Mario Petrucci, who was Radio 3's first poet in residence, looks at the original Italian manuscripts and surveys the various translations to reveal the qualities of the 300 or so sonnets and other poems that Michelangelo wrote, asking what drew Shostakovich to them.
He discovers a writer of considerable range, formal accomplishment and intelligence, qualities which are considered as marking his genius as a visual artist.
When he died in 1564, Buonarroti Michelangelo was regarded as one of the leading poets of his age, a great lyrical voice.
But his colossal achievement in other fields has cast a shadow over his contribution to literature.
Yet, down the generations, major artists such as Wordsworth have always engaged with his poetry.