On February 18, 1564 Michelangelo Buonarotti died at the age of 89 years. He left an artistic heritage of incredible importance at this time.
If one takes it exactly, Michelangelo’s life as an artist lasted 77 years because at the age of 12 he entered the workshop of Domenicho Ghirlandaeo in Florence.
But who would have thought at that time that the apprentice would soon be one of the greatest Renaissance artists, one who achieved success in the same way as a painter, architect and sculptor? Michelangelo’s real career as a painter began with the commission to paint the vaulted ceiling in the Sistine Chapel by Pope Julius II. Although the artist initially resisted it, he had actually been called to Rome to commission the funerary monument of the Pope. The order situation then changed but soon after the arrival of the artist at the papal court and so he finally began after several disputes with the Pope in 1508 with the cycle of the creation of the world on the vault, where he should work for 4 years. In 1534 Pope Paul III called him. Once again in the chapel, this time with the order of the Last Judgment on the altar wall. 11 years of work, more than 1000 painted figures of saints, angels and demons and an altar wall of 200 square meters painted with lapis lazuli blue.
Michelangelo was over 60 years old when he painted the Last Judgment and if you stand in front of the altar wall today and study the various movement studies of the characters and enigmatic iconographic content, it is hard to believe that this masterpiece was written in only five years.
Fortunately, Michelangelo had not seen the church after his death practiced censorship on his fresco, which went so far that a large part of his most exposed figures were covered with fabrics.
If you would like to know more about the order history, the technique and the background of this famous work, you should follow this blog or book our tour of the Vatican Museums on your next trip to Rome!