Michelangelo Buonarroti, a marble portrait bust, on a highly detailed decorative socle.
Michelangelo was a painter, sculptor, architect and poet widely considered one of the most brilliant artists of the Italian Renaissance.
Michelangelo was an apprentice to a painter before studying in the sculpture gardens of the powerful Medici Family.
What followed was a remarkable career as an artist, famed in his own time for his artistic virtuosity. Although he always considered himself a Florentine, Michelangelo lived most of his life in Rome, where he died at age 88.
To time spent working for the Medici's was very fertile for Michelangelo; his years with the family permitted him access to the social elite of Florence — allowing him to study under the respected sculptor Bertoldo di Giovanni and exposing him to prominent poets, scholars and learned humanists.
He also obtained special permission from the Catholic Church to study cadavers for insight into anatomy, though exposure to corpses had an adverse effect on his health.
These combined influences laid the groundwork for what would become Michelangelo's distinctive style: a muscular precision and reality combined with an almost lyrical beauty. Two relief sculptures that survive, "Battle of the Centaurs" and "Madonna Seated on a Step," are testaments to his phenomenal talent at the tender age of 16.
Italian Renaissance artist Michelangelo created the 'David' and 'Pieta' sculptures and the Sistine Chapel and 'Last Judgment' paintings.