Michelangelo was born on 6 March 1475, in Caprese, a small town located in Valtiberina, near Arezzo, Tuscany. The town is known today as Caprese Michelangelo.
At the time of Michelangelo’s birth, his father, Ludovico di Leonardo Buonarroti Simoni, was the town’s judicial administrator and podestà or local administrator of Chiusi della Verna. Michelangelo’s mother was Francesca di Neri del Miniato di Siena.
Several months after Michelangelo’s birth, the family returned to Florence, where he was raised. Michelangelo’s mother suffered from a prolonged sickness and when Michelangelo was six years old, he lost his mother. That was in 1481. Hence, Michelangelo had to live with a nanny and her husband, a stonecutter, in the town of Settignano, where his father owned a marble quarry and a small farm. That was when Michelangelo began to show an interest in marble. As Giorgio Vasari quotes him:
As a young boy, Michelangelo was sent to Florence, which was at that time Italy’s greatest center of the arts and learning, to study grammar under the Humanist Francesco da Urbino. However, he showed no interest in his schooling but preferred to copy paintings from churches and seek the company of other painters.
During Michelangelo’s childhood, a team of painters had been called from Florence to the Vatican to decorate the walls of the Sistine Chapel. Among them was Domenico Ghirlandaio, a master in fresco painting, perspective, figure drawing, and portraiture who had the largest workshop in Florence.
At the age of 13, Michelangelo became an apprentice to Ghirlandaio. The next year, his father persuaded Ghirlandaio to pay Michelangelo as an artist, which was rare for someone of age 14. When in 1489, Lorenzo de’ Medici, de facto ruler of Florence, asked Ghirlandaio for his two best pupils, Ghirlandaio sent Michelangelo and Francesco Granacci.
From 1490 to 1492, Michelangelo attended the Humanist academy the Medici had founded along Neo-Platonic lines. There, his work and outlook were influenced by many of the most prominent philosophers and writers of the day, including Marsilio Ficino, Pico della Mirandola, and Poliziano.
At this time, Michelangelo sculpted the reliefs Madonna of the Steps (1490–1492) and Battle of the Centaurs (1491–1492), the latter based on a theme suggested by Poliziano and commissioned by Lorenzo de Medici. Michelangelo worked for a time with the sculptor Bertoldo di Giovanni. When he was seventeen, another pupil, Pietro Torrigiano, struck him on the nose, causing the disfigurement that is conspicuous in the portraits of Michelangelo.
Michelangelo made lots of paintings and carved lots of sculptures, some of these include The Madonna of the Stairs, Madonna and Child, Pietà, St Peter’s Basilica, The Statue of David, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Moses, to mention but a few.
Before he died in Rome in 1564, at the age of 88 (three weeks before his 89th birthday), Michelangelo had made about 180 paintings in all and over 34 carvings.
To succeed, you must believe in your ability! You must be the first member of your fan club. Just as the famous poem goes, “If you think you’re outclassed, you are. You have to think high to rise. You must be sure of yourself, before you can ever win a prize. Think big and your deeds will grow, think small and you’ll fall behind. Think like you can and you will. It’s all just a state of mind…”
Every morning for the next 21 days, look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself, “I can!” “I can do it and I’ll do it” and don’t worry about where the strength or resources to achieve your dreams will come from.
Nature has a way of making ways for those who believe in themselves.
Thirteen years ago, when I decided to become an entrepreneur, I had absolutely nothing, but faith in myself.
Yes, difficult days will come, and people will laugh at you. But as long as you wake up each morning with conviction in your life’s dream, you’ll move forward one step at a time.
James Clear said, “The biggest difference… between successful people and unsuccessful people isn’t intelligence or opportunity or resources. It’s the belief that they can make their goals happen.”
Henry Ford said, “If you think you can, you can.”