Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel: An overview of the Artist, Work, and Cultural Environment

Natural Context: environment in which the art was made
Despite its religious subject matter and location in the Renaissance tradition of papal patronage of art, Michelangelo's sprawling fresco across the Sistine Chapel ceiling in the Vatican impresses many contemporary viewers with its visual resonance with pagan and pre-Christian artistic images dating back to Greece and Rome. Although the ceiling depicts the Fall of Man, the visual iconography is filled with excitement and celebration of the human, sexualized form in the tradition of pagan antiquity. This is consistent with the artist's style and also the spirit of the age when it was constructed.
Artist’s Biography: life story and circumstances of the artist
With the possible exception of Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni stands as the most famous painter and sculptor of the High Renaissance style in the Florentine and Roman tradition. During this period of art history, although religious subjects, such as those featured in the Sistine Chapel, remained popular, there was a new ethos: that of the celebration of the human form, and human achievements.
Michelangelo was born near Florence, and grew up in that region. Although later in life Michelangelo insisted that he had no real training, in 1488, after overcoming parental opposition he was formally apprenticed to Domenico Ghirlandaio for three years. During this time he also began to work a sculptor in the Medici Garden, which drew him into the Medici circle. Michelangelo was undeniably a prodigy, producing his famous ;Madonna of the Stairs; when he was only a tender sixteen years old. After Lorenzo de’ Medici died in 1492, Michelangelo studied anatomy with the help of the Prior of the Hospital of Sto Spirito. Following the expulsion of the Medici, Michelangelo moved on to Rome, where he sculpted hisfirst "Pieta." Returning to Florence when the political climate …


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