Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (1475–1564), known as Michelangelo, was an Italian sculptor, painter, architect, and poet of the High Renaissance.
Born in the Republic of Florence, his work was inspired by models from classical antiquity and had a lasting influence on Western art.
Michelangelo’s creative abilities and mastery in a range of artistic arenas define him as an archetypal Renaissance man, along with his rival and elder contemporary, Leonardo da Vinci.
Given the sheer volume of surviving correspondence, sketches, and reminiscences, Michelangelo is one of the best-documented artists of the 16th century.
Achieving fame early, he completed two of his best-known works, the Pietà and David, done before the age of thirty.
Even though he didn’t consider himself a painter, Michelangelo created two of the most influential frescoes in the history of Western art. Very much like the scenes from Genesis on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome, and The Last Judgment on its altar wall.
His design of the Laurentian Library pioneered Mannerist architecture.
Michelangelo was the first Western artist whose biography was published while he was alive. In fact, two biographies were published during his lifetime.
One of them, by Giorgio Vasari, proposed that Michelangelo’s work transcended that of any artist living or dead, and was “supreme in not one art alone but in all three.” In his lifetime, Michelangelo was often called Il Divino (‘the divine one’) due to how extraordinary his work was.