- John M. Gash
[Merisi, Michelangelo ]
(b Milan, Sept 29, 1571; d Porto Ercole, July 18, 1610).
Italian painter. After an early career as a painter of portraits, still-lifes, and genre scenes he became the most persuasive religious painter of his time. His bold, naturalistic style, which emphasized the common humanity of the apostles and martyrs, flattered the aspirations of the Counter-Reformation Church, while his vivid chiaroscuro enhanced both three-dimensionality and drama, as well as evoking the mystery of the faith. He followed a militantly realist agenda, rejecting both Mannerism and the classicizing naturalism of his main rival, Annibale Carracci. In the first 30 years of the 17th century his naturalistic ambitions and revolutionary artistic procedures attracted a large following from all over Europe.
Michelangelo (or Michele) was the first child of Fermo Merisi (d 1577) and his second wife, Lucia Aratori (d 29 Nov 1590). He was born on 29 September, the feast day of his name saint, the Archangel Michael, and christened the following day in the parish church of S Stefano in Brolo, Milan. Fermo Merisi hailed from Caravaggio, after which Michelangelo was to be called, and was majordomo and architect to ...