Michelangelo was born on March 6, 1475 in Caprese near Arezzo, Tuscany. He was the first artist who was recognized during his life time. He is also the first western artist whose biography was published when he is still alive. Two biographies for him was written, one was by Giorgio Vasari, who praised Michelangelo as the greatest artist since the beginning of renaissance. He is the best documented artist in 16th Century and has influenced so many areas of art developement in the West. Together with Leonardo Da Vinci, the two stood out as strong and mighty-personalities with two irreconcilably opposed attitudes to art , yet with a bond of deep understanding between them.
At age of 6, Michelangelo was sent to a Florence grammar school but he showed no interest in schooling. He would rather watch the painters at nearby churches, and draw what he saw there. His father realized he had no interest in family's financial business and agreed to send him to the painter Ghirlandaio to be trained as an apprentice. He was 13 years old at time. In this fashionable Florentine painter's workshop, Michelangelo learned the technique of Fresco and draftsmanship.
Michelangelo spent only a year at the workshop the moved into the palace of Florentine ruler Lorenzo the Magnificent, of the powerful Medici family, to study classical sculpture in the Medici gardens. He studied under famous sculptor Bertoldo di Giovanni there and exposed himself to many of the great artists of past centuries, Giotto, Masaccio, Donatello, as well as the masterpiece antiquities of ancient Greece and Rome: works that were held in Medici's vast collection. He also met many living artists, philosophers, writers and thinkers of the day, including Poliziano, Marsilio Ficino and Pico della Mirandola. It was while he was with the Medicis that Michelangelo completed his first two commissions as a sculptor: marble reliefs, Madonna of the Stairs, and Battle of the Centaurs. Both amazingly sophisticated and complex works for a teenager. Michelangelo became, during this time, an expert in portraying the human form, drawing from life and studying anatomy. He also obtained special permission from the Catholic Church to study human corpses to learn anatomy, though exposure to corpses had worsened his health condition.
After the death of Lorenzo de Medici, Michelangelo left the Court and, soon after, the arrival of Savonarola and the expulsion of the Medicis from Florence brought huge change for the young artist. After a short return to his father's house, Michelangelo left Florence during the political upheaval and, maintaining his links to his patrons, the Medicis, he followed them to Venice, then on to Bologna.
In Bologna, Michelangelo continued his work as a sculptor. He carved three statues for the Shrine of St. Dominic, an angel with a candlestick, and saints, Petronius and Proculus. Continuing to be heavily influenced and inspired by classical antiquities, Michelangelo also became involved in a scheme to pass off one of his sculptures, a marble cupid, as an ancient work. Allegedly, he was told by Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de Medici to make it look as though it had been dug up, so he could sell it in Rome. Cardinal Raffaele Riario, who bought the piece, discovered the deception, but was so impressed by the quality of the sculpture that he invited the artist to Rome. To read the full article, please visit michelangelo.org
A beautiful thing never gives so much pain as does failing to hear and see it.”
“A man paints with his brains and not with his hands.
“Beauty is the purgation of superfluities.”
“Carving is easy, you just go down to the skin and stop.”
“Death and love are the two wings that bear the good man to heaven.”
“Even if you are divine, you don't disdain male consorts.”
“Every beauty which is seen here by persons of perception resembles more than anything else that celestial source from which we all are come.”
“Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”
“Faith in oneself is the best and safest course.”
“From such a gentle thing, from such a fountain of all delight, my every pain is born.”
“Genius is eternal patience.”
“Good painting is the kind that looks like sculpture.”
“I am a poor man and of little worth, who is laboring in that art that God has given me in order to extend my life as long as possible.”
“I am still learning.”
“I cannot live under pressures from patrons, let alone paint.”
“I have never felt salvation in nature. I love cities above all.”
“I hope that I may always desire more than I can accomplish.”
“I live and love in God's peculiar light.”
“I live in sin, to kill myself I live; no longer my life my own, but sin's; my good is given to me by heaven, my evil by myself, by my free will, of which I am deprived.”
“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”
“If in my youth I had realized that the sustaining splendour of beauty of with which I was in love would one day flood back into my heart, there to ignite a flame that would torture me without end, how gladly would I have put out the light in my eyes.”
“If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful at all.”
”If we have been pleased with life, we should not be displeased with death, since it comes from the hand of the same master.”
“In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.”
”It is necessary to keep one's compass in one's eyes and not in the hand, for the hands execute, but the eye judges.”
”It is well with me only when I have a chisel in my hand.”
”Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish.”
“Many believe - and I believe - that I have been designated for this work by God. In spite of my old age, I do not want to give it up; I work out of love for God and I put all my hope in Him.”
”My soul can find no staircase to Heaven unless it be through Earth's loveliness.”
”The best artist has that thought alone which is contained within the marble shell; The sculptor's hand can only break the spell To free the figures slumbering in the stone.”
”The best of artists has no conception that the marble alone does not contain within itself.”
”The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”
”The greatest artist has no conception which a single block of white marble does not potentially contain within its mass, but only a hand obedient to the mind can penetrate to this image.”
”The marble not yet carved can hold the form of every thought the greatest artist has.”
”The more the marbles wastes, the more the statue grows.”
”The promises of this world are, for the most part, vain phantoms; and to confide in one's self, and become something of worth and value is the best and safest course.”
”The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection.”
”There is no greater harm than that of time wasted.”
”Trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle.”
”What do you despise? By this you are truly known.”
”What spirit is so empty and blind, that it cannot recognize the fact that the foot is more noble than the shoe, and skin more beautiful than the garment with which it is clothed?”
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