Michelangelo is universally recognized to be one of the greatest artists of all time. In this vividly written biography, William E. Wallace offers a substantially new view of the artist. Not only a supremely gifted sculptor, painter, architect, and poet, Michelangelo was also an aristocrat who firmly believed in the ancient and noble origins of his family. The belief in his patrician status fueled his lifelong ambition to improve his family’s financial situation and to raise the social standing of artists. Michelangelo’s ambitions are evident in his writing, dress, and comportment, as well as in his ability to befriend, influence, and occasionally say “no” to popes, kings, and princes. Written from the words of Michelangelo and his contemporaries, this biography not only tells his own stories but also brings to life the culture and society of Renaissance Florence and Rome. Not since Irving Stone’s novel The Agony and the Ecstasy has there been such a compelling and human portrayal of this remarkable yet credible human individual.
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Part I. Introduction: Note to the reader; 1. Rome, 1496; 2. Aristocrat of artists; 3. Rise to prominence; 4. Papal summons; 5. Rome, 1508–1516; 6. Florence, 1515–1525; 7. A week in the life; 8. Florence, 1525–1534; Part II: 9. Rome, 1534–42; 10. Rome, 1542–45; 11. Papal architect, Rome, 1546–49; 12. New friends, diminishing family; 13. St Peter's; 14. Late work, long life; 15. Final years; 16. Return to Florence.
"...the artist who emerges from these pages is paradoxically a far richer character than the one captured in fiction—as complicated as his art, and as fiercely intelligent as his times."
"Wallace’s (novel) is a detailed investigation that will repay the attention of a well-informed reader already familiar with Michelangelo’s art."
-ADRIAN W. B. RANDOLPH,Dartmouth College
"Don’t be intimidated by Wallace’s reputation as one of the world’s leading authorities on Michelangelo: this is a highly readable, and often very funny, tour through Michelangelo’s life and career. It gives a fresh assessment of Michelangelo, showing him not as the moody genius of legend so much as a deft business manager who, among other things, gave his workmen nicknames like Stumpy and Fats. Modern CEOs could learn much from him."
-Ross King, The Daily Beast