b Caprese 1475 d Rome 1564
Born: March 6, 1475
Died: February 18, 1564
Michelangelo was one of the greatest sculptors of the Italian Renaissance and one of its greatest painters and architects.
Michelangelo Buonarroti was born on March 6, 1475, in Caprese, Italy, a village where his father, Lodovico Buonarroti, was briefly serving as a Florentine government agent. The family moved back to Florence before Michelangelo was one month old. Michelangelo's mother died when he was six. From his childhood Michelangelo was drawn to the arts, but his father considered this pursuit below the family's social status and tried to discourage him. However, Michelangelo prevailed and was apprenticed (worked to learn a trade) at the age of thirteen to Domenico Ghirlandaio (1449?C1494), the most fashionable painter in Florence at the time.
After a year Michelangelo's apprenticeship was broken off. The boy was given access to the collection of ancient Roman sculpture of the ruler of Florence, Lorenzo de' Medici (1449?C1492). He dined with the family and was looked after by the retired sculptor who was in charge of the collection. This arrangement was quite unusual at the time.
Michelangelo's earliest sculpture, the Battle of the Centaurs (mythological creatures that are part man and part horse), a stone work created when he was about seventeen, is regarded as remarkable for the simple, solid forms and squarish proportions of the figures, which add intensity to their violent interaction.
Soon after Lorenzo died in 1492, the Medici family fell from power and Michelangelo fled to Bologna. In 1494 he carved three saints for the church of San Domenico. They show dense forms, in contrast to the linear forms which were then dominant in sculpture.
After returning to Florence briefly, Michelangelo moved to Rome. There he carved a Bacchus for a banker's garden of ancient sculpture. This is Michelangelo's earliest surviving large-scale work, and his only sculpture meant to be viewed from all sides.
In 1498 the same banker commissioned Michelangelo to carve the Piet?? now in St. Peter's. The term piet?? refers to a type of image in which Mary supports the dead Christ across her knees. Larger than life size, the Piet?? contains elements which contrast and reinforce each other: vertical and horizontal, cloth and skin, alive and dead, female and male.
On Michelangelo's return to Florence in 1501 he was recognized as the most talented sculptor of central Italy. He was commissioned to carve the David for the Florence Cathedral.
Michelangelo's Battle of Cascina was commissioned in 1504; several sketches still exist. The central scene shows a group of muscular soldiers climbing from a river where they had been swimming to answer a military alarm. This fusion of life with colossal grandeur henceforth was the special quality of Michelangelo's art.
From this time on, Michelangelo's work consisted mainly of very large projects that he never finished. He was unable to turn down the vast commissions of his great clients which appealed to his preference for the grand scale.
Pope Julius II (1443?C1513) called Michelangelo to Rome in 1505 to design his tomb, which was to include about forty life-size statues. Michelangelo worked on the project off and on for the next forty years.
In 1508 Pope Julius II commissioned Michelangelo to decorate the ceiling of the chief Vatican chapel, the Sistine. The traditional format of ceiling painting contained only single figures. Michelangelo introduced dramatic scenes and an original framing system, which was his earliest architectural design. The chief elements are twelve male and female prophets (the latter known as sibyls) and nine stories from Genesis.
Michelangelo stopped for some months halfway along. When he returned to the ceiling, his style underwent a shift toward a more forceful grandeur and a richer emotional tension than in any previous work. The images of the Separation of Light and Darkness, and Ezekiel illustrate this greater freedom and mobility.
After the ceiling was completed in 1512, Michelangelo returned to the tomb of Julius and carved a Moses and two Slaves. His models were the same physical types he used for the prophets and their attendants in the Sistine ceiling. Julius's death in 1513 halted the work on his tomb.
Pope Leo X, son of Lorenzo de' Medici, proposed a marble facade for the family parish church of San Lorenzo in Florence to be decorated with statues by Michelangelo. After four years of quarrying and designing the project was canceled.
In 1520 Michelangelo was commissioned to execute the Medici Chapel for two young Medici dukes. It contains two tombs, each with an image of the deceased and two allegorical (symbolic) figures: Day and Night on one tomb, and Morning and Evening on the other.
A library, the Biblioteca Laurenziana, was built at the same time on the opposite side of San Lorenzo to house Pope Leo X's books. The entrance hall and staircase are some of Michelangelo's most astonishing architecture, with recessed columns resting on scroll brackets set halfway up the wall and corners stretched open rather than sealed.
Michelangelo wrote many poems in the 1530s and 1540s. Approximately three hundred survive. The earlier poems are on the theme of Neoplatonic love (belief that the soul comes from a single undivided source to which it can unite again) and are full of logical contradictions and intricate images. The later poems are Christian. Their mood is penitent (being sorrow and regretful); and they are written in a simple, direct style.
In 1534 Michelangelo left Florence for the last time, settling in Rome. The next ten years were mainly given over to painting for Pope Paul III (1468?C1549). Related Paintings of Michelangelo Buonarroti :. | Drunkenness of Noah | The first bay of the ceiling | The Creation of Adam | Last Judgement | Christ Carrying the Cross |
Related Artists:Courbet, Gustave
French Realist Painter, 1819-1877
Gustave Courbet was born at Ornans on June 10, 1819. He appears to have inherited his vigorous temperament from his father, a landowner and prominent personality in the Franche-Comt region. At the age of 18 Gustave went to the College Royal at Besançon. There he openly expressed his dissatisfaction with the traditional classical subjects he was obliged to study, going so far as to lead a revolt among the students. In 1838 he was enrolled as an externe and could simultaneously attend the classes of Charles Flajoulot, director of the cole des Beaux-Arts. At the college in Besançon, Courbet became fast friends with Max Buchon, whose Essais Poetiques (1839) he illustrated with four lithographs. In 1840 Courbet went to Paris to study law, but he decided to become a painter and spent much time copying in the Louvre. In 1844 his Self-Portrait with Black Dog was exhibited at the Salon. The following year he submitted five pictures; only one, Le Guitarrero, was accepted. After a complete rejection in 1847, the Liberal Jury of 1848 accepted all 10 of his entries, and the critic Champfleury, who was to become Courbet's first staunch apologist, highly praised the Walpurgis Night. Courbet achieved artistic maturity with After Dinner at Ornans, which was shown at the Salon of 1849. By 1850 the last traces of sentimentality disappeared from his work as he strove to achieve an honest imagery of the lives of simple people, but the monumentality of the concept in conjunction with the rustic subject matter proved to be widely unacceptable. At this time the notion of Courbet's "vulgarity" became current as the press began to lampoon his pictures and criticize his penchant for the ugly. His nine entries in the Salon of 1850 included the Portrait of Berlioz, the Man with the Pipe, the Return from the Fair, the Stone Breakers, and, largest of all, the Burial at Ornans, which contains over 40 life-size figures whose rugged features and static poses are reinforced by the somber landscape. A decade later Courbet wrote: "The basis of realism is the negation of the ideal. Burial at Ornans was in reality the burial of romanticism." In 1851 the Second Empire was officially proclaimed, and during the next 20 years Courbet remained an uncompromising opponent of Emperor Napoleon III. At the Salon of 1853, where the painter exhibited three works, the Emperor pronounced one of them, The Bathers, obscene; nevertheless, it was purchased by a Montpellier innkeeper, Alfred Bruyas, who became the artist's patron and host. While visiting Bruyas in 1854 Courbet painted his first seascapes. Among them is the Seashore at Palavas, in which the artist is seen waving his hat at the great expanse of water. In a letter to Jules Vall's written in this period Courbet remarked: "Oh sea! Your voice is tremendous, but it will never succeed in drowning out the voice of Fame shouting my name to the entire world." Courbet was handsome and flamboyant, naively boastful, and aware of his own worth. His extraordinary selfconfidence is also evident in another painting of 1854, The Meeting, in which Courbet, stick in hand, approaches Bruyas and his servant, who welcome him with reverential attitudes. It has recently been shown that the picture bears a relationship to the theme of the Wandering Jew as it was commonly represented in the naive imagery of the popular Épinal prints. Of the 14 paintings Courbet submitted to the Paris World Exhibition of 1855, 3 major ones were rejected. In retaliation, he showed 40 of his pictures at a private pavilion he erected opposite the official one. In the preface to his catalog Courbet expressed his intention "to be able to represent the customs, the ideas, the appearance of my own era according to my own valuation; to be not only a painter but a man as well; in short, to create living art." One of the rejected works was the enormous painting The Studio, the full title of which was Real Allegory, Representing a Phase of Seven Years of My Life as a Painter. The work is charged with a symbolism which, in spite of obvious elements, remains obscure. At the center, between the two worlds expressed by the inhabitants of the left and right sides of the picture, is Courbet painting a landscape while a nude looks over his shoulder and a child admires his work. Champfleury found the notion of a "real allegory" ridiculous and concluded that Courbet had lost the conviction and simplicity of the earlier works. Young Ladies by the Seine (1856) only served to further convince the critic of Courbet's diminished powers. But if Courbet had begun to disappoint the members of the old realist circle, his popular reputation, particularly outside France, was growing. He visited Frankfurt in 1858-1859, where he took part in elaborate hunting parties and painted a number of scenes based on direct observation. His Stag Drinking was exhibited in Besançon, where Courbet won a medal, and in 1861 his work, as well as a lecture on his artistic principles, met with great success in Antwerp. With the support of the critic Jules Castagnary, Courbet opened a school where students dissatisfied with the training at the cole des Beaux-Arts could hear him extol the virtues of independence from authority and dedication to nature. eric bogislaus skjoldebrand
Swedish Artist.PROCACCINI, Carlo Antonio
Italian painter, Lombard school (b. 1555, Bologna, d. 1605, Milano)