Michelangelo Buonarroti was born on March 6, 1475, in Caprese, a town in Tuscany. His parents were Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, the podesta, or mayor, of Caprese, and Francesca di Neri, who died when Michelangelo was six. The Buonarroti family was descended from Florentine nobility, but its financial and social positions had been seriously compromised by the time Michelangelo was born. A month after Michelangelo’s birth, the family returned to Florence, where Michelangelo was entrusted to a wet-nurse.
In 1485, Lodovico Buonarroti remarried, and Michelangelo returned to Florence to live with his family, briefly attending a local school. Although his father did not approve, Michelangelo became an apprentice in the studio of Domenico and David Ghirlandaio, where he made sketches of Early Renaissance works and probably learned fresco painting. In early 1489, he left the Ghirlandaio brothers’ studio to enroll in Bertoldo di Giovanni’s school of sculpture, where he worked on clay and marble copies of Classical works.
In 1490, the fifteen-year-old Michelangelo’s talent was so advanced that Lorenzo de’ Medici, known as “The Magnificent”, an important Florentine patron of the arts, invited the young artist to live in his palace. Michelangelo stayed in the de’ Medici home until Lorenzo died in April 1492, and his time there proved extremely important to his development. In Lorenzo’s palace, Michelangelo was able to continue his academic education on an informal basis, and he was exposed to both the leading champion of Neoplatonism, Marsilio Ficino, and to its greatest detractor, the religious fanatic Girolamo Savonarola. In 1492, Michelangelo was invited back to the Medici palace by Piero de’Medici, where he worked until the French invaded under Charles VII in 1494, whereupon he fled to Venice and Bologna. Florence briefly became a republic, and Michelangelo returned in 1495 to work at the Medici palace.
Michelangelo Buonarroti is arguably one of the most inspired creators in the history of art and the most potent force in the Italian High Renaissance. As a sculptor, architect, painter, and poet, he exerted a tremendous influence on his contemporaries and on subsequent Western art in general. Michelangelo was born March 6, 1475, in the small village of Capresenear Arezzo. He lived during the ...