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Buonarotti was born March 6, 1475, in the small Tuscan town of Caprese in the mountains east of Florence where his father was serving in a Florentine provincial post. The family soon returned to Florence where they lived just one block from Santa Croce, the great Franciscan church of Florence. It was in that church that young MIchelangelo learned to draw. He crouched on the stone floor of the Bardi chapel, and copied the frescoes of Giotto. We still have those first drawings that are the beginning of one of the most extraordinary careers in the history of art.


1475 On March 6, Michelangelo Buonarrotti born at the small town of Caprese in the mountains northeast of Florence where his father was on temporary assignment serving the Florentine government.
1480 Michelangelo and his family living in Florence on Via dell'Anguillara. Family lives in building that is still there at the corner with Via Bentaccordi.
1481 Michelangelo's mother Francesca dies.Soon will have step-mother.
1484 Michelangelo's father enters him into one of the grammar schools within the Santa Croce quarter to study Latin and other subjects.
1485 Michelangelo's father remarries a woman from a prosperous family named Lucrezia delgi Ubaldini.
1486 A friend, artist Francesco Granacci, encourages Michelangelo in his art and takes his work to show to Ghirlandaio who was then one of the most successful painters in Florence and who ran a large workshop.
1487 Michelangelo's father formally enscribes him in the bottega (art studio) of Ghirlandaio and M. works with Ghirlandaio at Santa Maria Novella on the frescoes of the Tornabuoni Chapel around the main altar.
1490 Michelangelo taken to Medici sculpture garden, near the monastery of San Marco and meets Lorenzo de' Medici who adores him and invites him into the Medici Palace with the consent of M's father.
1491 Michelangelo studies painting with Ghirlandaio and sculpture in the Medici garden under the guidance of Bertoldo di Giovanni a student of the great Florentine sculptor, Donatello.
1492 In April Michelangelo's patron and friend Lorenzo de' Medici dies and plunges both the Medici family and all of Florence into mourning.
1494 In September the King of France invades Italy. Brings the largest army Italy has seen since Roman days. Moves south toward Florence causing chaos and confusion in the city.
1494 In October Michelangelo flees the crumbling order of Medicean Florence. Travels north to Bologna where he sculpts two small statues for the tomb of St. Dominic in the cathedral which are still in place.
1496 Michelangelo goes to Rome for first time. Produces the famous Cupid sold as a genuine antique and the Bacchus now in the Bargello in Florence.
1497 Michelangelo receives the commission. Begins work on the Pietá for St. Peter's.
1500 St Peter's Pietá is complete. Installed in chapel in time for Holy Year Jubilee.
1501 In August Michelangelo receives the commission from Opera del Duomo for the statue that becomes David which was originally planned to stand in a niche on the cathedral facade along with sculpture by Donatello and others.
1501 In September Michelangelo begins work on the David. Works in a specially built shed right near the cathedral.
1502 By February Michelangelo has made so much progress on the David that the Opera del Duomo pays him 400 florins.
1503 Election of new pope: Julius II (Giuliano della Rovere).
1503 In Florence a commission of artists is formed to decide where Michelangelo's giant marble sculpture should stand with the final decision going to the Piazza della Signoria in front of the palace of government.
1504 Michelangelo is working on the Pitti Tondo. Now in the Bargello in Florence.
1504 In May, the David is ready and so the wall of the Opera del Duomo workshop is broken down and the slow journey through the streets of Florence begins to move the Giant to its place in the Piazza della Signoria, a journey which takes forty men four days to accomplish.
1505 Pope Julius asks Michelangelo to come to Rome to sculpt his tomb. M. signs the contract and goes to Cararra to obtain the marble.
1506 In Rome, Michelangelo is unable to get an audience with the Pope over the tomb project so he leaves Rome making the Pope furious; M. refuses to return; the gov. of Florence begs him to make peace with Pope; finally M. goes to Bologna and meets Pope Julius and makes peace.
1508 Michelangelo and the Pope return to Rome; Julius insists that M. take on the project to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel; M. says no I am not a painter.
1512 In October, the Sistine ceiling is complete and is recognized immediately as a masterpiece and thousands line up to see it.
1513 In March, Pope Julius II dies; election for his successor chooses Giovanni de' Medici, now Pope Leo X, Michelangelo's childhood friend from the Palazzo Medici in the early 1490's when M. was living with the Medici family.
1513 Michelangelo continues to work on the Julius tomb; produces Moses.
1516 Pope Leo X asks Michelangelo to take on the completion of the Medici sponsored church in Florence of San Lorenzo.
1520 Medici change their minds and ask Micheangelo to begin work on the New Sacristy at San Lorenzo which will be a Medici family tomb.
1521 Pope Leo X dies. General sense that the great Roman Renaissance is over: Raphael is dead, Leonardo is dead, Pope Leo dead.
1523 The College of Cardinals elects a new pope: Giulio de' Medici, as Pope Clement VII who is another friend of Michelangelo's from the days when he was living in the Medici Palace
1527 The terrible Sack of Rome by foreign troops, many from Germany; Michelangelo is in Florence; the Sack temporarily destroys the Pope's power and the Medici are thrown out of Florence. M. stays and joins the republican resistance that lasts three years. M. is put in charge of fortifications a very important post. He is in great danger since he is seen as Medici friend and has enemies in and out of the Medici circle.
1530 The Siege of Florence breaks the city and with help of the troops of the Emperor, and representatives of the Medici family and the Pope retake control of Florence and as a result Micheangelo is in danger of execution, hides for days, others intervene finally Pope pardons him.
1534 Pope Clement VII dies: Cardinals elect new pope Alessandro Farnese, Pope Paul III, old friend of Michelangelo.
1535 Pope Paul asks Micheangelo to paint the Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel.
1537 Michelangelo's great friendship with the brilliant Vittoria Colonna.Roman literary figure.
1541 The Last Judgement is unveiled in the Sistine Chapel. Causes great controversy; too violent; too nude; filled with recognizable portraits.
1545 Michelangelo begins working on the frescoes of the Conversion of Paul and the Crucifixion of Peter in the Pauline Chapel in the Vatican.
1546 The death of Antonio da Sangallo the architect of St Peter's creates crisis and Pope Paul comes to 71 year old Michelangelo and asks him to take over, a commission Michelangelo accepts with the provision that he will have total control; he gets it-power over greatest architectural project in all of Europe.
1547 In February: Vittoria Colonna dies and Michelangelo is devastated.
1550 Vasari publishes the first edition: Lives of the Eminent Artists.
1553 Michelangelo is working on the Pietá now in the Museum of the Cathedral, Florence, probably planned to be on his own tomb, a work that conveys sadness of this period of his life, the loss of Vittoria, other friends and brother.
1555 A new Pope reappoints Micheangelo as the chief architect for Saint Peter's and M. now begins the design and construction of the dome with Brunelleschi in mind.
1559 Micheangelo is working on: the Rondanini Pietá now in Milan.
1563 In January, the Accademia del Disegno is established in Florence. This is the first artistic academy in history. Michelangelo elected honorary head along with the Duke of Tuscany. Michelangelo now reigns as the most celebrated most famous artist in the whole world.
1564 On the 18th of February, after a very brief illness Michelangelo dies in his house in Rome surrounded by close friends; his nephew Leonardo and Florentine friends sneak his body out of Rome knowing that the papacy will try to bury him in Rome; his body is brought to Florence to the convent of San Pier Maggiore just up the street from his apartment where he lived as child and he is buried in Santa Croce within sight of his childhood home on Via dell'Anguillara.


1387 Milan conquers Verona. Milan on the march. Look out Florence!
1390 Siena and Pisa join Milan alliance. Florence increasingly isolated.
1399 Siena and Perugia formally turns gov over to Visconti of Milan. Florence being surrounded.
1400 Milan close to conquering all of northern Italy. Flo independence at risk.
1401 Competition for Bronze doors of Baptistery, Florence. Brunelleschi vs Ghiberti. Subject of Sacrifice of Isaac. Ghiberti wins.
1402 (Jun) Milan defeats Florence-Bologna army. All north Italy open for Milan. (Sep) Gian Galleazzo Visconti ruler of Milan dies. Florence independence saved.
1404 Government of Florence orders guilds to get moving. Guilds rush to complete their statues for Orsanmichele.
1408 Donatello's first major work: David (marble) now in Bargello. Birth of Alessandra Macinghi degli Strozzi (d. 1471)
1409 Brunelleschi and Donatello go to Rome, Study the Roman ruins. They make extensive drawings of Pantheon, bring home to use in Duomo.
1413 Donatello's St Mark for Orsanmichele (Flo), one of most influential works of sculpture in whole of Ren.
1413 Nanni di Banco, sculptor: Four Martyrs for Orsanmichele (Flo).
1416 Ghiberti: St John the Baptist for Orsanmichele (Flo).
1417 Donatello: St George for Orsanmichele (Flo).
1422 Alessandra Macinghi marries Matteo degli Strozzi. Matteo a member of one of the most important and powerful families in Florence.
1420 Brunelleschi appointed: architect for dome of Cathedral of Flo.
1425 Brunelleschi: first painting in West using math "perspective." Masaccio: Brancacci Chapel, Santa Carmine, Florence.
1427 Masaccio: "Trinity" painted in Santa Maria Novella (Flo).
1429 Ghiberti: Second set of doors for Baptistry ("Gates of Paradise")
1430 Medici growing domination. After 1435 Medici triumphant in Florence until 1494.
1433 Enemies of Medici become temporarily dominant in the council of gov and send the head of Medici family, Cosimo de' Medici, into exile (he goes to Venice) During this next year, 1433-1434, a furious fight breaks out within Florentine political circles, pro- and anti-Medici. In the fall of 1434, the Medici finally win.(Pope has been helping, Medici Bank very important for the papacy).
1434 Return of Cosimo de' Medici to Florence in triumph. The Medici now have complete control of the gov instruments for the next thirty years. Those who were part of the anti-Medici circle now pay the price and are exiled. Among the exiles are the Strozzi including Matteo Strozzi who is exiled to Pesaro. Wife Alessandra and children join him. Fra Angelico: "Descent from the Cross" (San Marco).
1435 Death of Matteo Strozzi in exile in Pesaro. His widow Alessandra returns to the Strozzi home in Florence with her children. Leon Battista Alberti, On Painting.
1439 International council of church, East-West, Pope-Patriarch, held in Florence under Brunelleschi's recently completed dome. Florence at center of world of religion and culture at this moment. Greeks bring 100s of precious texts with them and all Flo pressed into service copying during the Ecumenical Council.
1444 Build huge new Palazzo Medici (via Cavour) near San Lorenzo, right in the center of old Florence, demolish many other buildings to do it, biggest private palace to that time in Florence.
1447 Pope Nicholas V, Tuscan pal of the Medici elected to St Peter's chair.
1449 Birth of Lorenzo de' Medici who will take his family and his city to its highest point of cultural and political influence. The half century of his life is Florence's Golden Age.
1450 Piero della Francesca: "Baptism of Christ" (National Gallery).
1451 Birth of Christopher Columbus (Genoa). (d. 1506)
1454 Birth of Amerigo Vespucci in Florence. (d. 1512)
1464 Death of Cosimo de' Medici on Aug 1. Death of Cosimo throws the whole Medici apparatus into confusion. The political machine had been a very personal affair and now Cosimo's son Piero is faced with a crisis for which he is not prepared. He suffers with terrible gout and is often bedridden. The anti-Medici circles organize to overthrow Medici. Death of Pope Pius II, a great friend of the Medici.
1466 March: Death of Francesco Sforza, another friend of the Medici, Sept: Plot against the Medici collapses. Piero de' Medici prevails over his enemy Luca Pitti who had led the anti-Medici movement.
1469 December: Death of Piero de' Medici. Suddenly the leadership of the Medici machine falls into the hands of Lorenzo de' Medici, age 20. Lorenzo will dominate Florentine politics and culture for the next twenty-three years and will die at age forty-three in 1492 from the same desease that had killed his father: gout.
1471 Death of Alessandra degli Strozzi. (b. 1408)
1473 Birth of Nicolaus Copernicus in Poland. (d. 1543)
1475 Birth of Michelangelo. (d. 1564)
1478 (Apr 26) Pazzi Plot in Florence. Plot to assassinate Medici brothers and bring about revolution in Florence, kill Giuliano de' Medici in Cathedral during High Mass as he kneels at altar, but Lorenzo survives. Begins intense enmity between Florence and Papacy which had been in on the plot.
1482 Botticelli: "La Primavera" "Birth of Venus" (now in Uffizi).
1483 Birth of Raphael in Urbino. (d. 1520)
1492 Death of Lorenzo de' Medici (bad news for Florence). Columbus in Caribbean (cant call it "America"-not named yet, named later after Amerigo Vespucci, a Florentine).
1494 King Charles VIII of France arrives Italy. Brings largest army into Italy since Roman times. (Nov)Florence: fall of Medici and ascendancy of Savonarola. (Nov)Death of Pico della Mirandola.
1498 (May) Execute Savonarola: Piazza della Signoria (marker still there).
1503 Death of Pope Alexander (Borgia). elect Julius II (patron of Michelangelo-Sistine).
1504 Michelangelo: completion of David, install Piazza della Signoria. Michelangelo goes to Rome (Sistine, Vatican). Raphael soon on way to Rome too (Stanze, Vatican). Leonardo working in Milan. The heroic days of Florentine Renaissance are over. Both Lippi and Botticelli dead by 1510.
1512 Completion of Sistine (Michelangelo) and Stanze (Raphael). Rome new art center of Italy, eclipse of Florence.
1513 Death of Pope Julius. Elect Medici (Giovanni de' Medici, childhood friend of Michelangelo) Pope Leo X, power of Medici now moves to Rome.Florence becomes a puppet of Rome.


1502 Columbus sails on fourth & last voyage to Honduras and Panama. Amerigo Vespucci second voyage to South America, proclaims it is not India but "a new world."
1503 Prince Henry of England marries Princess Catherine of Aragon. Death of Pope Alexander VI (Borgia); Election of Giuliano della Rovere as Pope Julius II. Leonardo da Vinci paints the Mona Lisa.
1504 Death of Queen Isabella of Castile, Ferdinand now has difficult situation in the control of Spain since he is not the legal heir to Isabella but instead the heiress is their daughter Juana. Raphael paints The Marriage of the Virgin (now in Brera, Milan).
1505 Foundation of Christ's College, Cambridge, by Margaret Countess of Richmond, beginning of the great days of Cambridge with generous royal patronage.
1506 Death of Christopher Columbus.(b. 1451)
1507 Ordination to the priesthood of Martin Luther. Map maker Martin Waldseemuller proposes the new world on maps be named "America" after Amerigo Vespucci of Florence.
1508 Michelangelo in Rome: paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
1509 Henry VIII becomes King of England. (d. 1547)
1510 Martin Luther in Rome as delegate of his monastic order. Death of Botticelli. Passing of the Florentine artistic Renaissance.
1511 Erasmus nominated professor of Greek at Cambridge.
1512 Michelangelo finishes the Sistine Ceiling and Raphael finishes the frescoes in the Stanza della Segnatura (School of Athens) next door to the Sistine.
1513 Death of Pope Julius II. Election of Michelangelo's childhood friend from the Medici palace, Giovanni de'Medici as Pope Leo X. Michelangelo finishes Moses for tomb of Pope Julius II.
1515 Death of the King of France Louis XII. succeeded by his nephew Francis I (to 1547). Now begins life long duel between two young kings: Hen VIII and Francis I.
1516 Death of Ferdinand of Spain, his grandson Charles age 16 succeeds to throne of Spain. (His mother Junana supposedly insane is locked up in a monastery for decades to keep her off the throne.)
1517 (Oct 31) Martin Luther, 95 Theses, Begin of Reformation. Luther protests the sale of Indulgences by the church.Coffee arrives in Europe for the first time.
1518 Diet of Augsburg. Luther called before Diet by Cardinal Cajetan. Luther refuses to recant. Raphael paints portrait of Pope Leo with Cardinals (Uffizi). Foundation of the Royal College of Physicians in London. The beginning of modern scientific medicine.
1519 Charles, King of Spain, also elected Holy Roman Emperor at the death of his grandfather Maximilian. Now unites all of Spain, the Low Countries, Ger. and all of new lands of America in one empire. Martin Luther, in Leipzig Disputation: questions infallibility of the Pope. Death of Leonardo da Vinci.Cortes enters Tenochtitlan, capital of Aztec empire, meets Montezuma.
1520 Pope Leo X excommunicates Martin Luther and declares him a heretic. Luther publicly burns the Papal Bull. Reformation is under way. (April 6)Death of Raphael, Rome mourns passing of an age.Magellan on his circumnavigation of globe passes through the Straits of Magellan heads into the Pacific.
1521 Death of Pope Leo X. Magellan killed in the Philippines but the expedition continues and finally reaches Portugal completing first round the world navigation.
1522 Luther finishes his translation into German of the New Testament, Wittenberg printer Hans Lufft begins to print what will be 100,000 copies over the years. Other vernacular translations follow.
1523 Elect Giulio de' Medici: Pope Clement VII (to 1534).
1524 Zurich: Zwingli abolishes the Roman Catholic Mass.
1525 Battle of Pavia. Disaster for France. King Francis I is captured. Spain now in complete control of Italy.
1527 May 5: Sack of Rome. Imperial troops loyal to King of Spain Charles (and Holy Roman Emperor) go crazy and loot the Holy City and kill more than 4,000 inhabitants and steal all the art treasures. The Pope hides in Castel Sant Angelo. Usually cited as the End of the Renaissance.
1528 King Henry VIII begins his proceedings: Requests "divorce" (annulment) from Catherine of Aragon.
1530 In Germany, write the Confession of Augsburg, to unite all of Protestant Germany. Sign the Schmalkaldic League, alliance of all Prot Ger against the Roman Catholic Emperor Charles. Germany at war.
1531 King Henry VIII recognized: Supreme Head of the church in England.
1532 John Calvin: leading the Reformation in France.
1533 ENGLAND: Thomas Cranmer becomes Archbishop of Canterbury. He proclaims marriage of Hen and Cath void and proclaims marriage of Hen and Anne Boleyn lawful. Pope excommunicates Henry. Anne crowned as Queen of England. Birth of daughter Elizabeth to Henry and Anne. FRANCE: Pope Clement VII (Medici) marries his relative Catherina de' Medici to the future King of France, Henry Valois.
1534 King Henry of England makes a final break with Rome and proclaims himself head of his own English Reformed church (Anglican international church=Episcoal in USA). Thomas Cranmer Archbishop of Canterbury. Death of Pope Clement VII, elect Alessandro Farnese as Pope Paul III.
1540 First publish versions of Copernicus' heliocentric theory. Establish the new order of the Jesuits as new troops in the Roman Catholic war with the Protestants.
1543 Publish Copernicus' De Revolutionibus: proposes the sun at the center of the universe.
1545 Convene the Council of Trent as the Roman Catholic Church tries to organize to fight the spreading Reformation (this effort to be known as the Counter Reformation).
1546 Death of Martin Luther. Michelangelo designing the dome of Saint Peter's. Titian paints his portrait of Pope Paul III and his nephews.
1547 Death of Henry VIII: succeeded by his son Edward VI (1537-1553). Death of Francis I of France. succeeded by his son Henry II(1519-1559). Birth of Cervantes(1547-1616).
1549 English church publishes the new Book of Common Prayer (much of which is written by Thomas Cranmer).
1550 Publish Giorgio Vasari's Lives of the Artists. Marks new attitude to artists: artists are special, almost divine.
1553 Death of King Edward VI of England: succeeded by his Roman Catholic half-sister Mary.
1554 Queen Mary: marries Philip of Spain, future king.
1555 Elect Giovanni Pietro Caraffa: Pope Paul IV.
1556 Charles V abdicates giving Spain to his son Philip and the Empire to his brother Ferdinand I and retires to a monastery. Queen Mary burns the Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer at the stake when he refuses to recant his Protestantism.
1558 Mary Queen of England dies and is succeeded by her half-sister Elizabeth as Queen Elizabeth I. Protestant Church of England re-instated. Death of Charles V former King of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor.
1564 (Feb)Death of Michelangelo.(b. 1575)
1564 (Feb 15) Birth of Galileo. (d. 1642)
1564 (April 23) Birth of William Shakespeare. (d. 1616)
1568 Revolt of the Protestant Netherlands from control of Spain. Birth of new Protestant Republic of Netherlands and birth of new alliance between the two Protestant countries of Eng and Neth.
1572 Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day, Paris: kill thousands of Protestants.
1573 Birth of Caravaggio. (d. 1609)
1585 Shakespeare comes to London.
1586 Unveil the plot to kill Queen Eliz and put Mary Queen of Scots on throne. Mary sentenced to death (executed 1587).
1588 Spanish Armada, Spain's attempt to destroy Protestant England with the cooperation of the Papacy fails. This final blow to idea of reuniting all of Europe under renewed Roman Catholic Papacy. Marlowe's Doctor Faustus.
1589 Henry of Navarre becomes King of France as Hen IV. Galileo professor of mathematics at University of Pisa.
1593 King Hen IV converts to Rom Catholicism ("Paris is well worth a mass.")
1594 Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet.
1595 Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night's Dream.
1596 Shakespeare: Merchant of Venice. Birth of Descartes.
1598 Shakespeare: Henry V.
1599 Shakespeare: Julius Caesar.
1600 Burn Giordano Bruno on the Campo de'Fiori in Rome for heresy. King Henry IV of France marries Marie de' Medici. Shakespeare: Hamlet.
1603 Death of Queen Elizabeth of England. She is succeeded by her cousin James (Stuart) in Scotland.
1610 Galileo, The Starry Messenger, published in Venice. One of the most shocking and exciting works of scientific advance ever experienced in modern Europe. Galileo becomes an overnight sensation, a scientific rock star. Letters pour into Padua from all over Europe.

His Art

The best collection of Michelangelo images with catalog information is found at the Web Gallery of Art. You will find links there to sculpture and painting:

Paintings and Sculpture