The Agony and the Ecstasy

The Agony and the Ecstasy

Book - 1961
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"The passionate biographical novel of Michelangelo. His time--the turbulent Renaissance, the years of poisoning princes, warring Popes, the all-powerful de'Medici family, the fanatic monk Savonarola... His loves--the frail and lovely daughter of Lorenzo de'Medici; the ardent mistress of Marco Aldovrandi; and his last love, his greatest love--the beautiful, unhappy Vittoria Colonna... His genius--a God driven fury from which he wrested the greatest art the world as ever known... Michelangelo Buonarroti creator of David, painter of the Sistine ceiling, architect of the dome of St. Peter's, lives once more in the tempestuous, powerful pages of Irving Stone's great new book."--P. [4] of cover.
Publisher: Garden City, N.Y. : Doubleday, 1961.
ISBN: 9780451171351
Call Number: STONE
Characteristics: p.
Subjects: Michelangelo Buonarroti, 1475-1564 -- Fiction.
Artists -- Italy -- Fiction.
Historical fiction.
Biographical fiction.


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Apr 26, 2017

When I initially beheld this hefty tome, I wasn't confident that I was in the appropriate mood for it or prepared to dig in and digest such a dense, detailed tale of the extraordinary life of Michelangelo Buonarroti, but WOW! Once I began, I very nearly couldn't put it down, and eagerly looked forward to devouring passages at every opportunity. Irving Stone has assembled a truly legendary and unforgettable work. Although fictionalized, this is the fruit of six years of research, the author even becoming apprenticed as a sculptor himself during that time, all in the name of inquiry. You need not have more than elementary knowledge of Michelangelo or much in the way of art appreciation to enjoy it (I had neither). However, you will absolutely wish to have access to a collection of images of his works nearby for reference.

I was moved by Michelangelo's innate passion to create; his yearnings were palpable, even to a non-creative type like myself. To see him throw every ounce of strength and energy into his work at the expense of eating and sleeping, even to the point of wasting away, consumed by desire, it's understandable why genius and madness are often said to be closely intertwined.

Although the customs and familial obligations of the day were admittedly different, I can't be the only reader who desired at times to strangle Michelangelo's astonishingly incompetent and ungrateful family members. The ways in which he was toyed with and pushed around by family and notables of the day, when his only longings were to produce his art, are heartbreaking.

After many years, this is a re-read for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Characters are complex, as is the political setting where genius is developed. The millennial should have this book on their curriculum. It is a reality check for all those clock watchers.

Jul 04, 2016

I enjoyed this book. The history of Michelangelo brought to life. Definitely worth the read if you're a history buff.

Apr 29, 2014

Great book

Apr 26, 2011

Anyone familiar with the works of Michelangelo will enjoy this tale of his life and how the artist lived and interacted with the world around him. It's not a book to be read in one sitting but gives some insight to the artist's passion, his family dynamics and the political and royal interactions of the time period. Worth delving into for those who want to learn more and still escape into the colorful and difficult life of a renaissance artist. Recommended for late night reading but not a beach book.


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