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Michelangelo’s extant correspondence is the most abundant of any artist. Spanning 67 years, it comprises roughly 1,400 letters, of which 500 were written by Michelangelo himself. Biographers and art historians have combed the letters for insight into Michelangelo’s views on art, his contractual obligations, and his relationships. Literary scholars have explored parallels between the letters and Michelangelo’s poetry. Nevertheless, this is the first book to study the letters for their intrinsically literary qualities. In this volume, Deborah Parker examines Michelangelo’s use of language as a means of understanding the creative process of this extraordinary artist. His letters often revel in witticisms, rhetorical flourishes, and linguistic ingenuity. Close study of his mastery of words and modes of self-presentation shows Michelangelo to be a consummate artist who deploys the resources of language to considerable effect.Read more
- Until now, there has been no extended treatment of the literary aspects of Michelangelo's letters
- This book brings new attention to the letters as artistic objects worthy of study in their own right
- It provides a substantially new account of Michelangelo's work across different media
Reviews & endorsements
"Parker offers perceptive and intriguing analyses of the style and handwriting used in Michelangelo's letters and in some poems. Before 1500 he wrote in a hybrid script employing elements of the mercantesca traditionally used by merchants, but later switched to a more humanistic cursive hand. His handwriting is most graceful when he is writing to important people. When writing to his family he frequently uses proverbs and maxims, such as those found in Tuscan books on family guidance. . . Parker has amply shown that Michelangelo did not have a monopoly on such standard figures of speech, and his artworks are infinitely more subtle than any of his writings."
-James Hall, Literary Review
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- Date Published: October 2010
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9780521761406
- length: 168 pages
- dimensions: 235 x 162 x 21 mm
- weight: 0.44kg
- contains: 23 b/w illus.
- availability: In stock
Table of Contents
1. The role of letters in biographies of Michelangelo
2. From word to image: epistolary rhetoric and artistic form
3. From experience to expression: representations of captivity in Michelangelo's art, poetry, and letters
4. Michelangelo's words: saying, doing, meaning.
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