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Michelangelo And The Pope's Ceiling


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The extraordinary story behind Michelangelo's masterpiece - now, for the first time, in B-format.

About the Author

Ross King is the author of Brunelleschi's Dome, a highly praised account of how the Renaissance architect Brunelleschi constructed the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence (voted Non-Fiction Book of the Year by American Independent Booksellers in 2001). He has also written two novels, Domino and Ex Libris. He lives in Oxford.


King's historical account of the four years Michelangelo Buonarroti spent frescoing the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome is splendid, thorough and detailed. But its larger appeal lies in the way King (Brunelleschi's Dome) brings out the story's human elements. Listeners learn of Michelangelo's bitter disappointment when a project he was eagerly looking forward to (the construction of the Pope's tomb) was cancelled and that he had little experience with the art of fresco and was reluctant to take on the Sistine Chapel. King explains the craft of frescoing with involving details: for example, fresco dries quickly, so the artist could work only in small sections, and if a mistake was found after the paint dried, the whole day's work had to be chipped away and redone. Listeners also learn of Michelangelo's financial woes and family problems and the political upheavals of the time. Sklar's narration is perfect for the project. His lively and expressive reading add a realistic edge to a centuries-old tale. He speaks passionately and his accent on the Italian names and phrases is flawless. Simultaneous release with the Walker hardcover (Forecasts, Dec. 9, 2002). (Jan.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

"Ross King deftly stitches modern Michelangelo scholarship into his fluent and gripping narrative. The result is a delightful book that overturns many legends" Independent "A fascinating and carefully researched account of day-to-day life atop the Sistine scaffolding" The Times "A narrative that never falls back on exaggeration or deviates from the facts" Sunday Times "We learn an enormous amount by reading this book; King's grasp of and research into the period seem all-encompassing" Spectator

Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling (Penguin. 2003. ISBN 9780-14-200369-5. pap. $16), Ross King's account of the four years that Michelangelo spent painting the Sistine Chapel frescoes, is a grand mix of history and biography. Readers learn about Michelangelo's problems with health and money, his difficult patron, Pope Julius II, and his rivalry with the young Raphael. King also paints a fascinating picture of 16th-century Rome, inhabited by such figures as Leonardo da Vinci, Savonarola, and Machiavelli. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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