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Friday, March 6, 2009

Happy Birthday, Michelangelo!

Today marks the 534th anniversary of Michelangelo Buonarroti's birth.  He was born in an extraordinary time and in an extraordinary place, and he flourished...
Michelangelo was born in 1475 to parents living in genteel poverty. The family lived in Caprese near Florence, where Michelangelo’s father, Lodovico di Leonardo Buonarroti Simoni, had a minor government appointment. His mother, Francesca Neri di Miniato del Sera, fell from a horse during her pregnancy; happily, the fall did not seem to affect the child she was carrying. 
Lodovico had married Francesca a few years before, in 1472, when she was about seventeen and he was twenty-seven. The proud father wrote of his son’s birth:
I record that on this day the sixth of March 1475 a son was born to me: I gave him the name of Michelangelo, and he was born on Monday morning, before four or five o’clock, and he was born to me while I was podestà of Caprese, and he was born at Caprese: the godfathers were those named below. He was baptized on the eighth day of the same month in the church of San Giovanni at Caprese.
As was typical for a child from his social class, Michelangelo was sent to live with a wet nurse for his first few years. The nurse was the daughter and the wife of stonemasons, leading Michelangelo to jokingly declare, “If I have any intelligence at all, it has come . . . because I took the hammer and chisels with which I carve my figures from my wet-nurse’s milk.” Michelangelo had four siblings: one older brother, Leonardo, and three younger ones, Buonarroto, Giovansimone, and Gismondo. Their mother died in 1481, the year Gismondo was born. Michelangelo’s sensitive images of women with their children—from the Rome Pieta to the mothers on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel—reflect the longing of a boy who was motherless from the age of six. 
Michelangelo’s portrayals of women were also shaped by the rich beauty of his hometown; Florence in the fifteenth century was a city of prosperity, elegance, and artistry. From Ghiberti’s bronze doors on the baptistry of Santa Maria dell Fiore depicting detailed friezes of Biblical stories, which Michelangelo would call “the Gates of Paradise,” to Brunelleschi’s dome and della Robbia’s medallions on the Ospedale degli Innocenti, the city through which young Michelangelo wandered was filled with art on public display. After all, the Medici family had planned it that way...
A Journey into Michelangelo's Rome  by Angela K. Nickerson (page 15-16)
There were just too many photos for today, so I made a video instead.  
Here are a few of my favorite works by Michelangelo...
What is your favorite story about or work of art by Michelangelo?

And thanks to all of you who stopped by from Deliciousbaby.com's Photo Friday!  


Dominique March 6, 2009 at 10:08 AM  

Interesting info about Michelangelo. The short video was a really nice way to give people a little taste of his work...

Jessie V March 6, 2009 at 4:07 PM  

happy birthday, michelangelo!! thanks for the great article, angela!

LadyE March 6, 2009 at 5:01 PM  

Excellent post. "David" is my favorite. When I saw "him" in Florence it was love at first sight!

Rena March 6, 2009 at 8:09 PM  

My favorite is probably Pieta, I think it's called.

Monna March 7, 2009 at 12:46 AM  

Hi Angela!
For me, it's the Sistine Chapel... although the David is also breathtaking. It's hard to fathom that one man was able to create these works more than five centuries ago. On a recent trip through Tuscany, we passed by the town of Carrara where Michelangelo obtained the white marble for the David. So cool!

Anonymous March 8, 2009 at 10:09 PM  

I was in awe of the simple fresco he did in the church Santa Maria Novella in Florence. I don't know why, maybe because it was on of first public works [I think]. I it is of Jesus and 3 or 4 disciples with John standing on the left, I could have sat with that painting all day...BKR

Anonymous April 4, 2009 at 4:01 PM  

omg! thanks sooo much! u dont kno how much i appreciate this since i have the renaissance faire & im doing it on michelangelo, but i need some background info but all the other sites are so vague! this sure helps! thanks again!

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