Michelangelo Biography

Early Life

Michelangelo, fully known as Michelangelo Buonarroti, was born on March 6, 1475, in a small village of Caprese located near Arezzo, in Italy. He was the second son in a family governed by Ludovico di Leonardo Buonarroti Simoni, a weak mayor of Caprese, and Francesca di Neri, who died six years after Michelangelo’s birth. In view of the imminent downfall of their family’s financial status, Michelangelo was placed into a nursing family of a stonecutter where it was said that he ingested marble dust with his nurse’s milk.


Michelangelo’s education began in Florence, known as the city of the arts during the early Renaissance. In 1488, when he was 13 years old, his father managed to place him in the workshop of the widely renowned painters Domenico and David Ghirlandaio. There, Michelangelo honed his skills under the watchful eye of Ghirlandaio who was the leading fresco painter in Florence. In less than a year in the Ghirlandaio’s workshop, the young Michelangelo had shown signs of immense potential which led to his recommendation to the sculpture school in the Medici Gardens. Here, under the patronage of the Medici family, Michelangelo’s talent prospered.


Many influences were apparent in Michelangelo’s life and works, foremost being the city of Florence itself. The intellectual and artistic climate of this city, coupled with the patronage of the Medici family, were essential in shaping his artistic flair. The classical sculptures and literature, the works of the Early Renaissance artists like Giotto and Donatello, and the humanist philosophy were also crucial inspirations. Additionally, his interactions with esteemed scholars under the Medici’s roof and his exposure to Neoplatonism deeply influenced his artwork.

Major Artwork

Michelangelo created a number of the world’s greatest masterpieces during the High Renaissance. His major works include “David,” an extraordinarily notable monumental sculpture embodying youthful beauty, strength, and humility; “Pieta,” a profound marble sculpture conveying the Virgin Mary cradling her lifeless son Jesus Christ; “Moses,” an imposing figure of the biblical prophet; and the “Tomb of Giuliano de’ Medici.” Michelangelo’s most remarkable frescoes are the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and “The Last Judgment” on the altar wall of the chapel, both showcasing a mastery of human form and emotions and an awe-inspiring sense of the divine.

Art Movements

Michelangelo is most associated with the High Renaissance, an art movement that took place between 1490 and 1527. This period saw the evolution of art, from embodying only religious themes to encompassing a wider range of subjects including mythology and portraiture. It was characterized by harmony, balance, and the practical application of the laws of nature in art. Michelangelo’s later years were part of the Mannerism period, which grew out of the High Renaissance’s well-balanced compositions to accentuate complexity and sophistication.


Michelangelo passed away on February 18, 1564, at the age of 88 in Rome. His legacy, however, continues to live. Michelangelo was one of a kind, a genius whose works mostly astounded his contemporaries and continue to impress even in the present times. The grandiosity of his works, the innovative presentations and the deep emotional intensity he brought out in his characters remain unrivaled. His peerless contribution to painting, sculpture, and architecture make him an icon of the Italian High Renaissance and one of the most influential artists in history.

All Michelangelo Artwork on 30 Art

Artwork Name Year Medium
Adam and Eve 1512
Study for an ignudo c.1508; Rome, Italy chalk,paper
Study for a “Resurrection of Christ” 1533; Rome, Italy chalk,paper
Study for a risen Christ 1533; Rome, Italy chalk,paper
Study for “Christ on the cross with Mourners” 1548; Rome, Italy chalk,paper
Study for Haman c.1508; Rome, Italy chalk,paper