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How Michelangelo Revolutionized Art from The 15th Century

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Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was born on 6th March 1475 in a place called Caprese near Arezzo, Italy. This man was a painter, poet, sculptor, architect, and an engineer, a true jack of all trades. He has remained to be the most famous High Renaissance movement man that existed on the 16th Century. Michelangelo started developing an interest in art since he was a small boy and this was against his father’s wish. By the time he was hitting thirteen he had made his first drawing of a male figure. Information regarding his training in sculptors is rarely documented but it is a talent he portrayed later on in life. Later on, painting took up his preoccupation.

Buonarotti joined the Domenico workshop in the year 1488, here he stayed for around three years perfecting his art on drawing by mainly copying the works of art of other famous foreign and local painters that existed at that particular time. By 1489 he hit the limelight and after meeting with Lorenzo De Medici in San Marco garden. Under Lorenzo the Magnificent protection, Michelangelo discovered his own real vocation. His earliest work was criticized by the Magnificent as a young sculptor. Throughout time, he modified and perfected his art and he showed that he was a genius leading his life as one from the onwards. Historically no other artist has been able to achieve as much as Michelangelo did with regards to excelling in more than one line of art.

The most famous pieces he made in sculpture art are; Madonna and Child, The Pieta, David, and the Tomb. In the field of painting, his works t5hat mostly stood out amongst the many were; The Sistine Chapel, and the Last Judgment. In the line of Architecture, he also managed to contribute immensely like the Plan of Façade, St Peters Basilica and the Laurentian Library.

Most of the time Michelangelo was very optimistic about his artwork and rather pessimistic about his poetry. His artwork mainly consisted of sculptures and paintings that represented humanity in its most natural state. Most of Michelangelo’s poetry was pessimistic in response to Strazzi despite the fact t6het he was complementing him. His sculptures elicited the optimism in him. When completing The Tomb of Pope Julius II, Michelangelo shows a lot of optimism by preserving it through so many revisions in the hope of finally achieving the vision he had for it. The main goal and probably the thing he considered the love of his life was sculpture. The fact that Michelangelo’s work incorporated both optimism and pessimism, clearly shows that he was in good touch with both the positives and negatives that life had to offer. This can only mean that this was a man who had a full and stable personality.

In 1496, during his time in Rome, Michelangelo faked an old Sleeping Cupid sculpture which was later discovered to be the real one, bringing him to limelight. He stayed in Rome for quite long time enabling him to further his desires in the field of Art. In Rome, his first work was the Vatican Pieta, which was the baseline of his other works as well as an inspiration to the others. The Vatican Pieta became a renowned piece of work in Rome since it represented Jesus being held by his mother Mary, on her lap after he was crucified. This piece augured well with the Vatican people since it was a representation of the major themes, they believed in. These people were greatly amazed by how much a block of only stone could undergo so much transformation and turn into something so beautiful that the natural environment itself could not be able to recreate. However, what is usually important in artwork is the way in which an individual interprets it upon seeing the sculpture. This Pieta piece by Michelangelo brought out themes like weakness, passion, youthfulness and divinity perfectly.

His other magnificent work was the statue of David, a theme that was greatly influenced by King David from the Bible. This piece of work that had remained unfinished for the last forty years, was assigned to Michelangelo to bring it to completion. It was a representation of the freedom the people of Florentine had attained. This statue was sculptured out of marbles. The height is over five meters. Therefore, considering its height one just gets to appreciate the skill and talent Michelangelo possessed. The statue of David completion is filled with so much controversies but known truth is that Michelangelo is the one who brought it to fruition. This statue symbolizes strength. Remembering that Michelangelo had no problem depicting any form of nude figures, with this statue he goes again to display an excellent nudity form. The David statue has very bright fiery eyes showing the courage he had when he killed the great Goliath.

Painting was also another form of art that Michelangelo used to express himself and he immensely excelled in it. The Sistine Chapel paintings still is piece of work that up to date baffles so many people. This work took up to four years to come to completion and it consists of many figures from the different Bible stories who are nude. These figures are painted in bright colors, eliciting different moods from the one viewing the painting more so for the people who are very conversant with the Bible stories and can place the characters. The fact that Michelangelo used nude pictures, stirred up controversy, the people claiming that it is immoral but the pope came to his defense strongly. The existence of these Art is a representation of the durability on Michelangelo’s Art.

When he finally finished this work, he was allowed o choose his own work this time and this is where The Last Judgment was born. This work was an illustration of the second coming of Jesus judgement and the sinful souls that will be casted to hell. This Fresco painting really instill some type of fear on the viewer, which in contrast to his previous works the characters on the panting are really fearfully and strong looking. This comes out as a warning that every human being needs to fear the God to escape from the eternal damnation that may be casted. The skill that was involved in the Fresco painting is surely out if this world. The work was on a fresh plaster and the fact that it was on a ceiling, one just gets stunned at the epic type of Art Michelangelo gave the world. An example is when he painted the Sistine Chapel, there was a pavilion hanging high up in the ceiling where even though he was sitting or lying on his back he was able to delicately give the fresco the life it deserved.

Michelangelo was a humble man, and most of the time he claimed he was not a good architect. This is despite the fact that he had contributed so many designs that were implemented later on after his death. The Lauretian Library is a depiction of the free approach he had for structures. This building’s interior design was a very revolutionary one and it created an impact in history. The St Peters Basilica building, came into completion after he dedicated eighteen years to see it come into completion. The background he had on painting and sculpture was a major advantage to him since it enabled him achieve what many others could not achieve. He developed the skill of sketching different designs and adding onto the them when more ideas came by. He used up all the space that was available to him, if his sketches were to be executed. For example, the Dome, St Peters and the symmetrical plan, are still used today since they were perfected by him. The ideas of Michelangelo on architecture really played a big role in paving the way for the rebirth of architectural designs that are still in use today.

There are some other fields that Michelangelo ventured in although he never contributed so much into them. For instance, there are a good number of poems that are associated with him and have been translated to English. These poems exhibit a lot of pessimism revealing his strengths and his weaknesses. Some of the poems he wrote were; Celestial Love and the Doom of Beauty. It seems like Michelangelo just had something oozing within him that made him to stand out in so many different ways, impacting on people’s lives differently.

Michelangelo summarizes the 15th -century sculptural innovations, since he was part of the group that brought about the High Renaissance style in the 16th century. He was a friend to princes, popes, kings, painters, cardinals from Lorenzo de’ Medici, Pius III, and Clement VIII. He was not a man that was easy to understand, but he was not that difficult to get along with either. In poetry he expressed his deepest feelings so much compared to the other forms of art. These poems are mostly about the hardships he went through and the personal relationships he has had. The poets of the great Renaissance termed him as divine angel since he was seen as more than a mortal being. This made some people see him as a hindrance to their won success and probably that’s the reason he was seen as an arrogant man. He was mostly driven by nature which he saw as the enemy since it proved not to perfect after all. This kind of thought made him accept everyone and see them to be all alike. He was a rich man, who lived like a poor person since he never prioritized material things.

Certainly, Michelangelo was vastly awarded the highest form of honors due to his extraordinary accomplishments. Michelangelo was without a doubt amongst the most inspiring artists in the Italian High Renaissance history. Being a sculptor, painter, architect, and also a poet, he succeeded in exerting such a tremendous influence in the Western art till the present day. Not only did he excel in giving people some very new ideas about art, but he also revolutionized the whole thing. Before he ventured into embracing and incorporating nudity as part of his artwork, no other artist had mastered the courage to venture in such a field. Michelangelo should be given the credit he deserves for revolutionizing art from the 15th century.


  • Ames-Lewis, F. (2017). Reactions to the master: Michelangelo’s effect on art and artists in the sixteenth century. Routledge.
  • Hagtvedt, H., & Patrick, V. M. (2008). Art infusion: The influence of visual art on the perception and evaluation of consumer products. Journal of Marketing Research, 45(3), 379-389.
  • Hibbard, H. (2018). Michelangelo. Routledge.
  • Hutter, M., & Throsby, D. (Eds.). (2008). Beyond price: Value in culture, economics, and the arts. Cambridge University Press.
  • Rusbult, C. E., Kumashiro, M., Kubacka, K. E., & Finkel, E. J. (2009). ‘ The part of me that you bring out’: Ideal similarity and the Michelangelo phenomenon. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96(1), 61.

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