Some little known facts about one of the greatest artists of all time
We all know who Michelangelo is, everyone has seen the statue of David and the Sistine Chapel, but what do we really know about him? Two weeks ago, we wished him a happy 539th birthday in the article Happy Birthday Michelangelo! and showed you some of his more famous pieces. Today, we thought we would present some little known, fun and interesting facts about his life and art:
- Michelangelo was the first western artist to have a biography written about him while he was still living.
- Michelangelo was raised and went to art school in the Republic of Florence, present day Tuscany, Italy, and when he died in Rome, he had his remains secretly sent back to Florence where his body was laid to rest at the Basilica of Santa Croce.
- He was not only a better artist than most of us, but apparently a better writer than most of us. He was a poet and around 300 of his poems and are still around. He was also famous for having written countless letters throughout his life. About 490 of his letters have survived and actually contain his original signature!
- Michelangelo's full name is Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni and his first name is pronounced Mic-elangelo not pronounced Mike-elangelo like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.
- He had sculpted the statue of David, the Pieta, painted the frescos on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and designed a dome St. Peter's Basilica-all before he turned 30 years old.
- Michelangelo wasn't in fact, always an artist. When he was fifty-two, he took two years off to join the army and defend the Republic of Florence as an engineer. He was in charge of creating fortifications to defend the city during battle.
- Michelangelo broke his nose as a teenager. He suffered a hard punch to the face from Pietro Torrigiano, another student at an art academy in Florence. The punch left Michelangelo with a permanently crooked nose for the rest of his life.
- Many have speculated that Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel's ceiling by laying down on the scaffolding. Actually, he would stand up and paint above him the entire time, standing on very high scaffolding. Anyone who has ever painted their ceiling in their apartment or house knows the pains of trying to paint upward-Michelangelo was truly a master of his craft.
- Michelangelo was a bit of a hermit-despite being quite rich, he lived as a poor man and didn't like to be around others unless it was art involved.
- He was always a bit ashamed of how hard he worked to create the wonderful pieces of art he finished. He would often rip up old sketches because he didn't want people to see how hard he worked. He was often very critical of his own work and had a volatile temperament. He once said of himself "If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful at all"
- His nickname was Il Divino (the divine one) and he was well known for the awe-inspiring grandeur included in his work.
Michelangelo was an interesting character through and through. And with his works, he may have well been one of the most interesting men in the world!