Michelangelo Buonarroti, the greatest of the Italian Renaissance artists, was born in the small village of Caprese on March 6, 1475.
The son of a government administrator, he grew up in Florence, a center of the early Renaissance movement, and became an artist’s apprentice at age 13. Demonstrating obvious talent, he was taken under the wing of Lorenzo de’ Medici, the ruler of the Florentine republic and a great patron of the arts. For two years beginning in 1490, he lived in the Medici palace, where he was a student of the sculptor Bertoldo di Giovanni and studied the Medici art collection, which included ancient Roman statuary.
Michelangelo worked until his death in 1564 at the age of 88. In addition to his major artistic works, he produced numerous other sculptures, frescoes, architectural designs, and drawings, many of which are unfinished and some of which are lost. He was also an accomplished poet, and some 300 of his poems are preserved. In his lifetime, he was celebrated as Europe’s greatest living artist, and today he is held up as one of the greatest artists of all time, as exalted in the visual arts as William Shakespeare is in literature or Ludwig van Beethoven is in music. (History)