This remarkable book is the first volume in what will be the definitive modern biography of Michelangelo. An illuminating study of Michelangelo's extraordinary career, it follows the artist from his apprenticeship in Ghirlandaio's workshop to his move to Rome in 1534, when, at the age of fifty-nine, he left behind his native Florence, never to return. During these years he created such outstanding works as the marble 'Pieta', the giant marble 'David' (commissioned for the cathedral in Florence), the Sistine Ceiling frescoes, and the new sacristy and library for the Medici family at San Lorenzo; he began the monumental tomb for Pope Julius II in Rome, and he became one of the most sought-after artists of the early sixteenth century. Written by the leading Michelangelo scholar, this prodigiously informative account benefits from recent archival discoveries and restorations, and is enriched by material from the long-awaited editions of the artist's correspondence and artistic contracts. The wealth of new information enables new light to be shed on the genesis of Michelangelo's works in sculpture, painting and architecture, and on his complex psychological relations with his family, friends and powerful patrons.