According to the earliest and most authoritative biographers of Michelangelo (Giorgio Vasari and Ascanio Condivi), he was formed as a sculptor entirely within Lorenzo the Magnificent’s sculpture garden near San Marco in Florence. There, like nowhere else, the young and promising artist would have been stimulated and fulfilled, both socially and intellectually. All the same, the coterie he encountered in the garden was inadequate to the task of training him in the technical mastery necessary to realise his early masterpieces. Notwithstanding such a contradiction, modern scholars have hardly explored the early training of the artist beyond the myth of Michelangelo as a sculptor in the Medici garden. Some have even consciously disregarded the investigations undertaken by Margrit Lisner between 1958 and 2001, when she sought to demonstrate that the young artist must have spent time in the workshop of Benedetto da Maiano. This lecture will take up and develop her ideas, confirming her hypothesis and shedding new light on Michelangelo and the history of Florentine sculpture at the threshold between the early Renaissance and the maniera moderna.
Francesco Caglioti studied in Naples, obtained a PhD from the Scuola Normale Superiore at Pisa and taught there as ricercatore for ten years before moving to the University of Naples in 2001, where he is now Professore ordinario. Francesco is a world-expert on fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century Florentine sculpture, especially Donatello, on whom he has written fundamental contributions.