Michelangelo’s full name was “Michelangelo Di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni,
and at that time he was given the “Father and the master of all arts” nickname.
He was an Italian renaissance man who was born on March 6, 1475, in a Caprese
village in Italy and belonged to a banking
business family that was classified later
on as minor nobility in Florence. The reason behind Michelangelo’s
popularity returned to the “David”, “Pieta”, “Sistine Chapel
frescoes” including the “last Judgment” piece of arts, and other
paintings, sculptures, poetries, and architectures.
Michelangelo’s family started by having a small scale banker, but
his father Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni could not kept this business and lost
everything, so they moved and lived in Florence, with a stone-cutter family
that owned marble quarry along with a small farm. However the reason
behind their movement was first Lodovico was positioned in Florence government
and second due to his wife Francesca diNeri del Miniato di Siena illness, that
passed away when Michelangelo had reached six years old.
During Michelangelo’s childhood he was interested
in studying arts but his father was against studying arts, so he sent him to school to study grammar which is not of Michelangelo’s main
interests. By age thirteen his father realized and was convinced that
Michelangelo was so talented and interested in art more than in grammar, so he supported
him and allow him to go with his school friend Francesco Granacci where he was
introduced to a fresco (painting on wet plaster)
called Domenico Ghirlandaio that helped him in learning how to paint to become after
that an apprentices in other words became person
who was taught by a skilled painter.
In Florence, Michelangelo’s talented
paintings drew the attention of Florence’s citizen and also the attention of Lorenzo de’ Medici that sent to Michelangelo an
invitation to reside in Medici home where the Lorenzo de’ Medici known
as the Magnificent, ruler of Florence was
interested by his work.
Michelangelo resides in the Medici house for approximately three
years where he studied the classical sculptures by
the help of the bronze sculptor Bertoldo Di Giovanni that was Medici’s family
friend and the keeper of the Medici collections of ancient Roman sculptures in the palace gardens. In addition he also learned humanists,
philosophy, and politics but
unfortunately he didn’t want to follow Bertoldo Di Giovanni in any of
Michelangelo was also interested in studying the anatomy of dead
bodies so he got the approval from the Catholic Church to use dead human bodies
in which it helped him in adding emotional and natural beauty to his own sculptures
such as “Madonna Seated on a Step” sculptures.
In 1495, Michelangelo decided to return back to
Florence from Bologna (north Italy) after the death of the Magnificent Lorenzo de’ Medici to
begin working as a sculpture after his success in modeling his master piece “the
cupid sculpture” that shows the real aging of the statue.
In Rome, Michelangelo’s work drew the attention
of the cardinals so they invited him to live, work and become an artist there
for his rest of his life. But unfortunately he did not stay in Rome since the another
Cardinal called Jean Bilhères de Lagraulas who was the representative of the French
King Charles VIII was sent in a mission to ask the pope about the statue “Pietà”
which is a statue that represents Virgin Mary holding in her arms her dead son.
By age twenty five he was characterized by his ability to finish his work of 6
feet wide in less than one year. Until now “Pieta” has been moved five times
and now is settled in the prominence St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.
-1504, “David” was his second masterpiece sculpture that was created after his
return to Florence (in 1501) to continue to work on David’s sculpture (of more
than seventeen feet tall) that was kept for forty years unfinished in the city.
David’s sculpture is a marble statue of a standing male nude (Biblical hero
David), in which it shows the strength of humanity, expression, and showed also
the emotional strength, it was considered as the favored subject in art and the
symbol of the Florence city. “David”
sculpture was placed in a public square outside the Palazzo della Signoria.
Michelangelo started to work on the cartoon of a huge fresco that should represent
the battle of Cascina an incident in Pisan in the Council Hall of the new
Florentine Republic. Then Michelangelo was notified in 1508 by the Pope Julius
II that he should repaint and sculpt a huge grave so he started working on it
but what makes him left Rome was the inability of the pope to fund his work due
to military disputes that makes him shift his duties.
At the same year, Michelangelo was recalled to
return to Rome to switch towards paintings instead of sculpture to handle a new
painting project called the Sistine Chapel; this project shows twelve apostles
(seven prophet and five sibyls) on the borders and on the center of ceiling (sixty
five foot) of the Vatican along with scenes from Genesis. Then this project has
been changed to draw more than three hundred figures on the ceiling of the
sacred space instead of drawing 12 apostles as previously planned, and was
finished on October 31, 1512. The most emotional painting found in the Sistine
chapel ceiling is “The creation of Adam” in which it is a fresco painting that shows
the stretching between the God and Adam hands toward each other. This part of
the Sistine Chapel’s, has been famous like the Mona-Lisa masterpiece that was
drawn by Leonardo da Vinci.
Michelangelo after that started to do
sculptures for tombs of Julius II; one of
them was for the prophets Moses. Moses are sculptures that have horns on the
head which is due to the biblical translations of the “rays of the light” to
become “horns”, in other word it was due to an error in translating the bible
in Italy. He also made two sculptures but is not in use due to it was of wrong
design. So this sculpture was given as a gift to his family after he become old
and ill person and now these sculptures are found in the Louvre.
Michelangelo was called by the Pope Leo X son of the Lorenzo Medici to work for
him and helped him in controlling Florence. He was employed to do projects
linked to glory and done by the Medici family. In San Lorenzo, Michelangelo
moved from sculptures to architectural design along with remodeling small
project at Medici castle and large projects at the parish church, he also
worked on projects for cardinals to make new chapel attached to the church and
given for the graves of the Medici family, but this project was not
successfully done even he worked so hard on the marble interior design and on
the graves figures that is of different shapes and details. In addition Michelangelo
tried to show by his work that he is not a traditional artist of classical
forms of designs and buildings, but he showed the unexpected designs of
different proportions and thicknesses of the windows.
Michelangelo masterpieces other than Moses are
“The Last Judgment” (painting), Day, Night, Dawn and Dusk (sculptures). The Dawn
and the Dusk were both marble sculptures done during the Italian renaissance and
was executed from the Medici chapel in Florence. The Dawn sculpture was found
on the tomb of the Lorenzo de Medici that was referred
to as a virginal figure, whereas the Dusk was found on the tomb of the Lorenzo II
de Medici in the San Lorenzo in Florence.
However both the Day and the Dusk sculptures show the
female figures of tall, slim body shape along with small foot that were considered
at that time as the source of beauty. The day sculpture
implies for inner fire. According to Michelangelo these types where never found on graves
before which implies to the death at the end of everything.
statues get the attention more than the statues of the two Medici. Madonna was
carved at the center of the side wall between the two saints. However on the
entrance door of the church he made two statuses which represent two young soldiers
where their heads are turned into different degrees, focusing at the corner of
In Florence all
libraries were settled in the monastery which was like a tradition to be
followed there. Laurentian Library was designed in the same year of the
sculptures where it received a lot of books especially the books that were
needed by the Poe Leo. It was located next to San Lorenzo’s Church, and was built on a new third floor connected to a
staircase with an entrance lobby of the second floor. But as Michelangelo was
known with his difference in his arts, not following the traditional ways, so
he was not the one who designed Ricetto (stair hall), instead he designed it in
the opposite way for example the columns in the traditional way should be placed
in front of the wall plane but Michelangelo decided to place them behind the
comes to designing library rooms, Michelangelo did not use his emotions or even
his imagination instead he used the traditional style, by placing a rows of
desks of the same position of the windows with a little bit of decorations on
the floor and on the ceiling, which is in that case the reason behind the
presence of small and short library room decorations and styles. The door that
is found at the opposite end of the room across the stairway was supposed
according to Michelangelo to be a triangular room but Michelangelo was not able
to continue as he planned to.
at age sixty years old Michelangelo started to worry about his age and death
after his father and favorite brother death. He started to write an emotional
letters to Tommaso Cavalieri, that he was a young talented aristocrat man. The
interpretation of those emotional letters where divided into either homosexual
letters or interpreted as it was impossible to a guy in his age to have any
homosexual relation. After that Michelangelo worked in the Roman civic affairs.
Michelangelo wished to return to Florence from Rome to continue the unfinished work;
but instead he kept in Rome for his rest of his life working on many different
projects. In that day of his movement he wrote a lot of letters to his family
that stayed in Florence where most of the letters where plans, his nephew’s
wedding and informing his nephew how to protect the family name of his family.
However some of his letters showed that he was searching for surrogate son and
all of these letters were kept in a safe place in Florence.
at that time did not stop on just painting and making sculptures, he also
started to write some poetry some of which were short poems and ended up to be
viewed as unprofessional poetry. But his unprofessionalism didn’t prevent him
to restart again and learn how to be a professional poet so he started to
express his own emotions through writing poets without stopping to reach for today
up to three hundred poems; seventy five of them were written in sonnets style of
fourteen not complicated lines, and of numerous rhyme schemes then adhered after
that to write in a thematic organization. The sonnets were very straight
religious announcement suggesting prayers.
However in Renaissance period, ninety five poems of Michelangelo were done in madrigals
style that is defined as part of song for different voices while the rest of
the poems were kept unfinished.
Sonnets poems where easily spread in countries that speaks English, and also translated
into English in the Victorian period whereas for the madrigal style poems were uncommon
in English poetry writings. Those poems were totally talking about the
lifestyle and the culture of the Petrarch’s love poems where it express the
love feeling and helps human in facing their difficulties to rise to heavens.
However other poem was talking about philosophy that is based on Neoplatonism that
was learned in Lorenzo Di Medici court when he was a boy.
The last two sculptures of Michelangelo represent the dead Christ
that express sadness, and none of them were finished. These two sculptures were
done by him and only for him.Joseph of Arimathea was a large sculpture that was
an example of uncompleted self-image done for his grave because he destroyed
the work since one of the sculptures wasn’t like he was planned to.
Michelangelo returned to paint for the new pope Paul III using the fresco
technique. In which he draws on the end wall of the Sistine Chapel in the
Vatican City a painting called “The Last Judgment”. This wall was the favored
wall in the church in the middle age but was considered as inappropriate
painting to be placed in a holy place and was recalled to destroy the largest it.
Michelangelo used different colors on the wall than the colors found on the
ceiling of the church because Pope Paul III decided to change the wall because
he saw that it was disliked by everyone, so the wall was painted with a
brownish flesh tones against the blue sky found on the ceiling.
In the center
of the “Last Judgment” painting, Jesus was standing as a judge, lifting his right
arm to save people and send them to heaven, without lifting his left hand for
people to fell in hell and curse them. He was surrounded by prophets, saints,
monks, and Martyrs and at the bottom of the painting there were skeletons arising
from their graves.
artist Luca Signorelli was the source of inspiration for Michelangelo, were he added
on the right of the painting the Charon ferries souls across the Styx river,
however this painting showed a unified scene, filled with strong expression especially
the expression of the judged people ,and was found without any source of error
that separates the painting.
When Michelangelo was getting older he was less
involved with sculpture, painting, and poetry, and more involved with
architecture. He preferred to work in an area that require less physical
activity, and wanted to design an impressive statue for the modern Rome that
was announced to the city as the center of the architect. One of the most
famous architecture was the Capitoline Square and the roof of St. Peter’s that
are the most remarkable images can be seen in the city. But unfortunately was
unable to finish one of them due to his death, but both of them after his death
were continued and finished but not like as he planned to.
In the sixteen century during the Roman period and before his death,
Michelangelo was able to rebuild the old city hall of small Capitoline Hill that
was the center of the lay town government and was ruled by the Popes. He rebuilds
one side of the square and then added two new adjacent ones. Both of them were
similar in shape, design and adjacent to each other. At the left side of the
square there was an opening door that enabled people to enter their through
climbing a long flight stairs and was able in the center of the square also to
design a dynamic floor in an oval pattern which frames the emperor Marcus
St. Peter’s Basilica was given to Donato Bramante that served as
principal planner in rebuilding
the city St. Peter’s Basilica. St.
Peter’s Basilica was the
most famous work of architecture is the east end and dome of Michelangelo.
The Catholic Church called the 74 years old
retired painter Michelangelo to work on it. He worked most of his time till death,
but was unable to continue the same design and architect that the other
designers had started with, so he returned to his previous plans, were he did
four equal cross arms rather than making traditional Latin cross, also he was
against the repetition of small decorations that were done by the previous
architectures, it was enclosed through large semicircular sections on the four
sides of the wall, and was of similar spaces compared to the dome.
He concentrated in most of his works on the curving wall that is
located behind the altar along with making small difference between the colossal
and smaller supports adjacent to each other in a horizontal rhythm, focused on
the same direction of the wall producing an architecture huge dynamic scale.
A classical designed was done by setting a columned walkway at the
bottom of the dome, having their heads attached to the dome, and by that the
column will have an impact on supporting the downward with a straight aspect that
solves the issue of the view between the dome and the horizontal downward
structure of the building.
In Rome Michelangelo also worked on plenty of smaller building
projects where he finished the main residence of Pope Paul III in the Palazzo
Farnese and the city gate Porta Pia of imaginary
designs but these projects were also rebuild opposite to the plan of Michelangelo.
was the last frescoes paintings of Michelangelo that was painted and kept in
the Vatican and was the only one that prevented public people to see it, while
the other frescoes paintings were not specific and thus they are found on the walls
and allowed to be observed by the public people.
Michelangelo paintings were similar in themes, styles of other
artists. When he went to Rome during 1542-1550 he admired the Titian were he
used frescoes art for this type of painting project. Then in 2004 Michelangelo
draw Crucifixion of Saint Peter which is a painting that represent himself
where he was on a horseman wearing a blue turban.
Michelangelo died after a short illness in
1564 at 88, surviving far past the usual life expectancy of the era and
Michelangelo is buried, at the Basilica di Santa Croce.