Interesting facts about Michelangelo Buonarroti

Michelangelo

Michelangelo Buonarotti was born in Caprese, Italy on March 6, 1475.

He died February 18, 1564 in Rome, Italy.

He was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer.

Michelangelo’s father, Leonardo di Buonarrota Simoni, was briefly serving as a magistrate in the small village when he recorded the birth of his second of five sons with his wife, Francesca Neri, but they returned to Florence when Michelangelo was still an infant.His mother unfortunately died when he was only 6 years old.

Michelangelo was less interested in schooling than watching the painters at nearby churches, and drawing what he saw there, according to his earliest biographers (Vasari, Condivi and Varchi). It may have been his grammar school friend, Francesco Granacci, six years his senior, who introduced Michelangelo to painter Domenico Ghirlandaio. Michelangelo’s father realized early on that his son had no interest in the family financial business, so agreed to apprentice him, at the age of 13, to the fashionable Florentine painter’s workshop. There, Michelangelo was exposed to the technique of fresco.

The nickname that Michelangelo developed during his lifetime was “Il Divino.” As a direct translation, it means “the divine.” His work was loved by everyone in every class, culture, and demographic.

Michelangelo lived an extremely busy life, creating a great number of artworks. Some of Michelangelo’s works are among the most famous that have ever been made. They include two very famous marble statues, the Pieta in Saint Peter’s Basilica and David which once stood in a piazza in Florence but is now in the Accademia Gallery. His most famous paintings are huge frescos, the Sistine Chapel Ceiling and the Last Judgement.

His most famous work of architecture is the east end and dome of Saint Peter’s Basilica.

dome of saint peters basilica

Michelangelo put his signature on the Pietà (it was his first sculptural masterpiece and so good that no one believed it could have possibly come from such a young artist, so he inscribed his name on a sash running diagonally across the Virgin Mary’s chest).But after that he never signed another work of art.

michelangelos signature on the pietà

He would often paint himself into his work. The most famous of these self-portraits is in The Last Judgment fresco that covers an entire wall of the Sistine Chapel. There, St. Bartholomew is holding the skin of a face that appears to be Michelangelo’s.

self portrait the-sistine chapel

Michelangelo spent four years working on the dome of the Sistine Chapel. He stood on a scaffold and painted over his head, unlike the popular belief that he painted while laying down.

sistine chapel

Less known fact is that he wrote hundreds of letters and poems, more than 300 of which still exist today. The poetry is pretty suggestive, discussing love, lust, and ecstasy, as well as spirituality, loyalty and the human soul.

He completed artworks for nine different Catholic Popes.

Michelangelo spent most of his golden years overseeing construction on St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. Even after he became too weak to go to the work site regularly, he still supervised the job from home by sending drawings and designs to trusted foremen. Sculpture remained Michelangelo’s true love, however, and he continued chiseling away in his home studio until the very end. Only days before he died at the age of 88, he was still working on the so-called “Rondanini Pieta,” which depicts Jesus in the Virgin Mary’s arms.

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