cover image Michelangelo Architect

Michelangelo Architect

Giulio Carlo Argan, Carlo Giulio Argan. ABRAMS, $125 (388pp) ISBN 978-0-8109-3638-6

Michelangelo's professed goal, for at least the first half of his career, was a synthesis of painting, sculpture and architecture. Though many of the buildings he designed were never constructed, his achievements as an architect who freed architecture from its slavish emulation of classical antiquity can be seen in such projects as the dome of Saint Peter's Church and the elegant Farnese Palace, both in Rome, or the mannerist Laurentian Library in the Monastery of San Lorenzo in Florence. In this handsomely illustrated survey, the late Argan, an Italian art historian, provocatively portrays Michelangelo the architect as ``a profoundly distressed artist'' who, in establishing the autonomy of artistic thought, discovered that tradition no longer had the power to orient the modern. Contardi, an Italian arts administrator, has provided a catalogue of 31 of Michelangelo's architectural projects, accompanied by extensive commentaries and more than 500 photographs, drawings and plans (24 in color). (Oct.)