Chapter 1

The brilliant sculptor becomes a great painter

In 1475, in Florentine territory, at a little town of Caprese, the second son was born in the family of Ludovico di Leonardo di Buonarroti Simoni. The boy was named Michelangelo. That was the time of Sixtus IV pontificate, the year he initiated construction of the Sistine Chapel (Capella Sistina) in Rome.

Michelangelo Buonarotti
Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475–1564)

The Sistine Chapel (end of XV century)

Today the name of Michelangelo is commonly known and is inseparably associated with the Sistine Chapel. Having the details of the ingenious sculptor’s life in mind, we are struck by the titanic force nested in Michelangelo – a short, thin man, the force that enabled him to surpass seemingly insurmountable obstacles and, sometimes, the fate’s mockeries – his life abounded in them.

Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel in two stages. First he, doing the order of Pope Julius II (the nephew of Sixtus IV), was painting frescos on the Chapel plafond since 1508 until 1512. Twenty years later Pope Clement VII ordered the master to paint the altar wall. However, the work was only started at the time of the next pontiff – Paul III.

Michelangelo. The frescoes of the Sistine Chapel
(1508–1512, 1536–1541)

In 1536–1541 the artist created his tremendous fresco “The Last Judgment”. Michelangelo glorified the Sistine Chapel, the Chapel immortalized the artist’s name.

Michelangelo. The central part of the fresco
“The Last Judgment” (1536–1541)
on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel

However, many circumstances linked to creation of this masterpiece of the Renaissance are still covered with mystery. We are going to attempt at finding answers to some questions.

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