High Renaissance - Movement

Michelangelo Buonarroti, better known as Michelangelo, was widely regarded as one of the most brilliant artists of the Italian Renaissance. He was a painter, sculptor, architect, and poet and was part of classical Greek and Roman art revival.

All his life, Michelangelo focused his works on marble sculpture and the other arts only during specific periods. Several of his painting, sculpture and architectural creations rank among the most famous. Although the murals on the Sistine Chapel ceiling are probably the best known of his works, the artist thought of himself primarily as a sculptor.

In 1498, while in Rome, Cardinal Jean de Bilhères commissioned Michelangelo to express that he wanted to obtain the most exquisite marble work in Rome. Michelangelo accepted the challenge and sculpted and finished Pieta in two years from a single block of marble. The masterpiece is now in St. Peters in the Vatican. It showed the lifeless body of Jesus on the lap of the Virgin Mary after his crucifixion.

In 1504, Michelangelo returned to Florence and finished his most celebrated sculpture, David, portrayed when he decided to battle Goliath. The statue was an emblem of Florentine liberty and is said to be a masterwork of line and form.

His work infused a psychological intensity and emotional realism that had never been seen before and often caused controversy. It was believed that Michelangelo could envision the finished sculpture just by staring at a block of stone.

Michelangelo also completed a painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. This grand fresco contains around three hundred figures over five hundred square meters of the ceiling, and it took him four years, lying on his back, to accomplish this masterful work.

The scenes represented are from the Book of Genesis, the most famous of which is The Creation of Adam, showing the outstretched hands of God and Adam. Possibly the most distinguished and replicated detail from any renaissance piece. In this work, Michelangelo proved his deep understanding of the human form and how to display it in a vast array of different poses. His Pieta, David, and the Sistine Chapel are maintained and preserved and continue to draw crowds of visitors worldwide. Alongside Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael, Michelangelo is considered one of the three giants of the Renaissance. His lifetime triumphs give confidence to the title commonly attributed to him of Il Divino (The Divine).

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