Michelangelo Buonarroti: sculptor, painter, architect, and poet

IN ENCYCLOPEDIAS and lexicons we find: " Michelangelo Buonarroti: sculptor, painter, architect, and poet." He would not have had it this way. Rather, just "Michelangelo: sculptor." This we must accept if we are to appreciate the meaning of his art.

Michelangelo was like the boy who won't go out to play. A precocious genius, he was always drawing. His father sent him first to the atelier of Ghirlandaio, the painter, and then to Bertoldo, the sculptor. Soon he enjoyed the good fortune that came to all promising young men of the arts in Florence, the patronage of Lorenzo de Medici.

Patronage followed its usual course for those days--commissions in Florence and elsewhere, and finally the summons to come to Rome. Disappointed in the failure of an order to execute a marble tomb for Pope Julius II, he accepted the papal command to decorate the Sistine Chapel. Under conditions unbelievably adverse and difficult, he covered the ceiling of the chapel, alone, with what was surely the most grandiose conception in all of Western painting.

Painting, sculpture, architecture, poetry--these were the facets of his expression, and usually they were active simultaneously. He lived long in a time of plagues and robust living, almost a full century.

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