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 MICHELANGELO DI LODOVICO BUONARROTI SIMONE, born at the Castle of Caprese in Casentino, March 6, 1475, died in Rome, Feb. 18,1564. Florentine school; became the pupil of Domenico Ghirlandajo, April 1, 1488, 'and also studied at the Academy in the Gardens of St. Mark, where he attracted the notice of its founder, Lorenzo de' Medici, who gave him a home at the Medici Palace until his death (April 8, 1492).

By the advice of Politian he selected the Battle between Hercules and the Centaurs as the subject of his first bas relief, preserved in the Casa Buonarroti. After the death of his patron, he for a time returned to his father's house and devoted himself to anatomical studies, but feeling bound by ties of gratitude to the Medici, he accepted the invitation of Piero de' Medici, and resided in his palace until 1494. His departure for Venice, shortly before Piero's expulsion, closes the first period in his life, during which he probably painted a Deposition from the Cross, which has been attributed to Luca Signorelli and to Baccio Bandinelli, and a very fine unfinished Madonna with Angels, National Gallery, London. In the autumn of 1494 Michelangelo came from Venice to Bologna, where he spent a year in the house of Gian Francesco Aldrovandi, working little, and impatient to return to Florence. Having sculptured an angel for the altar shrine of St. Dominick, he returned to his native city before July 15, 1495. As this notice of Michelangelo relates only to his work as a painter, his sculpture is only casually referred to.

Early in 1496 he went to Rome and remained there four years, during which time he sculptured the famous Pieta at St. Peter's. At Florence, before 1504, he painted for Angelo Doni a Holy Family, now in the Tribune of the Uffizi, one of the least interesting of all celebrated pictures. In October of the same year he began a cartoon of Soldiers summoned to Battle while bathing in the Arno near Pisa, intended for a fresco which was to have been painted in the Great Hall of the Palazzo Vecchio. It was finished in Aug., 1505 or 1506, and hung in the hall side by side with the rival work of Leonardo da Vinci, admired by all and studied by young artists until its intentional or accidental destruction during a popular tumult about 1512, though there are reasons for thinking that it survived a few years longer. In 1505 Michelangelo entered the service of Pope Julius H., and from early in that year until May, 1506, when he spent three months at Florence, he was either employed at Rome in designing the Pope's monument or at Carrara in superintending the extraction and shipment of marbles to be used in its construction.

In May, 1506, after a quarrel with Julius, Michelangelo fled from Rome to Florence. A reconciliation was effected between them in August, at Bologna, where the artist remained, to cast the Pope's statue in bronze, until March, 1508, when he was again at Florence for a short time, until his forced return to Rome to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. This greatest of his works was begun in May, 1508, and the first unsatisfactory experiment of painting with Granacci, and other assistants, in September of that year. Their work having been destroyed, the great artist grappled with his Herculean task single-handed. On All Saints' Day, 1509, when the ceiling had been half completed, the chapel was thrown open to the public. Satisfied with the effect, Pope Julius then allowed the scaffolding to be replaced and Michelangelo to resume his labours, which he probably completed in 1512, although the chapel was not reopened until after March, 1513, when the Pope died. The vaulted ceiling is divided into compartments containing scenes from the Book of Genesis. Sublime figures of Sibyls and Prophets are painted in the pendentives, and subjects taken from the Old Testament in the lunettes. All these are bound together by a simulated architectural framework, vivified by figures representing the genii of architecture. The theme of the artist is man and his redemption; the actors in the great drama are Adam and his progeny; the assisting chorus, those sublime figures of Sibyls and Prophets in which Michelangelo displays his unrivalled powers of conception, imagination, design, and drawing. Could we also add to these power as a colourist, we should call him the greatest of painters; but this we cannot do, because color was to him an, in itself, unimportant means for the representation of form, upon which his essentially plastic genius concentrated itself.

Adam and Eve interrupted during oral sex – Sistine Chapel
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In the Holy Family, at the Uffizi, his one certainly authentic oil picture, the color is cold and inharmonious, while in his frescos it is of secondary importance. Before the death of Pope Clement VH. (1534) Michelangelo had made designs for the fresco of the Last Judgment, in the Sistine Chapel, and in September of that year it was begun, at the bidding of Paul HI., and finished in 1541. While the Last Judgment shows no sign of diminished power, the frescos of the Conversion of St Paul, and the Crucifixion of St. Peter, in the Pauline Chapel (about 1550), exhibit a marked decline. When Leo X. succeeded, in 1513, he appointed Michelangelo architect of the projected, but never built, facade of San Lorenzo, and caused him to waste three years in marble-buying and road-building at Carrara and Seravezza. In 1519 he was ordered by Leo to build the Chapel of the Medici, begun in 1520, to sculpture for it tombs of the famous members of the family, partially completed in 1525-29, and to construct the library of San Lorenzo, undertaken in 1523, when this Pope was succeeded by Clement VH. Six years later he besieged Florence to restore the Medici, and Michelangelo as commissioner-general conducted the defence. In this capacity he went to Ferrara to study the fortifications, and was commissioned by the duke to paint a Leda, supposed to be the picture in tempera in the National Gallery (unexhibited), London. This is the only other picture by him, besides those already mentioned, in existence, for the Three Fates, Pitti Gallery, Florence, belongs to his school. After Aug. 12,1530, when Florence was betrayed to the Imperial forces, Michelangelo resumed his work at the Medici Chapel, and carried it on until 1534, when he began to paint the Last Judgment, in the Sistine Chapel. Before this time he had finished the statue of Moses for the tomb of Julius H., finally completed, on a very reduced scale, in 1545 for the Church of S. Pietro in Vincula. In 1546 Michelangelo succeeded Antonio di Sangallo as head architect of St. Peter's, confirmed by papal brief, Jan. 1, 1547.

In February of that year he sustained a severe affliction in the death of Vittoria Colonna, who had long been the presiding deity of bis life, and to whom he addressed so many of his finest sonnets. In Dec., 1555, he lost Urbino, his faithful servant more than twenty-five years. The Grand Duke of Tuscany tried to induce Michelangelo to leave Rome for Florence, but in vain, for he feared that if he did so the great cupola of St. Peter's might never be finished as he had designed; and, with the exception of a few months spent at Loreto and in the mountains near Spoleto, he did not again absent himself from the city. After his death his body was secretly taken to Florence, where splendid obsequies were celebrated in the Church of S. Croce in March, 1564.—Black, M. A. Buonarotti (London, 1875); Aurelio Gotti, Vita di (1875); Springer, Raphael and Michelangelo (1878); Heath Wilson, Life and Works (1876); Hagen, Acht Jahre aus dem Leben M's (Berlin, 1869); Harford, Life of (1857) ; Burckhardt, 641; Vasari, ed. Le Mon., xii. 157; Quatremere, Histoire de (1835) ; Clement, Michel Ange (1861), 47; Fagan, M. in the British Museum ; C. C. Perkins, Raphael and Michelangelo (1878) ; Eastlake, Five Great Painters (London, 1882) ; Grimm, Zehn Essays, 7; Lubke, Gesch. ital. Mall., ii. 82; W. & W., ii. 575; Zeitschr. f. b. K, i. 223; iv. 329; x. 168; xi. 26, 56, 94, 117; xii. 107, 129; Bibliography of 300 titles in Gaz. des B. Arts (1876), xiii.; L. Passerini, La Bibliografia di (1875).

Michelangelo

 

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni[1] (6 March 1475 – 18 February 1564), commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer. Despite making few forays beyond the arts, his versatility in the disciplines he took up was of such a high order that he is often considered a contender for the title of the archetypal Renaissance man, along with his rival and fellow Italian, Leonardo da Vinci.

Michelangelo's output in every field during his long life was prodigious; when the sheer volume of correspondence, sketches, and reminiscences that survive is also taken into account, he is the best-documented artist of the 16th century. Two of his best-known works, the Pietà and David, were sculpted before he turned thirty. Despite his low opinion of painting, Michelangelo also created two of the most influential works in fresco in the history of Western art: the scenes from Genesis on the ceiling and The Last Judgment on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. As an architect, Michelangelo pioneered the Mannerist style at the Laurentian Library. At 74 he succeeded Antonio da Sangallo the Younger as the architect of Saint Peter's Basilica. Michelangelo transformed the plan, the western end being finished to Michelangelo's design, the dome being completed after his death with some modification.



In a demonstration of Michelangelo's unique standing, he was the first Western artist whose biography was published while he was alive. Two biographies were published of him during his lifetime; one of them, by Giorgio Vasari, proposed that he was the pinnacle of all artistic achievement since the beginning of the Renaissance, a viewpoint that continued to have currency in art history for centuries. In his lifetime he was also often called Il Divino ("the divine one"). One of the qualities most admired by his contemporaries was his terribilità, a sense of awe-inspiring grandeur, and it was the attempts of subsequent artists to imitate Michelangelo's impassioned and highly personal style that resulted in Mannerism, the next major movement in Western art after the High Renaissance.


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