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Michelangelo: The Sistine Chapel Ceiling, Rome (Great Fresco Cycles of the Renaisance) Hardcover – October, 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
This elegant, small volume (73/8"?10") offers more than a guided tour of Michelangelo's ceiling frescoes on the Sistine Chapel in Rome, unfolding in 36 excellent color reproductions supplemented by 30 black-and-white plates. Synthesizing contemporary scholarship and adding his own interpretations, Partridge, an art history professor at UC Berkeley, argues that Michelangelo laid out his scenes of the Creation, Adam and Eve, Noah, Christ's incarnation, the prophets, sibyls and so forth in a narrative structure that directly mirrors Renaissance Christian thinking, embodying a belief in a linear unfolding of events according to divine plan. Moreover, he finds that Michelangelo's contrapuntal arrangement of scenes suggests a struggle between good and evil, sin and salvation, life and death. According to Partridge, the frescoes simultaneously convey multiple, overlapping, even conflicting messages, including allusions to the imperial authority of Michelangelo's sponsor, Pope Julius II. Partridge draws on the recent restoration of the frescoes to provide an exact picture of Michelangelo's working methods.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Any serious art book collection must upgrade its holdings to include recent photographs of the Sistine Chapel after the cleaning, as our understanding of the paintings on the ceiling and walls has since changed radically. Here are three titles complementing one another and various aspects of the images revealed by the restoration. The slender, slipcovered Michelangelo and Raphael is an updated version of the official publication of the Vatican Museum illustrating the Sistine and Pauline chapels and the stanzas and loggias of Raphael. A best seller to tourists in Rome, it records the histories of the chapels with clear, elegant reproductions and descriptive text. There are full-color foldouts of the restored Sistine ceiling and Last Judgment by Michelangelo showing the breadth and scope of these paintings. The wall decorations, life cycles of Moses and Christ by Botticelli, Signorelli, Ghirlandaio, and Roselli, under the direction of Perugino, are explained in terms of their historical and contemporaneous significance. Raphael's great frescoes in the stanzas and his paintings in the picture gallery are fully represented, though restoration is now being done in the Stanza della Signatura. The Sistine Chapel covers this chapel, including Michelangelo's ceiling and Last Judgment and the wall decorations, and is a reprint of an official Vatican publication that has been sold to tourists for many years. This edition, however, is expanded to contain a final chapter on the restoration, describing the method and materials used to reveal the brilliant color scheme. The text is by the curator of the Vatican Museums, and the reproductions are handsome and bright. Part of Braziller's "Great Fresco Cycles of the Renaissance" series, Partridge's book focuses on Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling. Partridge (art history, Univ. of California) also demonstrates the technique employed in creating fresco. Showing an illustration of the scaffolding used by Michelangelo and rebuilt by the restorers, the book includes a comprehensive diagram establishing the order of each panel in the grand design as well as a reconstruction of the exterior of the chapel. While the first part of the book contains black-and-white reproductions, the plates and commentaries in the latter half are in full color but are rather dark compared with the reproductions in the other two titles. Like the rest of the series, Michelangelo contains a glossary of fresco terms Any visitor who has toured these collections will appreciate the chance these books provide for more leisurely study. Scholars and students will benefit from the recent reproductions, which are a major factor in this recommendation of all three titles.?Ellen Bates, New York
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.