Even nearly 500 years after his death, one of the best-known artists in the world is the renowned painter and sculptor Michelangelo.
Michelangelo Buonarroti was born in 1474 in Florence and became one of the most prominent Italian artists of the High Renaissance in Italy. A star at an early age, Michelangelo left his mark on the development of Western painting, sculpture, and architecture.
As a teen, the artist studied at the Platonic Academy, where he learned sculpting and painting from various masters.
The artist presented one of his first masterpieces at the age of 24, the 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.
As a young sculpture under the patronage of the Medici, he sculpted a small "Sleeping Cupid" in marble, which he artificially aged to appear to look ancient.
Some of his art includes his Creation of Adam, The Pieta, the sculpture of David and the Sistine frescoes. Michelangelo's Creation of Adam is a fresco scene from the Sistine Chapel ceiling and was created by the artist between 1508-1512 and contains over 300 figures.
The Pieta was, however, created before Michelangelo was even 30 years old. Today, it can be seen in St. Peter's Basilica. Michelangelo's pairing of a naturalistic Christ with young "larger" Mary was an entirely new innovation and is still seen as a common artistic motif.
Another of Michaelangelo's masterpieces, the statue of David, was based on the Biblical story of David and Goliath. The sculpture of David is 17-foot tall and was carved from a salvaged block of stone. The people of the Republic of Florence admired the statue as a defiant symbol against Medici hegemony.
Michelangelo's fame as an artist has only grown since his death in 1564 at the age of 89. Today, his work is an integral part of the fictional conspiracies in Dan Brown's Angels and Demons, his feat of painting the Sistine Chapel ceiling.
Not only did Michelangelo create breathtaking art, but he also had the talent of writing poetry, painting frescoes, designing buildings, and sculpting marble. He will forever be remembered in history for the talented artist he was.