- Michelangelo Michelangelo (m[imac]`k[e^]l*[a^]n"j[-e]*l[-o]; It. pron. m[-e]`k[e^]l*[aum]n"j[-e]*l[-o]) prop. n. Michelangelo Buonarroti, renowned Italian painter, sculptor and architect; 1475-1564. [WordNet 1.5] Born Michelagnolo Buonarroti at Caprese, March 6, 1475: died at Rome, Feb. 18, 1564. A famous Italian sculptor, painter, architect, and poet. He came of an ancient but poor Florentine family. He was apprenticed to the painter Ghirlandajo April 1, 1488, and with other boys from the atelier began soon after to study the antique marbles collected by Lorenzo de' Medici in the garden of San Marco. Lorenzo discovered him there, and in 1489 took him into his palace, where he had every opportunity for improvement and study. The Centaur relief in the Casa Buonarroti was made at this time, at the suggestion of Angelo Poliziano. In 1491 he came under the influence of Savonarola, whom he always held in great reverence. In 1492 Lorenzo died, and Michelangelo's intimate relations with the Medici family terminated. In 1493 he made a large wooden crucifix for the prior of S. Spirito, and with the assistance of the prior began the profound study of anatomy in which he delighted. Before the expulsion of the Medici he fled to Bologna, where he was soon engaged upon the Arca di San Domenico begun by Niccolo Pisano in 1265, to which he added the well-known kneeling angel of Bologna. He was probably much influenced by the reliefs of Della Quercia about the door of San Petronio: two of these he afterward imitated in the Sistine chapel. In 1495 he returned to Florence, when he is supposed to have made the San Giovannino in the Berlin Museum. From 1496 to 1501 he lived in Rome. To this period are attributed the Bacchus of the Bargello and the Cupid of the South Kensington Museum. The most important work of this time is the Piet[`a] di San Pietro (1408). In 1501 he returned to Florence, and Sept. 18 began the great David of the Signoria, made from a block of marble abandoned by Agostino di Duccio, which was placed in position May 18, 1504. The two roundels of the Madonna and Child in Burlington House and the Bargello were probably made then, and also the picture of the Holy Family in the Uffizi. In 1503 Piero Soderini, gonfaloniere, projected two frescos for the Sala Grande of the Palazzo Vecchio. The commission for one was given to Leonardo da Vinci, that for the other to Michelangelo in 1504. For it he prepared the great cartoon of the Battle of Cascina, an incident in the war with Pisa when, July 28, 1364, a band of 400 Florentines were attacked while bathing by Sir John Hawkwood's English troopers. This cartoon contained 288 square feet of surface, and was crowded with nude figures in every position. It had, probably, more influence upon the art of the Renaissance than any other single work. To about this time may be attributed the beginning of his poetic creations, of the multitude of which undoubtedly written a few only have come down to us. In Nov., 1505, he was called to Rome by Pope Julius II. to design his mausoleum, the history of which runs through the entire life of the master. Repeated designs and repeated attempts to carry them out were made, only to be frustrated by the successors of the great Pope. The matter finally ended in the reign of Paul III. by the placing in San Pietro in Vincoli of the statue of Moses surrounded by mediocre works finished by Raffaello da Montelupo and others. The Two Captives of the Louvre are part of the work as originally designed. In the spring of 1506 he assisted in the discovery of the Laocoon in the palace of Titus. His favorite antique was the Belvedere Torso, supposed to be a copy of the Hercules Epitrapezius of Lysippus. In April, 1506, probably as a result of the intrigues of Bramante, he was forced to abandon Rome for Florence. In the autumn he joined the Pope at Bologna, and made (1506-07) the bronze statue of Julius which stood over the door of San Petronio and was destroyed in 1511. The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel was begun early in 1508, and finished in Oct., 1512. Julius II. died Feb. 21, 1513, and was succeeded by Cardinal Giovanni de' Medici, son of the great Lorenzo, as Leo X, Michelangelo was diverted from the tomb of Julius by Leo, and employed from 1517 to 1520 in an abortive attempt to build the fa[,c]ade of San Lorenzo in Florence, and in developing the quarries of Carrara and Seravezza. In 1520 he began, by order of Cardinal Giulio de' Medici, the sacristy of San Lorenzo and the tombs of Giuliano and Lorenzo de' Medici with the famous reclining figures on the sarcophagi, perhaps the most thoroughly characteristic of all his works. Leo X. was succeeded by Adrian VI. in 1521, and he in turn by Giulio de' Medici as Clement VII. in 1523. On April 6, 1529, Michelangelo was appointed "governor and procurator-general over the construction and fortification of the city walls" in Florence. On Sept. 21, 1529, occurred his unexplained flight to Venice. He returned Nov. 20 of the same year, and was engaged in the defense of the city until its capitulation, Aug. 12, 1530. Before the end of the year 1534 he left Florence, never to return. The statues of the sacristy, including the Madonna and Child, were arranged after his departure. Alessandro Farnese succeeded Clement VII. as Paul III., Oct., 1534. The Last Judgment was begun about Sept. 1, 1535, and finished before Christmas, 1541. Michelangelo's friendship for Vittoria Colonna began about 1538. (See Colonna, Vittoria.) The frescos of the Pauline Chapel were painted between 1542 and 1549. They represent the conversion of St. Paul and the martyrdom of St. Peter. He succeeded Antonio da Sangallo in 1546 in the offices which he held, and became architect of St Peter's Jan. 1, 1547. From this time until his death he worked on the church without compensation. The dome alone was completed with any regard to his plans. [Century Dict. 1906]
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.