One of the greatest creators in the history of humankind, Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni saw the light of day for the first time on March 6, 1475. He was born to a magistrate father, called Leonardo di Buonarrota Simoni in a little village Caprese, in Italy. His father had five sons and Michelangelo was the second of them. After his mother got ill and Michelangelo was still an infant, his family moved back to Florence. Because of his mother’s illness, she couldn’t breastfeed him, so he was placed in the family of stonecutters, where the wet nurse took care of him.
From the early age, Michelangelo showed profound interest in art, rather than in studies. He spent hours watching painters decorating the church and tried to draw what he saw. Luckily, his father noticed his inclination towards art and complete absence of interest towards family business, which is why he agreed to let Michelangelo take apprenticeship to a well-known local painter Domenico Ghirlandaio at the age of 13. Studying under the patronage of the painter Michelangelo became acquainted with fresco painting technique.
In 1489 Lorenzo de' Medici requested best pupils of Ghirlandaio, he sent Michelangelo and Francesco Granacci. For three following years, Michelangelo attended Humanist academy, founded by Medici. In 1492, after the death of his former teacher Ghirlandaio he returned back home and started working on personal projects, such as “Crucifix” and “Hercules”. He returned back to Medici court in 1494, when he was asked to create a big snow sculpture.
After the political turmoil in Florence, Michelangelo moved to Rome at the age of 21. By the end of the following year, he gained enough popularity and fame for the Cardinal Jean de Bilhères-Lagraulas to commission him one of his most famous works “Pietà”. In 1505, Michelangelo was asked by Pope Julius II to leave sculpting for a while and paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. It was a challenging work and as Michelangelo himself wrote in his diary – he suffered physically while creating this masterpiece. He was reluctant to take up this commission, but eventually agreed. His only condition was to let him paint what he deemed appropriate. Thus, Pope’s initial request for painting 12 apostles turned into over 300-figure extensive piece of art, which Michelangelo finally completed in 1512.
Michelangelo completed the famous Sistine Chapel later in life with one more piece. He created another magnificent masterpiece, known as “Last Judgement”, which was placed on the far wall of the Chapel. The work was finished in 1541. At the time of its completion “Last Judgement” caused a lot of uproar in society. People were saying that nude figures couldn’t be painted in a holy place. The outcry forced Michelangelo to retaliate by painting his chief critic the picture in the form of devil.
Michelangelo has never been married; nevertheless, he had two significant people in his life, to whom he was emotionally attached. The first was a noble woman, a widow Vittoria Colonna. He wrote her multiple poems, sonnets and letters. Their communication was keeping Michelangelo in good spirits until her death in 1547. The second relationship was with a young nobleman Tommaso de'Cavalieri to whom he formed an attachment in 1532.
Michelangelo kept a detailed account of all his achieves and wealth, just like many other famous people of his time. He died on February 18, 1564 only two weeks short of his 89thbirthday. His death came as a result of short-termed illness.
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