How Michelangelo created his statues

  • Michelangelo would refer to his model collection to see if there was anything he could use from it. Since he had a photographic memory this step was automatic.

  • A Bozzetto , or sketch models would then be made in clay or wax or on paper View

  • A terrocatta Model model would be made. View

  • The terracotta model would then be presented to the patron for approval.

  • A wax model would be made of the terrocatta Model. The wax model could be changed by dipping it into hot water. Final details could also be added to the hard wax model. View

  • Sketches or models would be made of the marble block to be cut. View

  • Transporting Marbles from the Carrar Quarry. View

  • Michelangelo would sometimes make small model for futher studies View

  • Michelangelo would begin by paiting a outline of the statue on the marble block.

  • Michelangelo would block out the marble using the water method: The wax model would be immersed in water and the water lowered as the carving is done. Michelangelo possessed a photographic memory and a excellent sense of enlarging and judging by the eye alone. He wouuld then free carve the marble using the small terracota model and from studies that he made. View

  • Using Sculpting tools Michelangelo would then zero in on the torso chisling out the figures outlines and cross hatching as in a deep relief. He carved his statues as he drew his pictures by crosshatching   Or, click here to see tool marks on the Pieta

  • Once he got the torso done, he could then proportionally sculpt the rest of the statue in proportion to the fininsihed torso.

  • Sometimes large clay or stucco models were made so other sculptors to to work from. View

  • After the statue was completed Michelangelo would sometimes give away the terracota, and wax models. Sometimes he would cast the wax model into a bronze or stucco and give it away. If made into a bronze the wax model would be destroyed. Several of these models that Michelangelo gave away survive to this day survive to this day. View

  • Others will say that Michealangelo used a pointing machineto make his sculptures Click here to see a Youtube video

    However pointing machines weren't invented by Gatteaux in France (17511832).till long after Michelangelo's time. According to Wikipedia " Before the invention of the pointing machine by Gatteaux, sculptors used several methods to measure and copy sculpture, such as grids,which were already in use in early Egyptian sculpture, plumb-bobs, measuring sticks and calipers. The main technique was to measure the model from three fixed points with calipers.

    Others will say that he didn't use a pointing machine, but that he worked from large models and free sculptued. However, there is no evidence on the unfininished sculptures that he used a pointing machine. View

  • More links on how he worked:

  • Vasari on how Michelangelo's work methods

  • Condivi and Vasari on Michelangelo's Memory

  • Leonardo Da Vinci on Michelagelo using Models and Painting

  • Cellini on how Michelanglo's work methods

  • Tools Michealangelo Used

  • Unfinished Statues Showing how he worked