Michelangelo was primarily a sculptor, though it is probably true to say that he was more interested in the human form as such than in any particular way or medium in which to represent it. Obviously he found carving the best way of doing it, and his paintings tend to be two-dimensional sculptures. His wet nurse was a stone-carver's wife from Settignano, and Michelangelo told Vasari that he "sucked in the chisels and mallet" with her milk. His father was an ambitious, social-climbing bourgeois of Florence and was most reluctant to allow him to sculpt for a living, believing it to be manual work and demeaning. This may explain why the boy was first apprenticed to a painter, Domenico Ghirlandaio, in 1488. Only in the following year did he manage to get himself into the sculpture garden workshop in the Medici house at San Marco. He taught himself by copying the head of an antique faun, which attracted the attention of Lorenzo "the Magnificent."
Michelangelo was made when, at seventeen, he produced his first masterpiece, a marble relief, The Battle of the Centaurs.
-Paul Johnson, The Renaissance: A Short History
|Michelangelo The Battle of the Centaurs 1492|