Young Michelangelo: Path to the Sistine

John T. Spike, Vendome, $27.95 (312p) ISBN 978-0-86565-266-8
Art historian Spike (Caravaggio) weaves together the personal and professional relationships that shaped the first 30 years of Michelangelo's career, from his early days in the Medicis' sculpture garden to the commissions that culminated in his work in the Sistine Chapel. Spike's Michelangelo is driven relentlessly by ambition, an obligation to provide for his dysfunctional family, and a firm conviction of his own genius. Although he lacked the social graces of contemporaries Leonardo and Raphael, Michelangelo attracted the patronage of the most important political figures of the time. Michelangelo was probably one of the very few who could flee Rome in the middle of completing the pope's tomb, repeatedly refuse orders to return, and still receive an even more important commission for a bronze sculpture. Spike crystallizes historical detail into vivid, memorable imagery. One scene stands out in particular: Michelangelo's six-ton David being slowly dragged through the streets of Florence to its place in front of the Palazzo della Signoria. Alternating between accounts of the turbulent political atmosphere and details of Michelangelo's most private moments in the sculpture studio, Spike creates a rich narrative that promises more intrigue than the best adventure novel. 60 illus., maps. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/26/2010
Release date: 09/01/2010
Paperback - 271 pages - 978-0-86565-283-5
Hardcover - 336 pages - 978-0-7156-4066-1
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-7156-4302-0
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