The Young Michelangelo

A lecture by Elaine Ruffolo


Living nearly 89 years, Michelangelo Buonarroti's career spanned the glories of Renaissance Florence, the discovery of the New World, the Reformation and the age of the Baroque. Many believe Michelangelo’s talent was miraculous and the product of a kind of divine genius—a myth that Michelangelo himself promoted in order to guarantee his long-lasting legacy. But the young Michelangelo studied his craft like any Renaissance apprentice, learning from a master, copying, and experimenting with materials and styles. This lecture follows Michelangelo’s journey from student to master, from his adolescence spent in the household of Lorenzo il Magnifico to the execution of his masterpiece, the David completed when he was not yet 30 years old. 


Elaine Ruffolo has been teaching Renaissance art history in Florence for over 30 years. She holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin and Syracuse University and first came to Italy as a Florence Fellow in 1989.  She has lectured for many American programs in Italy including Syracuse, Stanford, and Vanderbilt Universities, and is on the advisory board of the Friends of Florence.   


If you are in Florence and would like to attend the lecture in person at the British Institute Library, please register here or send an email to

The registration fee is 10 Euro per person. All participants are invited to wear a mask throughout the event. 


To join this  lecture with Zoom (no reservation necessary), simply click on this link:  at 18:00 on Wednesday 1st February..

A recording of the virtual lecture will be published on our YouTube channel. Clicking on the link above, you authorise the British Institute of Florence to use your image, name and comments.
There is no charge to attend the event on Zoom, but we ask you to consider making a donation to support the Institute and its beautiful library if you wish to attend an event.