Michelangelo Buonarroti was one of the most famous artists in history. He was a painter, a sculptor, an architect, and a poet. He created some of the world's most beautiful and most famous paintings and statues.
Michelangelo was born in 1475 in a small Italian town near Florence. At the age of twelve, he was apprenticed to Ghirlandaio, a well-known Italian artist.
He learned to draw by copying other artists' paintings. He soon became interested in sculpture, too. At the age of 21, he went to Rome, and began to create the works of art that made him famous all over the world.
Michelangelo's first great work was the Pieta for St Peter's Cathedral. This statue shows Jesus Christ in the arms of the Virgin Mary after his death on the cross.
Michelangelo then went to Florence, where he produced his famous statue of David. It is 18 feet high and carved from a solid piece of marble. The statue is so lifelike that it seems ready to spring into action. We have a copy of this statue in the Pushkin Fine Arts Museum.
At the age of 30 Michelangelo was called to Rome and for the next 30 years he worked there for a succession of Popes.
In 1508, he began painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. He spent more than two years painfully lying on his back on a scaffold, painting the figures and Biblical scenes on half of the ceiling. After a long rest, he completed the second half in about a year. People consider the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel to be one of the world's greatest and most amazing works of art.
Michelangelo embodied the perfect multi-talented Renaissance man. His influence on later artists is immense.