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Sculptor - Michelangelo
Many believe this to be a self-portrait by Michelangelo, although others are not so sure.

Sculptor - Michelangelo

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was born on the 6th of March 1475, in the Republic of Florence in modern day Italy. During his childhood he learned to cut stone and at the age of 13 he was apprenticed to the painter Domenico Ghirlandaio. When he was just 15 years old he attended the Humanist academy founded by the famous de Medici family, and his career began to take off.

At the age of 21 Michelangelo headed to Rome where he received a commission for a Pietà - a sculpture showing the Virgin Mary grieving over the body of Jesus. This is a subject he returned to again in later life as his own death drew nearer.

Michelangelo returned to Florence in 1499 where he remained for 6 years. During this time he created his most famous sculpture, David. Then, in 1505 Michelangelo returned to Rome after he received a commission to create a tomb for Pope Julius II. He was also tasked with painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. This became the most famous of all his paintings and it took him four years to complete.

Michelangelo died in Rome on the 8th of February 1564 and is buried at the Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence. Remembered mostly for his sculptures, he was also a painter, an architect, a poet, and an engineer; a true Renaissance man. He is undoubtedly a contender for the title 'the greatest artist ever to have lived'.

For a closer look at the pictures, please click on them to enlarge.
1.
This bust, thought to have been inspired by the political machinations of the de Medici family, is of which ancient Roman?
Photograph courtesy of Shakko
Julius Caesar
Brutus
Augustus Caesar
Mark Anthony
Brutus betrayed and murdered his friend Julius Caesar and this piece is thought to be a metaphorical representation of the de Medici family who had recently taken control of the Florentine government. They were rumoured to have arranged assassinations for their own political ends
2.
This sculpture is thought by many to be Michelangelo's greatest work. It is a statue of which biblical figure?
Photograph courtesy of Rico Heil
Saint Peter
Abraham
Saint Paul
David
Michelangelo's contemporaries were impressed by the statue's size (it is 17ft tall) but also with it's life like appearance. The 16th century art historian Giorgio Vasari said of this work, "[it is] certainly a miracle that of Michelangelo, to restore to life one who was dead"
3.
Crouching Boy is a work which appears to be unfinished as the figure seems to be stuck in the block of stone it is sculpted from. What is the name of this intentional effect used by Michelangelo?
Photograph courtesy of Yair Haklai
Adhaesit (stuck)
Non Finite (not finished)
Emergentes (emerging)
Parte Insculptam (part sculpted)
The non finite technique had been pioneered by Donatello in the previous decades and Michelangelo adopted its use.
Crouching Boy is thought to have been created for the Medici Chapel in Florence circa 1539. Today it can be found in the Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg
4.
Michelangelo is said to have created this figure of Christ whilst he was a guest at the Santa Maria del Santo Spirito convent when he was what age?
Photograph courtesy of Sailko
13 years old
15 years old
17 years old
19 years old
In return for his crafting of this statue Michelangelo is said to have been allowed access to corpses in the convent's hospital - which allowed him to study human anatomy
5.
This statue of Moses is just one of many figures on the tomb of Pope Julius II. How many statues were included in the original plans for the tomb?
Photograph courtesy of Prasenberg
40 statues
30 statues
20 statues
10 statues
Funding for the work was drastically cut and the finished tomb had only 11 of the intended figures.
This statue of Moses is strange because he is depicted with horns coming from his head! This is because of description of his face in the Latin Vulgate Bible as cornuta which means 'horned' in English
6.
The Taddei Tondo (also known as The Virgin and Child with the Infant Saint John) is unique because it is the only work by Michelangelo to be found in which country?
Photograph courtesy of Sailko
The United Kingdom
The United Arab Emirates
The United States of America
Uzbekistan
The Taddei Tondo was purchased by Sir George Beaumont in 1821 during a visit to Italy. Following his death it was donated to the Royal Academy of Arts in London where it is now on display in its own purpose built area
7.
Michelangelo was still working on this unfinished piece just days before he died. How old was he when he passed away?
Photograph courtesy of Paolo da Reggio
58 years old
68 years old
78 years old
88 years old
For the period in which Michelangelo lived, 88 was a very good age to reach. In his later years Michelangelo became more concerned with his own mortality and this second attempt to fashion a statue of Mary grieving over her dead son reflects that.
In a letter to his friend Giorgio Vasari, Michelangelo writes, "I have reached the twenty-fourth hour of my day, and... no project arises in my brain which has hath not the figure of death graven upon it"
8.
Cristo della Minerva is the second version of this statue to be created by Michelangelo. Why did he abandon the first version?
Photograph courtesy of Tetraktys
Because the commissioner of the work did not like the original
Because he accidentally knocked off the statue's nose
Because he discovered a black vein in the block of white marble he was using
Because one of his apprentices knocked the statue over and cracked it
The first version was reworked by another artist and now stands in the church of San Vincenzo Martire. The black vein can be seen in Jesus' face.
This second version was originally naked but a girdle was added some time in the following century
9.
The Pietà statue of Mary grieving over Jesus' body, had to be restored after it was attacked by a vandal. Which part of the statue was lost in the attack?
Photograph courtesy of Stanislav Traykov
Jesus' toe
Mary's ear
Jesus' finger
Mary's nose
The vandal attacked the statue with a hammer, removing one of Mary's arms and her nose. The arm was reattached but the nose was lost and had to be reconstructed using a piece of marble from the statue's back
10.
The Deposition (also known as The Florence Pietà) was begun when Michelangelo was 73 years old and was intended to be a part of which structure?
Photograph courtesy of Marie Lan Nguyen
The Tower of Pisa
Venice Cathedral
The Trevi Fountain
Michelangelo's tomb
The work never made it to Michelangelo's tomb. It was abandoned by the artist after a leg was accidentally broken off. A later owner had the work completed and it can now be found in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo in Florence

 

Author:  Graeme Haw

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