Home


A Chronolgy of Michelangelo's Life


Source: "Michelangelo, life, letters, poetry",
         George Bull, Oxford University Press,
         2008, pp xx-xxiv

------------------------------------------------------ page 1 1475 Born: Michelangelo (Michelangiolo di March 6 Lodovico di Lionardo di Buonarroto Simoni) born 6 March in Caprese, near Arezzo (today, Caprese Michelangelo). He was the second of five children. His father was then podesta of Caprese and Chiusi; his mother, Francesca di Neri di Miniato de! Sera, died when he was 6. 1488 April 1: Apprenticed to Domenico and Davide Ghirlandaio for a period of three years. 1489-90 Continued his studies in the Medici garden museum, near San Marco, under Bertoldo di Giovanni, sculptor and pupil of Donatello. Befriended by Lorenzo the Magnificent. 1492 April 8: On the death of Lorenzo, Michelangelo returned home but later was asked to live in the Casa de' Medici and work for Piero. I494 Quit Florence for Venice and Bologna, where he stayed with the Bolognese nobleman, Gianfrancesco Aldo-vrandi. I494 Nov 9: Expulsion of Piero de' Medici from Florence. 1495 Michelangelo went back to Florence. 1496 June 25: Michelangelo arrived in Rome where he stayed till 1501, enjoying the patronage of Cardinal Raffaele Riario, Jacopo Galli, and Cardinal Jean Bilheres de Lagraulas. .11 1497- To Carrara for first time to quarry marble 1501 for the Pieta (the Madonna delta Febbre). July: death of his step-mother, Lucrezia. The main known works of this period were the Madonna of the Steps; Battle of the Centaurs; Hercules; wooden Crucifix for Santo Spirito; three small marble statues for the tomb of St Dominic; St John; Sleeping Cupid; Bacchus; the Pieta. 1501 Michelangelo returned to Florence, now a Republic under Soderini. Statues commissioned for the Piccolomini altar in Siena cathedral. --------------------------------------------------------- page 2 1503 Election and death of Pius III. Election of Julius II. Michelangelo commissioned to make twelve statues of Apostles for Santa Maria del Fiore. 15054-8 Michelangelo was summoned to Rome by Julius and commissioned to build his tomb, and fled to Bologna. Julius secured his services in Bologna and then in Rome where he was commissioned to paint the vault of the Sistine chapel, after the abandonment of the original project for the tomb. 1512 The Medici came back to rule Florence. Uncovering of the vault of the Sistine chapel. 1513 February 20/21 : Death of Julius II. Election of Leo X, second son of Lorenzo the Magnificent. Michelangelo signed a contract for the tomb with the Della Rovere heirs of Julius. 1516 Second contract for the tomb of Julius II. 1518 Contract from Pope Leo for th; facade of San Lorenzo in Florence, the Medici family church, subsequently abandoned for (probably) lack of funds. 1520 Plans for the Medici Chapel, the New Sacristry of San Lorenzo. 1521 December 1st; death of Leo X. 1522-3 Election and death of Adrian VI. Election 19 November 1523 of Clement VII, Giulio de' Medici, grandson of Lorenzo the Magnificent. 1524 Michelangelo worked on the Medici tombs, the new Sacristry, and the Laurentian Library. 1527-9 May 6th: sack of Rome by mutinous Imperial troops. The Medici were expelled from Florence, Michelangelo elected to the Nooe della Miliiizia (10 January 1529) fled from and returned to Florence, to resume his position as Governor for the fortifications. His brother Buonarroto died of the plague. 1530 August 12th: capitulation-and end-of the Republic of Florence. Michelangelo pardoned by Pope Clement VII. 1531 Michelangelo's father died. May 1st: Alessandro de' Medici made Duke of Florence. --------------------------------------------------------- page 3 1532 New (third) contract for the tomb of Julius II. Michelangelo's (probable) first meeting with Tommaso Cavalieri. 1534 September 20th: after making brief visits to Rome from 1532, Michelangelo went to live there for good. Death of Clement VII. These years, starting with the swift ascent of Michelangelo to fame in Florence and marked by political turmoil in Italy and his agonizing over the tomb of Julius, yielded chiefly: the giant marble statue of David; the Doni Tondo; the Bruges Madonna; the cartoon for the Battle of Cascina (in competition with Leonardo da Vinci); the Pitti Tondo and the Taddei Tondo; the bronze statue of Julius II; the vault of the Sistine chapel; the Moses, the two Slaves, or Captives, the architectural frame, and the Victory for the tomb of Julius II; the Leda and the Swan; the Risen Christ in marble; the four Florentine Slaves for the tomb; the New Sacristy of San Lorenzo and the Medici Tombs with uatucs of Lorenzo and Giulano de' Medici, of Night and Day, Dawn and Dusk; the Laurentian Library with its projected vestibule staircase-not finished for many years. 1534 October 13th: election of Paul III, humanist and reformer and protagonist of the Counter-Reformation. Michelangelo to decorate the end walls of the Sistine chapel, as already agreed with Clement VII. 1535 Michelangelo appointed chief sculptor, painter, and architect to the Pope. 1536 Michelangelo started work on the Last Judgement fresco in the Sistine Chapel. About now, he met Vittoria Colonna, widow of' the Marquis of Pescara, for the first time. A Papal motu proprio exempted him from the penalties for not fulfilling the contract for the tomb of Julius. 1537 Cosimo de' Medici became ruler of Florence. 1541 October 31st: Last Judgement uncovered and (25 December) on show to the public. 1542-5 Work on the frescos of the Pauline chapel. Last contract for the tomb of Julius II (February 1545). Vittoria, and Michelangelo \himself were seriously ill during these years and his fondly admired young Cecchino Bracci died. --------------------------------------------------------- page 4 1546 Michelangelo made a Roman citizen. Death of his close friend Luigi de! Riccio and of the architect Antonio da Sangallo the Younger. 1547 January 1st: Michelangelo was appointed architect of St Peter's. Death of Vittoria Colonna and of Sebastiano del Piombo. 1548 January 9th: death of Giovan Simone, Michelangelo's brother. 1549 November 10: death of Paul III, shortly after he had conferred on Michelangelo the title of supreme architect of St Peter's and viewed the nearly complete fresco of the Martyrdom of St Peter in the Pauline chapel. During these fifteen years taking Michelangelo to his midseventies and a serious illness from gall stones, he chiefly: decorated Paul Ill's private chapel with the two frescos of the Conversion of St Paul and the Crucifixion of St Peter; worked on the bust of Brutus; completed the Farnese Palace; and began planning the Roman Capitol and St Peter's. His friendship with Tommaso Cavalieri and his acquaintance with Vittoria Colonna inspired an outpouring of verse. 1550 February 8th: election of Julius III. Publication of the first edition of the Lives (culminating with the Life of Michelangelo) by Giorgio Vasari. 1553 Michaelangelo's nephew Lionardo married Cassandra di Donato Ridolfi. Ascanio Condivi's Life of Michelangelo published in July. 1554 Birth ofa son, Buonarroto, to Lionardo and Cassandra. 1555 March 23: death of Julius III. Pope Marcellus II reigned for about two weeks and the rigorous, austere Paul IV was elected on 23 May. Michelangelo was affected by the death of his brother, Sigismondo, and, very deeply, by that of his friend and servant Urbino (Francesco d' Amadore). 1559 August19th : death of Paul IV and (25 December) election of a magnificent patron of the arts, Pius IV. 1563 Michelangelo was elected an academician (the second after the Duke) of the Florentine Accademia del Disegno. --------------------------------------------------------- page 5 1564 February 18th: death of Michelangelo in his home at Macel de' Corvi. He was 88. In his seventies, Michelangelo was chiefly engaged in performing his duties as architect of St Peter's; but his deepening versatility found expression also in: architectural projects for the church of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini and for the Cortile del Belvedere; the Pieta of Santa Maria del Fiore; the Rondanini Pieta, many strong drawings of religious subjects; and, at the last (before the final reworking of the Rondanini Pieta) plans for rebuilding the gates of Rome and reconstructing the Baths of Diocletian. ********************