This note accompanies the follow episode(s):
The Writer’s Almanac for March 6, 2017: Winter, Spring

Mar. 6, 2017: birthday: Michelangelo Buonarroti

It’s the birthday of Michelangelo Buonarroti, Italian sculptor, architect, and painter, and original “Renaissance man,” born in Tuscany, Italy (1475). Many know him as the painter of the Sistine Chapel’s elaborate ceiling. But what most do not know is that before he was one of history’s greatest artists, Michelangelo was a con artist. At the urging of his patron sponsor, he carefully imitated the style of an ancient Greek sculpture so that the pair could sell it off as a valuable antique. He even took care to make sure the statue looked as if it had been buried underground. The buyer eventually caught wind of the plan and demanded his money back, but he was so impressed by Michelangelo’s technical skill with the forgery that he invited him to Rome to meet him. Michelangelo stuck around the city, and by the end of his life, he had been commissioned by nine consecutive popes.