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Art history is full of very well known names. There have always been artists, from the time that man evolved from his primate ancestors, the desire to create things that were not just practical but beautiful surfaced and set us apart from the apes. Still, some names have a particular significance because their contribution to not just art but culture in general was so very great. This essay looks into the life of Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simon. The world remembers him more commonly as simply, Michelangelo.

  • The Early Years
  • Around the time of his birth in 1475, his family was in the tradition of banking rather than the creation of art. Michelangelo may have been distantly related to royalty on his mother’s side but this cannot easily be proven and contributes little to his story if it truly is so. His mother was often ill and succumbed to her sickness when he was still quite young. While she was ill however, he stayed frequently with a family versed in the cutting of stone and from them he learned a great deal about working with that material.

  • Teens and Young Adulthood
  • As a youth Michelangelo’s life was dedicated to education in one form or another. He did not enjoy the lessons he was prescribed but he showed an interest in artwork early on and devoted himself to that instead. There was no shortage of inspiration in Italy at the time. He learned from the great artists who he could find and gain the attention of. He secured an apprenticeship and was even paid at the age of fourteen. He later attended the Humanist Academy where he further polished his work sculpting and had interactions with some of the great thinkers of the day.

  • Mid adulthood
  • The death of a Medici made it necessary for Michelangelo to return to his father’s home for a time. He eventually secured access to cadavers that allowed him a better understanding of human anatomy. This was crucial to the development of greater realism in his work. At one point his situation was so dire that he passed off his work as an older relic in order to get it sold. His talent was noticed however and many more pieces were commissioned from him including the famous ‘David’ and the painting of the Sistine Chapel.

Michelangelo died in 1564. He was highly accomplished and his work is still marveled at.

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