Just when Michelangelo was considering retirement, he was asked to help oversee construction of St. Peter’s Basilica and helped create one of the world’s great architectural masterpieces.
While the story of Michelangelo’s artistic genius has been told many times, the story of his social ambitions has been told scarcely at all. Indeed, scholars have largely dismissed the artist’s claims to noble birth. Yet it was precisely that belief that propelled Michelangelo’s lifelong quest not only to improve his family’s financial position, but to improve the very social standing of artists. So argues art historian William Wallace in the new biography “Michelangelo: The Artist, the Man, and his Times.”