Timeline: The High Renaissance

In full MICHELANGELO DI LODOVICO BUONARROTI SIMONI (b. March 6, 1475, Caprese, Republic of Florence [Italy]--d. Feb. 18, 1564, Rome), Italian Renaissance sculptor, painter, architect, and poet who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art.

I cannot live under pressures from patrons, let alone paint.
-- Michelangelo, quoted in Vasari's Lives of the Artists

Image David
Gigantic marble, started in 1501 and completed in 1504
Michelangelo began work on the colossal figure of David in 1501, and by 1504 the sculpture (standing at 4.34m/14 ft 3 in tall) was in place outside the Palazzo Vecchio. The choice of David was supposed to reflect the power and determination of Republican Florence and was under constant attack from supporters of the usurped Medicis. In the 19th century the statue was moved to the Accademia.

Image The Holy Family with the infant St. John the Baptist (the Doni Tondo)
c. 1503-05 (130 Kb); Tempera on panel, Diameter 120 cm (47 in); Uffizi, Florence

Image Creation of the Sun and Moon

Image The Separation of Light from the Darkness
Detail of the Sistine Chapel, appearing over the head of the Prophet Jeremiah
Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel from 1508 to 1512, commissioned by Pope Julius II. On becoming pope in 1503, Julius II reasserted papal authority over the Roman barons and successfully backed the restauration of the Medici in Florence. He was a liberal patron of the arts, commissioning Bramante to build St Peter's Church, Michelangelo to paint the Sistine Chapel, and Raphael to decorate the Vatican apartments.

Image Delphes Sylphide
ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City

Image Sybille de Cummes
ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City
Sibyls were female seers of ancient Greece and Rome. They were also known as oracles. Like the Jewish prophets of the Old Testament, many sibyls had their sayings recorded in books. Jewish prophets spoke unbidden, whereas sibyls tended to speak only if consulted on specific questions. They sometimes answered in riddles or rhetorical questions.

Image The Creation of Man (Fragment of the Sistine Chapel ceiling)

External links and references: Wikipedia article on Michelangelo

24 Oct 2005, Nicolas Pioch - Top - Up - Info
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