The true work of art is but a shadow of divine perfection!
This quote was by none other than the great artist Michelangelo Buonarroti!
The maestro was connected to art like no other artist of his time!
Michelangelo’s works are not just famous for their greatness and uniqueness but also for the influence they had on the rest of the world!
Even after centuries from his era, we are still hopelessly swooned and influenced by Michelangelo paintings!
While a lot of us have focused on studying his paintings and other forms of art, we have often missed out on other interesting facts about him.
I have gathered some very interesting Michelangelo facts that will leave you pondering over the great artist’s life and experiences!
As you read my piece, the world dearly holds onto what is left of this mastermind’s works and try to learn as much as they can from it.
So, let us also indulge in some facts about Michelangelo and see what surfaces!
Before that, let us briefly look into Michelangelo’s life and achievements.
Table of contents
- Briefly Introducing Michelangelo Buonarroti
- 1. He Stopped Painting To Focus On Sculpting
- 2. Young Michelangelo Broke His Nose In A Rival Combat
- 3. Got His First Recognition Due To An Attempted Fraud
- 4. Michelangelo Created Artworks For Nine Different Popes
- 5. David Was Carved From A Disposed Block
- 6. He Always Found A Way To Sneak Himself Into His Art
- 7. He Played A Huge Role In Designing Military Defense Fortifications
- 8. Jack Of All Trades: He Was Also An Excellent Poet
- 9. His Art Often Channeled His Vengeance
- 10. Michelangelo’s Work At Sistine Chapel Was Intended To End His Career
- 11. His Most Famous Artworks Faced Vandalism
- 12. This Artist Was Quite Wealthy
- 13. He Worked Until The Final Week Of His Life
- To Wrap It Up
- Author Says Hi!
- Frequently Asked Questions
Briefly Introducing Michelangelo Buonarroti
The year 1475 witnessed the birth of a great Renaissance artist in Florence!
Michelangelo’s artistic inclinations and experiments began at the tender age of 13.
At the time, he was Domenico Ghirlandio’s apprentice too and completed his three year apprenticeship in just one year!
This should have probably been the sign that there is no stopping of this young Michelangelo from there on!
He was not just a painter but also a producer of countless sculptures.
There is not much known of his personal life, but even then I have gathered some very intriguing facts on Michelangelo.
1. He Stopped Painting To Focus On Sculpting
Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.
This quote by the artist best explains this Michelangelo fact!
Yes, he created masterpieces, including the Creation of Adam which was part of the Sistine Chapel painting!
But his passion for sculpting never faded, yet only grew.
His love for sculpting grew to so many levels that after a point, he stopped painting to focus completely on sculpting!
2. Young Michelangelo Broke His Nose In A Rival Combat
This is one of the Michelangelo facts that would come out to be rather shocking yet a little funny.
Imagine a young Michelangelo, who was sent off to Europe to learn under a great artist and art patron, Lorenzo de’ Medici.
This young boy was not liked by his other pupils, not because he lacked something but he had too much to give.
Yes, Michelangelo excelled in everything he did and was much better than everyone there which brewed jealousy.
This led to the poor lad being punched in his nose by student, Pietro Torringiano!
The shocking part out of this is that his nose was left permanently damaged from this assault!
3. Got His First Recognition Due To An Attempted Fraud
This would be one of the Michelangelo facts that is not very appreciated or known.
Yes, Michelangelo started off his career as a forger– can you believe that?
In Michelangelo’s early life, he had carved a magnificent cupid statue in Greek-style.
His mentor seeing this prompted him to make it look like it was buried under sand so that it got an antique appearance!
And that is exactly what Michelangelo did because the sculpture was sold to Cardinal Raffaele Riario who thought it was an ancient piece dug up from earth!
Suggested Read: Famous Angel Paintings
4. Michelangelo Created Artworks For Nine Different Popes
One of the most common Michelangelo facts is that he painted the enormous Sistine Chapel, which became his most famous work!
That said, this was not the only time he worked for a pope; in fact, he worked for nine different popes.
Michelangelo has indulged in creating several religious paintings and adding his own unique style to it!
Probably because of this reason, he did not always have the best relationship with all of them.
Michelangelo’s artistic decision of adding nude figures in The Last Judgment received a lot of criticisms and controversies.
But that did not budge the artist and because he was stubborn in his own artistic ways!
5. David Was Carved From A Disposed Block
Did you know about this particular one from the famous Michelangelo facts?
Yes, the infamous sculpture created by Michelangelo was born from a discarded marble block.
In fact, the slab that he chose was stamped as “unworkable” by several sculptors!
Working on it was definitely not an easy task because of the big slab’s condition but this artist was not someone to back down.
Michelangelo took this particular slab of marble and worked on it until he could see David emerging from it!
The only negative outcome from David is that its condition has been degrading compared to other sculptures because of the marble’s poor quality.
6. He Always Found A Way To Sneak Himself Into His Art
Have you noticed that this great artist has not really made any self-portraits of himself?
That said, one of the most intriguing Michelangelo facts is that he would paint himself into his paintings in the most subtle way possible!
The most infamous example of this is again found in The Last Judgment painting, where he depicts St. Bartholomew.
If you look closely, in the mask like skin, you will see the evident facial features of Michelangelo!
Imagine, putting himself in the humongous painting of the Sistine Chapel, that too in The Last Judgment– his wittiness is commendable!
Suggested Read: 24 Renaissance Facts
7. He Played A Huge Role In Designing Military Defense Fortifications
Is this one of the Michelangelo facts that you were expecting?
Yes, apart from being a painter and sculptor, he had also taken the responsibility to fortify the defense walls of Florence.
Michelangelo is known for taking this task with all seriousness; he would cover every nook and corner to study and improve the defense walls.
He used his gifted skills of art to make several sketches and blueprints of wall designs.
It is these very walls that protected the 10 month long attack even though it unfortunately ended in a siege.
Michelangelo is still remembered for his contributions on fortifying the walls that played a major role during the attack!
8. Jack Of All Trades: He Was Also An Excellent Poet
This one is a favorite among Michelangelo facts!
Not only was he a skilled painter but also a brilliant poet!
Although he is famously known for his artwork, Michelangelo has written several poems.
In these poems, he has explored many topics from life, aging, sex, and surprisingly even his bladder!
His written works only got fame in the 16th century, way after his demise, some of which were even transformed into songs.
9. His Art Often Channeled His Vengeance
This particular fact about Michelangelo will leave you howling with laughter!
Michelangelo was not a man to mess with because he would definitely find a way to show his vengeance.
When Michelangelo was in the process of painting The Last Judgment, he met one of Pope Paul’s attendants, Biagio de Cesena.
Biagio spoke brutally against his work and was extremely disgusted by the nude paintings added in the Chapel!
So disgusted that he even commented that the painting was not meant to be displayed in the Church!
As a response to this, Michelangelo included Biagio in the painting!
Biagio was represented as Minos, the judge of the souls standing at the gate of hell, surrounded by evil spirits and a snake biting his genitals!
It is a scary sight, but to think that the artist actually did this is brazen and comical!
10. Michelangelo’s Work At Sistine Chapel Was Intended To End His Career
This is definitely one of the most shocking Michelangelo facts that you will come across!
The Sistine Chapel project was commissioned to Michelangelo with the intention of sabotaging his career.
The artist was already famous for his sculptors, but other painters, like Raphael, were envious of his multiple talents and ability to paint too.
In fact, it was Raphael who prompted Pope Julius II to appoint Michelangelo for the Sistine Chapel.
Although he initially rejected it, Michelangelo took up the project and completed the brilliant masterpiece in a span of 4 years!
Also Read: Paintings by Raphael
11. His Most Famous Artworks Faced Vandalism
Two of the most famous sculptures by Michelangelo are Pieta and David!
In 1972, Pieta was attacked by a geologist who was suffering from some mental illness, which resulted in the grave destruction of the sculpture.
After finding all the broken and shattered pieces with much difficulty, it took the officials 10 months to put the sculpture back together.
His other famous sculpture, David, also had the same fate, as its toe got hammered by the attacker!
12. This Artist Was Quite Wealthy
Haven’t we heard of so many artists who fall under the category of financially struggling their whole lives and often dying poor?
Well, this wasn’t the case with Michelangelo!
He was one of the wealthiest artists in his era, because he always had constant work and steady income from patrons.
Another fun Michelangelo fact is that he was a tactical investor himself, and did great with his investments too.
13. He Worked Until The Final Week Of His Life
Personally, one of the most moving Michelangelo facts is that the great artist worked till his final week of life!
He spent most of his final years in the Vatican to supervise the construction that was in progress at St. Peter’s Basilica.
Even when he got too sick and frail, Michelangelo made sure that he sent the designs he had drawn from his home.
Even so, the artist could not sit idle given the fact that he worked on his last sculpture, Rondanini Pieta.
The sculpture stays unfinished because before it was completed Michelangelo breathed his last at the age of 88!
To Wrap It Up
I have tried my best to highlight some of the most important and intriguing facts on Michelangelo, but the man is full of wonders.
I hope this article will encourage you to dig deeper into his life and his awestriking artwork.
The best way to admire his art would definitely be in person, so if you find yourself having the chance, make the best out of it!
Author Says Hi!
Hello My Readers,
What an interesting man, our great Michelangelo was, right?
Well, there is definitely more that you can dig into this maestro’s life and detailed study of his work.
Meanwhile, I hope you enjoyed this read that highlights some of the most famous Michelangelo facts.
Do reach out to us in the comments below, I would love to hear your inputs!
Until the next time
Frequently Asked Questions
There is very little we know about Michelangelo’s personal life, but as far as records go, he never had a wife or any children.
It took Michelangelo over four years to complete the Sistine Chapel. He started working on it in July 1508, and completed the work in October 1512. He learned the art of frescoes while on the job.
Michelangelo’s full name is Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni.
Michelangelo was 88 years old when he died. He was working on his last sculpture, Rondanini Pieta during the time.