A Troubled Genius: The Life, Art, Love, and Poetry of Michelangelo Buonarroti

Essay by geerrCollege, UndergraduateA+, November 2009

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Thrown into a world riddled with exuberant artistic ingenuity coupled with social turmoil and unrest, was a man who would forever be regarded as one of the most creative geniuses ever to walk the earth. Michelangelo Buonarroti, born in 1475 in Tuscany, initiated a period of innovative creation in art that was unprecedented in human history. This "Renaissance Man" was schooled in the fields of painting, sculpture, architecture, and writing, areas in which he quickly formed his own stylistic niche. Not only did he revolutionize the world of art, but his genius also spread into the realm of poetry, in which many of the innermost workings of his mind are revealed. It is clear from Michelangelo's works, both visual and poetic, that his years were filled with extreme agony over a multitude of conflicting emotional states, caused primarily by many of his life experiences. The artist's poetic style resembles much of his visual work in its convulsive and dynamic energy, profound philosophical concerns, and constant sense of sensuality and abandonment.

Correlating directly with his fascination with the human psyche is his art's focus on humanity rather than the natural world. In all forms of his creation, Michelangelo strives to portray the intense emotions that result from living in and reacting to a dynamic environment that has many profound emotional and spiritual effects on the mind. It then logically follows that many of the themes found in Michelangelo's poetic works are related to love, mortality, and sexuality, notions with which he struggled violently throughout his life. The majority of Buonarroti's poems were comprised during the latter half of his lifetime, a period during which he began to examine these realms and sought a deeper meaning in the situations he faced. In particular, Michelangelo expressed through his poetry the cornucopia of...