Michelangelo and the Influence of Lorenzo de’ Medici
- October 29, 2014
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By the age of 14, Michelangelo had drawn the attention of Lorenzo de’ Medici, also known as Lorenzo the Magnificent, one of Florence’s leading citizens, a statesmen, a ruler and a patron of the arts. Medici wielded great power due to his wealth and dedication to the city of Florence and surrounded himself with the most stimulating men in the city. When he heard of Michelangelo he invited him to stay in a room of his palace and provided an education for him along with the Medici children, a great honor for Michelangelo.
The young boy accepted the offer and received a stipend from Medici. Michelangelo’s father was offered a clerk’s position in the Medici household as well. The offer from Medici allowed Michelangelo to put the traditional apprenticeship in an artists’ studio behind him and instead work directly in the service of a patron.
Lorenzo’s intellectual circle filled with literate, poetic, scholarly and talented men influenced the young Michelangelo. The philosophical and political ideas that he learned during those formative years impacted his outlook and his work for years to come. He was introduced to humanist and Neoplatonic thinkers, the painter Sandro Botticelli, the poet Angelo Poliziano, and historian Cristoforo Landino as well as philosopher Marsilio Ficino who’s Neoplatonist school of thought greatly influenced the High Renissance. It is believed that it was during this time that Michelangelo began to record some of his thoughts and feelings in poetry.
Lorenzo’s collection of sculptures was cared for by Bertolodo di Giovanni who helped Michelangelo refine his sculpting technique. During the time of Giovanni’s tutelage Michelangelo created the sculptures of Madonna of the Stairs and Battle of the Centaurs.
Michelangelo stayed in the Medici home dining at his table and participating in stimulating conversation for five years. Lorenzo de’ Medici died on April 8, 1492 which caused Michelangelo to leave the Medici court and return to his father’s home.
In later years, Michelangelo would once again enter the court of the Medici family. Michelangelo was raised with the Medici children and in later years they became Popes. Lorenzo’s son, Giovanni, became Leo X and Lorenzo’s nephew Giulio became Clement VII. Both employed the work of Michelangelo.