Domenico Ghirlandaio

In 1488 at the age of 13, Michelangelo began a short apprenticeship to Florentine painter Domenico Ghirlandaio.  Apparently Michelangelo’s time spent in Ghirlandaio’s workshop was full of conflict so the apprenticeship was cut short.  Michelangelo tried to conceal any influence that Ghirlandaio might

have had on him.  He preferred people to believe that he was a completely self-taught artist instead of a product of the workshop system.  Even so Michelangelo surely learned the fundamentals of fresco painting while under Ghirlandaio.  These techniques later served him well as he painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.


Ghirlandaio used a method of drawing that helped to define forms with the use of cross-hatching to vary lighting and shading.  Some of Michelangelo’s early drawings show indications of Ghirlandaio’s influence.  Michelangelo too used this cross-hatching method but with more powerful lines. 

Ghirlandaio was a student of history and possibly introduced Michelangelo to the study of ancient sculpture which became his lifelong passion. 

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”It is necessary to keep one's compass in one's eyes and not in the hand, for the hands execute, but the eye judges.”

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