Becoming Michelangelo: Apprenticing to the Master, and Discovering the Artist through His Drawings

Becoming Michelangelo: Apprenticing to the Master, and Discovering the Artist through His Drawings

by Alan Pascuzzi


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Michelangelo’s developing genius is revealed as never before by the man who became Michelangelo’s last apprentice—
an American artist and art historian whose family helped carve Mount Rushmore.

Many believe Michelangelo's talent was miraculous and untrained, the product of “divine” genius—a myth that Michelangelo himself promoted by way of cementing his legacy. But the young Michelangelo studied his craft like any Renaissance apprentice, learning from a master, copying, and experimenting with materials and styles. In this extraordinary book, Alan Pascuzzi recounts the young Michelangelo’s journey from student to master, using the artist’s drawings to chart his progress and offering unique insight into the true nature of his mastery.

Pascuzzi himself is today a practicing artist in Florence, Michelangelo’s city. When he was a grad student in art history, he won a Fulbright to “apprentice” himself to Michelangelo: to study his extant drawings and copy them to discern his progression in technique, composition, and mastery of anatomy. Pascuzzi also relied on the Renaissance treatise that “Il Divino” himself would have been familiar with, Cennino Cennini's The Craftsman’s Handbook (1399), which was available to apprentices as a kind of textbook of the period.

Pascuzzi’s narrative traces Michelangelo’s development as an artist during the period from roughly 1485, the start of his apprenticeship, to his completion of the Sistine Chapel ceiling in 1512. Analyzing Michelangelo’s burgeoning abilities through copies he himself executed in museums and galleries in Florence and elsewhere, Pascuzzi unlocks the transformation that made him great. At the same time, he narrates his own transformation from student to artist as Michelangelo’s last apprentice.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781628729153
Publisher: Arcade
Publication date: 05/21/2019
Pages: 312
Sales rank: 785,218
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Alan Pascuzzi is a painter, sculptor, and professor of art history. As a student, he copied all 135 of Michelangelo's extant drawings from the period covered in his book from originals in various museums. He has been teaching Renaissance art techniques to students for more than a decade. He has appeared in TV documentaries on Renaissance art, including the BBC’s The Color Blue and Inside the Mind of Leonardo, and on 60 Minutes. Recently, an exhibition of his sculptures, The Ten Madonnas, opened at the Vatican. He lives in Florence, Italy.

Table of Contents

Author's Note ix

Preface: What This Book Is xiii

Chapter 1 Did Michelangelo Have to Learn How to Draw? 1

Chapter 2 Wanting to Become a Master 7

Chapter 3 A Lofty Spirit: My Apprenticeship to Michelangelo 12

Chapter 4 The World of Renaissance Drawings 25

Chapter 5 Michelangelo's Early Apprenticeship 33

Chapter 6 Michelangelo, the Medici, and a Career Change 87

Chapter 7 Michelangelo Returns to Florence, 1501-1504 108

Chapter 8 The Drawings for the Battle of Cascina 128

Chapter 9 The Drawings for the Sistine Chapel, Part I 176

Chapter 10 The Drawings for the Sistine Chapel, Part II 230

Conclusion 271

Acknowledgments 276

Appendix 278

Glossary 282

Illustration Credits 289

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