He received his primary education at a Latin school in Florence. He studied painting at Ghirlandaio, sculpture at Bertoldo di Giovanni in the art school founded by Lorenzo Medici in the Medici Gardens. He copied the frescoes of Giotto and Masaccio, studied the sculpture of Donatello, and in 1494 in Bologna met with the works of Jacopo della Quercia. In the house of Lorenzo, where Michelangelo lived for two years, he became acquainted with the philosophy of Neoplatonism, which later had a strong influence on his world outlook and work. The attraction to the monumental enlargement of forms was already evident in his first works – the reliefs “Madonna at the Stairs” (c. 1491, Casa Buonarroti, Florence) and “Battle of the Centaurs” (c. 1492, ibid.).
First Roman period (1496-1501)
In Rome, Michelangelo continued the study of the ancient sculpture, which had become one of the sources of its rich plastics, begun in the Medici Gardens. The first Roman period includes the antikizirovanny statue of Bacchus (c. 1496, the National Museum, Florence) and the sculpture group “Pieta” (c. 1498-99), indicating the beginning of the creative maturity of the master.
Florence period (1501-06). Statue of david
Returning to Florence in 1501, Michelangelo received an order from the government of the republic to create a 5.5-meter statue of David (1501-04, Academy, Florence). Installed on the main square of Florence next to the town hall of the Palazzo Vecchio (now replaced by a copy), it was supposed to become a symbol of freedom of the republic. Michelangelo depicted David not as a fragile teenager trampling Goliath’s severed head, as the masters of the 15th century did, but as a beautiful, athletically built giant at the time before the battle, full of confidence and formidable strength (contemporaries called her terribilita – awesome). 1501-05 Michelangelo worked on another order of the government – a cardboard for the fresco “The Battle of Cascina”, which, together with Leonardo da Vinci’s painting “The Battle of Angiari”, was to decorate the hall of the Palazzo Vecchio. The murals were not carried out, but the sketch of Michelangelo’s cardboard was preserved, portending the dynamics of poses and gestures of painting the Sistine ceiling.
The second Roman period (1505-16)
In 1505, Pope Julius II called Michelangelo to Rome, entrusting him with work on his tombstone. Michelangelo’s project provided for the creation, in contrast to the traditional for Italy of this time wall gravestones, a majestic, free-standing mausoleum, decorated with 40 statues more than human height. The quick cooling of Julius II to this plan and the cessation of funding for work caused a quarrel between the master and dad and Michelangelo’s demonstrative departure to Florence in March 1506. He returned to Rome only in 1508, receiving from Julius II an order for painting the Sistine Chapel.
Murals of the Sistine Chapel
The frescoes of the Sistine ceiling (1508-12) – the most ambitious of Michelangelo’s realized plans. Rejecting the project proposed to him with the figures of the 12 apostles in the lateral parts of the vault and with ornamental filling of its main part, Michelangelo developed his own program of murals, which still causes various interpretations. The painting of the huge vault, covering the vast (40.93 x 13.41 m) papal chapel, includes 9 large compositions in the mirror of the vault on the themes of the book of Genesis – from Creation to the Flood, 12 huge figures of sybil and prophets in the lateral zones of the vault, the cycle “Ancestors of Christ” in formwork and lunettes, 4 compositions in angular sails on the themes of the miraculous deliverance of the Jewish people. Dozens of majestic characters inhabiting this grand universe, endowed with a titanic appearance and colossal spiritual energy, reveal an extraordinary wealth of complex, penetrated by a powerful movement of gestures, postures, counterposts, camera angles.
Tombstone of Pope Julius II
After the death of Julius II (1513), Michelangelo again begins to work on his tombstone, creates in 1513-16 three statues – “The Dying Slave”, “The Rising Slave” (both in the Louvre) and “Moses”. The initial draft, repeatedly reviewed by the heirs of Julius II, was not implemented. According to the sixth agreement concluded with them, in 1545 a two-tier wall gravestone was installed in the Roman church of San Pietro in Vincoli, which included the “Moses” and 6 statues, made in the early 1540s. in the workshop of Michelangelo. Four unfinished statues of “Slaves” (c. 1520-36, Academy, Florence), originally intended for tombstones, give an idea of the creative method of Michelangelo. Unlike sculptors contemporary to him, he worked a block of marble not from all sides, but only from one side, as if extracting figures from the thickness of the stone; in his poems, he repeatedly says that the sculptor only releases the image originally hidden in stone. Presented in tense and dramatic poses, “Slaves”, as it were, themselves are trying to break out of the stone mass that bound them.
In 1516, Pope Leo X of Medici commissioned Michelangelo to develop a project for the facade of the church of San Lorenzo in Florence, built in the 15th century. Brunelleschi.