Michelangelo Buonarroti, one of the greatest artists of all time, was not exactly a noble and humble man. Irritable, arrogant, and impatient, his perfectionism and expectations drove away many potential friends, and even provoked one would-be friend to hit him in the nose, crushing it "like a biscuit." However, what's truly important for us today is that this man ultimately became an artistic genius, mastering the three arts of the Renaissance: sculpture, painting, and architecture. From his early years, when he created the Pieta
(at age 25), to his 40 years of tormented work on a monumental tomb for Pope Julius II, to his greatest masterpiece, the paintings in the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo astounded people with his almost otherworldly talent.
Diane Stanley's well-researched, vivid narrative captures the life of the creator of some of the world's most beautiful, heart-wrenching works of art. Her illustrations are fantastically elaborate and include details of many of Michelangelo's sculptures and paintings. Michelangelo is a perfect introduction to art and art history, with plenty of compelling background information about the Renaissance and life in 15th and 16th century Italy. Stanley has written many other award-winning picture-book biographies, including Leonardo da Vinci and Cleopatra. (Ages 9 to 12) --Emilie Coulter
From Publishers Weekly
There is no one like Stanley (Leonardo da Vinci; Joan of Arc) for picture-book biographyAshe brings to the genre an uncanny ability to clarify and compress dense and tricky historical matter, scrupulous attention to visual and verbal nuances, and a self-fulfilling faith in her readers' intelligence. Returning to the Italian Renaissance, she looks at Michelangelo: "In an age of great artists, he was perhaps the greatest," she posits, pointing to his masterpieces in the three major artsAsculpture, painting and architecture. Her panoramic telling of his life story, fascinating in and of itself, also illuminates papal politics, the machinations of the Medicis, the technical difficulties of painting the Sistine Chapel ceiling (an assignment so unpleasant that Michelangelo thought his rival Bramante had put the pope up to it), the heady climate of Florence and other complex topics. The illustrations again manifest Stanley's prodigious talents. Her detailed rendering of the pre-Michelangelo Sistine Chapel, for example, is dramatic, expressive and historically accurate. Unfortunately, the digital techniques she used to good effect in LeonardoAcollaging in photos of her subject's workAare not successful here. She skillfully integrates reproductions of Michelangelo's own paintings and other two-dimensional art, but when she shows him toiling on the Piet? or with other sculptures, the difference in the depths of field is jarring: one portion of her composition is flat, another seems three-dimensional. The dislocating effect blemishes an otherwise outstanding work. Ages 8-up. (Sept.)
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