Michelangelo Buonarroti (6 March 1475 – 18 February 1564) was a painter, sculptor, and architect. As a young 12 year old aspiring artist, I was so impressed by a photo of Michelangelo's sculpture of my namesake, David, that I went to the library and checked out the biggest book about the artist I could find.
The book told of how young Michelangelo became a professional artist at age 13. This inspired me to hurry and sell something of my own creation, so that I, too, could claim to have been a "professional" at age 13. In fact, I did sell an elephant sculpture carved out of a bar of Ivory soap for $5, and a pencil rendering of the crucifixion of Christ in a clunky frame for $10. I went on to sculpt a bust of JFK in clay and take many classes in drawing, drafting, and painting before becoming an architecture student at Notre Dame.
I admire the "art for art's sake" approach to creativity. When you hire Frank Gehry to design a building, you don't just want a building--you want an iconic Frank Gehry. You don't tell him too much about how to do his work. He wouldn't listen anyway!
Unlike so many famous iconoclastic artists and architects, such as Gehry, Frank Lloyd Wright or Andy Worhol, Michelangelo always had a patron. He worked for wealthy customers who employed him to tell stories. Michelangelo had great gifts, but he is one of my role models because he used his gifts in service.
in Rome. My favorite Michelangelo work is the powerful and poignant Pieta.
Read more about Michelangelo:
See the other Role Models in this series: