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During the years 1516-1527 he performed a number of sculptural and architectural tasks for the Medici and Rovere popes. Michelangelo remained in Florence working on the Medici Chapel but left in 1534 to return to Rome where he settled for the remainder of his life.

Michelangelo's two famous Sistine Chapel frescoes (The Genesis fresco, and The Last Judgment fresco), were a study in contrasts.Genesis expressed the confident humanism and Christian Neo-Platonism which underpinned the High Renaissance (c.1490-1525).This masterpiece of High Renaissance painting took four years to complete (1508-1512).Painted from a scaffold supported by beams built out from holes in the wall, high up near the top of the windows, using a new plaster-mixture, called intonaco, the paintings contain bright colour, easily visible from floor-level.His major commission was the completion of St Peter's Basilica in Rome (in particular the domed roof), a project which Pope Julius II had started back in 1506.

Although changes were made to Michelangelo's plans after his death, the exterior of St Peter's owes more to his designs than those of any other architect.Although distracted by painting the Sistine Chapel, as soon as it was finished Michelangelo returned to work on Julius' tomb (1513-1516).He then returned to Florence to work for the Medici family in the person of Pope Leo X, the younger son of his former patron Lorenzo de' Medici.In painting, he was the greatest ever painter of the male nude.No artist who has followed him in this area has remained uninfluenced by his figures.For the remaining 20 years of his life Michelangelo concentrated mostly on Renaissance architecture, a medium in which he achieved almost as much success as in painting and sculpture.