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Michelangelo & the Pope's ceiling

Author: Ross King
Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury, 2014. ©2003
Edition/Format:   Print book : English : Paperback editionView all editions and formats
Summary:
In 1508, despite strong advice to the contrary, the powerful Pope Julius II commissioned Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the newly restored Sistine Chapel. With little experience as a painter (though famed for his sculpture David), Michelangelo was reluctant to begin the massive project. Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling recounts the four extraordinary years Michelangelo spent laboring over the vast ceiling  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: History
Illustrated works
Illustrations
Biography
Named Person: Michelangelo Buonarroti; Michelangelo Buonarroti; Michelangelo Buonarroti; Michelangelo
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Ross King
ISBN: 1620408406 9781620408407
OCLC Number: 870517071
Description: 373 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), portraits (some color), maps ; 24 cm
Contents: The summons --
The conspiracy --
The warrior Pope --
Penance --
Painting in the wet --
The design --
The assistants --
The House of Buonarroti --
The fountains of the great deep --
Competition --
A great quandary --
The flaying of Marsyas --
True colors --
He shall build the temple of the Lord --
Family business --
Laocoön --
The golden age --
The school of Athens --
Forbidden fruit --
The barbarous multitudes --
Bologna redux --
The world's game --
A new and wonderful manner of painting --
The first and supreme creator --
The expulsion of Heliodorus --
The monster of Ravenna --
Many strange forms --
The armor of faith and the sword of light --
II Pensieroso --
In evil plight --
Final touches --
Epilogue: The language of the gods.
Other Titles: Michelangelo and the Pope's ceiling
Responsibility: Ross King.

Abstract:

In 1508, despite strong advice to the contrary, the powerful Pope Julius II commissioned Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the newly restored Sistine Chapel. With little experience as a painter (though famed for his sculpture David), Michelangelo was reluctant to begin the massive project. Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling recounts the four extraordinary years Michelangelo spent laboring over the vast ceiling while the power politics and personal rivalries that abounded in Rome swirled around him. Battling against ill health, financial difficulties, domestic problems, the pope's impatience, and a bitter rivalry with the brilliant young painter Raphael, Michelangelo created scenes so beautiful that they are considered to be among the greatest masterpieces of all time. A panorama of illustrious figures converged around the creation of this magnificent work-from the great Dutch scholar Erasmus to the young Martin Luther-and Ross King skillfully weaves them through his compelling historical narrative, offering uncommon insight into the intersection of art and history. Four years earlier, at the age of twenty-nine, Michelangelo had unveiled his masterful statue of David in Florence; however, he had little experience as a painter, even less working in the delicate medium of fresco, and none with the curved surface of vaults, which dominated the chapel's ceiling. The temperamental Michelangelo was himself reluctant, and he stormed away from Rome, risking Julius's wrath, only to be persuaded to eventually begin. Michelangelo would spend the next four years laboring over the vast ceiling. He executed hundreds of drawings, many of which are masterpieces in their own right. Contrary to legend, he and his assistants worked standing rather than on their backs, and after his years on the scaffold, Michelangelo suffered a bizarre form of eyestrain that made it impossible for him to read letters unless he held them at arm's length. Nonetheless, he produced one of the greatest masterpieces of all time, about which Giorgio Vasari, in his Lives of the Artists, wrote, 'There is no other work to compare with this for excellence, nor could there be.' Ross King's fascinating new book tells the story of those four extraordinary years. Battling against ill health, financial difficulties, domestic problems, inadequate knowledge of the art of fresco, and the pope's impatience, Michelangelo created figures-depicting the Creation, the Fall, and the Flood-so beautiful that, when they were unveiled in 1512, they stunned his onlookers. Modern anatomy has yet to find names for some of the muscles on his nudes, they are painted in such detail. While he worked, Rome teemed around him, its politics and rivalries with other city-states and with France at fever pitch, often intruding on his work. From Michelangelo's experiments with the composition of pigment and plaster to his bitter competition with the famed painter Raphael, who was working on the neighboring Papal Apartments, Ross King presents a magnificent tapestry of day-to-day life on the ingenious Sistine scaffolding and outside in the upheaval of early-sixteenth-century Rome.

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