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Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564) is perhaps the greatest artist in the entire Western tradition. In painting, sculpture, and architecture, he created works that went beyond anything imagined before. The David, the Sistine Ceiling, The Last Judgment : these works have lost none of their awe-inspiring power. Michelangelo's impact was immediate, and he achieved a level of fame and influence that was unprecedented. It is not surprising, therefore, that the painter Giorgio Vasari made him the culmination of his Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors and Architects , the first true work of art history. The biography printed here, from Vasari's much improved second edition, draws a picture of the man and the artist that has an immediacy and authority that are unsurpassed.