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1475 - 1564
Early life
• As a young boy, he learned sculpture in the
Brancacci Chapel of Santa Maria del Carmine
• This was known as the great school for artists
of the fifteenth century led by the sculptor
Bertoldo di Giovanni
• He began interest in the harmonious beauty of
the human body, expressive playing of the
muscles, but he wanted to search for more: A
deeper psychological moral.
• Michelangelo initially turned to painting, he
was inclined by nature and preference more to
than sculpture.

Fig. 1 Venusti‘s portrait of Michelangelo

Bacchus (1497)
• Meaning the God ‘Dionysus’ in Greek Mythology
• The statue of Bacchus, the Roman god of wine, in a state of
inebriation that was revolutionary for its time
• Michelangelo gave the sculpture a high center of gravity and
a staggering attitude with which the symbolic crown of vine
leaves the impression that the wine had to be mounted on
the head
• Celebrations in honour of Bacchus were called Bacchanalia.
In ancient times, only women were allowed to attend these

• “This was the first large-scale free-standing statue executed

by Michelangelo. Commissioned by the banker Jacopo Galli
and made in Rome, the work bears witness to the influence
on the artist of classical sculpture.” (Bonechi Books,

• The little satyr/fawn, ‘the buttress’, is considered

mischievous, satisfied by the bunches of grapes.
Fig. 2 Bacchus (1497)/Little Satyr
• Located on the Arno River in Italy
• From a small province, to a self governed community, to one of the largest Cities in Europe.
• Florence found itself at war with different parties from the late 1300’s to the early 1400’s,
this is when the Medici family began to take control.
• The Medici family stayed behind the sense in the political world but were always in control,
guiding the city, this was until 1494
• 1494 the French King took control of the city and the Family was cast out.
• After this Girolamo Savonarola rules for only a few years.
• The aristocrats ruled over the city for 15 years.
• 1512 the Medici return to the city and though turbulent they rule for many years.
• The City flourished during the renaissance period, most of the cities wealth is put into the
Mid life
• 1508 Michelangelo is asked to paint the
Sistine Chapel
• There are 343 figures in the final piece
• Michelangelo depicts stories from the bible
in the panels such as the creation of Adam
and Eve, the temptation and the flood.
• He painted looking straight up.

• “…I felt as old and as weary as

Jeremiah. I was only 37, yet friends
did not recognize the old man I had

Fig. 3 Sistine Chapel

Mid life

• He then returned to the

tomb he had been asked to
make for Pope Julius ll .
• The original plan had been
very elaborate but it was
made more humble.
• These are just two of the
many pieces he created
during this time in his life.

Fig. 4 Tomb of pope Julius ll

David (1501-1504)
• Widely considered a masterpiece of sculpture
worldwide, David portrays the biblical hero in the
moment, preparing to meet Goliath. Originally located
in Piazza della Signoria; it acts as one of the emblems
of the Renaissance and a symbol of Florence.

• “The block of marble was not compact, it was riddled

with veins and above all it was tall and narrow, more
suitable for slender gothic statues than for the
muscular, active representations of Renaissance
heroes.” (Ciuccetti, 1998:5).

• A pose of heroic nude, whose form was the physical

realisation of a complex set of philosophical and
aesthetic values.

Fig. 5 Bacchus (1497)/Little Satyr

End of life
• Michelangelo lived far into his
• His last piece was the
Rondanini Pieta
• He died 17th February 1564
• His final resting place was
Santa Croce

Fig 6 The Rondanini Pieta

Influence on later artists
• Mannerism (c1520 – 1600) was
an art style based upon
exaggerations of Michelangelo’s
style; especially complex poses
and elongated characters (Microsoft
Encarta, 2001)

Fig. 7 Madonna with Long Neck

Michelangelo in Modern Culture
• Michelangelo’s works
continue to be
recognised, even by
people not familiar
with art.
• There are many
parodies of his most
famous works in
popular culture
Fig. 8 The Homer of Seville (2007)
Michelangelo in Modern Culture
• Some parodies take advantage of his works modern
religious associations

Fig.9 Touched by his Noodly Appendage (2011)

Michelangelo in Modern Culture
• Others subvert his works to
make a point about modern

Fig. 10 David (2011)

List of Illustrations
• Figure 1. Venusti (1535) Michelangelo [Painting] At:
content/uploads/Michelangelo.gif (accessed:28.03.11)
• Figure 2. Michelangelo (1497) Bacchus [Marble] At:
• (accessed:28.03.11)
Figure 3. Michelangelo (1501-1504) The David [Marble] At:
media/87/60287-050-5124A0CE.jpg (accessed:28.03.11)
• Figure 4. Michelangelo (1508-1512) Sistine Chapel At:
172504974. (Accessed on 30/03/2011)
• Figure 5. Michelangelo (1513) Tomb of Pope Julius ll At:
upload-2/m/Michelangelo-Buonarroti/Tomb-of-Pope-Julius-EUR.jpg (Accessed on 30/3/11)
• Figure 6. Michelangelo (1564) The Rondanini Pieta At: (Accessed on 30/3/11)
• Figure 7. Parmagianino (1535-1540) Madonna with Long Neck [Oil on Wood] At: (Accessed on 28/03/2011)
• Figure 8. 20th Century Fox (2007) The Homer Of Seville [Still] [Online] At: (Accessed on 22/03/2011)
• Figure 9. Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (2011) Touched by his Noodly Apendage [Digital Image]
At: (Accessed on 22/03/2011)
• Figure 10. Florence Studio (2011) David [Plaster] At: (Accessed on 22/03/2011)
• Rolf Schott, 1965, Michelangelo, London, Thames and Hudson
• Linda Murray, 1984, Michelangelo His Life and Times, London, Thames and Hudson Ltd
• Ciuccetti, L. (1998) Michelangelo. David. Ediz. Inglese. (2nd ed.) Milan: Giunti Editore
• Microsoft Encarta (2001) Michelangelo (Accessed on 28/03/2011)
• (Accessed on 25/03/2011)
• Bonechi Books. (2004) Florence. (1st ed.) Italy: Casa Editrice Bonechi
• G, D, Cagno. (2008) Michelangelo. (2nd ed.) USA : The Oliver Press
• D, Biow. (2010) In Your Face: Professional Improprieties and the Art of Being Conspicuous in
Sixteenth-Century Italy. (2nd ed.) California : Stanford University Press