Photographer's Note

Today, March 6th, is Michelangelo’s Birthday.

Michelangelo Buonarroti, born in 1475, is one of Italy’s and the world’s greatest artists. Although mainly interested in sculpting large statues, he also created paintings, architecture, and poetry. At the age of twelve, after a brief classical education, he became an apprentice to popular fresco painters in Florence and then studied at an art school where he attracted the attention of Lorenzo de’Medici. At age twenty-three he created the famous Pieta, the most important work of his youth, which now stands in St. Peter’s Church in Rome. His fourteen-foot high sculpture, David, was carved from a single block of marble. He was commissioned to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican and completed this magnificent work called The Creation in 1510. Twenty-five years later he painted another huge fresco on the end wall of the same chapel,The Last Judgment.

My photograph is a portion his fresco of The Last Judgment one of twelve paintings on the massive walls of the Sistine Chapel. It is considered to be the masterwork of Michelangelo’s mature years. The painting represents souls of the dead rising up to face the wrath of God. Christ, the Judge, whose athletic, muscular body is the focus of the painting’s motion, shows no sympathy for the agitated saints around him. Michelangelo’s self-portrait is on the skin held by the martyr St. Bartholomew.

Michelangelo was an anti-social solitary sort of man. He was highly competitive and known to be a perfectionist in his work, yet his dress and appearance were untidy. His personality was grouchy and not even the Pope was spared his bad temper. Nude figures in his work were viewed by some as sacrilegious. Even among those who may not have liked the example he gave, the power, originality, and versatility of his art have guaranteed his prominence as a historical figure and Renaissance genius for over 400 years since his death on February 18, 1564. He is often considered a contender for the title of Renaissance man, along with his rival and fellow Italian Leonardo da Vinci.

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Additional Photos by Betty Jones (BWJ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 473 W: 0 N: 919] (3094)
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