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Michelangelo, another multi-talented “Renaissance Man” was a world class sculptor, painter, and architect. He sculpted David and the Pietà, painted the Sistine Chapel ceiling, and designed St. Peter’s Basilica. I rest my case.

Complete Video Script

[46, Boboli Gardens, Florence] By the year 1500, what had begun in Florence a century earlier was coming to a peak: an exciting time known as the High Renaissance. Italy was thriving, with a huge appetite for art. Artists who in earlier times had toiled as anonymous craftsmen were now famous and well-paid. Three towering artists — all with Florence connections — brought the Renaissance to its culmination and then helped spread it throughout Italy and beyond: Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael.

[66] More than any previous artist, Michelangelo pioneered the idea that art was not just a job, but a unique personal statement, an expression of his inner passion. Even as he worked for the Church and wealthy patrons, his vision was always his own.

[67, Michelangelo, 1475–1564] As a multi-talented "Renaissance man", Michelangelo made his mark as a world class sculptor…painter…and architect.

[68, Medici Chapel and tombs, Michelangelo, Florence] As an architect, he designed and created this memorial chapel for his patrons, the Medici — a harmonious ensemble of innovative architecture, tombs, and sculpture.

[69, Prisoners, Accademia Gallery, Florence] As a sculptor, Michelangelo believed his figures were already divinely created within the stone…he was simply chiseling away the excess. These rough and unfinished statues seem to be struggling, like prisoners, to free themselves from the marble. They show the Renaissance love of the body as, with his chisel, Michelangelo reveals these compelling figures.

[70, Pietà, Michelangelo, St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City] Barely 25 years old, Michelangelo established his genius by sculpting this Pietà, adored by centuries of pilgrims. With powerful realism, Michelangelo made it clear to the faithful: Jesus is dead. The theological point of this work: He gave his life for our salvation. Mary's crumpled robe accentuates Christ's smooth body — helping make hard stone look soft as skin. Great art that delivers an emotional punch is no accident…that's its purpose and it does so by design.

[71, David, 1504, Michelangelo, Accademia Gallery, Florence] Next, Michelangelo took on the epic-scale statue of David — displayed today as if the high altar in a temple to Humanism. The young shepherd who slew the giant turned down the armor of the day, arming himself only with stones. He throws his sling over his shoulder and goes out to face the giant. Michelangelo catches David at the exact moment when he's sizing up the enemy, and thinks to himself, "I can take this guy."

[72] This statue has come to symbolize that, with the Renaissance, humankind could slay the giant of medieval ignorance and superstition. David's over-sized right hand was no accident — it represented how this shepherd boy — empowered by God — could slay the giant…and how Florence could rise above its rival city-states. When you look at David, you're looking at "Renaissance man."

[73] Artists now made their point using realism. They did this by merging art and science. For instance, Michelangelo actually dissected human corpses to better understand anatomy. This humanism was not anti-religion. Now people realized that the best way to glorify God was not to bow down in church all day long, but to recognize their talents and to use them.

[74, Dying Slave, Michelangelo, The Louvre, Paris] Michelangelo established himself as Europe's greatest sculptor. And he was a pretty darn good painter as well.

[75, Holy Family (or Doni Tondo), 1506, Michelangelo, Uffizi Gallery, Florence] This Holy Family — Michelangelo's only surviving easel painting — offers a closer look at his mastery as a painter. The solid, statuesque people posed in a sculptural group show why many call Michelangelo "a sculptor with a paint brush." And the Greek-style nudes in the background are a reminder of the artist's humanist and classical orientation.

[76] He created perhaps his greatest work in the pope's Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo depicted no less than the entire history of the Christian world, from the Creation…to the first people, …and, much later, to the final event in history, the awe-inspiring Last Judgment. Michelangelo painted God busy creating from every conceivable angle. And the centerpiece: the central act of Creation…God passing the divine spark of life to his greatest masterpiece — you and me.

[77, Florence Pietá (or Deposition), 1555, Michelangelo, Museo del Duomo, Florence] As Michelangelo aged, he sculpted this Pieta for his own tomb. The broken body of the crucified Christ is tended by his grieving mother Mary and his friends. Jesus is larger than life, with a heavy lifeless body that zig-zags down to the grave, again…this accentuates that theological point — Jesus is dead. Nicodemus is actually a self-portrait of Michelangelo — now an old man. After spending a lifetime bringing stone to life, now Michelangelo reflects tenderly upon his savior — looking down thoughtfully at what he feared might be his final creation.

[78] But Michelangelo saved his most majestic work for last. Now, as a master architect, he designed the dome of the greatest church in Christendom, St. Peter's in Rome. The dome rises up from the church's heart, the tomb of St. Peter — taller than a football field on end. Enjoying the commanding view from the top, is a reminder of how the cultural explosion of the Italian Renaissance was destined to reverberate far and wide.