Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (6 March 1475 – 18 February 1564), known best as simply Michelangelo, was an Italian sculptor, painter, architect and poet of the High Renaissance born in the Republic of Florence, who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art.
The workday was sunrise to sundown, which meant a 14-hour labor-intensive day during the summer months. By this time, Michelangelo had a team of skilled workers who helped with the day to day tasks at San Lorenzo. Michelangelo often continued working long into the night, after everyone else went home. He worked slowly on projects because he worked simultaneously on on many things at once. Michelangelo constantly carved but rarely finished.
Michelangelo often went to the marble quarries, and what we don’t often think about is how dangerous and difficult it was. Michelangelo got sick from the difficult and strenuous work. We see the Michelangelo is stubborn and is willing to risk his life for his work. These blocks of marble wouldn’t come for 3-12months, but Michelangelo kept close drawings of each block being very organized and overall a good businessman, skilled in money handling and knows his trade. But in that time, Michelangelo spent a great amount of time worrying about rope, water, and the means to get his marble to him, which many people don’t realize.
He was notorious for the month-long drunken binges that he’d go on in celebration of completing a piece. Sometimes these bacchanals turned violent thanks to a short temper paired with the sword he carried.
According to Fred Plotkin, author of “Italy for the Gourmet Traveler”,
“Michelangelo lived almost 89 years, so he must have done something right in terms of his nutrition. I think that he probably would not be called a gastronome. He liked pears…a lot. His standard gift was to send 33 pears to someone – 33 for the 33 years of the life of Christ. He also had a cheese cellar, and in that cellar he kept several types of sheep’s milk cheese, one of them called marzolino. Marzolino for the month of March. It was only made in March, and he particularly loved that cheese. He had a vineyard and he produced some wine—1503, I discovered, was a good vintage. He produced some olive oil, and he ate bread. And that really was about it. There was not much more. He lived on pears, cheese, oil, wine, and bread. The book, when I do finish it…will really cover Michelangelo in terms of Italy.”
Michelangelo had such a passion for his work that he suffered great fatigue, he recognized his exhaustion yet couldn’t stop, or wouldn’t stop. He wrote to his brother, Buonarroto, and said, “I have not even time to eat as much as I should.”