Michelangelo was a younger contemporary of Leonardo da Vinci and
like da Vinci, was a genius. Although his range of talents wasn't as
wide as da Vinci's (he focused only on painting and sculpture), the
work that he produced was certainly the equal of the older man's. He
is probably best known for two works: the fresco on the ceiling of
the Sistine Chapel and his sculpture entitled simply David.
Michelangelo was born into a noble family, he spent his early life in
a small town where his father owned a marble quarry and a farm. Here
he lived with a sculptor and his wife who influenced the young
Michelangelo greatly. He later told his biographer that any skill he
had as a sculptor came about because he "sucked in chisels and
hammers with my mother's milk."
the time Michelangelo was 15, he had already come to the attention of
Lorenzo de Medici, the famous patron of the arts and ruler of the
Italian city of Florence. Lorenzo paid Michelangelo to produce
sculptures for him and the young man's
reputation quickly spread. In 1500, a group in Florence suggested
that he might be the man to finish a project started 40 years before
by another sculptor. Michelangelo accepted and in 1504 he completed
what is probably his most famous piece: David. This statue still
stands in Florence.
at the same time that Michelangelo was carving David from a block of
marble, he was also working for Pope Julius II in Rome. Having
commissioned Michelangelo to build his tomb, Pope Julius constantly
interrupted this work by asking Michelangelo to sculpt or paint other
things for him. One of these side-projects became the second most
famous of Michelangelo's works─the incredible frescoes on the
ceiling of the Sistine Chapel─which took four years to complete.
died in 1564, before the Pope's tomb was finished, but not before
producing works of such great quality that they inspire awe, even 500