Michelangelo Buonarroti Italian Renaissance

Michelangelo Buonarroti 1475 – 1564 Italian Renaissance In the vertical art storage rack you will find the following reproduction and posters: Large ...
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Michelangelo Buonarroti 1475 – 1564 Italian Renaissance

In the vertical art storage rack you will find the following reproduction and posters: Large reproductions: Delphic Sibyl, Pietà Posters: The Art Elements & Principles posters to use in the discussion On the NSS PTA website you will find digital images available for download. These can be sent to the teacher to project on their Smartboards. Delphic Sibyl (1509) Libyan Sibyl (1511) Pietà (1498–1499) In the black cabinet you will find a white binder with a copy of this presentation and several 8.5 x 11 prints of the other works referenced in this presentation.

Updated October 2016


Michelangelo Buonarroti

Personal Information Name: Nationality: Born: Died: Lived: Family:

Michelangelo Buonarroti Italian March 6, 1475 in Caprese, Italy February 18, 1564 in Rome, Italy Michelangelo lived in Italy all of his life. He was born in Caprese, and moved to Florence at the age of 10 for schooling. He lived most of his life in Rome. Michelangelo was the second of five sons. He never married, and was a solitary man

Professional Information Type of artist:

Primarily Michelangelo thought of himself as a sculptor, although he is extremely famous for his paintings, and architecture.

Artistic Credo:

Michelangelo believed that the more a painting resembled sculpture the better it was. Sculpture was his main love.


Michelangelo was a prolific artist who started at a young age, and lived to be 89 years old, Therefore, there are many famous Michelangelo works including: Pieta, David, The Sistine Chapel, St Peter’s Church (Vatican City, Rome), and Pope Julius’ Tomb

Artist Background Michelangelo was born to the family of an aristocrat who had fallen on hard times. His father felt that many jobs were not proper for a person of his social status, so the family struggled as he awaited an appropriate job. In 1475 he was offered a court magistrate (worker) in Caprese, Italy (outside of Florence). The family moved, and soon Michelangelo was born. Sadly, Michelangelo’s mother died when he was only 6, and his father arranged for a nurse to take care of Michelangelo. Her husband was a stonecutter. Because of the exposure, Michelangelo picked-up stone carving at an early age. At the age of 10, Michelangelo’s father brought him back to Florence to attend grammar school. He learned a basic education of writing, reading and Latin. It was during this time that Michelangelo’s father learned that his son was mostly interested in drawing, and art. Michelangelo wanted to become an artist – his father thought that the profession was below the status of the son of an aristocrat as it was dirty work that was done with one’s hands. Finally, when Michelangelo was 13, his father agreed to let Michelangelo apprentice with a famous painter. By the time he was 14, Michelangelo decided to switch to sculpture, and was taken to the home of Lorenzo de Medici – a prominent Florentine family that ruled Florence and was patron to many artists. Lorenzo quickly noticed Michelangelo’s talents, and he asked Michelangelo’s father if the boy could stay on and live as one of the Medici’s and learn the art of sculpture. Lorenzo created North Stratfield School

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Michelangelo Buonarroti a school and filled his garden with copies of the works of master sculptors, and the students practiced making copies of them. It was in this social and artistic atmosphere that Michelangelo received a great education from the some of the most famous philosophers, artists, and intellectuals of the day. After Lorenzo’s death in 1598, Florence soon fell out of Medici rule, and a monk and religious extremist named Savonarola, assumed control of the city. His strict and doomsday religious messaging changed Florence from a city of art and luxury to one of desperate people who were burning their prized possessions (ornaments, books and works of art) in what was called the “bonfires of the vanities.” With art chased out of Florence by Savonarola, Michelangelo moved to Rome where he began to work as an artist and gain commissions to create art. His work ebbed and flowed in-terms of its focus (sculpture, painting, architecture). He started with several major sculpture jobs while he was still very young, and created some of his most famous pieces during his 20’s (Pieta, and David).

After initial success as a sculptor, he gained the favor of Pope Julius II (head of the Catholic Church), and began a series of projects for Julius and subsequent Popes Leo X, Clement VII, and Paul III (Pope Julius’ tomb, Sistine Chapel, the Medici Chapel, and St. Peter’s Church). Michelangelo would move in and out of favor with the Popes. After the monk Savonarola had lost power, Michelangelo returned to Florence which had suffered attacks from the king of Spain and rebellion from the Florentine people themselves. Michelangelo was hired by Florence to help build fortifications. At nearly 60 years of age, he left Florence for the last time, and moved again to Rome. It was during the remaining 29 years of his life that he finally finished Pope Julius’ tomb; worked on the Alter wall of the Sistine Chapel (The Last Judgment); and ran the design and completion of St. Peter’s church in Vatican City. Michelangelo died at the age of 89, a fairly lonely man, who had lived most of his life alone, and as a dedicated servant to his art.

Artistic Persona When viewing Michelangelo’s works, it is evident that he felt that the human body was the most important subject an artist could paint or sculpt. He spent much of his life studying nature and science to make his works of art as lifelike as possible. He also received permission to study at one of the hospitals in Florence. Here he gained an incredible understanding of the human body and how it worked. Sculptors of this time wanted their work to look as realistic as possible, so they studied the human body, and most particularly the muscles, and how they looked. It is also clear to see the evolution of his feelings toward life, the world and the church in his art. His early works are proud, and beautiful and strong (David, the Sistine Chapel Ceiling) while his later works become much darker and somber (The Last Judgment). His crowning achievement is the architectural completion of St. Peter’s in Rome.

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Michelangelo Buonarroti

Michelangelo, unlike many of his contemporaries, never established his own studio. He lived instead by the commissions of his patrons (from job to job) which often lead to a very unpredictable life. He also sent a portion of the money that he earned back to his father and brothers to help support them. More often than not, his work was interrupted due to the death of a patron and wars, and he had to move on to the next project before the first was completed. This was a great source of frustration to Michelangelo as he was completely devoted to non-stop working on his art. Stylistically, Michelangelo was more influenced by art that was both monumental, and intensely expressive like the works of Giotto, and Masaccio, rather than by artists who were more of his contemporaries and produced more refined and sophisticated works like Botticelli and Ghilandio. What is Renaissance Art? The Renaissance (meaning rebirth) was the name historians have given to the time of change in the 15th and 16th centuries. There was a great enthusiasm for the learnings of ancient Greece and Rome. Artists were inspired by the masterpieces of the ancient world as writers studied old manuscripts, sculptors studied statues dug up from the ground, and explorers were free to explore the world again. In Michelangelo’s time, Italy was the artistic capitol of Europe, and Florence was the center. Europeans turned to Italy for inspiration, and trends. One of the great changes in the Renaissance took place as towns grew and prospered. Wealthy merchants and traders spent lavishly on art, buildings, paintings, sculpture, and research. They were amassing great wealth, and wanted to show their prosperity to the world. They relied on artists of the time to immortalize themselves in art.

Featured Artwork Delphic Sibyl (1509) (Fresco) Show: Large reproduction or digital image This fresco pictures one of the 12 female sybils. What are Sybils? The sibyls were women that the ancient Greeks believed could tell the future. Also known as prophets. The Delphic Sibyl in ancient Greek mythology was the most famous teller of fortunes. She was the voice of Apollo, the Greek god of music, poetry, prophecy and medicine. Michelangelo shows us a handsome woman holding a prophetic scroll in her raised hand while her eyes gaze past us into the future. The four colors of her garment could represent the Earth (green), Fire (red), Water (blue), and Air (orange). The children behind her may be reading their own futures. The Delphic North Stratfield School

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Michelangelo Buonarroti Sibyl’s face is beautiful yet full of anguish as if she were preparing to predict a tragic future for mankind.

The figure is in a classic pose where the upper body and lower body are turned in opposite directions. Definition: Fresco The word fresco means “fresh” in Italian. The technique of fresco painting has been used since Roman times, but was perfected during the Renaissance. To start, the wall is plastered (a very fine concrete like material). The picture is drawn on cardboard or paper called cartoons, and holes are punched along the outline of the drawing. The cartoon is then held against the wall, and dusted with soot. Another layer of plaster is then applied to the wall over the soot outline. The final picture is then painted into the wet plaster, with a very faint outline of the cartoon showing through. Fresco painting is done very quickly as once the plaster is dry it no longer takes the paint in the same way. Fresco painting on large areas is very difficult, as it must be done in sections over many days.

Libyan Sibyl (1511) (Fresco) Show: 8.5x11 prints or digital images

Red Chalk on Paper

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Completed Fresco

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Michelangelo Buonarroti Michelangelo did not necessarily go directly to paint his frescos. These are sketches that the artist did before he created the final paintings. These types of drawings are also known as “studies”. Ask: Can anyone guess why these types of sketches would be called “studies”? Do you know why the artist might have done these studies? Answer: Studies are typically done with a model holding a pose for the artist. This work helps an artists figure out what something should look like so that they can avoid making costly mistakes. The twisting motion of the figure’s torso animates the Libyan Sibyl as she opens her manuscript of prophecies and glances downwards at the chapel floor, sixty feet below! Interesting Facts About the Sistine Chapel Show: 8.5 x 11 print or project photo of Sistine Chapel ceiling •

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The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is one of Michelangelo's most famous works. The ceiling is 134 ft Long, 44 ft wide, 68 ft off the ground His scheme for the ceiling eventually comprised some three hundred figures and took four years to execute, being completed in 1512. It took Michelangelo 4 years to paint the entire ceiling

General Discussion: Let’s talk about the frescos: • What do you think is going on in this fresco? Let's create a story about this painting. • How does this painting make you feel? • Do you think this picture is beautiful? Why? Is the woman pretty, are the colors pleasing? • Do her clothes say anything about her? It she a rich or poor? Talking about the Elements of Art Color: • What kinds of colors did Michelangelo use? (Cool colors – blue and green? or warm colors – red, yellow, orange?) • Are the colors distinct or are they blended together to form a softer look? (They are distinct) Shape: • What shapes do you see? (Curves – her body, the scroll, rectangles the architecture around her) North Stratfield School

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Michelangelo Buonarroti

Does the painting look more flat, or more round and three-dimensional? (Although the reproduction might not show it well, the painting has a very three-dimensional look) Texture: • What kinds of textures are depicted in the painting? (Soft, yet full of detail. Look especially at the fabric of her clothing. See how the folds seem to flow and literally drape on and off of her body) Line: • Does Michelangelo’s use of lines create tension in the painting? (Yes. Her posture creates tension. She seems poised to move and speak to you) • Do the lines that Michelangelo used draw your attention to any one area of the painting? (Yes, the lines draw you to her face, and also to the scroll that she is holding) • Are the lines clean and hard or soft? (Clean and crisp.) • Is the painting highly detailed or not detailed? (Highly detailed) Light: • What kind of light is Michelangelo showing? (Natural) • Where is the light coming from? (It is a fairly direct light that is coming from the upper left front of the Sibyl. Notice the highlight on her knee and deep shadow at her back) Space: Identify items in the: • Foreground: The objects and ground that are “before” or in front of everything else in the picture. (her knee and elbow) •

Middle ground: The objects and ground in a picture that are mid-distant, in front of the background. (her body, head and the scroll)

Background: The farthest away objects in a picture, usually near the top of the picture plane. In a landscape it is the sky and the farthest land. (the children)

Composition: Is the painting balanced? (Yes, the fresco is symmetrical and the figure balanced with in it.

Pietà (1498) (Marble) Show: Large reproduction or digital image When he was only 24 years old Michelangelo carved this beautiful statue from a single piece of stone. Ask: What is a sculpture? Answer: Sculpture is 3 dimensional artwork that can be viewed from any angle: top, bottom, front, back. This artwork is something that you can reach out and touch. Pietà It means Pity or Compassion and represents a religious figure named Mary, from Christian literature, North Stratfield School

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Michelangelo Buonarroti holding her deceased son in her lap. It is on display in Rome at the Vatican. It is the only sculpture that Michelangelo ever signed. Ask: If this was the only sculpture that he signed how do you think people knew of his other works of art?

As the story goes Michelangelo overheard some people discussing the artist was who sculpted the statue. The wrongly mentioned another sculptors name and Michelangelo was so upset that he hid away one night with a chisel and waited until no one was around. He then carved his name across the chest of the mother figure to make sure that in the future everyone would know who he was. After he did this he regretted it and vowed to never sign another piece of work again. Sadly, a man damaged this sculpture with a hammer in 1972, but luckily they were able to restore it. Restoration took 10 months. General Discussion: Let’s talk about the sculpture: • What words might you use to describe how sculpture is made? (It is a big rock being chipped away at with a hammer and chiesel. It is loud and messy) • What do you think of the detail in this sculpture? (Note the many folds of the clothing and the way the skin of the figures looks natural even though it is literally as hard as a rock) • How long do you think it took the sculptor to create this piece? (3 years) • How big do you think this sculpture is? (almost 6 feet tall and 6.5 feet wide)

Resources https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delphic_Sibyl https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piet%C3%A0_(Michelangelo) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libyan_Sibyl http://www.biography.com/people/michelangelo-9407628 http://www.michelangelo-gallery.org/ David Piper, The Illustrated History of Art, Chancellor Press, 1991. Diane Stanley, Michelangelo, Harper Collins, 2000. Mike Venezia, Getting to Know The World’s Greatest Artists – Michelangelo, Children’s Press, 1991 Anthony Hughes, Michelangelo, Phaidon Press, 1997. Robert Coughlan, The World of Michelangelo, Time Life Books, 1966. Giorgio Vasari, The Great Masters, Macmillan Publishing, 1986. https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/renaissance-reformation/high-ren-florencerome/michelangelo/a/michelangelo-ceiling-of-the-sistine-chapel https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sistine_Chapel http://mentalfloss.com/article/63602/15-things-you-should-know-about-michelangelos-pieta https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/renaissance-reformation/high-ren-florencerome/michelangelo/v/michelangelo-piet-1498-1500 North Stratfield School

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