The artist showed promise at a young age. When he was just fourteen, Michelangelo entered the court of Lorenzo de’ Medici, aka the Magnificent, where he lived for a few years sculpting in the garden surrounded by scholars, artists, poets until Lorenzo’s untimely death (April 8, 1492) put an end to this florid moment in Florentine cultural production. From this period, there are youthful sculptures at the Casa Buonarroti.
In the years that followed, Michelangelo was forced to leave Florence and return several times due to political events in the city, as well as to artistic commissions; being favoured by the Medici meant that his fortune was tied to theirs, and when they were in power in Rome, his presence was essentially obligatory. In Rome, he struggled with a commission from Pope Julius II for his tomb, which was to be truly spectacular, but the project was destined for failure – he complains that this is due to being pulled away to work on the Sistine Chapel, and then, by that pope’s successor Leo X, to create the Medici Chapels in Florence. He left Florence permanently in 1534 after a falling out with the Medici ruler at that time, Alessandro de’ Medici, and lived to old age in Rome. The Pope would have had him buried in St. Peter’s but Michelangelo’s nephew and heir, Leonardo, secretly removed the body, which is buried in Florence in the Church of Santa Croce.