When he was born, Michelangelo Buonarroti was put into the care of a stonecutter's family. He often said it was from them that he got his love of sculpture. It certainly didn't come from his own father, a respectable magistrate who beat his son when he asked to become an artist's apprentice.
But Michelangelo persevered. His early sculptures caught the attention of Florence's great ruler, Lorenzo de' Medici, who invited the boy to be educated with his own sons. Soon after, Michelangelo was astonishing people with the lifelike creations he wrested from marble—from the heartbreaking Pieta he sculpted when he was only twenty-five to the majestic David that brought him acclaim as the greatest sculptor in Italy.
Michelangelo had a turbulent, quarrelsome life. He was obsessed with perfection and felt that everyone—from family members to his demanding patrons—took advantage and let him down. His long and difficult association with Pope Julius II yielded his greatest masterpiece, the radiant paintings in the Sistine Chapel in Rome's St. Peter's Cathedral, and his most disastrous undertaking, the monumental tomb that caused the artist frustration and heartache for forty years.
With her thoroughly researched, lively narrative and superbly detailed illustrations, Diane Stanley has captured the life of an artist who towered above the late Renaissance—and whose brilliance in architecture, painting, and sculpture amazes and moves us to this day.
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