Michelangelo, eye taken from Ideal head of a woman sketch

Michelangelo Buonarroti was considered the best artist in Italy when he was alive, and became famous worldwide after his death. He began his training when he was just 12 years old, as an apprentice to the artist Ghirlandaio. At this time Ghirlandaio was working on frescoes - large paintings on the walls and ceilings - of a church in Florence. Michelangelo would have learned drawing techniques, and how to transfer small sketches onto large wall spaces. On the left you can see drawings by both Michelangelo and Ghirlandaio - which do you prefer? Michelangelo's has more detail and depth, and looks more real.

Later in his life Michelangelo denied ever working for Ghirlandaio, and said that he had taught himself everything.

Click the arrows below to see examples and learn more about Michelangelo's work.

Resources for teachers

Discussion points and activities introducing Michelangelo's work.

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