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The Life of Michelangelo Buonarroti Paperback – May 8, 2008

3.2 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Though this originally appeared back in 1911, it is still considered to be one of the best biographies of the artist. Symonds was the first to deal frankly with Michelangelo's homosexuality and was the first scholar granted complete access to the artist's materials by the Italian government. This edition includes a new introduction by Creighton E. Gilbert, art historian and translator of Michelangelo's poems and letters, who discusses the historical context of the biography as well as Symonds's own life and his efforts to recognize the contributions of gay artists.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

"Scholars and students can learn much from a careful reading of this masterpiece of nineteenth-century research, the first modern biography of this famous artist. . . . Symonds's biography stands on its own as a solid, readable, compelling, and appropriate reading for the twenty-first century."—Sixteenth Century Journal

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 452 pages
  • Publisher: Book Jungle (May 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 160597675X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605976754
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,101,345 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Let me just say that modern day scholarship has taken us far beyond the realm of romantic and personal speculation concerning not only the works of Michelangelo but also the man. Symonds got it wrong even ib such mundane matters as finance. Michelangelo died a rich man and had been paid far beyond what an artisan or a merchant would make. Andrew Graham-Dixon put an end to that old saw.

Sadly to say Symonds sees everything through the prism of his own prejudices and dospositions. Michelangelo probably was an ascetic when it came to sex and if you want to play analyist neither he nor his brothers ever married or sired children. Symonds is one of those who never understood Platonic love but feels obligated to tortuously connive to see him in his own prism. His interpretation of the artist's sonnets is ludicrous.

If you want to understand Victorian hypocrisy and experience few if any insights into Michelangelo then this is a book for you. If you want a clearer picture of the man as seen from a 19th century perspective read John Ruskin, you will learn something.
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This biography tells you everything there is to know about Michelangelo - and more, if possible. The author must have scrutinized all extant archives, read and analyzed every letter, physically have spent time and meditated in the places where Michelagelo lived and worked. I will never look at a work by Michelangelo in the same way again. This is a great book. Read it.
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Got this e-book for my Amazon Kindle Fire HD. Very interested in Italian religious art. The book is not long and information in it is basic and by no means comprehensive. However, that's not the reason for the 1 Star rating. If I could have given it less than 1 star I would have. Here is the reason why: There are no illustrations in the book! Imagine that! Works of art are discussed but not illustrated. Absurd! Ended up removing it from my device.
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I liked the book, it comments on other biographies and contains most of the historical facts. It provides good information and descriptions of the craft of the sculptor, which helps get a better sense of the man, his times and his art. Somewhat dry in style, but overall it makes for an interesting book.
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Purchased before a trip to Tuscany, I read this book on airplanes and in Hotel rooms as I traveled to and stayed in Florence. Good thing, as I might not have finished it for pleasure. Difficult slogging at times, fascinating at times, and easy reading at times. Glad I read it as it made much of the art and places, as well as the historical interactions with the Medici Family clear and germane.
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Written 100 years ago, it is a very detailed study of the life of Michelangelo. Scholarly, precise, insightful; and comparative with former biographers who actually knew the master. Not for the novice reader.
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I must confess I did not finish this book. I just could not get into it, even though I wanted to read it before our trip to Florence. If you are interested in a factual rendition of Michelangelo's artistic development and life presented in a dry manner, you may like this book more than I did.
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Great details of a man who lived 500 years ago! A very good description of the time 1475–1564 in Florence and in Rome.
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