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Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling book image

Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling
Ross King, signed by author
$16.00

In 1508, despite strong advice to the contrary, the powerful Pope Julius II commissioned Michelangelo Buonarroti to paint the ceiling of the newly restored Sistine Chapel in Rome. 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. / Born and raised in Canada, Ross King has lived in England since 1992. His writing career began in 1995 with the publication of a historical novel, Domino, about the world of masquerades and opera in 18th-century London. Its successor, Ex-Libris, was a novel about bookselling, codes and spies in 17th-century Europe. King is best known to American readers as the author of the nonfiction Brunelleschi’s Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture.

Publisher:
Penguin Books
Publish Date:
2003, NYC
Pages:
383
Format:
paperback
ISBN:
9780142003695
Price:
$16.00

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