Michelangelo Biography: Who Was This Guy, Really? | Art History Lesson


Even though the Mona Lisa may
be the most famous artwork in the world, I would
argue this bit of painting would be a close second. You’ve got to check this out. [THEME MUSIC] Support provided
by the Glick Fund, a CICF fund focused on
inspiring philanthropy. Additional support provided
by the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation in honor of
the children and families of Christel House. Michelangelo di Lodovico
Buonarroti Simoni, we’ll just call
him Michelangelo, was born March 6, 1475
in Caprice, Italy. Buon giorno, or whatever. Yeah, he wasn’t always
the happiest artist. But we’ll get back
to that later. Michelangelo had four
brothers, and his father was a magistrate. And his mother stayed
at home with the kids. Now when Michelangelo was an
infant, she became pretty sick. In fact, Michelangelo ended
up having to have a wet nurse. So he ended up living with
a family of stone cutters. Interestingly, Michelangelo said
it was because of this stone cutter wet nurse that he drank
in the hammer and chisel. Yeah, not too sure
about that one. By the way, did you
know Michelangelo didn’t want to be known as a painter? In fact, he would
probably be insulted if you first referred to him as
a painter and not a sculptor. Seriously, you did not
just refer to me as painter, did you? Like many 16-year-olds,
Michelangelo didn’t really care for school. So he often would skip class
and head to a nearby church to watch the painters. His family detested
art and felt like he was a disgrace to the family. It was definitely not a
suitable profession for a man. I think once
Michelangelo started to make a name for himself
as an artist he loved to remind everybody back home. You can tell, since
he would always sign his letters home
with “Michelangelo, sculptor in Rome.” That’s right. And don’t you forget about it. After realizing
that Michelangelo had some artistic
talent, his dad encouraged him to find
an apprenticeship where he could learn more about art. He went from a
painter’s workshop to then studying within
a powerful rich elite family within Florence,
the Medici family. Did I mention they were
the rulers of Florence? Yeah, they were. Working with this family
gave him special privileges. One of those was being able to
study dead bodies at the church waiting to be buried. This fueled his passion to
understand human anatomy. And unfortunately, the stench
and nastiness of the experience started to make him sick. Enough of that. Just a few short years
later when Michelangelo was only 25 years old,
it was apparent he had a black belt in sculpture. After relocating to Rome,
one of the cardinals within the Catholic
church commissioned him to create a sculpture. Michelangelo, being pretty
cocky at this time, said– It will be the most
beautiful work in marble Rome had ever seen. A bit confident, right? Actually, it’s this
sculpture, “La Pieta.” Have you ever seen
this one before? You bet you have. Check it out. Michelangelo sculpted this from
a single piece of marble stone. What amazes me is it
only took him one year to complete this six foot
by six foot sculpture. Have any idea what
the title means? Well, “pieta” simply means
“pity” or “compassion.” Which makes sense, considering
that the subject being Christ and his mother Mary. So you’re probably
asking yourself, what makes this
sculpture so incredible? Let me explain. Check out the
details in the folds and the ribs and
muscles on the body. All this movement
these details create, trying to sculpt these
details was incredibly hard. And trust me, people knew it. Which is why many pilgrims
would come to Rome just to see this sculpture. After returning to Rome,
he hears about a sculpture that two other
artists had abandoned because it was too difficult.
Fueled with confidence from “La Pieta,” he takes over the job. “David” took three years
to sculpt, probably due to its size of 17 feet. David quickly becomes
the pride of Florence. And they even nicknamed
it ‘the giant.” After Michelangelo
finishes this sculpture, his fame starts to build. In fact, word got around to
the pope, Pope Julius II. Immediately, Pope Julius
commissions Michelangelo to create his tomb. This was huge for Michelangelo,
especially since all he wanted to do was sculpt. And designing the tomb for
the Pope was a huge honor. Michelangelo is so
pumped to get going he starts gathering a team,
pouring the stone needed, and working on his idea. Of course, right in the
middle of this the pope turns his attention
in funding to rebuild St. Peter’s Basilica,
which was falling apart. You have to keep in mind
that Rome has basically turned into a cow
pasture at this point. And the pope wants
to return Rome back to its powerful roots, a very
Renaissance idea, I might add. Needless to say, he is super
frustrated with the pope. And when he wouldn’t pay
Michelangelo back for the stone he bought he heads
back to Florence, vowing never to return to Rome. That is until the pope
sends him a request. Have any idea what he’s
about to ask him to do? That’s right, grab your
paintbrush and get back to Rome and paint the Sistine Chapel. Let me tell you his
response to the pope. I do not wish to attend to
anything but the tomb and not the painting. Believe it or
not, no one wanted to paint the Sistine Chapel. This wasn’t just about
the painting process. This also had to do
with the chapel itself. Let me school you for a minute. The Sistine Chapel
was built in 1477 and was designed to the
same biblical proportions as the Temple of Solomon,
which made it a fortress. The walls at the base
are 10 feet thick, arrow slits added
around the outside, and they even
added special holes to pour boiling oil out of. Pretty crazy. I bet you didn’t know
this, but the chapel had been painted before
by a team of artists with 32 popes painted
around the room, and then a blue field with
stars was added to the ceiling. However, not even 21 years
after the construction, cracks start to
appear in the vault. To stop this from getting worse,
in 1504 they placed huge iron rods underneath the floor. Of course, now we
have a major problem. The ceiling and the
walls must be repaired. After putting some of the
pope’s muscle on Michelangelo, he told him he could
only work on the tomb if he painted the
Sistine Chapel. He reluctantly agrees. Be sure to check out
Part Two, Michelangelo, the Sistine Chapel, and PJ 2,
which we’ll be releasing soon. Simply subscribe to our channel
here so you get it first. You could say fashion dates
back to early civilizations like the Egyptians and Romans. But modern fashion house
started in the 19th century. Charles Frederick Worth
is known as the father of haute couture and
the first designer to sew a label with his
name into his designs. His House of Worth in Paris
was also the first boutique to use live models
to demonstrate the look of his designs. Couture items were custom made.

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