Of all the great artists that left their mark on the story of art, Michelangelo Buonarroti stands alone, so great were his achievements. His career as an artist spanned almost seven decades, during which time he was instrumental in the development of a style of art that has come represent the pinnacle of the Italian High Renaissance. The unprecedented fame that he enjoyed in his lifetime endured and increased in the centuries that followed his death, as a succession of artists and art historians paid homage to his talent. His unrivalled genius, violent temper and singular determination to pursue his art meant that he often worked alone, undertaking great feats of physical and intellectual endurance. Michelangelo is the archetypal brooding artist, the romantic symbol of the creative spirit tortured by his own internal demons and antagonised by his influential patrons. As an architect he designed the dome of St. Peter’s in the Vatican, the single most important church in the whole of Christendom. As a sculptor he produced figures of unimaginable quality, such as his iconic statue of David. As a painter he single-handedly undertook the decoration of the ceiling of the Sistine chapel, regarded as one of the finest achievements in the history of art. For many, Michelangelo is the greatest artist.
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