Michelangelo Buonarroti

[Michelangelo Buonarroti] Sculptor, painter, and architect, born Caprese, near Florence, Italy, 6 March 1475; died Rome, Italy, 18 February 1564. While he was apprenticed to Ghirlandajo his drawings attracted the attention of Lorenzo the Magnificent and he lived four years (1489-1492) in the Medici palace, studying sculpture under Bertoldo, a former pupil of Donatello. He afterwards studied anatomy at first hand by dissecting bodies, in a cell allotted for his use, in the monastery of San Spirito. He went to Rome in 1496, and three years later executed the beautiful marble "Pieta" in Saint Peter's. In 1501 the city of Florence gave him the commission for the statue of "David" (Academy of Florence) which combines the excellences of Donatello and the Greeks. From 1508-1512 he was occupied, at the command of Pope Julius II, with painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel the history of the Creation and Fall, with numberless additional figures, including the heroic prophets and sibyls. From 1534-1541 he was engaged on the painting of "The Last Judgment," on the altar wall of the Sistine. Meanwhile from 1524-1534 he had worked on the tombs of the Medici, in the sacristy of San Lorenzo, Florence, designed by him at the request of Pope Clement VII. Although the tombs are unfinished, they exhibit masterpieces of sculpture in the statues of Giuliano and Lorenzo, with the accompanying figures of Day and Night, Dawn and Twilight. In 1545 he completed the tomb of Pope Julius II in the church of San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome, distinguished by the colossal figure of Moses. Having been made chief architect, painter, and sculptor of the Vatican by Pope Paul III, in 1534, he was appointed in 1547 to take charge of the reconstruction of Saint Peter's, carrying out the plans of Bramante, and designing the great dome, of which the drum was completed before his death.

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