Michelangelo, By Daniele da Volterra
The early life of Michelangelo
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni "supreme in not one art alone, but all three," as Giorgio Vasari described him, was born on 6 March 1475, in the Republic of Florence. Best known as Michelangelo, he was an Italian painter, sculptor, architect, and poet, who became a significant influence on Western art. The man, considered to be one of the founders of the Renaissance era, was born in Caprese, Valtiberina, in a small-scale bankers' family. Even though it was never proven, Michelangelo and his family believed that they were descendants of the Countess Mathilde of Canossa.
Michelangelo was raised in Florence, where his father owned a farm and a marble quarry. After his mother's death( at the age of 6), his nanny and her stonecutter husband took care of him. In this atmosphere, young Michelangelo falls in love with marble. The first steps in art, Michelangelo took with Domenico Ghirlandaio, who was a master in perspective, fresco, portraiture, and figure painting and who had the largest workshop in the city of Florence. At age 13, Michelangelo was apprenticed to Domenico Ghirlandaio. A year later, his father persuaded the master to pay Michelangelo as an artist. This fact was a big deal at that time because no one of that age was getting paid. In 1489, Michelangelo, with Francesco Granacci( as the best pupils of Ghirlandaio), went to work for the de facto ruler of Florence, Lorenzo de' Medici.
For two years, from 1490-1492, Michelangelo studied at the Humanist academy, founded by the Medici. During this time, young talent was influenced by prominent writers and philosophers, including Poliziano and Pico Della Mirandola. In these two years, Michelangelo sculpted Madonna of the Steps and Battle of the Centaurs.
Battle of the Centaurs, Michelangelo 1491-1492
Life in Rome
In 1494, Michelangelo left Florence for Venice and later moved to Bologna. At the age of 21, he ended in Rome, where he started working on a life-size sculpture of a Roman wine god Bacchus. Three years later, by the commission of Cardinal Jean de Bilheres-Lagraulas, he carved a Pieta out of a lifeless stone and made one of the world's most magnificent sculptures of all time.
In his elder years, Michelangelo sculpted several pietas, reflecting mortality and solitude. He died in Rome in 1564, after living a full life with his art and poems. Michelangelo passed away at the age of 88. According to his request, he was buried in Florence.