The Life of Michelangelo Buonarroti
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (1475-1564),
known simply as Michelangelo, was an Italian painter,
sculptor, and architect of the High Renaissance period.
Much of the information we know about the life of Michelangelo
Buonarroti comes from his biographers,
Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574) and Ascanio Condivi (1525-1574).
Buonarroti wrote a number of letters to Italian Renaissance
Cellini (1500-1574). The
life of Michelangelo was long, allowing him ample time to
produce a prodigious amount of work. He was well-known for his
fierce temper and for the terribilita
or awe-inspiring quality of his work. The great Italian Renaissance artist
was outlived by both of his biographers and Cellini only by
about ten years. All three men
personally knew Michelangelo Buonarroti.
c.1505. Oil on panel.
Galleria degli Uffizi,
to see our fine art
In his Life of
Michelangelo, Vasari heaps profuse praise upon the great
master when he describes Michelangelo’s famous sculpture
"The grace of this figure and the serenity of its pose have
never been surpassed, nor have the feet, the hands, and the
head, whose harmonious proportions and loveliness are in
keeping with the rest. To be sure, anyone who has seen
Michelangelo's David has no need to see anything else
by any other sculptor, living or dead." (Vasari's Life of
Michelangelo, I-339). Michelangelo Buonarroti’s officially
authorized biographer, Ascanio Condivi (1525-1574) published
his Vita di Michelagnolo [sic.] Buonarroti in 1553.
Through Condivi’s Vita, Michelangelo corrected certain
"errors" made by Vasari in his Life of Michelangelo,
exercising virtually complete literary control over the
writings of Condivi.
Brenda Harness, Art Historian