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Essay/Term paper: Michelangelo

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Humanities

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During the dates 1475-1564 there were

many famous painters working all around the world. One of

which was Michelangelo. He painted and sculpted many

famous items that are still talked about today. Michelangelo

led a very buisy life, as of which you will be reading about

today. Michelangelo was born in 1475 in a small village of

Caprese near Arezzo At the age of 13 michelangelo"s

father Ludovico Buonarroti placed michelangelo in the

workshop of the painter Domenico Ghirlandaio through

connections with the ruling Medici family. About two years

later michelangelo studied at the sculpture school in the

Medici gardens. Shortly thereafter he was invited into the

household of the Magnincent, Lorenzo de"Medici. Where

he had an oppertunity to converse with younger Medici,

which later became pope Leo X. As he was also

introduced to humanists as Marsilio Ficino and the poet

Politian, who were frequent visiters. By the age of 16

Michelangelo had produced two relief sculptures ,the battle

of the Centaurs and the Madonna of the stairs, which

showed that he had achieved a very personal style at a very

early age. His patron Lorenzo died in 1492; two years later

Michelangelo fled Florence,when the Medici were

temporarily expelled. For a while he was settled in

Bologna, where in 1494 and 1495 he sculpted several

marble statuettes for the arca (shrine) di San Domenico.

Michelangelo went to Rome, where he was able to

examine many newly unearthed classical statues and ruins.

He soon produced his first large sculpture the over life size

Bacchus in 1496-1498. One of the few works of pagan

rather than Christian subject made by the master, it rivaled

ancient statuary, the highest mark of admiration in

Renaissance Rome. At about the samr time period

Michelangelo did the marble Pietà in 1498. It was finished

in 1500. It was one of the most famous works of art, the

Pietà was probubly finished before Michelangelo was 25

years old, and is the only piece of work he ever signed. In

the piece the youthfull Mary is shown seated majestically,

holding the dead Christ across her lap, it was a theme that

was borrowed from northern European art. Instead of

revealing extreme grief, Mary is restrained, and her

expression is one of resignation. In this work, Michelangelo

summerizes the sculptural innovations of his 15th-century

predecessors such as Donatello, while ushering in the new

monumentality of the high Renaissance style of the

16th-century. The high point of Michelangelo"s early style

is the gigantic(4.34m/14.24ft) marble David, which was

produced between the years 1501and 1504, after returning

to florence.The old testament hero is depicted by

Michelangelo as a lithe nude youth, muscular and alert,

looking of into the distance as if he was sizing up the enemy

Goliath, whom he has not yet been encountered with. The

fiery intensity of David"s facial expression is termed

terribilità, a feature characteristic of many of

Michelangelo"s figures and of his own personality. David,

was Michelangelo"s most famous sculpture, it became the

symbol of Florence and originally was placed in the Piazza

della signoria in front of the Palazzo Vecchio, the Florentine

town hall. With this statue, Michelangelo proved to his

contemporaries that he not only surpassed all modern

artists, but also the Greeks and the Romans, by infusing

formal beauty with powerful expressiveness and meaning.

While still occupied with David,Michelangelo was given an

oppertnuity to demonstrate his ability as a painter with the

commission of a mural, the Battle of Cascina, destined for

the Sala dei Cinqueccento of the Palazzo Vecchio,

opposite of Leonardo"s Battle of Anghiari. Neither

Leonardo or Michelangelo carried there assignment

beyond the stage of a cartoon, a full-scale preparatory

drawing. Michelangelo created a series of nude and clothed

figures in a wide variety of posesand positions that were a

prelude to his next majos project, the ceiling of the Sistine

Chapel in the Vatican. In 1505 the Pope Julius II recalled

Michelangelo to Rome for two commissions. The most

important one was for the frescoecs of the Sistine Chapel

ceiling. Working high above the chapel floor, lying on his

back on scaffolding painting for 5 years. Michelangelo

painted, between 1508-1512, some of the finest pictorial

images of all time. On the vault of the of the papal chapel,

he divised an intricate system of decoration that included

nine scenes from the book of Genesis, begining with the

God Seperating Light from darkness and including the

creation of adam, the creation of eve, the temptation and

fall of adam and eve, and the flood. These centrally located

narratives are surrounded by alternating images of prophets

and sibyls on marble thrones, by other Old Testement

subjects, and by the studies and cartoons, devising scores

of figure types and poses. These awesome, mightly images,

demonstrating Michelangelo"s masterly understanding of

human anatomy and movement, changed the course of

painting in the West. Before the assignment of the Sistine

Chapel ceiling in 1505, Michelangelo had been

commissioned by Julius II to produce his tomb, which was

planned to be the most magnificent of Christian times. It

was to be located in the new Basilica of Saint Peter"s, then

while under construction. Michelangelo enthusiastically

went ahead with this challenging project, which was to

include more than 40 figures, spending monthes in the

quarries to obtain the necessary marble. Due to a shortage

of money, however, the pope ordered Michelangelo to put

aside the tomb project in favor of painting the Sistine

Chapel ceiling. When Michelangelo went back to work on

the tomb, he redesigned it on a much more modest scale.

Nevertheless, Michelangelo made some of his finest

sculpture for the Julius tomb, including the Moses(1515),

the central figure in the much reduced monument now

located in Rome"s church of San Pietro in Vincoli. The

muscular patriarch sits alertly in a shallow niche, holding in

its hands the tablets of the Ten Commandments, his long

beard entwined in his powerfull hands. He looks as if he

was communicating with god. Two other statues, The

Bound Slave and The Dying Slave (both structured in

1510-1513) demonstrate Michelangelo"s approach to

carving. He left both statues unfinished either because he

was satisfied with them as is, or because he no longer

planned to use them. The project for the Julius Tomb

required architectural planning, but Michelangelo"s activity

as an architect began in 1519, with the plan for the facade

of the Church fo San Lorenzo in Florence, where he had

once again moved to. In the 1520"s he also designed the

Laurentian Library and its elegant entrance hall adjoining

San Lorenzo. After the completion of these oblects

Michelangelo took as a starting point thee wall articulation

of his Florintine Predecessers, but he infused it with the

same surging energy that characterizes his sculpting and

painting"s. Michelangelo used motifs-columns,pediments,

and brackets- for a personal and expressive purpose. He

participated in the 1527-1529 war against the Medici and

supervised Florentine fortifications. While living in Florence

for this extended period, Michelangelo also undertook the

commission of the Medici Tomb"s between 1519 and

1534 for the New Sacristy of San Lorenzo. His design

called for two large wall tombs facing each other across the

high, domed room. One was intended for Lorenzo de"

Medici, Duke of Urbino; and the other for Giuliano de"

Medici; Duke of Nemours. The two complex tombs were

concieved as representing opposite types: The Lorenzo, the

contemplative, introspective personality; the Giuliano, the

active, extroverted one. He carved magnificent nude

personifications of Dawn and Dusk beneath the seated

Lorenzo, Day and night beneath Giuliano; reclining river

gods were planned to be carved out on the bottom. The

Medici Tombs were worked on lond after Michelangelo

went back to Rome in 1534, although he never returned to

his birth city. In Rome, in 1536, Michelangelo went to

work on the Last Judgement for the alter wall of the Sistine

Chapel, which was finished by Michelangelo in 1541. It

was the largest fresco of the Renaissance, it depicts

Judgement day. Christ, with a clap of thunder, puts into

motion the inevitable seperation, with the saved ascending

on the left side of the painting and the damned descending

on the right into a Dantesque hell. As was his custom,

Michelangelo portrayed all the figures nude, but prudish

draperies were added by another artist a decade later, as

the cultural climate became more conservative.

Michelangelo painted his own image in the flayed skin of

Saint Bartholomew. Although he was also given another

painting commission, which was the decoration of the

Pauline Chapel in the 1540"s, his main energies were

directed toward architecture during this phase of his life. In

1538-1539 Michelangelo recieved new plans for the

remodeling of the buildings surrounding the Campoidoglio

the capitol on the Capitoline Hill, the civic and political

heart of the city of Rome. Although Michelangelo"s

program was not carried out until the late 1550"s and not

finnished until the late 17th century, the Campoidoglio was

designed around an oval shape, with the famous bronze

equestrian statue of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius in

the center. At the same time that he preserved traditional

Roman monumentality, M Michelangelo brought new unity

to the public building facade for the Palazzo dei

Conservatori. Michelangelo"s crowning achevement as an

architect was his work at Saint Peter"s Basilica, where he

was made chief architect in 1546. According to Donato

Bramante the Dome of Saint Peter"s Basilica would be

constructed from his plans only, but Michelangelo ultimately

became responsible for the altar end of the building on the

exterior and for the final form of its dome. The great

Renaissance poet Ludovico Ariosto wrote succinctly of this

famous artist: "Michael more than mortal, divine angel."

Indeed, Michelangelo was widely awarded the epithet

"divine" because of his extraordinary accomplishments.

Two generations of Italian painters and sculptures were

impressed by his treatment of the human figure: Raphael,

Annibale Carracci, Jacopo da pontormo, Rosso

Fiorentino, Sebastiano del Piombo, and Titan. His dome

for Saint Peter"s became the symbol of authority, as well as

the model, for domes all over the Western world; the

majorityof state capitol buildingsin the united states, as well

as the Capitol building in Washington D.C., are dirived

from it. Michelangelo died in 1564 and his body was

placed in a fine monument in the church of Santa Croce. To

conclude, Michelangelo led a long and very talented life. As

a painter sculpture, poet and architect. He has many

famous pieces of work still known and talked about today,

all around the world. Many people knew him and loved

him and those who didn"t know him personaly, knew of


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