Portrait of Michelangelo by Daniele da Volterra []

"Beauty is the purgation of superfluities."
— Michelangelo

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (6 March 1475-18 Feb. 1564); Italian sculptor, painter, architect, poet, and engineer of the High Renaissance who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art. Considered the greatest living artist during his lifetime, he has also been described as one of the greatest artists of all time. Despite making few forays beyond the arts, his versatility in the disciplines he took up was of such a high order that he is often considered a contender for the title of the archetypal Renaissance man, along with his rival and fellow Florentine Medici client, Leonardo da Vinci.

A number of Michelangelo's works of painting, sculpture, and architecture rank among the most famous in existence. His output in every field of interest was prodigious; given the sheer volume of surviving correspondence, sketches, and reminiscences taken into account, he is the best-documented artist of the 16th century.

He sculpted 2 of his best-known works, the Pietà and David, before the age of 30. Despite holding a low opinion of painting, Michelangelo also created 2 of the most influential frescoes in the history of Western art: the scenes from Genesis on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome, and The Last Judgment on its altar wall. As an architect, he pioneered the Mannerist style at the Laurentian Library. At 74, he succeeded Antonio da Sangallo the Younger as the architect of St. Peter's Basilica. Michelangelo transformed the plan so that the western end was finished to his design, as was the dome, with some modification, after his death.

Michelangelo was unique as the first Western artist whose biography was published while he was alive. In fact, two biographies were published during his lifetime...
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