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their sculptures, and their influence was strong in many other Renaissance painters other than Michelangelo. Michelangelo’s upbringing, however, much be taken into account as well. There’s no doubt he met with a steady tide of resistance from his father, Lodovico, who did not want Michelangelo to become an artist. Because Lodovico’s eldest son Lionardo was leaning towards becoming a part of the clergy, Lodovico was relying on Michelangelo to assume the role of the head of the household when he passed on, and he was not able to see Michelangelo as capable of doing so as an artist. (Morgan, 28) Charles Morgan summarizes Lodovico’s dilemma rather nicely in his book covering Michelangelo’s life and works: “A Florentine artist was a craftsman who worked for hire with his hands, a scandalous trade for any member of the house of Buonarroti-Simoni…More and more it was bore in on fretful Lodovico that independent Michelangelo must one day assume the 11
headship of the family; and for him to do so as an artist was quite unthinkable.” (Morgan,28) Morgan’s observation makes it painfully clear that Michelangelo’s natural talent was not welcomed in his family, since his father had other visions for his future. Lodovico’s insistance for Michelangelo to assume his role as head of the family, however, did not come to pass though it was his wish and the wish of Michelangelo’s uncles. Though he believed Michelangelo’s pursuit of becoming a renowned artist was foolish, Lodovico’s resistance against Michelangelo’s desire to become an artist were short-lived, and when Michelangelo turned thirteen, Lodovico begrudgedly handed Michelangelo over to the artist Ghirlandaio to train under him. (Morgan, 29) Though Lodovico was very much against Michelangelo’s choice of profession, in the end he was the one who allowed him to become the apprentice of a master artist, and so he played a large role in Michelangelo’s raise to artistic virtuosity.Michelangelo was also known to make sculptures and painting of religious subjects, but not necessary Biblical ones. An exmaple is his acclaimed piece, Pieta, whichis a sculpture that portrays a large figure of Mary seated and holding the lax, dead body of her Son Jesus Christ. Michelangelo wasn’t the only one to create something on this subject, but it proves that Michelangelo may have been in support of the Gospel surrounding the figure of Mary that was incredibly prevalent in the Renaissance, or at the very least was interested in the obsession many artists had with her. It is just as possible that he was exposed to many portraits of Mary when he was young, and it became a fixation of his when he grew into an artist. Even though Mary wasn’t a prominent figure in the Bible itself, she had become a focus of many Renaissance paintings that Michelangelo would have been exposed to throughout his life, and this obviously played 12
a role in some of the choices that he made in his religious paintings. Hirst and Dunkerton