MICHELANGELO DI LODOVICO BUONARROTI SIMONI
Although his most famed works are the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City and the Statue of David, Michelangelo started like any other artist of the day, as an apprentice who would learn from great masters. But, these masters saw Michelangelo’s unmistakable genius in various art forms and knew early on that he would become the world’s most famed artists remembered and adored by future generations. Michelangelo wasn’t impoverished. His father was a banker in Florence and made enough to support his family, their upper middle-class livelihoods, and his children’s education. After much debate, Michelangelo’s father allowed him to study art, but only after agreeing that if his first three-year apprenticeship didn’t work out, he would return to study so he could take over the family’s business. The young Michelangelo first started his studies under Domencio Ghirlandajo. After only six months of study, Domencio stated that Michelangelo had surpassed him in his own art. After only one year, Michelangelo began his tutelage under the supervision of the magnificent Lorenzo de’ Medici, who funded Michelangelo’s pursuits. When de’ Medici was overthrown from government, Michelangelo had to search for other commissions that would financially support him. He had, over the years, been sending home money to his father who constantly asked him for financial help. Moving to Bologna, he found work finishing the shrine of St. Dominic. Michelangelo’s style was different in regard to the way he chose to finish the shrine – attempting to master the beauty and form of the human body. With the finishing of that project, he was commissioned for several others, which he dedicated much time and energy towards, unlike many artists of the day who left many works unfinished. In the year 1501, he completed the statue of David for the Florence Cathedral and received a large commission. In his other works, such as with Madonna and Child, and Madonna and Child with Infant St. John, Michelangelo displayed the evolution of his unmatched abilities. Michelangelo was greatly affected by another artist of the day, Leonardo da Vinci. The two artists battled for different commissions in the city, but Michelangelo was summoned by the Pope to complete a vast number of projects. None of these were ever completed in their full mastery, as was the Sistine Chapel. In his later years, Michelangelo loathed his frail state; he had been strong and agile as a sculptor. He completed more paintings, sculpted, wrote poetry, and contributed to many architectural projects during his lifetime.
Style of Painting
While still occupied with the David, Michelangelo was given an opportunity to demonstrate his ability as a painter with the commission of a mural, the Battle of Cascina, destined for the Sala dei Cinquecento of the Palazzo Vecchio, opposite Leonardo's Battle of Anghiari. Neither artist carried his assignment beyond the stage of a cartoon, a full-scale preparatory drawing. Michelangelo created a series of nude and clothed figures in a wide variety of poses and positions that are a prelude to his next major project, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. From these years date the Bruges Madonna (Notre Dame, Bruges) and the painted tondo of the Holy Family (Uffizi).
Criticisms about his works
When Michelangelo was finishing the David, along came Piero Soderini, the town mayor or boss, to have a look. Michelangelo had put a canvas around the scaffolding so no one could watch him work. He didn’t like gawkers and he didn’t like intruders, not even patron intruders. So when he saw that canvas flap open and the mayor come in, though he had to smile, he must have cursed to himself. Piero Soderini put on the show of the art connoisseur, walking around under the huge figure. “It’s coming along wonderfully,” said Piero Soderini. “But do you know what? The nose is too thick.” Criticism like that must have made the...
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