Michelangelo, A Biography

analytical Essay
1534 words
1534 words

Michelangelo Buonarroti was born on March 6, 1475. He lived almost a full century and died on February 18, 1564; he was still working six days before his death. During his life, the western world underwent what was perhaps the most remarkable period of change since the decline of the Roman Empire. The Renaissance saw changes in all aspects of life and culture, with dramatic reforms sweeping through the worlds of religion, politics, and scientific belief. Michelangelo was one of the advocates of this new philosophy, while creating some of the most beautiful and very famous artwork pieces ever created.

He was born at Caprese, in Tuscany, "he was the second of five sons of Lodovico di Leonardo (a civil servant) and Francesca Buonarroti." (Bradbury page 6). The family had two homes: one in the Tuscan countryside, and a much smaller one in the city of Florence. In 1481, when Michelangelo was six years old, his mother died. The year 1481, had quite an impact on Michelangelo, in addition to the death of his mother, "he also had his first drawing lesson from a local artist named Francesco Granacci." (Bradbury 6)

In 1488, at the age of 13, Michelangelo moved to Florence and began working as an assistant to Domenico Ghirlandaio, who had recently started work on Florence's Santa Maria Novella Church. In 1489, after completing just one year of his apprenticeship, Michelangelo came to the attention of Lorenzo de' Medici, who summoned the boy to his court. It was there that he began to learn the secrets of sculpting and by creating drawings of the statues and attempting to recreate them in clay.

"Through his association with the court of Lorenzo, Michelangelo was in contact with the most brilliant thinkers, artists, and wr...

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...s of his life traveling in much the same way as he had started his adult years. He returned to Rome after the threat had passed and it was there that his life ended; he was buried at the church of Saint Apostoli in a huge formal ceremony. "However, the story of his remarkable life was not over even in death; after burial, his body was secretly reclaimed and smuggled back to Florence, on the orders of Duke Cosimo de' Medici." (Bradbury 10). Here it was laid to rest in the church of Santa Croce. It remains there today, in a magnificent marble tomb designed by Vasari in 1570. The tomb bears a bust of Michelangelo, below which are sculptures of three sorrowing women: Architecture, Sculpture, and Painting.

Works Cited

Bradbury, Kirsten. Essential Michelangelo. New York: Parrogon, 2000.

Gilbert, Rita. Living With Art. San Francisco: McGraw Hill. 1992.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that michelangelo buonarroti was born on march 6, 1475, lived almost a century, and died on february 18, 1564. the renaissance saw dramatic reforms in all aspects of life and culture.
  • Explains that michelangelo was born at caprese, in tuscany, and was the second of five sons of lodovico di leonardo and francesca buonarroti.
  • Narrates how michelangelo moved to florence at the age of 13 and began working as an assistant to domenico ghirlandaio, who had recently started work on florence's santa maria novella church.
  • Explains that michelangelo was in contact with the most brilliant thinkers, artists, and writers of his day through his association with lorenzo's court.
  • Explains that michelangelo first heard savonarola preach in 1492, the year his first patron, lorenzo de' medici, died. the monk's sermons and his violent death had a lifelong effect on the artist and many of his works.
  • Describes how martindale spent five years in rome, creating some of his best-known works, including bacchus.
  • Analyzes how michelangelo created the pieta, a masterpiece of sculpture that could not be further removed in content from the witty bacchus.
  • Explains that michelangelo's command of anatomy is superb; every muscle is defined, every movement understood by the artist.
  • Describes how michelangelo's creation changed florentine law and became the first naked statue to be allowed on public display since classical times.
  • Analyzes how the pope's power forbade michelangelo to leave rome, even though he was unable to begin working on the tomb.
  • Explains how julius gave michelangelo a new commission to fresco the sistine chapel's ceiling. the frustrated artist looked to ghirlandaio for assistance with the technique.
  • Analyzes how michelangelo's relationship with the medici family remained strong and pope leo kept the association going to prevent him from working on the della rovere tomb.
  • Explains how leo x's reign was liberating to michelangelo. he was back in florence, free to live where he chose, and still undertakes prestigious projects for the new pope.
  • Explains that michelangelo made his home in florence from 1515 until 1534, during which time the city suffered massive upheavals. he was a fervent supporter of the republic.
  • Analyzes how michelangelo used his art as a medium to express his opinions of people. the crude round shape in which the figure's foot rests may have been intended as an unfinished head of goliath.
  • Narrates how michelangelo fell in love with tommaso de' cavalieri in 1532 and settled in rome. the two men remained close until his death.
  • Analyzes how michelangelo's friendship with victoria colonna, a deeply religious woman, was influenced by the work of dante alighieri.
  • Explains that michelangelo's time in rome was filled with commissions, including finishing the long-term project of the tomb of pope julius ii.
  • Opines that michelangelo's works are an intimate insight into the superb mind of a remarkable man.
  • Explains that michelangelo lived for almost 89 years, an unusually long lifespan for a man of his era. he was forced to leave rome due to the threat of invasion by spain.
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