Michelangelo Buonarroti was born on March 6th 1475 in Caprese Tuscany. His father, Ludovico, was an official and local governor of the towns of Caprese and Chiusi. His mother was Francesca di Neri del Miniato di Siena, unfortunately she died when he was only seven years old. He was raised in Florence and, as a thirteen year old, was apprenticed to the busy workshop of the painter Domenico Ghirlandaio. In this workshop he mastered the techniques of fresco painting and of draughtsmanship.
The young artist studied the great masters of the past, Giotto, Donatello, Masaccio and the Greek and Roman sculptors, whose work he could find in the Medici collection in Florence.
The Buanarroti family, through the artist's grandmother, were distantly related to the powerful Medici banking family. From 1490-1492 Michelangelo was living in the Medici household and he claimed to be of noble birth for the rest of his life. Lorenzo de Medici commissioned the first two works attributed to the young artist, "Madonna of the steps" and 'Battle of the Centaurs' , both completed in 1492. Michelangelo became increasingly interested in the human form and studied anatomy, dissected bodies and drew from live models all in his quest to master the complexities of posture and movement.
In 1494 the preaching monk Savonarola emerged as the new leader of Florence and the Medici were expelled from the city.
Michelangelo, unlike Leonardo who fled the city, (Leonardo considered Savonarola to be a dangerous fanatic) was touched by the priest's teachings of morality and the promise of a rejuvenated Roman Church. However the artist decided to maintain his ties to his patrons the Medici and followed them north to Bologna. His connections with the powerful Medici paid dividends in Bologna, the young artist was introduced to and taken in by one of the city's most prominent citizens, Gianfrancesco Aldovrandi.