Michelangelo, The Creation of Adam, c. 151 from the Sistine Ceiling.
Michelangelo became famous for his powerful, nude male figures. Often he would use foreshortening or
exaggerated movements to create even more energetic forms, as seen for example, in the nudes
surrounding the Genesis scenes on the Sistine Ceiling. Showing the body this way required excellent
drawing skills, and Michelangelo was considered the master of drawing (or disegno, to use the Italian word).
Some critics in his own time, however, felt that Michelangelo’s style was too difficult to look at and his
meanings too difficult to understand. Such criticism was particularly leveled at the Last Judgment painted
on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel between 1538 and 1541.
If Michelangelo’s work (and personality) could sometimes be difficult, the opposite was true of Raphael
(born Raffaello Sanzio). Raphael almost always aimed for balance, harmony, and ease in his work. These
qualities can be seen in his early Madonna of the Meadow, done while he was a young man living in
Raphael, Madonna of the Meadow, 1505-6