Michelangelo and his time during the Medici family

James Calzavara

TuThur 10:10

Huma 1302, Fall 2013, Professor Stamper

Lone Star College-Cyfair – “This blog is for a college course research project”

Joost Keizer, EBSCOhost


Michelangelo Buonarroti was born in Caprese in 1475 where his father was the chief Florentine official, but was brought up in Florence. At the age of twelve he was apprenticed to the painter Ghirlandaio. However Ghirlandaio’s pupil Granacci introduced Michelangelo to the Medici’s collection of antique sculpture; his talent was discovered by Lorenzo the Magnificent, who gave him a home in his palace. There, surrounded by humanists and poets, at the heart of the Italian Renaissance, he learnt the craft of sculpture from Bertoldo who supervised the antique collection. Michelangelo was not only active as a painter and sculptor, but was an accomplished poet and later a brilliant architect, active until a few days before his death in 1564 aged 89. During that time he not only witnessed a complete change in the standing of the artist in society, but also the Reformation and Catholic Counter Reformation with their associated political intrigue. Nowhere are these changes more clearly demonstrated than in Michelangelo’s own life and works. Michelangelo was in the Medici household when they were ousted from power. There he had carved the Battle of the Centaurs and The Madonna of the Stairs, two of the works of his most pagan period. His struggle between his love of beauty shown in antique pagan figures, and his Christian belief laid the seed not only for his tormented life but also for his art. Michelangelo fled to Bologna where he completed St.Dominic’s tomb, and then to Rome where he carved the Bacchus and Pieta and painted the Manchester Madonna and The Entombmen. He then returned to Florence and carved the famous David. Michelangelo’s work for the Medicis in Florence was interrupted when they were again driven out in 1526; his loyalties were divided between his patrons and his republican sympathies, but this time he stayed in the city and designed fortifications for the Florentine Republic. However his plans were not implemented as the Medicis returned. Michelangelo was forgiven and continued to work on the Medici Chapel.


Works Cited

History of Art Department, Yale University,

   PO Box 208272, New Haven, Conn. 06520, joost.keizer@yale.edu


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