Biography of Michelangelo
The second of five brothers, Michelangelo was born on March 6, 1475, at Caprese, in Tuscany, to Ludovico di Leonardo di Buonarotto Simoni and Francesca Neri. The same day, his father noted down: "Today March 6, 1475, a child of the male sex has been born to me and I have named him Michelangelo. He was born on Monday between 4 and 5 in the morning, at Caprese, where I am the Podestà." Although born in the small village of Caprese, Michelangelo always considered himself a "son of Florence," as did his father, "a Citizen of Florence."
His Childhood and Youth
Buonarroti's mother, Francesca Neri, was too sick and frail to nurse Michelangelo, so he was placed with a wet nurse, in a family of stone cutters, where he, "sucked in the craft of hammer and chisel with my foster mother's milk. When I told my father that I wish to be an artist, he flew into a rage, 'artists are laborers, no better than shoemakers."
Buonarroti's mother died young, when the child was only six years old. But even before then, Michelangelo's childhood had been grim and lacking in affection, and he was always to retain a taciturn disposition. Touchy and quick to respond with fierce words, he tended to keep to himself, out of shyness according to some but also, according to others, a lack of trust in his fellows. His father soon recognized the boy's intelligence and "anxious for him to learn his letters, sent him to the school of a master, Francesco Galeota from Urbino, who in that time taught grammar." While he studied the principles of Latin, Michelangelo made friends with a student, Francesco Granacci six years older than him, who was learning the art of painting in Ghirlandaio's studio and who encouraged Michelangelo to follow his own artistic vocation.
Early Life in Florence.
Michelangelo's father, now a minor Florentine official with connections to the ruling Medici family, placed his 13-year-old son in the workshop of the painter Domenico Ghirlandaio. After about one year, Michelangelo went on to study at the sculpture school in the Medici gardens and shortly thereafter was invited into the household of Lorenzo de' Medici *http://www.thais.it/scultura/sch00073.htm*, the Magnificent. There he had an opportunity to converse with the younger Medici, two of whom later became popes (Leo X and Clement VII). He also became acquainted with such humanists as Marsilo Ficino and the poet Angelo Poliziano, frequent visitors to the Medici court.
Michelangelo produced at least two relief sculptures by the time he was 16 years old, the Battle of the Centaurs and the Madonna of the Stairs (both 1489-92, Casa Buonarroti, Florence), which show that he had achieved a personal style at a precocious age. In Michelangelo's personal diary he recounts his first two works: "My first work was a small bas-relief, The Madonna of the Stairs. Mary, Mother of God, sits on the rock of the church. The child curls back into her body. She foresees his death, and...