Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling

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None of Michelangelo's other works ever won him quite the same renown as his fresco in the Sistine Chapel, a building now virtually synonymous with his name. Almost immediately after Michelangelo unveiled it in 1512, the fresco became like an academy for artists, who had since long been using the Sistine Chapel as storehouse of ideas. They treated works of Michelangelo as some kind of a portfolio through which they concocted new ideas. The prestigious style of buon fresco generated intense interest, in particular, among a new generation of painters that pioneered a movement later known as mannerism. Ross King's purpose in writing this book is to detail Michelangelo's magnificent struggle with personal, political, and artistic difficulties during the painting of the Sistine ceiling. He also gives an engaging portrait of society and politics during the early sixteenth century. Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling recounts the beguiling, fascinating story of the four extraordinary years Michelangelo Buonarroti spent laboring over the 12,000 square feet of the vast ceiling made up of concave vaults, spandrels, and lunettes. The works marked an entirely new direction in which he had brought the power, vitality, and sheer magnitude of works of sculpture into the realm of painting. The commission, however, did not commence on an auspicious note, as Michelangelo had meager experience as a painter, let alone working in the delicate medium of fresco and painting bent-back the concave and curved surfaces of vaults. Having been a masterful sculptor who had unveiled the statue "David" four years prior to the pope's summon, his rival Bramante took advantage of his lack of experience to thwart Michelangelo's ambitions and so to destroy his reputation. Such alleged conspiracy as perceived by Michelangelo made the dreadful commission all the more invidious. He would either refuse the Sistine project, and in doing so incurred the ire of Pope Julius II, or else failed...
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