sculptor, painter, architect, and poet; b. March 6, 1475; d. February 17, 1564.
The Buonarroti-Simonis were an old burgher family of Florence. Michelangelo was born at Caprese in the Casentino (Tuscany), while his father Lodovico (d. 1534) was podestÓ of that village. April 1, 1488, he was apprenticed to the painters Domenico and David Ghirlandaio for three years. He was one of the boys selected to study from the antique statues collected in the gardens of the monastery of S. Marco, Florence, and there attracted the attention of Lorenzo de' Medici (b. 1448; d. 1429), who invited him to his palace, where Michelangelo lived and worked until his patron died. In 1491 Michelangelo came in contact with Savonarola (b. 1452 ; d. 1498), whose influence upon him was very great. Through the assistance of the prior of the convent of S. Spirito, for whom he made a crucifix, he had abundant opportunity for dissection, and began that exhaustive study of anatomy to which he devoted a large part of his life. Just before the expulsion of the Medici ( November 8, 1494), Michelangelo went to Bologna, where he made one of the kneeling angels of the Arca of S. Domenico. Returning to Florence in 1495 he made a statue of S. John, supposed to be now in Berlin, and a sleeping Cupid which was sold to the Cardinal Riario in Rome as an antique. Going to Rome, June 25, 1496, he made there at this time the Bacchus of the Museo Nazionale, Florence, a Cupid, probably that of the South Kensington Museum, and the beautiful PietÓ of S. Peter's, Rome, for which the contract was signed August 26, 1498. Michelangelo returned to Florence in 1501 and began the colossal statue of David, in August of that year. It was placed in position before the Palazzo della Signoria, June 8, 1504, and is now in the Accademia, Florence. The Madonna of Bruges was probably made at about this time, and a bronze David which was sent to France, and drifted to the chÔteau of Villeroy, where it disappeared. The two rondels of the Royal Academy, London, and the Museo Nazionale, Florence, and the picture of the Holy Family at the Uffizi doubtless belong to this early period. In 1504 he began the famous cartoon representing soldiers alarmed while bathing in the Arno (the so-called " Battle of Pisa"). It was made as a companion to Leonardo da Vinci's "Battle of Anghiari," begun 1503. This cartoon, which influenced the art of the Renaissance more than any other work, was finished in 1506, but abandoned a few years later and finally destroyed.
In 1505 Michelangelo was called to Rome by Julius II (Pope 1503-1513), and in April of that year began the mausoleum of the Pope, a work which extended through many years of his life and was the source of endless irritation and disappointment. A part of the design, with the statue of Moses, was finally set up in the church of S. Pietro in Vincolo, Rome, after 1542. Disturbed by some misunderstanding with the Pope about the mausoleum, Michelangelo abandoned Rome for Florence before May 2, 1506. In December of the same year he made his peace with the Pope at Bologna, and executed a bronze statue of him which stood over the door of the church of S. Petronio (Bologna), until December 30, 1511, when it was destroyed. At Bologna, Michelangelo came in contact with the work of Giacomo della Quercia, which had a powerful influence upon his compositions for the ceiling of the Sistine chapel (Vatican, Rome). This ceiling, begun in the summer of 1508, represents scenes from the Creation, surrounded by a superb setting of architecture and figures. It was finished in October, 1512. Julius II. was succeeded by Giovanni de' Medici, Leo X (Pope 1513-1521). Leo found little for Michelangelo to do in Rome. In 1515 the Pope conceived a scheme for the construction of a fašade for the church of S. Lorenzo in Florence, for which designs were made by Michelangelo, Giuliano da San Gallo, Andrea and Jacopo Sansovino, and others. That of Michelangelo was preferred. From 1516 to 1520 Michelangelo was occupied in the mountains of Carrara and Serravezza, building roads, opening quarries, and preparing marbles for this fašade, which was never built. Leo X was succeeded by Adrian VI (Pope 1522-1523), and he in turn by Giuliano de' Medici, Clement VII (Pope 1523-1534). Clement employed Michelangelo in the construction of the new sacristy of S. Lorenzo, Florence, and the tombs of the two dukes, Giuliano and Lorenzo de' Medici. The sacristy was finished before 1524. The magnificent sculpture of the two tombs was kept in hand for a long period, and not actually placed in position until after 1534. Michelangelo began the Laurentian library in Florence in 1526. During the siege of Florence in 1530, he was made controller general of the works of defense.
In 1534 Michelangelo settled in Rome for the remainder of his life. Under the patronage of Paul III (Pope 1534-1549) he completed the decoration of the Sistine chapel by painting the picture of the "Last Judgment" (begun 1534, finished 1541). The decorations of the Pauline chapel were painted between 1542 and 1549. About 1544 he was called in to complete the Farnese palace (Rome), which had been placed in charge of Antonio da San Gallo. The third story, with the cornice and much of the court, are attributed to Michelangelo. He had, however, from this time until his death very able assistants, such as Vignola and Giacomo della Porta, and it is impossible to separate their work from his. After the death of Antonio da San Gallo, in 1546, Michelangelo became architect of S. Peter's, and worked on that building until his death without compensation. He returned to the main features of the design of Bramante, and, in 1557, made a model of the cupola, according to which it was built after his death by Giacomo della Porta. The dome as constructed doubtless represents Michelangelo's conception very perfectly. The Porto Pia (Rome) is also ascribed to him. The reconstruction of the Capitol was begun with the placing of the statue of Marcus Aurelius, in 1538. Michelangelo designed the main features of the present buildings, which were carried out after his death. He rebuilt the great hall of the Thermae of Diocletian (now the church of S. Maria degli Angeli), which was again remodelled in 1749 by Vanvitelli.
Elevations and ground plan of the Palace of Poggio Reale, built near Naples by Giuliano de Maiano.