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He reinvigorated the classical idea that the nude human body is a sufficient vehicle for the expression of all emotions which a painter can depict, a notion that had an enormous influence on the subsequent development of Academic art - and on art as a whole.
But all this confidence evaporated in the 1520s following first Luther's Revolt against the Church in Rome (1519), and then the Sack of Rome (1527) when unpaid mercenary soldiers looted the Holy City.
These events triggered a widespread pessimism and despondency which was perfectly captured by the composition and style in Michelangelo's Last Judgement.
He returned to Florence in 1501 as a famous artist, remaining there until 1505.
Here he created David his second great marble sculpture, and painted his one and only surviving panel painting - the Doni Tondo.
Although distracted by painting the Sistine Chapel, as soon as it was finished Michelangelo returned to work on Julius' tomb (1513-1516).