Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, 1474 - 1564

portrait of Michelangelo Buonarroti
Chalk portrait by Daniele da Volterra

Born: 6 March 1475, Caprese, Arezzo, Republic of Florence
Died: 18 February 1564, Rome, Papal States

Caprese was part of the Republic of Florence (Repubblica Fiorentina) during Michelangelo's lifetime, it is now part of Tuscany. His family had been bankers at Florence but his father Lodovico had not maintained the business and was a judicial administrator at Caprese but returned to Florence soon after Michelangelo was born. His mother died when he was six and he was sent to school so he could become a businessman but preferred drawing. Despite refusing to follow the career path preferred by his father, he supported his father and brothers throughout their lives. Apprenticed to Domenico Ghirlandaio for a year, he was called to the household of Lorenzo de Medici, a distant relation and the Duke of Florence, where he first learned to sculpt. To learn anatomy he crafted a crucifix for a local church and was allowed, contrary to canon law, to examine the dead in the parish. After Lorenzo died Michelangelo went to Rome where he carved the Pietà, he was just 25 at the time. Returning to Florence he received a commission from the Wool Guild to carve a statue of David from a block of marble that another artist had started. He was called back to Rome by Pope Julius II to build the Pope's tomb but was then reassigned to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Unhappy with the early work done with two other artists and several helpers, he fired his crew, removed all the work already done, and did the whole job himself from 1508 to 1512. He sculpted numerous other works in Florence, and designed the Laurentian Library there, then returned to Rome in 1534 to paint again, this time The Last Judgment on the Sistine's altar wall. The genitalia on the naked subjects of the painting caused a scandal, an issue that caused a number of his statues to be draped at various times as well. Michelangelo was one of the architects of St Peter's Basilica (1546 to his death), it was his design of the dome that was finally used, although he died before the dome was raised and fifty years before the building was consecrated. There is plenty of evidence to suggest he was homosexual, but no certainty. His death followed a long fever.

Biography from Wikipedia and Michelangelo.com

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