Michelangelo Buonarrotti (1475-1564) is perhaps the greatest artist in the entire Western tradition. In painting, sculpture and architecture he created works that went beyond anything imagined before. "The David" - miraculously created, as Vasari describes, out of a piece of marble botched by another sculptor - the "Sistine Ceiling", the "Sistine Last Judgement", before which the Pope knelt in terrifed prayer when it was first unveiled: these works have lost none of their awe-inspiring power. Michelangelo's impact was immediate and he achieved a level of fame and influence that was unprecedented. It is not surprising, therefore, that the painter Giorgio Vasari should have made him the culmination of his "Lives of the Painters, Sculptors and Architects", the first true work of art history. Vasari was a close colleague as well as a fellow-artist and fellow-Florentine. The biography printed here, from Vasari's much improved second edition, draws a picture of Michelangelo the man and the artist that has an immediacy and an authority that have not been surpassed. The introduction by David Hemsoll situates this great work in the context of 16th century Italian art.
45 pages of colour illustrations cover the span of Michelangelo's achievement, and include many of the drawings currently on show at the British Museum.
Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574), painter, architect and intimate of the Medici, was a leading exponent of the later renaissance style sometimes called Mannerism, which was heavily influenced by Michelangelo. His lasting monument, however, is undoubtedly the Lives of the most excellent Painters, Sculptors and Architects, published in 1550 and in an enlarged edition in 1568. David Hemsoll is a Renaissance art and architectural historian who works at the University of Birmingham. Among other specialities, he is an expert on Michelangelo and his artistic theory.