Michelangelo's Students

The following artists all studied directly under Michelangelo. While others saw his works, studied them, and learned from them that way, these artists had the opprtunity to see Michelangelo's techniques in action and hear directly from him how and why he did what he did to create his masterpieces.

Francesco Granacci

Francesco Granacci was born in 1469 at Villamagna di Volterra. He went to study with Domenico Ghirlandaio in Florence, where he first met Michelangelo. According to Vasari, a famous contemporary artist and historian, Granacci, “recognizing, boy as he was, the great genius of Michelangelo, and what

extraordinary fruits he was likely to produce when he was full grown, could never tear himself away from his side, and even strove with incredible attention and humility to be always following that great brain, insomuch that Michelangelo was constrained to love him more than all his other friends, and to confide so much in him, that there was no one with whom he was more willing to confer touching his works or to share all that he knew of art at that time.” The two became very close during their brief stay in Florence, but they did not stop there. When Granacci moved to study with Bertoldo di Giovanni in the garden of Lorenzo de Medici, Michelangelo followed. Then, years later, Michelangelo called upon Granacci to assist him in transferring his cartoons to the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, although he soon lost patience with all of his assistants, including Granacci, and threw them out. Still, the two remained friends, and Michelangelo’s influence on Granacci shows in paintings such as Rest on the Flight into Egypt and Assumption of the Virgin.

Fra Giovanni Angelo Montorsoli

In 1506, Angelo Montorsoli was born in the village of Montorsoli several miles outside of Florence. Angelo’s father, recognizing his son’s artistic talent, sent him to study at the quarries of Fiesole at a very young age. There he managed to attract the attention of Maestro Andrea, a sculptor, whom he studied with for three years. Once his father died, Angelo spent several years moving around, spending time in Rome, Perugia, and Volterra. Sometime between 1521 and 1524, he heard word that Michelangelo was searching for talented sculptors to assist him with the sacristy and library of S. Lorenzo and rushed off to Florence. He quickly proved his worth, and Michelangelo was so impressed that he decided to pay the young Angelo the same salary as the older masters. In 1527, work at S. Lorenzo ended due to the plague and the expulsion of the Medici, and so he returned to his father’s hometown for several years before deciding to become a monk. He stayed with several monastic orders and eventually joined the Servite Friars of the Annunziata in Florence in 1531, where he received the name Fra Giovanni. However he was soon called away by Pope Clement to restore statues in the Belvedere, thanks to a recommendation from Michelangelo, who remembered Angelo’s work at S. Lorenzo. He fared well there and gained the favor of the Pope, but was soon swept up again to help Michelangelo complete work at S. Lorenzo. Angelo learned much during this time, both in doing delicate work under the instruction of Michelangelo and by simply watching the master at work. It was here that Angelo began his famous S. Cosmas, possibly with the help of Raffaello da Montelupo, who had made the accompanying S Damian.  It was not completed at the time it was unveiled, but Angelo returned to finish it some years later. The rest of his life he was largely independent from Michelangelo, but continued on successfully taking advantage of his teacher’s lessons. He found work with the King of France, his old monastic order, and various Italian nobles, all of whom were satisfied with his work. Angelo Montorsoli was a truly great artist, sadly overlooked by most in the modern day, and one of the greatest pupils of Michelangelo, who spoke at Angelo’s funeral in 1564 shortly before his own death.

Raffaello da Montelupo

Born in Florence in 1505, Raffaello Sinibaldi began training with his father Baccio da Montelupo, another artist, at a young age. He also studied under a goldsmith by the name of Michelangelo Viviani before moving to Rome to study with the sculptor Lorenzo Lotti in 1523. With Lotti he helped to construct several tombs, both by the design of Raphael and for Raphael himself. In 1530 Raffaello went to Loreto to assist Antonio da Sangallo the Elder and Andrea Sansovino with the marble facing of the Santa Casa. Just as he was finishing this, Michelangelo was receiving the orders to return and finish S. Lorenzo. Having heard of the promising young artist, Michelangelo invited Raffaello to assist him. Here he made, among other things, his statue of S. Damian to accompany the statue of S. Cosmas which he helped Angelo Montorsoli with. Soon after, he returned to Rome to assist Michelangelo with the tomb of Pope Julius II, however he fell ill and was unable to provide his best work. In 1538 Raffaello began to work on Orvieto Cathedral, where he sculpted a particularly nice Adoration of the Magi in half-relief. He left to work on several other projects in 1541, including the tomb of Pope Leo X according to Michelangelo’s design, but eventually returned to Orvieto where he retired and spent the remainder of his life supervising further work on the Cathedral. Vasari said of him, “In his architectural decorations Raffaello followed in great measure the manner of Michelangelo, as is proved by the chimney-pieces, doors, and windows that he made in the aforesaid Castello di S. Angelo, and by some chapels built under his direction, in a rare and beautiful manner, at Orvieto.”

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“Faith in oneself is the best and safest course.”

More Michelangelo Quotes