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Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564)


Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564) exerted enormous influence. He was universally acknowledged as a supreme artist in his own lifetime, but again, his followers all too often present us with only the master's outward manner, his muscularity and gigantic grandeur; they miss the inspiration. Sebastiano del Piombo (c.1485-1547), for example, actually used a drawing (at least a sketch) made for him by Michelangelo for his masterwork, The Raising of Lazarus. Masterwork it is; yet how melodramatic it appears if compared with Michelangelo's own painting.

Michelangelo resisted the paintbrush, vowing with his characteristic vehemence that his sole tool was the chisel. As a well-born Florentine, a member of the minor aristocracy, he was temperamentally resistant to coercion at any time. Only the power of the pope, tyrannical by position and by nature, forced him to the Sistine and the reluctant achievement of the world's greatest single fresco.

 
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