A rebellious youth who chose a career as an artist against his father's wishes, Michelangelo (1475-1564) went on to be recognized as one of the outstanding talents of his age. Such was the degree of fame and wealth that he acquired that he became a legend within his own lifetime. In the centuries since his death his work has been almost universally admired, and he has been cast as the prototype for artistic genius. In this introduction to the artist's life and work, Anthony Hughes employs the latest evidence from research and restoration projects to take a fresh look at what Michelangelo was and what he has become. Setting Michelangelo within the political and social world he inhabited, Hughes interprets his work not only as the expression of an individual sensiblity but also as the results of often difficult transactions between artist and clients. He gives us an account of the full range of Michelangelo's creative endeavours, in the process exploring the artist's relations with family and friends, his sexuality and his position in the 16th-century world.