Great Artists of the Italian Renaissance
Michelangelo arrived in Rome 25 June 1496 at the age of 21. On 4 July of the same year, he began work on a commission for Cardinal Raffaele Riario, an over-life-size statue of the Roman wine god Bacchus. However, upon completion, the work was rejected by the cardinal, and subsequently entered the collection of the banker Jacopo Galli, for his garden.
In November 1497, the French ambassador in the Holy See commissioned one of his most famous works, the PietÃ , and the contract was agreed upon in August of the following year. The contemporary opinion about this work â€“ "a revelation of all the potentialities and force of the art of sculpture" â€“ was summarized by Vasari: "It is certainly a miracle that a formless block of stone could ever have been reduced to a perfection that nature is scarcely able to create in the flesh."
In Rome, Michelangelo lived near the church of Santa Maria di Loreto. Here, according to the legend, he fell in love with Vittoria Colonna, marchioness of Pescara and a poet. Michelangelo's house was demolished in 1874, and the remaining architectural elements saved by the new proprietors were destroyed in 1930. Today a modern reconstruction of Michelangelo's house can be seen on the Janiculum hill. It is also during this period that skeptics allege Michelangelo executed the sculpture LaocoÃ¶n and His Sons which resides in the Vatican.