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ACE2250 The Life, Art, & Times of Michelangelo Buonarroti: The Artist’s Youth, 1475-1510 (morning) ONLINE COURSE ONLY is a Course

ACE2250 The Life, Art, & Times of Michelangelo Buonarroti: The Artist’s Youth, 1475-1510 (morning) ONLINE COURSE ONLY

Jan 31 - Apr 4, 2022

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Full course description

Course Overview

This course will examine the youthful years of the most widely celebrated and influential artist of all time – Michelangelo Buonarroti. Undergoing his formative years in the waning years of the early Renaissance, Michelangelo became the key protagonist of the High Renaissance, working closely with the Medici family and becoming a favourite artist of the Popes in Rome. He is responsible for some of the most recognised and beloved monuments to history of Western art and has come to epitomise the ideal of the Renaissance Man, proficient in sculpture, painting, architecture, poetry, and anatomy. Michelangelo’s art has been the subject of immense attention since his own time, becoming the most widely studied artist in history. His formidable body of art, poetry, correspondence, and documents present the modern historian with an unparalleled wealth of material from which an image of an intriguingly complex individual emerges. Through Michelangelo’s life and work, we can not only come to appreciate the serene beauty and extravagant force of his art, but we can also understand the wider context in which he worked. An enterprising entrepreneur and shrewd student, Michelangelo cultivated ties with aristocracy wherever he went, yet maintained a genuinely devout respect for the spiritual ideals which surrounded him. This makes his work an ideal lens through which to appreciate both art and history, celebrating his work and studying the fascinating history of one of the world’s most important and dynamic period – the Renaissance.

In this first part of a two-part course, we trace the artist’s early years. From a young student in Lorenzo de’ Medici’s Florence, where the fiery religious reform of Girolamo Savonarola had a deep impact on the young sculptor, to Bologna where his first public commission was carried out. We also see the artist’s first experience of Rome, the Eternal City, where his introduction to the upper echelons of society was shrouded in controversy, artistic forgery, and scandalous commissions. We finish by seeing his first two public triumphs, the Pietà (1499) and the David (1504), with which he secured his reputation as God’s own artist.

 Course Schedule

Classes will be delivered online on Mondays 10.30am-12.30pm for ten weeks from 24 January to 28 March.

Week 1: Early years in Florence and artistic apprenticeship, 1475-1489

Week 2: The Medici Circle: Learning Sculpture in the Humanist garden of Lorenzo ‘il Magnifico’, 1490-2

Week 3: Turbulent times: From Florence to Bologna and back 1492-1496

Week 4: The Eternal City: The first Roman excursion, 1496-98

Week 5: The ‘Divine’ Artist carving the Pietà, 1498-1500

Week 6: Changing fortunes in Florence: creating the David, 1501-1504

Week 7: In David’s shadow? The forgotten Michelangelo: ‘minor’ works? 1501-1504

Week 8: Michelangelo’s fame: a busy schedule & forgotten commissions, 1504-1506

Week 9: ‘Il Papa Terribile’: Pope Julius II & Michelangelo, 1506-1508

Week 10: God’s own artist: painting the Sistine Chapel ceiling, 1508-1512

Course Lecturers

      Mr. Matthew Whyte is a PhD candidate and Graduate Teaching Assistant with the Department of History of Art, specialising in the art and culture of the Italian Renaissance. He holds a Master’s degree in High Renaissance art, with a specialisation in the work of Michelangelo. With History of Art and the Centre for Adult Continuing Education he has delivered courses up to final year undergraduate level, participating in and leading academic field trips to Florence and Rome. He is also Coordinator of the Diploma in European Art History with CACE, and Art Historian/Lecturer for Zegrahm Expeditions.

Entry Requirements

Applicants must be at least 18 years old at course commencement.


Short courses are not assessed. Students will receive a UCC Certificate of Attendance upon completion.

Closing Date for Application

Monday 17 January

Contact Details for Further Information

Regina Sexton, Phone: 021-4904700, Email: