At the age of 12, Michelangelo became apprentice to the
Florentine painter, Domenico Ghirlandaio. However, he soon after began to
study sculpture. Michelangelos sculptures attracted the attention of the
patronage Lorenzo de Medici, the ruler of Florence until 1494. By the time
Michelangelo was 23, he had completed Pieta , a magnificent marble
that depicts the Virgin Mary grieving over the dead Jesus. Soon after this in
1504, he began to work on the colossal figure of David. By 1504, the
sculpture was in place outside the Palazzo Vecchio, standing at 143
This statue became a symbol for the new republic that had replaced Medici as
Michelangelo worked on his most famous project from 1508 to 1512.
This was the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. Since
Michelangelo always considered himself a sculptor, he first resisted painting
the Sistine . He was quoted as saying I cannot live under the pressures
from patrons, let alone paint. Only the power of the Pope Julius II forced
him into the reluctant achievement of the worlds greatest single fresco.
covered the ceiling with paintings done on wet plaster. The final outcome
showed nine scenes from the Old Testament. Michelangelo later painted
The Last Judgment on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel.
Michelangelo became more involved in architecture and poetry toward
the end of his life. In 1546, he was made chief architect of the partly
finished St. Peters Church in Rome, where the Pieta is now kept.