Guides to Fine Arts Like Painting, Designing, Architecture, Sculpture, Photography and More

Portrait of Michael Angelo Buonarroti - Self Portrait
Michael Angelo Buonarroti was born at the Castle of Caprese in 1475. His father, who was of a noble family of Florence, was then governor of Caprese and Chiusi, and, when the Buonarroti household returned to Florence, the little Angelo was left with his nurse on one of his father’s estates at Settignano. The father and husband of his nurse were stone-masons, and thus in infancy the future artist was in the midst of blocks of stone and marble and the implements which he later used with so much skill. For many years rude sketches were shown upon the walls of the nurse’s house made by her baby charge, and he afterward said that he imbibed a love for marble with his earliest food.

At the proper age Angelo was taken to Florence and placed in school; but he spent his time mostly in drawing, and having made the acquaintance of Francesco Granacci, at that time a pupil with Ghirlandajo, he borrowed from him designs and materials by which to carry on his beloved pursuits. Michael Angelo’s desire to become an artist was violently opposed by his father and his uncles, for they desired him to be a silk and woollen merchant, and sustain the commercial reputation of the family. But so determined was he that finally his father yielded, and in 1488 placed him in the studio of Ghirlandajo. Here the boy of thirteen worked with great diligence; he learned how to prepare colors and to lay the groundwork of frescoes, and he was set to copy drawings. Very soon he wearied of this, and began to make original designs after his own ideas. At one time he corrected a drawing of his master’s: when he saw this, sixty years later, he said, “I almost think that I knew more of art in my youth than I do in my old age.”

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