His figures were proportioned and realistic in contrast to the style of medieval Christian art and included an immense amount of detail. the artist was well known for his interest in human anatomy, developed by working with human cadavers early in his career. this marked a revolution in European art.
Michelangelo’s best-known painting is undoubtedly the fresco known as The Creation of Adam, which depicts the legend of the creation of humanity from the book of Genesis. Adam is portrayed in a reclining pose with the deity leaning towards him, an iconic work of art that speaks to viewers through the ages. It is believed that Michelangelo was inspired for this work by one of Ghiberti’s panels depicting Adam and Eve.
Michelangelo was a devout Catholic, but he was also heavily influenced by ancient Greek and Roman themes, as well as contemporary scientific ideas that appear in his paintings. For example, the shape of the red cape in the creation of Adam mirrors that of the human brain, suggesting that Adam himself is endowed with special knowledge.
Another fresco, The Last Judgment, depicts the Second Coming of Christ and took Michelangelo seven years to complete. this huge painting was discovered in 1541 on the altar wall of the sistine chapel.
However, some viewers objected to images of nude bodies being displayed in a religious setting, and it was later decided to cover the genitals, a task completed by one of Michelangelo’s apprentices. Other lesser-known paintings can be seen in the Vatican’s Pauline Chapel, including frescoes such as The Conversion of Saul and The Crucifixion of Saint Peter.
Michelangelo’s methods influenced the Florentine artists who followed him. The 16th century saw a flowering of artistic endeavor under the patronage of the wealthy Duke of Florence, Cosimo de Medici. A new art movement known as Bella Maniera or Mannerism developed, a style that followed the Renaissance and preceded the Baroque, predominantly influenced by the color palettes and forms created by Michelangelo.
According to Vasari, Mannerist artists produced paintings of “idealized grace”, using vibrant colors and complex composition. Michelangelo influenced later artists such as Pontormo, Bronzino, and Raphael. viewers were drawn to paintings featuring idealized muscular figures and exaggerated poses reminiscent of Greek and Roman sculptors.
Michelangelo was an example of a true renaissance man, rising to prominence in various fields of artistic and intellectual endeavor and considered a genius by his contemporaries. he was the first artist to receive recognition during his own lifetime and his influence on the development of western art cannot be underestimated.
born in 1475 in caprese, tuscany, michelangelo was known as a renaissance sculptor and architect, as well as a painter. Michelangelo’s early influences include Renaissance artists such as Lorenzo Ghiberti, Donatello, and Giovanni.
at age 15, michelangelo began studying with giovanni at the school founded by lorenzo di medici, where he created the marble reliefs, the virgin of the stairs and the battle of the centaurs. he would have studied masters such as donatello and giotto as well as greek and roman sculpture belonging to the medici collections in florence.
among his best-known works is the ceiling of the sistine chapel in vatican city, an immensely ambitious task that included painting more than 400 life-size figures from the bible, which the artist completed in 1508.
the work was done with fresco painting in which the artist was lying on his back on a scaffolding. Following Michelangelo, he was popularly known as “il divino” or the divine.
Michelangelo produced impressive frescoes alongside the sculptures for which he remains best known.
Michelangelo’s series of frescoes in the Sistine Chapel marked him as a self-assured artist who was willing to take on large commissioned projects. The detail involved in several of his paintings is quite extraordinary, and we describe some of Michelangelo’s most famous paintings in this section.
Portraits of religious icons were commonplace during the Renaissance and served as a great way for artists like Michelangelo to showcase their impressive anatomical knowledge and technical drawing skills.
Most of those who were wealthy enough at the time to attract top artists with large commissions were involved in the religious areas of Italian society, such as the pope who hired michelangelo to work on the sistine chapel. for this reason, it was inevitable that much of the resulting work would be based on religious themes.
The photograph here is of the Last Judgment, and you can read more about that fresco further down this page, plus you can enjoy a more detailed image of it too.
creation of adam painting
the centerpiece and our personal highlight inside the sistine chapel is the creation of adam, which you can see in the photo here.
the striking symbolism has been recreated in modern media in thousands of different ways and captures the renaissance period beautifully.
it is recommended that you take the time to really study this fresco in great detail, with several high-resolution images of the original currently in circulation. standing from afar will not give you a proper understanding of the beauty to be found here and digital art can serve a great purpose in this regard.
This particular painting is popular with art fans and is instantly recognizable to even the most casual fan of Michelangelo and the Renaissance. It remains the most reproduced artwork of Michelangelo’s career for the major international art retailer, art.com.
This work of art remains a pivotal piece of the artist’s life and we’ve given it its own dedicated page to reflect that. despite theoretically being just one element of a larger piece, it is rightly considered a masterpiece in its own right.
powerful iconic scenes continued into the renaissance when michelangelo contributed the last judgement, which appears on the altar wall of the sistine chapel.
it still seems incredible that one building could have received so many masterpieces, though credit must be given to michelangelo’s selection for producing much of the work.
You can see that we’ve also chosen the doomsday painting to be the main banner on our home page, although later on, at some point, there will be multiple pictures that will rotate one after the other.
many of the artist’s sculptures have proportions that would be difficult for our home page, with the main image more landscape than portrait.
the close-up photograph to the right captures the main focus of the fresco and underscores the incredible detail found within this inspiring work of art.
The Last Judgment was a commissioned piece that was produced many years after the artist’s original work in the Sistine Chapel, and underscores how his earlier work was held in such high esteem.
fall of humanity and expulsion from paradise painting
this key religious term relates to the removal of man after disobedience to god.
There are examples of the fall of humanity in many different religions and cultures, and many artists associated with them also feature this powerful theme in their work.
Michelangelo chose to depict a scene of the fall of humanity and the expulsion from paradise within his series of frescoes that remain on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
The scene was another impressive element of Michelangelo’s work in the chapel, but the artwork also serves as a timely reminder to religious followers of the potential pitfalls that result from getting lost.
conversion of the painting of saul
The conversion of the Apostle Paul is an event in the life of the Apostle Paul, or Saul as he is sometimes called.
Michelangelo’s Conversion Painting appeared later in his career and struggled to garner the same academic respect as some of his earlier works. the moderately more mannerist approach used by the artist in this piece is perhaps the reason for this.
the cappella paolina in the vatican palace, vatican city, houses this work of art that is now much more appreciated by art fans and scholars than when it was first completed.
The crucifixion of Saint Peter followed immediately after this fresco, and it is believed that it took Michelangelo several years to complete the conversion of Saul.
the painting of the flood and noah’s ark
this fresco captures the deluge symbolizing the sanctuary of the church in the form of noah’s ark.
Michelangelo chose to focus this fresco on the human emotions surrounding this momentous moment, with little coverage of the actual natural disaster that was occurring.
The painting depicts many people who are lost in the flood due to their attachment to objects and items, while those who are willing to give up such things are able to access the ark and be saved as a result.
the flood and noah’s ark have been captured by all sorts of artists, through different movements, seeking to take advantage of the forceful nature of this scene and the familiarity so many people have with this episode.
painting of the holy family with saint john
This circular painting was done on a panel by the artist Michelangelo in 1506.
This artwork is just over a meter in diameter and is one of the few Renaissance panel artworks still in reasonable condition. it is currently on display at the galleria degli uffizi, florence, italy.
Florence is still seen by most as the original home of the Italian Renaissance, but it is in Vatican City that most of Michelangelo’s most famous paintings are found.
The painting of the Holy Family with Saint John is available as a framed print from the links to the right. it offers features that are a bit unusual for this artist, such as its circular nature and the use of panels.
creation of the sun and moon painting
The full title of this fresco was The Creation of the Sun, Moon, and Planets.
Michelangelo is believed to have completed this work of art in 1511, as part of his much larger commission to cover the Sistine Chapel ceiling. this was just one of a series of highly critical Christian scenes that the artist depicted together in an impressive series of works.
The painting shows God creating the plant world, which we all continue to enjoy today, as well as the planetary system on which much of our life depends.
God’s facial expressions in this piece are meant to outline the efforts he was forced to put into continuing his creation of plants, people, and plants.
painting of the prophet isaiah
the prophet isaiah is one of the seven prophets of the old testament that michael angel completed.
Italian painter Caravaggio, famous for his dark and powerful style, is believed to have been heavily influenced by the work of Michelangelo, and in particular by this particular painting.
This theme has appeared in the work of several notable Renaissance artists, but it is Michelangelo’s version that is considered the best. critics appreciate its bright colors and also the precision of the prophet’s anatomy.
This fresco remains one of the best understood and respected elements of the Sistine Chapel ceiling series.
Eritrean sibyl painting
This fresco is also sometimes referred to as the Eritrean Sibyl, depending on whether you use the artist’s spelling.
1509 marked the completion of this fresco, and is another significant contribution to the overall series found on the Sistine Chapel ceiling.
There still seems to be some confusion about the precise messages Michelangelo is communicating through this artwork, with the Eritrean posing relatively vaguely and having an equally confused facial expression.
This fresco may not hold the interest of other items in the series, but it remains a noteworthy work of art for its artistic and technical qualities.
creation of eva with painting of four ignudi
the creation of eva is captured in the center of this fresco, with the igundis surrounding it.
Much discussion has surrounded the precise meaning of various elements of this painting, with no one really being sure which historical scene is being captured by Michelangelo in this piece.
the destruction of the tribe of ahab, the followers of baal and the death of nicanor have been mentioned here as possible sources of inspiration for the artist, but no clear conclusion has yet been reached.
Adam and Eve are two of the most important icons incorporated by Michelangelo into his series of paintings, as they are fundamental to the teachings of Christianity and the relationship between God and humanity.
the fall of man painting
the fall of man teaches us to respect god and not be distracted by other influences.
This idea is somewhat similar to the story behind Noah’s Ark, which ultimately represents the problems experienced by those who placed too much importance on their own possessions.
many of the scenes captured by michelangelo come from the book of genesis and were intended to encourage followers to continue on the right path in life, from the perspective of god and christ.
The general tone of some of these religious paintings can be dark and depressing, but the scenes themselves can contain inspiring images that will always grab your attention.