Michelangelo was an Italian sculptor, painter and architect. He was born in the Republic of Florence. A number of Michelangelo’s works of painting, sculpture and architecture rank among the most famous in existence. He sculpted two of his best-known works, the Pietà and David, before the age of thirty.
A lot is known about Michelangelo’s life because he left many letters, poems and journals. Michelangelo was the first Western artist whose biography was published while he was alive. In fact, two biographies were published during his lifetime. His biographer, Giorgio Vasari, said that he was the greatest artist of the Renaissance.
St Peter’s Basilica
In 1546, when Michelangelo was his seventies, he was given one of his most important jobs. The old St Peter’s Basilica had been partly demolished and a new one designed by Bramante. Michelangelo was made the architect. He immediately improved the plan, had important parts made much stronger, and designed a huge dome, taller than any other dome in the world. He died before it was completed, but he left drawings and models so that the next architect, Giacomo della Porta, could finish what he had started. The dome of St. Peter’s Basilica still stands as one of the greatest monuments of Christianity, and as a symbol of the city of Rome.