535 years ago today, the world was graced with the arrival of Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni. He was born to what would now be a middle class family in Caprese, in the region of Tuscany.
No one could have known at the time, but Michelangelo and his peers would change the course of human history. The body of work and thought left behind by these men is staggering.
His David is arguably his most famous and lasting work, but it's not possible to spend any time in Italy without seeing his footprints.
My favorite Michelangelo project is the Campidoglio in Rome. The Campidoglio is a Piazza that marks the spot where ancient Rome was founded and where it's governed today.
The Campidoglio is a sloping trapezoid and Michelangelo pulled off an incredible act of forced perspective when he designed the piazza.
This is an engraving from 1568 by Étienne Dupérac that shows Michelangelo's solution. Everything hinged on the shape of the pavement. The spoked Easter egg at the center makes the piazza appear to be perfectly rectangular. Like everything from the Renaissance, the shape he designed was rife with symbolism. It's said to allude to the constellations though what it really represents will never be known. Pope Paul III, who commissioned it, was sufficiently suspicious of the motives behind the shape that the pavement wasn't completed until 1940.
So happy birthday sir. I for one am thrilled that you once walked the earth. I have a sneaky feeling I'm not alone in that.
All images from Wikicommons.