Michelangelo Buonarroti

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (1475–1564) was the archetypal Renaissance man. He was a painter, sculptor, architect and so-called genius of human anatomy. His contemporaries described him as an uomo terribile, referring to the terribilità—the ability to inspire awe—of both his work and his personal character.

We’ll consider almost all of Michelangelo’s work. We’ll examine sculptures from his juvenilia (such as Madonna of the Stairs and Battle of the Lapiths and Centaurs) to his last work, the Rondanini Pietà. We will explore his painting, including the frescoes for the Sistine and Paolina chapels, and the Doni Tondo. We’ll also consider his architectural projects, such as his work on the Basilica of St. Peter.

A $40 discount will be applied automatically for adults 55+.

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What will I learn?

Week 1: Sculptures

We’ll examine The Madonna of the Stairs, Battle of the Centaurs, Bacchus, The Pietà, Madonna of Bruges, David, the Slaves (or Prisoners) in the Accademia and the Louvre, Moses, and more.

Week 2: The Sistine Chapel: Part 1

We’ll study the nine central panels of the ceiling decorations: The Separation of Light and Darkness; The Creation of the Sun, Moon and Earth; The Separation of Land and Water; The Creation of Adam; The Creation of Eve; The Temptation and Expulsion; The Sacrifice of Noah; The Great Flood; The Drunkenness of Noah

Week 3: The Sistine Chapel: Part 2

We’ll consider the decoration of the pendentives: The Brazen Serpent, David and Goliath, The Punishment of Hama, and Judith and Holofernes. We’ll also focus on the decoration of the lunettes, which show the ancestors of Christ, and the Last Judgment on the altar wall.

Week 4: Architecture, paintings, drawings

As well as Michelangelo’s paintings and drawings, we’ll examine his architectural works, which include the Laurentian Library and the New Sacristy for the Church of San Lorenzo in Florence, the Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome, and the Basilica of St. Peter and the Paolina Chapel in the Vatican.

How will I learn?

  • Lectures
  • Discussion (may vary from class to class)
  • Papers (applicable only to certificate students)

How will I be evaluated?

For certificate students only:

Your instructor will evaluate you based on an essay, which you will complete at the end of the course. You will receive a grade of “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory.”

Textbooks and learning materials

Reading material (if applicable) will be available in class. Some course materials may be available online.

If you're 55+, you may take this course as part of

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