Art by Michelangelo’s Hands

There is an art in capturing images with a photograph. But to sculpt a perfect anatomical person is something to marvel at. To take perfect photos is hard enough, one needs the best camera of the best quality and a sense of capturing angles to perfection. But to sculpt a full-size person requires a kind of finesse that rarely exists nowadays. It also requires a strong determination to do it correctly and to follow through till the end. Michelangelo did not have a camera yet he captured things perfectly, He sculpted many bodies and all of them were incredible.

Michelangelo was born on March 6, 1475, in Caprese, Italy, the second of five sons. He was born to his father by the name of Ludovico di Leonardo di Buonarotto Simoni, who at the time was briefly serving as a magistrate to the small village of Caprese. Michelangelo was still an infant when they returned to Florence. His mother Francesca Neri, was ill at the time so then Michelangelo was placed in a family of stone cutters. His mother died in 1841 when he was only six years of age.

Michelangelo had no interest in school and preferred drawing what he saw or watching others paint. Then Francesco Granacci, introduced him to Domenico Ghirlandaio a painter. His father had come to discover early on that Michelangelo had no interest in the family financial business, so he agreed to apprentice him at the age of 13 to the Florentine workshop. There Michelangelo was exposed to “fresco”. Fresco is the art of painting water-based pigments on freshly applied plaster.

After one year at Ghirlandaio’s workshop, from 1489 to 1492 he studied classical sculptures in the palace gardens of Florentine Ruler Lorenzo the Magnificent. His time with the family permitted many opportunities for him to interact with the elites of the era. Like the sculptor Bertoldo di Giovanni and exposing him to poets, humanists, and scholars. In addition, he had the permission of the Catholic church to study cadavers for more references on anatomy, but the exposer to the corpses had an adverse effect on his health.

After Lorenzo the Magnificent’s death, there was much political tension because of this Michelangelo had to flee to Florence in 1495 where he began work as a sculptor. Michelangelo had sculpted a cupid statue and it was aged by either himself or his art dealer to give an antique look. Then, Cardinal Riario of San Giorgio bought the statue believing that it was an antique. When he discovered that he had been duped he demanded his money back. In the end, though Riario was very impressed with Michelangelo and invited him to Rome where he would live and work for the rest of his life.

Though Michelangelo held the respect of many elites he did not have many friends. He had a contentious personality and a quick temper. Which led to fractious relationships.

His death followed a brief illness he died in his home in Macel de’ Corvi, Rome. As Michelangelo had no children when he died in 1564 on February 18 a nephew bore his body home to Basilica di Santa Croce — his chosen place of burial, where he was revered as the ‘father and master of all the arts.’

His life-like sculptures and paintings were largely influential on other Renaissance painters. His art was copied and imitated by many artists in a form that became known as Mannerism. Mannerist painters exaggerated and elongated the human bodies proportions.

Michelangelo achieved fame and wealth in his lifetime a very rare occurrence among artists. He also had the peculiar distinction to see two biographies about him published, one written by Giorgio Vasari and the other by Ascanio Condivi. Awe of Michelangelo’s artistic mastery has lasted for centuries and he is synonymous with the best of the Italian Renaissance.

In conclusion, in order to sculpt that perfect picture, Michelangelo sought, it took many years of practice and devotion. That would serve him well and ensure that his name is remembered for centuries to come.