Michelangelo (1475-1564)Michelangelo (1475-1564) - The other "greatest" figure of the Renaissance, Michelangelo may not have had as much widespread talent as Leonardo da Vinci, but in the field of art, he is considered one of the best ever.  Much of his greatness stems from his dedication to his work.  Unlike da Vinci who was a notorious procrastinator, Michelangelo often persisted at his job to the point of exhaustion.  One of his students, Ascanio Condivi, was also his biographer.  He described Michelangelo as abstaining from almost all worldly pleasures.  A quote attributed to the teacher goes, "No matter how rich I am, I have always lived like a poor man."  He ate sparsely, "more from necessity than for pleasure."  Michelangelo was born in Caprese, about 62 miles (100 km) east of Florence (Leonardo was born about 25 miles west of Florence).  From a young age his talent was evident; he did not like school, and often neglected his studies in favor of painting.  Fortunately, his father recognized that talent and encouraged him to pursue it.  At thirteen, he went to Florence and became an apprentice to well-known artist, Domenico Ghirlandaio.  Ghirlandaio was taught by Verrochio, who was also da Vinci's mentor.  Another of Ghirlandaio's students was Francesco Granacci, who would become one of Michelangelo's close friends.  Michelangelo's first "world famous" work is the Pietà, a sculpture of Mary holding the body of Christ.  It was completed in 1499 when he was only 24 years old.  Five years after that, he completed arguably his most famous work - his Statue of David.  Another sculpture, this time of young David before he is King of Israel.  It depicts him as he prepares to fight the giant Goliath, with a sling over his left shoulder and stones in his right hand.  It is considered one of the finest works of ideal human proportions ever.  He completed it before his 30th birthday.


But he didn't have much time to admire it because in 1506, Pope Julius II came up with a plan to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.  The chapel, part of the Vatican complex, was completed in the late 15th century and its walls had already been painted some twenty years earlier.  The pope wanted Michelangelo to paint the ceiling based on Old Testament narratives.  Michelangelo, known as a sculptor more than a painter, resisted the idea.  But the pope insisted.  So he began in 1508 and put down his brush in 1512 after painting about 300 murals.  The finished product is considered one of the greatest works of art in history.  Pope Julius II died a year after the Sistine Chapel ceiling was completed, and Michelangelo sculpted the statues for his tomb.  The most famous is that of Moses.  After an extensive search, it was his image of Moses that I decided to use on this chart way back near the beginning of this timeline.