Michelangelo became a pupil of the Florentine painters Domenico and Davide Ghirlandaio in 1488. Attracted to sculpture, he joined Bertoldo, a disciple of Donatello, in 1489. Bertoldo introduced him to Lorenzo de'Medici and taught him to appreciate the classic ideal of sensous beauty.
He went to Rome in 1496, and soon after made his Pietá (1500). He returned to Florence for a time, making the statue David (1501–1504). In 1505, he was recalled to Rome by Pope Julius II, who commissioned him to make a funerary monument on a vast scale. Only part of it was finished; the most important piece is the statue of Moses (1513–1516).
Pope Julius II wanted his grand tomb, but he also wanted new paintings in the Cappella Sistina. Michelangelo was sceptical, but the Holy Father persuaded him. From 1508 to 1512, he painted the ceiling of the chapel.