History is littered with famous painters and sculptors, all of which have contributed something to society. Whether it has served to depict the realities of the time, provided inspiration to some, or even was just created to represent a certain individual in history, their work has influenced a part of our lives at one time or another. And of all the famous painters and sculptors that have lived, there is none that compare to Michelangelo.
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, known to many of us as just Michelangelo, was an Italian painter, sculptor, architect, engineer, and poet during the Renaissance. His accomplishments and diverse talents have made him a contender for the title of Renaissance Man, a title that has also been awarded to Leonardo Da Vinci. His works are numerous and widely known in and out of the art world. His talent is nothing short of genius as he is known to have produced at least 2 sculptures, Madonna of the Stairs and Battle of the Centaurs, by the time he turned 16. As a testament to his fame and achievements, Michelangelo is known to be the best-documented artist from the 16th century as well as the first artist in the Western world to have had a bibliography of himself written while he was still alive.
One of his most famous sculptures was the Pietà, considered to be a Renaissance masterpiece that he created before he turned thirty. This sculpture depicts Jesus on his mother Mary’s lap after his crucifixion. It is currently housed in St. Peter’s Basilica, having been intended to be used as a funeral monument for French cardinal Jean de Billheres. It is the only work of art that has Michelangelo’s signature.
Another widely known sculpture of Michelangelo is the Statue of David, also created before his thirtieth birthday. It is a standing male nude statue of the Bible’s hero David. The sculpture, along with his other works, are a testament of his detailed knowledge of anatomy. The Statue of David has become famous for symbolizing strength and youthful beauty and has been replicated around the world numerous times.
Aside from his sculptures, Michelangelo is also famous for his paintings. His most famous and possibly his greatest works of art can be seen on the wall and ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City. The altar wall of the church is where Michelangelo painted The Last Judgment, showing the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the final judgment on humanity. For the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling, Michelangelo painted scenes from the book of Genesis. The most famous of these scenes is the depiction of Adam and God reaching out to each other symbolizing the creation of Adam. This scene has become an influential part of pop culture, often being parodied and referenced in movies, TV shows, and even cartoons.
Michelangelo’s work, including that in architecture, has inspired millions of artists worldwide and influenced much of the art produced in history. It is no wonder that he is believed to be the greatest artist of all time.