Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (1475-1564) was an Italian Renaissance sculptor, painter, architect, poet, and engineer, who exerted an enormous influence on the development of Western Art.
In the early 1500s, he was commissioned by Pope Julius II to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. He worked on the giant fresco for four years (1508–1512). The original commission was to paint the 12 Apostles against a starry sky, but Michelangelo preferred a more complex arrangement, representing creation, the Downfall of Man and the Promise of Salvation. The composition eventually contained over 300 figures and had at its center nine episodes from Genesis. Among the most famous paintings on the ceiling are The Creation of Adam, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and the Great Flood.