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   Michelangelo, son of Ludovico Buonarroti Simoni and Francesca Neri, was born on 6 March 1475 in Caprese, in the province of Arezzo. Michelangelo showed an early artistic inclination.

In 1498, Michelangelo got his first important commission: the “Pieta“(1498–1499), which  is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture and one of the most representative masterpiece of the Italian culture. “La Pietà” di Michelangelo (= “The pity” of Michelangelo) is a sculpture in Carrara marble, (high 174cm, wide 195cm, deep 69cm), housed in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, Rome. This famous work of art depicts the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary, after the Crucifixion. This is the first, dramatic masterpiece of the then Michelangelo in his early twenties, considered one of the greatest masterpieces of Western art has ever produced. It is also the only work signed by him, on the sling that holds the mantle of the Virgin.

   In 1501 began a period of intense activity; he is in Florence, where he completed the sculpture of “David”, meanwhile, he also painted the “Battle of Cascina” and the “Doni Tondo“. In fact, in the autumn of 1504 Michelangelo was given the commission to paint the battle of Cascina (a battle between Florence and Pisa, which Florence won) intended to be a fresco on a wall of the “Palazzo della Signoria” as a companion piece to Leonardo’s “Battle of Anghiari”, but this project came to nothing: the cartoon was finished (at least in part, by February 1505) but an urgent summons from Pope Julius II prevented Michelangelo from continuing with the work, for which only some drawings survived.

The “Doni Tondo” is located in Florence (in the Uffizi) in its original tondo or round frame. This painting was commissioned by Agnolo Doni to commemorate his marriage to Maddalena Strozzi, the daughter of a powerful Tuscan family.

In 1504, Pope Julius II called him to Rome to make his funeral monument; but this was  another incomplete project.


In May 1508, signed a contract with Julius II for his masterpiece, the “Sistine Chapel“. The Sistine Chapel (entrance wall, south wall, north wall and cupola) is named after Pope Sixtus (pontiff 1471 – 1484) which made repaint the old “Cappella Magna”. The decoration of the walls includes: the false drapes, the Stories of Moses on the South wall, the Jesus Christ on the North wall and the portraits of Popes on south and north wall. Michelangelo, who travelled continously between Rome, Florence and Carrara (where he personally controlled the marble’s quality for his work) put everything aside and devoted himself to the chapel without interruption, until 1512.

In 1513 Michelangelo won a competition to complete the facade of the Basilica of San Lorenzo in Florence, which was left unfinished by Brunelleschi.

In 1520 Cardinal Giulio de’ Medici, future Pope Clement VII, entrusted him with the creation of a funeral chapel. The Sagrestia Nuova, (“New Sacristy”), was an extension of the Basilica di San Lorenzo and was intended, by Cardinal Giulio de’ Medici and his cousin Pope Leo X, as a mausoleum for members of the Medici family.


In the meantime (1524), Pope Clement VII commissioned Michelangelo the “Laurentian Library” and the continuation of papal tombs, started in 1521 and finished in 1534. In 1525 Michelangelo start working to complete the Laurentian Library (which contains more than 11,000 manuscripts, is next to the Basilica of San Lorenzo and it is divided into two rooms: the hall and the reading room that is large, spacious, bright and balanced. However, when Michelangelo left Florence in 1534, only the walls of the reading room were completed. It was then continued by Tribolo, Basari, and Ammannati, based on plans and verbal instructions from Michelangelo. The library was opened in 1571.

In September of that year, Michelangelo painted the “Last Judgment” in the Sistine Chapel, which he completed in 1541.

Even when he was near death, he continued to carve the stone. His first work – dating back to when he was only sixteen – is the “Madonna della Scala“, followed by “Hercules” in 1492, which the artist created in his father’s house. The work was sent to France in the eighteenth century and it was lost.

In 1494, in Florence, Michelangelo sculpted the “Cupid“.

He died il 18 February 1564 having made testament: he left his soul in God’s hands, his body to the earth and all his belongings to the “closest relatives”.

Among all the activities carried out by Michelangelo Buonarroti (architect, painter, sculptor, writer and humanist), he preferd being a sculptor. He had chosen to work with the white Carrara marble, without the help of stonemasons, he did everything himself, such as removing the superfluous material that, according to him: “it hides the work of art”.

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