Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni had the good fortune to be raised in Florence, Italy, during the Renaissance, where its status as a cultural hub made springboarding to fame after an apprenticeship with a muralist possible. “Il Divino” (“The Divine One”) was a master of many media, including paints; poetry; architecture; and his first love, sculpture. His figures are known for their dynamism, emotional range, and anatomical study, the products of Michelangelo’s own scientific study into the art of the human body. His notable works include the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (which took him four years to complete); several depictions of the Virgin Mary and the Christ Child; and the 17-foot high sculpture David, a piece commissioned as a monument to Florence’s glory. He also holds the honor of being the first Western artist to have a biography published about him while he was still alive.

While much of Michelangelo’s romantic and sexual life was speculation (and subject to the usual disclaimers on differing language and other social behaviors), he did reportedly fall in love with Tommaso de’ Cavalieri; even after the young man married, Michelangelo remained devoted, creating numerous poems and works of art for him. His male nudes and other poems are also filled with homoeroticism – so much so that his nephew removed the male pronouns when he published his uncle’s writing. Per Wikipedia, he did demonstrate what may have been romantic affection for a widowed friend of his, lamenting that he was never able to kiss her face before she died, so there is also a chance that he may have been bisexual. For a full account of the context surrounding Michelangelo’s plausible homosexuality, read here.

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