Michelangelo studied classical sculpture in the palace gardens of Florentine ruler Lorenzo de' Medici, of the powerful Medici family, from 1489 to 1492. This exceptional opportunity came to him after just a year at Ghirlandaio's studio, on the advice of his master. He learned the basics of sculpture from the life models in the garden of the Medici palace.
After returning home, he started work on what would become his greatest project to date: the Laurentian Library in Florence. The project lasted ten years and involved many changes of direction as well as new designs by Michelangelo himself. In 1504, just before starting work on the library, he married Joanna del Piero, who was about twenty years old. She was a wealthy widow with two children. She helped support the family while Michelangelo worked on the library.
In 1516, after seven years' labor, the library was opened to the public. It was an enormous success, not only because it was a beautiful building but also because it contained thousands of books, including many ancient volumes that had been rescued from churches and monasteries across Italy that were being recycled at this time.
Michelangelo died in 1564 at the age of 85. But his influence on European painting and sculpture remains strong today.
Michelangelo (1475–1564) The family relocated to Florence a few weeks after his birth. Michelangelo was apprenticed to the painter Domenico Ghirlandaio around 1488. He then stayed in the household of Lorenzo de' Medici, Florence's prominent patron of the arts. It was here that he developed his mastery of sculpture.
His early work consisted mostly of sculptures for churches and public buildings. But it was when he was hired by the Duke of Florence to paint the ceiling of a large room in his palace that he began to emerge as one of Europe's greatest artists.
He spent approximately 10 years on this project and used all kinds of materials to depict God's creation story: animals, plants, and even minute details of architecture.
During this time, he also designed several statues which are now parts of the Cathedral of Florence. One of these is the David, which today stands outside the cathedral. Michelangelo used his own body as a model for this work.
After finishing the paintings in the Duke's palace, he went back home to Tuscany where he lived for the rest of his life. He died at the age of 91.
Lorenzo de' Medici (1449–1492) encouraged his people to commission works from Florence's greatest painters, including Leonardo da Vinci, Sandro Botticelli, and Michelangelo Buonarroti, and he was the impetus for a huge amount of art patronage. His father, Cosimo de' Medici, had already built one of the largest libraries in Europe and given it to the city of Florence, and Lorenzo continued this tradition by assembling one of the most important private collections of books and manuscripts in all of Italy.
He also sponsored many scientific experiments - including some with living organisms - and founded two universities: One to teach law and medicine, the other to teach philosophy and theology. Overall, he played an important role in promoting the arts and sciences in Renaissance Florence.
In addition to being one of the richest men in Europe, Lorenzo was married to Lucrezia Donati, who was a descendant of Arnolfo di Cambio, the famous artist-builder of the cathedral of Florence. She came from a family that was well-known for its support of the arts - her great-grandfather was Pope Alexander VI, and her grandfather was another famous pope named Piero. So it wasn't surprising that she too became a patron of the arts, supporting musicians, poets, sculptors, and painters.
Night, Michelangelo's marble sculpture from Giuliano de' Medici's tomb, 1520–34; in the Medici Chapel, San Lorenzo, Florence. New York: Scala/Art Resource. The figures are among the artist's most well-known and impressive works. He originally planned to include four other sculptures for the project, but only completed this one.
Michelangelo was an Italian painter and sculptor who was one of the leading artists of his time. Born in Buonaparte family, he was also called Il Divino because he was said to have some kind of divine gift that made him famous at a very young age. In 1504, when he was just twenty-one years old, he became one of the main architects of the Florentine church San Lorenzo where he was soon after appointed chief architect of the city. In 1516, Pope Leo X hired him to paint the Sistine Chapel in Rome but only finished the last three panels of the epic biblical painting ten years later. In 1532, Michelangelo was again hired by the pope to design and build a huge monument to honor him named "Pulcinella". But only the plans were finished after Michelangelo's death in 1564. During his lifetime, however, his work attracted great attention all over Europe and even more so after he became one of the main artists of the Renaissance in Italy.