Who Was Michelangelo? Get to Know the Renaissance Sculptor and Painter

Who was Michelangelo? Get to Know the Italian Renaissance Painter and Sculptor

World-renowned painter and sculptor Michelangelo—a star artist of the High Renaissance in Italy—remains one of the best known artists in the world, even nearly 500 years after his death. The iconic artist's star rose at an early age. At 24, a young Michelangelo Buonarroti presented a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture—the monumental marble Pietà. Originally commissioned for Cardinal Jaen Bilhéres de Lagraulas as a funerary monument, the sculptural work was unprecedented in style and skill. It was also the only work the artist ever signed. Like Michelangelo's equally renowned David, it draws many thousands of visitors today.

Michelangelo's fame as an artist has only grown since his death in 1564. Today, you can even find his works to be an integral part of the fictional conspiracies in Dan Brown's Angels and Demons, his feat of painting the Sistine Chapel ceiling while lying on his back is oft-referenced, and the chapel is a popular highlight of any tour of the Vatican. Michelangelo also wrote poetry, painted frescoes, designed buildings, and sculpted marble—he was a creative genius talented in many fields.

To learn more about who Michelangelo was as an artist and how he came to be a household name, check out My Modern Met's infographic on the true Renaissance man.

Who was Michelangelo?

Michelangelo Infographic

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Madeleine Muzdakis

Madeleine Muzdakis is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and a historian of early modern Britain & the Atlantic world. She holds a BA in History and Mathematics from Brown University and an MA in European & Russian Studies from Yale University. Madeleine has worked in archives and museums for years with a particular focus on photography and arts education. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking, film photography, and reading while cuddling with her cat Georgia.
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