Michelangelo’s formal education began when he was six, and his strong abilities in drawing and painting were already evident then. At the age of 13, he was apprenticed to the painter Domenico Ghirlandaio and a year later began training as a sculptor under the direction of Bertoldo di Giovanni. At this time, he came to the attention of Lorenzo de’ Medici, also known as Lorenzo the Magnificent. A skilled diplomat and generous patron of the arts, Lorenzo exemplified the values of the Italian Renaissance and gave the young Michelangelo access to the great thinkers, artists and works of art of the time.
Michelangelo spent his life between Florence and Rome, creating paintings, sculptures, and spaces for the top political and religious rulers. His famous frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, majestic sculpture of David, graceful architectural volumes of the Capitol square in Rome and innovative lines of the Laurentian Library are just a few examples of his accomplishments and dedication to his craft. One of Michelangelo’s most expressive works is the Pietà Rondanini, an unfinished sculpture on display in Milan’s Sforzesco Castle. The beauty of the polished human form emerges from the rough essence of stone, a combination that creates an emotional and thought-provoking work and shows see how this one man embodied both the inspired vision of the artist and the expressive power of the artisan.