Michelangelo was born in 1475 in Caprese near Arezzo, where his father was mayor. When he is a few months old, the family goes to Florence. When he was very young he began to frequent the Ghirlandaio workshop. Lorenzo de ‘Medici impressed by Michelangelo invites him to his court. Michelangelo attended the gardens of San Marco where Bertoldo instructed him in a theoretical school. B.
Ertoldo had the artists copy the many statues present in the gardens. This way of doing school precedes the academicism of the 19th century. In those gardens, Michelangelo’s poetics was born: after having done a work of copying, you have to start inventing. According to Michelangelo, the artist must form in his mantle the precise image of what he wants to represent and then transfer it with a mental operation with his hands in the marble. A characteristic of his statues is the unfinished technique, where the block of marble is still present in some parts of the finished work to highlight the beauty of the figures and the fact that, according to him, they came out of the marble of which he removed the “overwhelming”. Michelangelo was a great believer. He wants to represent the beautiful, the ideal. During his life a series of historical events (Lorenzo de ‘Medici dies; republic of Savonarola then killed by a heretic; republic of Pier Soderini; return of descendants of the Medici; sack of Rome in 1527; start of protest by Martin Luther) his way of believing and conceiving beauty. For him the beauty is no longer the external one but the internal one. Michelangelo says that the most beautiful thing in the universe is the human body, especially the one in motion; this is demonstrated by some works in Florence, where he remained until 1496. Among these he is the Centauromachia, where there are tangled bodies, and a cartoon that was commissioned to be placed in a public room in front of one of Leonardo, the Battle of Anghiari. Michelangelo instead did the Battle of Cascina where to show maximum movement he represented the Florentine soldiers as they dress after a bath in the Arno, warned of the arrival of the enemies. In 1496 he goes to Rome where the works that most influence him are the Torso and the Laocoonte. In 1498 he was commissioned by Cardinal Jean Bilhères the Pietà (search for ideal beauty, Madonna with a face as young as that of Jesus, exalts the drapery of the robe to make a contrast and highlight even more the perfection of Christ; his way of representing piety was unknown and never been done that way, inspired by Nordic iconography). This is the work that makes him famous. He returns to Florence in 1501, where the David and Tondo Doni are commissioned, and where he remains alone until 1504. Michelangelo returns to Rome to remain there until 1514. In Rome he is commissioned the work that will torment him throughout his life : the tomb of Pope Julius II, a strong and ambitious man, rather severe and cruel. He wanted to revive the Church, promote the reconstruction of St. Peter’s and have a mammoth tomb built which was to count 40 statues. Michelangelo will spend six months in Carrara to choose the marbles to use. The statues were then reduced to 6 the most famous are the Moses, the dying slave and the rebellious slave. Michelangelo will also work on the Sistine Chapel from 1508 to 1512. He returns to Florence until 1534 and finally goes back to Rome (from 1536 to 1541 he will make the bottom part of the Chapel with the Last Judgment) where he will die in 1564 (his body will be reported to Florence).
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