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9780142003695

Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling

King, Ross Author

9780142003695: Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling

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 one of the greatest masterpieces of all time. A panorama of illustrious figures converged around the creation of this great work-from the great Dutch scholar Desiderius 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.

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Almost 500 years after Michelangelo Buonarroti frescoed the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome, the site still attracts throngs of visitors and is considered one of the artistic masterpieces of the world. Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling unveils the story behind the art's making, a story rife with all the drama of a modern-day soap opera.

The temperament of the day was dictated by the politics of the papal court, a corrupt and powerful office steeped in controversy; Pope Julius II even had a nickname, "Il Papa Terrible," to prove it. Along with his violent outbursts and warmongering, Pope Julius II took upon himself to restore the Sistine Chapel and pretty much intimidated Michelangelo into painting the ceiling even though the artist considered himself primarily a sculptor and was particularly unfamiliar with the temperamental art of fresco. Along with technical difficulties, personality conflicts, and money troubles, Michelangelo was plagued by health problems and competition in the form of the dashing and talented young painter Raphael.

Author Ross King offers an in-depth analysis of the complex historical background that led to the magnificence that is the Sistine Chapel ceiling along with detailed discussion of some of the ceiling’s panels. King provides fabulous tidbits of information and weaves together a fascinating historical tale. --J.P. Cohen

From the Inside Flap:

?There is no other work to compare with this for excellence, nor could there be,? wrote Vasari in his Lives of Artists .

The extraordinary story behind Michelangelo?s masterpiece in the Sistine Chapel - from the author of the acclaimed Brunelleschi?s Dome.

In 1508 Pope Julius II commissioned Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Though he considered himself primarily a sculptor not a painter, he laboured over it for the next four years and the result was one of the greatest masterpieces of all time.

Ross King?s fascinating new book tells the story of those four extraordinary years. Battling against ill health, financial difficulties, domestic problems and inadequate knowledge of the art of fresco, Michelangelo created figures so beautiful that, when they were unveiled in 1512, they stunned the onlookers. From Michelangelo?s experiments with the composition of pigment and plaster to his bitter rivalry with Raphael, who was working on the neighbouring Papal Apartments, Ross King paints a magnificent picture of day-to-day life on the Sistine scaffolding and outside in the upheaval of early sixteenth-century Rome.


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King, Ross Author
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Book Description Penguin Books, 2003. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: 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. 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. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0142003697

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Book Description Penguin Books Dec 2003, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Review\nRoss King showed in his bestselling Brunelleschi's Dome that he is a writer with the rare gift of combining meticulous scholarship with narrative charm and even excitement, and this study of Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel is just as successful. King doesn't only give the background to the figures in the Sistine Chapel, their meaning and their stories; he also details the actual making of these frescoes that still astonish visitors. Starting from the circumstances of the commissioning, with relationships already twisted and tempers flaming, he draws us into a thrilling tale of the practical preparations. We hear about the problem of the scaffold, about the ropes, the pigments, the condition of the actual walls and ceiling. We hear about the assistants: strangely, Michelangelo being so notoriously bad-tempered and suspicious, they all turn out to be jovial and easygoing, old friends from his home city, Florence. We learn about the making of fresco and its difficulty, especially for Michelangelo who had never learned the demanding technique. Not surprisingly, his first attempt was a failure and the plaster fell off. One of the pleasures of this book is its light-hearted attitude to its great subject. King is never disrespectful or unappreciative, but he regards the work with objective impartiality: there is none of that swooning admiration that the very name of Michelangelo has aroused from Vasari on. The Sistine ceiling is a work of genius, but even a genius improves with practice. King leads us through all the troubles that are the context for this triumph of the will, and we end with a final controversy, that of the 1989 restoration. This book is thrilling right to the final word - which is 'spectacular'. Review by Sister Wendy Beckett (Kirkus UK) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. \n\nBoyd Tonkin, The Independent, 27th November 2002\nRoss King deftly stitches modern Michelangelo scholarship into his fluent and gripping narrative --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. Bookseller Inventory # fb78e14a6cdb98b75baa40e9fd0bc49f

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