Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475–1564)
Michelangelo was one of the greatest artists of all time. His creations in painting, sculpture and architecture – including the Sistine Chapel ceiling, the marble statue of David and the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome – are among the most original, and most famous, works of art ever produced. His impact over the centuries has been huge, both on artists and art lovers.
Michelangelo was a child prodigy. His talents flourished under the watchful eyes of the powerful Medici family. Over a career lasting almost eight decades, he enriched his native city of Florence as well as Rome, working for seven popes in total. He invented a powerful new form of expression, largely focused on the male nude.
Competitive and ambitious, Michelangelo was a workaholic. He persevered despite political conflict, artistic rivalry and constant disappointment about projects that were either reduced in scale or simply cancelled. During his lifetime, he was nicknamed “Il Divino” (“the divine one”) because of his exceptional talents. Curiously, he lived like a pauper despite great wealth.