Happy Birthday Michelangelo!! The greatest sculptor of all time was born today in 1475, in Italy. The son of a stonemason, Michelangelo was born to sculpt, but of course he painted as well. The Sistine Chapel Ceiling was commissioned by Pope Julius II in 1508 after first summoning Michelangelo to work on a mausoleum that was never finished. He begrudgingly did agree to paint the ceiling, however he always considered himself a sculptor. The masterpiece, 87 feet high was painted over the course of 4 years while lying on his back on a self-constructed scaffolding. While the ceiling is incredible, so is Michelangelo’s sculpture! He began his 3D expression with the Medicci family in 1489 in the “Sculpture Garden” a school of sorts, but political strife forced him to leave Florence. One of his first commissions was the Pieta, followed by his David, securing his fame. It was at this time, in 1501, that the Pope commissioned him to begin his grandiose tomb, which was to be the ultimate expression beyond compare for Michelangelo. (It was to have 40 life sized figures).However jealousy from other sculptors changed the mind of the Pope and Michelangelo left Rome in disgust. He finally did reconcile with Pope Julius II and began, after casting his likeness in bronze, the monumental task of the Sistine Chapel ceiling. I have chosen to include my personal favorite here: the Pieta, sculpted in 1499, since Michelangelo's first and foremost love was sculpting. The sculpture is Mary holding Jesus after he has been taken from the cross. The proportions are monumental, if Mary were to stand she would be 16 feet tall! The realistic detail is unbelievable, the quiet, reconciled peace in Mary's face a testament to her faith.