A look at the people, places, and conspiracies of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code

Michelangelo Buonarroti

Posted by on Mar 29, 2012 in Art & Artists of The Da Vinci Code | 0 comments

Michelangelo Buonarroti

The first artist to become the subject of a biography during his lifetime, Michelangelo Buonarroti had his life recounted in two separate and often opposing works. The first was written by Giorgio Vasari, an Italian painter and architect widely recognized for his biographies of Italian artists, in the publication titled Lives of the Artists (1550, revised in 1568). The second biography, Vita di Michelagnolo Buonarroti raccolta per Ascanio Condivi da la Ripa Transone, was written by a painter named Ascanio Condivi in 1553, and was partially in response to Vasari’s work. Unlike Vasari, he had the good fortune to work closely on his manuscript with Michelangelo himself.

Michelangelo Di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was born on March 6, 1475, in Caprese, Italy, a Republic of Florence. The exceptionally talented sculptor, painter, poet, and architect, was an originator of the High Renaissance. He later became a generator of the Mannerism style, which focused on spatial incongruity and an abnormal elongation of the human figure. His use of movement and gesture to emphasize emotions in his forms remains unparalleled. To him the medium was merely a way to expose the humanity of the figure underneath and its continuous torment with the ways of nature. Throughout his works he strove for perfection often leaving partially completed works in his wake.

Michelangelo's The David - Detail from Wikipedia

Detail from Wikipedia photo by Adrian Pingstone (modified by Cynthia Kirkeby)


Although he apprenticed under Domencio Ghirlandaio for three years beginning in 1488, he tried to deny this by implying that he was largely self-taught. He often denied that he was a product of the workshop system, which emphasized painting and sculpture taught as crafts rather than Liberal Arts.

Michelangelo’s statue of David was the first nude carved on a monstrous scale since antiquity. He began working on it in 1501 and by 1504, the sculpture standing at 14 feet 3 inches tall, was placed outside the Palazzo Vecchio. David was intended to reflect the Republican Florence in a powerful light, but was often desecrated by Medici sympathizers. It wasn’t until the 19th century that the statue was moved to the Galleria dell’Accademia.

Pope Julius II commissioned another of Michelangelo’s greatest works, and from 1508 until 1512 he obsessively painted the ceiling of the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel. He completed it almost single-handedly, dismissing his workshop early on in the production. Bent over backwards in what must have been an incredibly uncomfortable position, he painted with his neck arched to look up and his arm stretched out to hold his brush. Halfway through the project in 1510, he took a break and was able to study the fresco for some time from the ground. You will notice in the second half of the piece that fine details such as figure style were simplified. A recent restoration of the ceiling also showed that Michelangelo was a brilliant colorist.

┬áThe Pieta, another brilliant piece by Michelangelo was commissioned by the French Cardinal Jean de Billheres, and currently resides in St. Peter’s Basilica. This work has the unique status of being the only piece actually signed by Michelangelo. According to legend, he carved his name into the sash, because another artist had claimed the Pieta as his own, however, according to art historian, Georgio Vasari:

Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel

Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel

Pope Clement VIII commissioned Michelangelo to paint the fresco of The Last Judgement for the Sistine Chapel, never imagining that the outcome would be in glaring contrast to the serene work on the ceiling painted some 29 years before. The Last Judgement was perhaps Michelangelo’s most controversial work as it was frowned upon for its use of nudity. After his death it was almost destroyed but Daniele da Volterra painted draperies over the ‘offending’ scenes instead.”It would be impossible for any craftsman or sculptor, no matter how brilliant, ever to surpass the grace or design of this work, or try to cut and polish the marble with the skill that Michelangelo displayed. It is certainly a miracle that a formless block of stone could ever have reduced to perfection that nature is scarcely able to create in the flesh. Michelangelo put in to this work so much love and effort (something that he never did again), that he left his name written across the sash over Our Lady’s breast.”

Even in the 89th year of his life, Michelangelo was still hard at work creating the Rondanini Pieta. Although Michelangelo Buonarroti passed away on February 18, 1564, no one before or after him had as much influence on the development of Western art.

 

Learning Links

Pieta by Michelangelo

Pieta by Michelangelo

Pieta Large by Michelangelo – St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome

This aticle is accompanied by excellent photographs, including one of sash showing Michelangelo’s carved signature. Source: Sculpture Gallery

The Sistine Chapel

This excellent tour of the Sistine Chapel allows you to breakdown the painting into its separate components or view the ceiling through a virtual tour.

Source: Vatican Museums

 

Citation styles

APA style
Michelangelo Buonarroti. (2012, March 29). In Inside The Da Vinci Code. Retrieved 04:53, December 18, 2017, from http://www.insidethedavincicode.com/michelangelo-buonarroti/
MLA style
classbrain, “Michelangelo Buonarroti.” Inside The Da Vinci Code. 29 March 2012, 19:31 UTC. . 18 Dec 2017 <http://www.insidethedavincicode.com/michelangelo-buonarroti/>.
MHRA style
classbrain, 'Michelangelo Buonarroti', Inside The Da Vinci Code, 29 March 2012, 19:31 UTC, <http://www.insidethedavincicode.com/michelangelo-buonarroti/> [accessed 18 December 2017]
The Chicago Manual of Style
classbrain, “Michelangelo Buonarroti.” Inside The Da Vinci Code, http://www.insidethedavincicode.com/michelangelo-buonarroti/ [accessed December 18, 2017].
CBE/CSE style
classbrain, Michelangelo Buonarroti [Internet]. Inside The Da Vinci Code; 2012 March 29, 19:31 UTC [cited 2017 Dec 18]. Available from: http://www.insidethedavincicode.com/michelangelo-buonarroti/.
Bluebook style
Michelangelo Buonarroti, http://www.insidethedavincicode.com/michelangelo-buonarroti/ (last visited Dec. 18, 2017).
AMA style
classbrain, Michelangelo Buonarroti. Inside The Da Vinci Code. March 29, 2012, 19:31 UTC. Available at: http://www.insidethedavincicode.com/michelangelo-buonarroti/. Accessed December 18, 2017.

Citation styles

APA style
Michelangelo Buonarroti. (2012, March 29). In Inside The Da Vinci Code. Retrieved 04:53, December 18, 2017, from http://www.insidethedavincicode.com/michelangelo-buonarroti/
MLA style
classbrain, “Michelangelo Buonarroti.” Inside The Da Vinci Code. 29 March 2012, 19:31 UTC. . 18 Dec 2017 <http://www.insidethedavincicode.com/michelangelo-buonarroti/>.
MHRA style
classbrain, 'Michelangelo Buonarroti', Inside The Da Vinci Code, 29 March 2012, 19:31 UTC, <http://www.insidethedavincicode.com/michelangelo-buonarroti/> [accessed 18 December 2017]
The Chicago Manual of Style
classbrain, “Michelangelo Buonarroti.” Inside The Da Vinci Code, http://www.insidethedavincicode.com/michelangelo-buonarroti/ [accessed December 18, 2017].
CBE/CSE style
classbrain, Michelangelo Buonarroti [Internet]. Inside The Da Vinci Code; 2012 March 29, 19:31 UTC [cited 2017 Dec 18]. Available from: http://www.insidethedavincicode.com/michelangelo-buonarroti/.
Bluebook style
Michelangelo Buonarroti, http://www.insidethedavincicode.com/michelangelo-buonarroti/ (last visited Dec. 18, 2017).
AMA style
classbrain, Michelangelo Buonarroti. Inside The Da Vinci Code. March 29, 2012, 19:31 UTC. Available at: http://www.insidethedavincicode.com/michelangelo-buonarroti/. Accessed December 18, 2017.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Site last updated October 30, 2013 @ 8:58 am; This content last updated March 29, 2012 @ 7:53 pm