The Last Judgment: Michelangelo and the Death of the Renaissance [NOOK Book]

Overview


Painted on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel, 28 years after Michelangelo completed the glorious and hopeful ceiling, The Last Judgment is full of stark images depicting the End of Days. James Connor uses the famous fresco as the lens by which to view the end of the Renaissance, arguing that Michelangelo's imagery and composition reflect the religious and political upheavals of the time.

Combining his flair for storytelling with incisive historical ...

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The Last Judgment: Michelangelo and the Death of the Renaissance

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Overview


Painted on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel, 28 years after Michelangelo completed the glorious and hopeful ceiling, The Last Judgment is full of stark images depicting the End of Days. James Connor uses the famous fresco as the lens by which to view the end of the Renaissance, arguing that Michelangelo's imagery and composition reflect the religious and political upheavals of the time.

Combining his flair for storytelling with incisive historical analysis, Connor demonstrates how the Counter-Reformation arose from the ashes of Renaissance Italy, and how that sea change altered the course of Western history.



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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Michelangelo did not want to create the Last Judgment(1537-1541), yet, argues Connor (Pascal's Wager), it was his clearest expression of the "terror at the bottom of his psyche," a terror stemming largely from the conflict between his probable homosexual desires and his religious faith. Connor traces the creation of the Last Judgment and Michelangelo's struggle to reconcile his "innate religious zeal" with his love for nobleman Tommaso de Cavalieri. Connor's narrative is compelling, his writing vivid and evocative. An English professor and former Jesuit priest, he superbly places the Last Judgment in the context of Copernicus's heliocentric universe and of the Catholic reforms of Savonarola and the Council of Trent. Yet the Council condemned the work for its nudity and unconventional portraits of religious figures; a chapter on the fresco's censorship is one of the book's most fascinating. The monumental painting was ultimately driven less by Michelangelo's artistic impulses than by his desire for salvation. Connor presents an indispensable perspective for the general reader as well as fresh insights for the specialist. (July)

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Library Journal

Connor (Pascal's Wager: The Man Who Played Dice with God) delivers a fresh examination of the historical, social, religious, and biographical contexts in which Michelangelo created The Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel. Using the famous fresco, which was painted amid widespread disenchantment with the excesses of Roman Catholicism, to consider the end of the Renaissance, Connor argues that Michelangelo's masterpiece reflects not only the shifts in the Church's religious ideologies and roles but also the artist's profound religious faith and his personal desires for reform. Connor covers the painter's time in Florence in the house of the Medici family during the 1490s to his death in 1564. Connor seems sometimes to digress and upstage the artist's masterpiece with historical details and anecdotal sidebars. The four double-paged, black-and-white photographs of the masterpiece at the end of the text are insufficient. VERDICT This is an enlightening, noteworthy book intended for European history professors and art historians as well as general readers; however, some art historians may have reservations about using this as a text for their courses, as it reads more like a scholarly essay than a monograph.—Cheryl Ann Lajos, Free Lib. of Philadelphia


—Cheryl Ann Lajos
From the Publisher
Praise for The Last Judgment:

 

"Connor's narrative is compelling, his writing vivid and evocative. [...] An indispensable perspective for the general reader as well as fresh insights for the specialist." —Publishers Weekly

 

"Connor gives a full and fascinating account of the history and personalities involved in the creation of one of the world's most forbidding and beautiful frescoes.  The Last Judgment is also readable and succinct, and it offers intriguing insights into a culture hastening towards its own destruction." —Ross King, bestselling author of Brunelleschi's Dome and Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling

"James Connor clarifies the dizzying Renaissance swirl of science, politics, art and war with language as vivid and colorful as a newly cleaned fresco." —Mary Doria Russell, bestselling author of The Sparrow and A Thread of Grace 

Praise for Jim Connor:

 

"The 17th century was a rough, bloody time in which ignorance, corruption, and religious hatred often trumped knowledge, ethical behavior, and religious tolerance...By showing Kepler's inability to shield his own mother, Connor drives this point forcibly home." — The Los Angeles Times on Kepler's Witch

 

"A compelling and readable study of one of the most influential thinkers in religious history." — Booklist on Pascal's Wager

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230622678
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 6/23/2009
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,134,441
  • File size: 1,013 KB

Meet the Author


James A. Connor is currently a professor of english at Kean University and a former Jesuit priest. He is the author of three books: Silent Fire, Kepler’s Witch and Pascal’s Wager. He lives in Rahway, New Jersey.


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Table of Contents


Prologue: Standing in the Sistine * Introduction: The Dying Pope * The Great Commission * Clement’s Brainstorm * Pope Julius’ Tomb * The Altar Wall * Colors * The Children of Savonarola * Vittoria Colonna * Sol Invictus * The Naked and the Dead *The Damned * Censoring the End of the World * The Last Days of Michelangelo Buonarotti


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