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Pablo Picasso and Michelangelo Buonarroti Compare and Contrast Essay

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Updated: May 12th, 2020


Pablo Picasso was a Spanish painter who lived in the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries. He was born in the year 1881 and died in the year 1973 having been majorly involved in the fields of painting and sculpture. Though born in Spain, Picasso lived most of his life in France. Michelangelo Bounarroti was on the other hand an Italian who was also gifted in the field of painting and sculpture. He was also involved in other arts such as poetry and in the field of engineering. He lived from the year 1475 to the year 1564.

This paper seeks to discuss the two artists mentioned above. The paper will look into the biographies of these personalities with the view of identifying the similarities and differences that existed between them. Individual biographies are examined after which the similarities and differences are drawn out.

Pablo Picasso

Pablo was born in the Spanish town of Malaga. His father was called Blasco. Pablo’s interest and exploration in arts can be attributed to his father’s influence as his father was well established in the field of arts. Blasco was actually a professional in the field of arts as he is reported to have been a professor in one of the art schools in Spain. He was also a painter and a curator. It is most likely this paternal influence that drove Picasso into practicing arts.

Following this influence, Picasso was enrolled in an art school in the city of Madrid in order to advance his skills. His efforts and desire to study at this level did not however bear fruit and he was forced to cut short his studies before even completing his first year of study.

At the age of nineteen, Picasso left Spain for Paris in France where he was to stay with a friend. During this time and under their arrangement, between Picasso and his friend, Picasso did his painting works at night while his friend worked during the day a situation that made him to burn most of his paintings in order generate heat in the cold nights (Ghare 1).

The following half a century of Pablo’s life was majorly dominated with painting with specialization in variety of styles each at a time. Picasso’s social life was not characterized with significant stability as expected in most societies.

He had a number of love relationships that rarely worked out for him in terms of marriage. Though his first engagement was realized in the year 1904, Picasso only managed to get into marriage when he was approaching fifty years of age.

His marriage also failed to work as he was involved in an extra marital affair which together with the different lifestyles that his wife and he lived, led to their separation. Though he further had a number of relationships, he never married again after this until the year 1961 when he married just to avenge on a woman that had left him. He later died in the year 1973 (Ghare 1).

Michelangelo Bounarroti

Michelangelo was born in the year 1475 as a second born child to Ludovico and Neri. Following her mother’s health condition which was not steady, Michelangelo was placed under special nursing condition. His mother’s attention to him was further cut by her death when he was only six years of age.

Though he developed interest in arts at a younger age, his farther did not like the idea which he considered as a peasant’s activity. Michelangelo was then sent by his father to a grammar school following the intellectual level that he noticed in Michelangelo. It is in this school that Michelangelo met a friend who encouraged him venture into arts.

At the age of thirteen, he was enlisted to work at a painting workshop before he later went to school to study arts. He then tried to study human anatomy where he used dead bodies before he realized that the dead bodies were inducing negative effects into his life (Michelangelo 1).

By the year 1505, Michelangelo had been an established painter who was recognized by high authorities such as the papacy. He was for this reason enlisted in the year 1508 to work on a tomb for the papacy. He worked on many high profile assignments. His services were also enlisted by the government of Florence. He later left Florence for Rome following a level of hostility that he received from the administration and citizens following some misunderstandings.

He also ventured in other fields such as architecture and literature. His social life was however full of isolation. He confessed his loneliness when he admitted not to be having friends and that he was spending much time in his paintings to an extent that he did not even have enough time for eating. He later died in isolation with no relative around to take care of him or his property. His nephew, however, arrived after his body had been disposed off and carried the remains together with his belongings to Florence (Michelangelo 1).

Similarities between Pablo Picasso and Michelangelo

One of the similarities that is realized between the two artists, Michelangelo and Picasso are their characteristic movements from their original residence to foreign lands. Michelangelo is, for example, identified to have moved from Florence to Rome. Following his artistic skills, Michelangelo was invited to stay in Medici where he practiced his painting.

Lorenzo, who took him to the palace, however died and the situation changed forcing Michelangelo to return to his father’s house where he stayed before he later moved to Rome where he again practiced his art. Though no clear reason is given for Michelangelo’s first movement to Rome, it is clear that he left his original residence in Florence for Rome where he significantly expressed his artistic talent (Pal 2).

Similarly, Picasso left his original country, Spain, and moved to France where he stayed and did his paintings. His movement to France took place in the year 1901. Another similar feature of the two artists is the level of dependence that was exhibited in their lives.

In the case of Michelangelo, he was taken in to the palace where he stayed until the death of Lorenzo. After the painful loss of Lorenzo, he resorted to staying with his father for some time before moving to Rome again in the hands of other people. He therefore revealed a level of dependence in his early life though he had been economically empowered through his ability to paint.

Pablo Picasso also revealed the level of dependence in his life in Spain and France. When he arrived in France, Pablo moved to stay with a friend. The condition in which they were living appeared to be restrictive since the two people were not able to sleep at the same time.

Their sleeping in turns, one person during the day while another during the night, is an indication that the facility in the house was limited. Pablo, however, still held on to staying with the friend. He thus failed to independently settle in his own house (Michelangelo 1).

Another similarity that existed between the two individuals is their profession that was painting. Pablo is represented to have been a professional painter by the year 1894. Some of his paintings included “the first communion and portrait of aunt pepa” (Michelangelo 1) which appeared in his earlier paintings in the nineteenth century.

His life was dominated with painting as he practiced the art up to almost his time of death. He painted his first major painting at the age of about thirteen years; Pablo was continually in the field of painting till the year 1971 when his last significant painting was realized before his death in the year 1973.

He thus devoted his life to painting. Michelangelo was also a renowned painter. He can similarly be said to have started his painting career at the age of thirteen when his father gave up on his resistance that he was not fit for painting. He was thus established as a popular painter in Florence and also learnt a lot before he was taken in by Lorenzo. He was also involved in his painting career until almost his time of death.

The two artists are also reported to have had poor social lives. Though they lived in different times and localities, their relationships were not strong as their devotion to their profession which took most of their time. Though Pablo is reported to have had engagements and was even married with children, these relationships lacked a strong foundation and all of them.

Pablo’s last marriage was also not based on feelings and emotions, but was rather on a revenge mission over another woman who had left him. Michelangelo is also expressed as an individual who never had a life apart from his painting.

This is much evidenced after his death when only one of his nephews was available as his closest relative to help in taking care of his funeral arrangements. The history of the painter is very silent on his relations. One of the articles that are beloved to have been written by Michelangelo actually confirmed his social loneliness. He is reported to have confessed that he lacked friends and that he actually did not need such friends.

This attitude is by implication given to relatives who seemed never to be close to him until after his death when a nephew came for his remains. His remains being granted to his nephew according to his wish that his body and property be delivered to his closest relative indicated that he never had a wife and thus no children (Ghare 1).

Differences between Pablo Picasso and Michelangelo Buonarroti

Just as a number of similarities are exhibited in the biographies of the two artists, their histories at the same time reveals a lot of differences. One of the differences in the lives of Picasso and Michelangelo was the manner in which they entered into the art of painting.

Pablo’s entry into the art of painting is revealed to have been an influence from his father who was a professor in arts. His father was also a painter and worked in a museum, an exposure that could have played a role in influencing Picasso into arts and painting.

Picasso’s parents also took the initiative to establish him as an artist, most likely a painter, as they registered him in an art school so that he could study and develop artistic skills. On the contrary, Michelangelo was drawn into art and painting by personal instincts.

His attraction into arts was more of an in born property that could not even be suppressed by his father who did all he could to divert his interest arts. This is majorly because his father despised drawing and arts. Another difference between the two artists was their paternal homes, where they worked and the period in which they lived.

While Michelangelo was born, lived and worked in Italian towns in the fifteenth and the sixteenth centuries, Picasso was born in Spain in the nineteenth century but later lived and worked in France in the twentieth century.

Their level of social relationships also differed in that as Picasso was able to at least engage in relationships that even led to marriages, Michelangelo was never associated in any known relationship (Michelangelo 1).


Picasso and Michelangelo were both renowned painters. Their lives exhibited a significant level of both similarities and contrasts. They are still remembered for their prowess in the world of art. The level of dedications and talent made it possible for them to make great works of art.

Works Cited

Ghare, Madhavi. Pablo Picasso biography. Buzzle, 2011. Web.

Michelangelo. Michelangelo. Michelangelo. Web.

Pal, Loswego. Michelangelo Buonarroti. Pal Loswego. Web.

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