Painter, sculptor and architect Michelangelo Buonarroti was born in Caprese, Italy on March 6, 1475. He won near-mythical fame as one of Europe’s preeminent “Renaissance Men,” and counted kings and popes among his many admirers and patrons. Temperamental and brilliant, Michelangelo crafted several masterpieces including the “David,” the “Pieta” and the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Few statues are as enduring and iconic as Michelangelo’s David. But while much of the world could sketch this majestic masterpiece from memory, few know the quirks and curiosities that went into its creation.
#1. Michelangelo’s first work that first made his name
In 1496, Michelangelo made a sleeping cupid figure and treated it with acidic earth to make it seem ancient. He then sold it to a dealer, Baldassare del Milanese, who in turn sold it to Cardinal Riario of San Giorgio. Riario later heard rumors of the scam and got his money back, but he was so impressed by Michelangelo’s skill that he invited him to Rome for a meeting. The young sculptor would linger in the Eternal City for the next several years, eventually winning a commission to carve the Pieta, the work that first made his name as an artist.