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Painter, sculptor and architect of Florence, 1475 - 1564

Some painter or other had produced a picture in which the best thing was an ox. Michelangelo was asked why the artist had painted the ox more convincingly than the rest, and he replied: 'Every painter does a good self-portrait'.

"It was at this time [when he was studying in the Academy of Lorenzo the Magnificent] that, with advice from Politian, a distinguished man of letters, Michelangelo carved from a piece of marble given him by Lorenzo the Battle of Hercules with the Centaurs." I-331

Battle of Hercules and the Centaurs
"...a marble Madonna in bas-relief, little more than two feet in height, was executed by Michelanagelo when he was still a young man after the style of is the only sculpture in bas-relief left by Michelangelo." I-331

Madonna of the Stairs
"For the church of Santo Spirito in Florence Michelangleo made a crucifix of wood which was placed above the lunette of the high altar, where it still is. He made this to please the prior, who placed some rooms at his disposal where Michelangelo very often used to flay dead bodies to discover the secrets of anatomy..." I-333
Crucifix, Santo Spirito
When the Medici were driven out of Florence, "Michelangelo left for Bologna...[there] Gianfrancesco Aldovrandi took Michelangelo to see the tomb of St Dominic...There were two figures missing; an angel holding a candelabrum and a St Petronius, both about two feet high...Aldovrandi had the marble given to Michelangelo, who executed the two figures..." I-333
Angel with a candelabrum
St Petronius
In Rome "Jacopo Galli commissioned from him...a Bacchus, ten spans high, holding a cup in his right hand and the skin of a tiger in his left, with a bunch of grapes that a little satyr is trying to nibble." I-335

"In this figure it is clear that Michelangelo wanted to obtain a marvellous harmony of various elements, notably in giving it the slenderness of a youth combined with the fullness and roundness of the female form."

Bacchus (detail)
"The French cardinal of St Denis...commissioned Michelangelo to make a Pieta of marble in the round, and this was placed in the chapel of the Madonna della Febbre in St Peter's..." I-335

"The Pieta was a revelation of all the potentialities and force of the art of sculpture...It would be impossible to find a body [of Christ] showing greater mastery of art and possessing more beautiful members, or a nude with more detail in the muscles, veins, and nerves, or a more deathly corpse." I-336

Pieta (detail)
"There are some critics, more or less fools, who say that he made Our Lady look too young. They fail to see that those who keep their virginity unspotted stay for a long time fresh and youthful, just as those afflicted as Christ was do the opposite." I-337

Pieta (detail)

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