Michelangelo: Book Review

1765 words - 7 pages

Michelangelo Buonarroti was arguably one of the most inspirational creators in the history of art in the Italian High Renaissance (1492-1520). He was a sculptor, architect, painter, and poet who applied a tremendous influence on his contemporaries and on succeeding Western art in general. As an artist he was unmatched, the creator of works of beauty that express the full extent of the human condition. He was a modest man and considered his arts only to be painting and sculpture, and did not consider himself an architect by trade. Michelangelo's approach to architecture was one of creating forms rather than of predetermining construction. A great builder he was not, many times creating plans without construction in mind. In turn, he supplied the world of his visions that have surpassed the test of time and set new limits for what one man can achieve in a life time.Michelangelo's father, Ludovico Buonarroti, was a Florentine official with connections to the ruling Medici family. Unable to nurse her own son, Michelangelo's mother gave her son to a wet nurse, which was wed to a stonecutter. Here he learned how to use the hammer and chisel, and his destiny took root. Not until Michelangelo turned ten did he enroll in school after moving back in with his father. He learned to read and write but began developing a passion for drawing. At thirteen he left school, to become an artist in the painter's Domenico Ghirlandaio workshop. His father never understood the importance of the arts and was known for looking down at Michelangelo as a disgrace even after he gained his fame and fortune. After about a year, Michelangelo relocated to the Medici gardens to study sculpture. Inspired by the Medici collection of contemporary Italian, ancient Greek, and Roman art Michelangelo produced at least two sculptures by the time he was 16 years old, the Battle of the Centaurs and the Madonna of the Stairs. Shortly thereafter he was invited into Lorenzo de' Medici's household. Lorenzo, otherwise known as "The Magnificent," was an enlightened and generous patron. He supported artists, poets, and scholars on the fact that he realized the impact the arts had on a society. After the death of Lorenzo, in 1492, Michelangelo fled Florence with some Medici supporters. He settled for a while in Bologna, where in 1494 and 1495 he completed several marble statuettes for the Arca (Shrine) di San Domenico in the Church of San Domenico. Soon after, Michelangelo went to Rome where he produced his first large-scale sculpture, the over-life-size pagan Bacchus (1496-98, Bargello, Florence). At about the same time, Michelangelo completed the marble Pietà (1498-1500), before he was 25 years old.Returning to Florence at the age of 26, he was commissioned by the city of Florence to carve the figure of David. Seen as the high point of Michelangelo's early style, it became the symbol of freedom from tyranny for the Republic of Florence. In 1505, Pope Julius II called Michelangelo back to...

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