The true story behind one of the greatest masterpieces of all time.
You cannot stand underneath the masterwork that is the Sistine Chapel without considering the genius and painstaking work that went into its creation. Michelangelo Buonarroti never wanted to paint the Sistine Chapel, though. Appointed by the temperamental Julius II, Michelangelo believed the suspiciously large-scale project to be a plot for failure conspired by his rivals and the “Warrior Pope.” After all, Michelangelo was not a painterhe was a sculptor. The noble artist reluctantly took on the daunting task that would damage his neck, back, and eyes (if you have ever strained to admire the real thing, you know). Andrew Graham-Dixon tells the story behind the famous painted ceiling over which the great artist painfully toiled for four long years.
Linking Michelangelo’s personal life to his work on the Sistine Chapel, Graham-Dixon describes Michelangelo’s unique depiction of the Book of Genesis, tackles ambiguities in the work, and details the painstaking work that went into Michelangelo’s magnificent creation. Complete with rich, full-color illustrations and Graham-Dixon’s articulate narrative, Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel is an indispensable and significant piece of art criticism. It humanizes this heavenly masterpiece in a way that every art enthusiast, student, and professional can understand and appreciate.
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About the Author
Andrew Graham-Dixon has presented six landmark series on art for the BBC, including the acclaimed A History of British Art , Renaissance , and Art of Eternity , as well as numerous individual documentaries on art and artists. For more than twenty years, he has published a weekly column on art, first in the Independent and, more recently, in the Sunday Telegraph. He has written a number of acclaimed books on subjects ranging from medieval painting and sculpture to the art of the present, including Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane , Art: The Definitive Visual Guide , and Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel. He resides in London, England.
Table of Contents
Plan of Sistine Chapel Ceiling viii
Part 1 Michelangelo Buonarroti and His World 9
Part 2 The Sistine Chapel Ceiling 67
I The Genesis Cycle, first triad 73
II The Genesis Cycle, second triad 80
III The Genesis Cycle, last triad 97
IV The Four Spandrel Paintings 118
V The Imaginary Architecture, the Bronze Figures, the Ignudi 130
VI The Ancestors of Christ 137
VII The Prophets and Sibyls 142
Part 3 The Last Judgement, and Other Endings 159
Illustration Acknowledgements 196