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The Art Story Homepage Artists Michelangelo
Michelangelo Photo


Italian Painter, Sculptor, Poet, and Architect

Movement: High Renaissance

Born: March 6, 1475 - Caprese, Arezzo, Florence

Died: February 18, 1564 - Rome

Michelangelo Timeline

"The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection. Only God creates. The rest of us just copy."


Michelangelo is one of art history's earliest true "characters." He was a polymath genius who is widely considered to be one of the greatest artists of the Italian Renaissance period even while acquiring a reputation for being temper driven, fickle, and difficult. He was part of the revival of classical Greek and Roman art, yet his unique contributions went beyond mere mimicry of antiquity. His work was infused with a psychological intensity and emotional realism that had never been seen before and often caused quite a bit of controversy. Despite his rebelliousness, he managed to find lifelong support by the era's most renowned patrons and produced some of the world's most iconic masterpieces that continue to be revered, and even devotionally prayed upon, today.

Key Ideas

His early studies of classical Greek and Roman sculpture, coupled with a study of cadavers, led Michelangelo to become an expert at anatomy. The musculature of his bodies is so authentically precise that they've been said to breathe upon sight.
Michelangelo's dexterity with carving an entire sculpture from a single block of marble remains unparalleled. He once said, "I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free." He was known as one who could conjure real life from stone.
The artist's feisty and tempestuous personality is legendary. He often abandoned projects midway through or played out his pride or defiance of conventionality through controversial means such as painting his own face on figures in his work, the faces of his enemies in mocking fashion, or unabashedly portraying sacred characters in the nude.
Michelangelo's most seminal pieces: the massive painting of the biblical narratives in the Sistine Chapel, the 17-foot tall testament to male perfection David, and the heartbreakingly genuine Pietà are considered some of the world's most genius works of art, drawing large numbers of tourists to this day.
<i>Moses</i> by Michelangelo
Moses by Michelangelo

"The sculptor's hand can only break the spell to free the figures slumbering in the stone," Michelangelo famously said. Carved from a single block of marble, each figure came alive with physical and psychological power, making him the most famous sculptor of all time.

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Interactive chart with Michelangelo's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
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Domenico Ghirlandaio
Lorenzo Ghiberti
Bertoldo di Giovanni
Leonardo da VinciLeonardo da Vinci

Personal Contacts

Cardinal Riario of San Giorgio
Pope Julius II
Lorenzo di Medici


Early RenaissanceEarly Renaissance
Influences on Artist
Influences on Artist
Years Worked: 1490 - 1564
Influenced by Artist
Influenced by Artist


Peter Paul RubensPeter Paul Rubens
Auguste RodinAuguste Rodin
Henry MooreHenry Moore

Personal Contacts

Giorgio VasariGiorgio Vasari
Ascanio Condivi
Vittoria Colonna
Tommaso de'Cavelalieri


Classical ArtClassical Art

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Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Zaid S Sethi

Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Kimberly Nichols

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Zaid S Sethi
Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Kimberly Nichols
Available from:
First published on 19 Jun 2018. Updated and modified regularly. Information
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