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Michelangelo: Complete Works Hardcover – October 1, 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Following the success of our XL title Leonardo da Vinci, TASCHEN brings you this massive tome that explores Michelangelo's life and work in more depth and detail than ever before. The first part concentrates on the life of Michelangelo via an extensive and copiously illustrated biographical essay; the main body of the book presents his work in four parts providing a complete analytical inventory of Michelangelo's paintings, sculptures, buildings and drawings. Grorgeous, full page reproductions and enlarged details bring readers up close to the works.

About the Author

Frank Zöllner wrote his doctoral thesis on motifs originating from Antiquity in the history of art and architecture of the Medieval and Renaissance periods (1987). He is also the author of a postdoctoral treatise on motion and expression in the art of Leonardo da Vinci, published in 2010. He has published numerous works on Renaissance art and art theory, and on 20th-century art. Since 1996 he has been Professor of Medieval and Modern Art at the University of Leipzig. For TASCHEN he has authored the XL monographs on Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.

Christof Thoenes studied art history in Berlin and Pavia, before completing his doctorate in Berlin. Thoenes was Honorary Professor in Hamburg and now lives in Rome, where for many years he has worked for the Bibliotheca Hertziana (Max-Planck-Institute). He has contributed to numerous publications on Italian art, particularly on architecture and architectural theory of the 15th to 18th centuries.

Thomas Pöpper wrote his doctoral thesis on 15th-century Italian Renaissance sculpture (2003). After a fellowship at the Bibliotheca Hertziana, he worked as a volunteer for the Schleswig-Holsteinische Landesmuseen. Following further appointments at universities in Hamburg und Leipzig, since 2008 he has been Professor of Art and Design History at the West Saxon University of Applied Sciences of Zwickau, where he is currently Head of the Faculty of Applied Art. Pöpper has published on a variety of aspects of Italian art from the Middle Ages to the Baroque, German painting of the Early Modern era and German sculpture of the 19th and 20th century.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 768 pages
  • Publisher: Taschen (October 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3822830550
  • ISBN-13: 978-3822830550
  • Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 3.2 x 19.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 23.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,208,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you've never seen one of these Taschen XXL-series books you may be in for a surprise. They are HUGE. And certain subjects just lend themselves to imposing presentation. Michelangelo is certainly one of those subjects. This book gives you several magnificent fold-outs of numerous paintings where you can observe the work almost down to a molecular level, and hundreds and hundreds of full-page plates. Yes, I would concede that a trip to Italy to see the works in person would be the optimum choice, but this is a close second! And, if you've already seen some of these works I can assure you that this book will be the ultimate commemoration of your experience. There is not currently, nor will there ever be in the future, a more astonishing book on Michelangelo. This is a vast, expansive work. The quality is first-rate, the coloring and tonal presentation of the plates is perfect and I suspect accurate to a scientific certainty. Taschen is very good about that sort of thing.

If your thought is that the book is "kinda expensive," I assure you that it is not, relative to what you're getting here. This, folks, is a family heirloom we're talking about. I've haunted used bookstores for two decades, and I can tell you that once this goes out of print the price on this will go into the stratosphere. Yes, Taschen keeps these things in print for a long time, but don't wait too long. As I write this the price is almost a give-away here on Amazon. Carpe diem! (And I note that the Taschen Stanley Kubrick XXL is now out-of-print and used volumes are selling for $800.)

The cover here is cloth, which adds to the appeal. Taschen has done some volumes with trendy-type covers which offer less assurance of long-term endurance.
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Format: Hardcover
I received this book yesterday, and it is certainly a monumental work, weighing close to 20 pounds and superbly produced. But potential buyers should be aware that while this book is labeled as a definitive, complete guide to Michelangelo's work, its real focus are the paintings and drawings. There is probably no better book for the Sistine Chapel ceiling and the Last Judgment, with scores of extraordinary closeups of every part of each painting. The foldout of the creation of Adam is a joy to behold. Readers may or may not like the fact that probably 40% of the book is on Michelangelo's drawings, given that these are mostly preliminary sketches for sculptures or paintings, as opposed to complete drawings in their own right, as in the case of Leonardo Da Vinci. The book also covers Michelangelo's architecture very well.
But obviously many readers will buy this book because they want to see Michelangelo's sculptures, and this book is surprisingly, disappointingly weak in this area. Of course, the David gets its due and there is also good coverage of the Vatican Pieta and, oddly, the Bacchus. But many of the other sculptures, such as the Moses and the Risen Christ, get only one large and one small picture, despite the fact that the book, at over 700 pages, has space to spare. By contrast, the "Complete Michelangelo" by William Wallace provides multiple views of each and every piece of sculpture.
But most incredible, indeed inexplicable, of all, is that this book (unlike Wallace, or any other Michelangelo book that I know of) fails to provide any large pictures at all of what are, next to the David, the most iconic and powerful of Michelangelo's sculptures: his four "prisoners" in Florence.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent pictures of the frescoes, inadequate coverage of sculptures. This book is unrivaled for the sheer size of its reproductions. It is so huge that it is a bit difficult to read--one has to rest it on a table. Not suitable for reading in bed, to say the least. But the quality of the printing and colors in the main part of the book is first class. Its coverage is especially fine on the paintings. It comprehensively covers the Sistine Chapel with huge-size foldout prints of every fresco. There are fine close-ups of important areas, which are an amazing 2/3 of life size. One can examine these fresco details from a foot away--never before possible--instead of from 60 feet away with a craned neck. This can be breathtaking.

The sculpture photos are excellent too, but not numerous. I had been expecting several photos of each sculpture from various angles. Bacchus, Pieta, and David are well shown in multiple views but this is not the case for most works.

The text is on the whole very well written and illuminating.

The authors have extreme views on authenticity. This leads them to exclude very important sculptures because, it appears, the authors consider them unproven to be authentic. For example, the Santo Spirito wooden crucifix is shown only small, poor quality, and in black and white. (A far better, color, picture, can be found, free, in Wikipedia.) Even the Madonna and Child bas-relief that is his first work, the one selected to adorn the cover of the 1,000 euro ($1,500) La Dotta Mano book, and, worst of all, the four Slave sculptures, some of his most iconic works, are also relegated to poor quality black-and-whites at back of the book, as all are judged suspect by these authors.
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