sculpture and art took upon a form of literature in his later years. He never married, but he did have a sweetheart whom more than 300 poems and sonnets were addressed to. This widowed woman gave Michelangelo solace near his death.

Michelangelo died on February 18, 1564 in Rome. His bodied was brought to Rome and buried. He was revered as a master of the Arts.

His Grand Accomplishments

In Michelangelo's painting and sculpting, the artist unleashed an artist style that had an intensity of realism and extraordinary detail that wasn't used as much before. In his time alone he influenced other artists, such as Raphael. His most notable woks are the Sistine Chapel which he labored for more than four years on.

Another piece of historical influence was his Pieta. This piece is an extremely realistic sculpture of a robed Mary holding the dead Jesus in her lap. This is the only sculpture that the artist put his name on.

His other works include such beautiful creations as the design for St. Peter's Basilica, David, Madonna of the Stairs, Many sculptures of various Saints, David and Goliath, The Last Judgement; along with numerous other sculptures, paintings, sketches, drawings, designs, and literature.

Influence Through Time

Michelangelo had such a style that was so original and beautiful that his work couldn't not influence the Renaissance artists in his life and after. Michelangelo himself expressed a contempt for those who mimicked his style. But the artists and sculptors imitated him on such a level the Renaissance has been speculated to look a lot different had the world not given rise to this man.

Today millions of people travel the world to view his artwork. In Rome, in Florence, in his hometown Caprese, in the Louvre, and in other collections, the world over. Today one would be hard pressed to find an art appreciation course without Michelangelo. One would be not able to go to Italy and travel and not see a statue that was done by or influenced by Michelangelo.

Interesting Tidbits

  • Michelangelo actually painted the Sistine Chapel standing up and not laying down as the popular belief holds.
  • At the end of his life Michelangelo was anti social and reclusive. He lived in poverty even though he was rich.
  • When he was an art student in Florence, a fellow art student hit Michelangelo on the nose. This blow, which was caused by Michelangelo's teasing, caused him to have a permanently crooked nose.
  • 1527-1529 Michelangelo worked for the army, designing fortifications for cities.
  • He once hit the knee of his Moses Sculpture saying "Why don't you speak to me".
  • He held romantic relationships with at least one man and multiple women.
Michelangelo Biography


By Thomas Herben