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Young Michelangelo: The Path to the Sistine: A Biography by [Spike, John T.]
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Young Michelangelo: The Path to the Sistine: A Biography Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Length: 277 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Art historian Spike (Caravaggio) weaves together the personal and professional relationships that shaped the first 30 years of Michelangelo's career, from his early days in the Medicis' sculpture garden to the commissions that culminated in his work in the Sistine Chapel. Spike's Michelangelo is driven relentlessly by ambition, an obligation to provide for his dysfunctional family, and a firm conviction of his own genius. Although he lacked the social graces of contemporaries Leonardo and Raphael, Michelangelo attracted the patronage of the most important political figures of the time. Michelangelo was probably one of the very few who could flee Rome in the middle of completing the pope's tomb, repeatedly refuse orders to return, and still receive an even more important commission for a bronze sculpture. Spike crystallizes historical detail into vivid, memorable imagery. One scene stands out in particular: Michelangelo's six-ton David being slowly dragged through the streets of Florence to its place in front of the Palazzo della Signoria. Alternating between accounts of the turbulent political atmosphere and details of Michelangelo's most private moments in the sculpture studio, Spike creates a rich narrative that promises more intrigue than the best adventure novel. 60 illus., maps.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

'No art historian has got closer to [Michelangelo] than John T. Spike' The Sunday Telegraph '[a] crisply thorough biography' Express 'Tense and agile as an early sculpture, YOUNG MICHELANGELO is a compelling portrait of the artist as a young man in a dangerous time.' Peter Robb, Author of M: The Man Who Became Caravaggio 'Spike crystallizes historical detail into vivid, memorable imagery... Alternating between accounts of the turbulent political atmosphere and details of Michelangelo's most private moments in the sculpture studio, Spike creates a rich narrative that promises more intrigue than the best adventure novel.' Publishers Weekly

Product Details

  • File Size: 1175 KB
  • Print Length: 277 pages
  • Publisher: Vendome Press (August 1, 2012)
  • Publication Date: August 1, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0073C86WW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,387,584 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By L. C. Henderson on November 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This biography of Michelangelo covers the years in which he was striving for public recognition of his artistic genius, so should be of interest not only to all those interested in Renaissance art, but also to all up and coming young professionals. In those days, prior to our current unprecedented levels of mass media hype, how did one gain widespread publicity and attain elevated levels of self-promotion? How, in brief, did one make a name for oneself? Starting by drawing over his master's drawings so as to improve the latter and challenging the older students in the sculpture studio was not bound to win him any popularity with either his instructor, or with members of his peer group, though it did start Michelangelo on his way to greatness. In short, he was lacking neither in talent, nor in ambition, having much in common with many of our modern-day winners of "Idols". After the initial rejection of some of his early work, most notably that of a Bacchus reeling from drink, he restores his own credibility by unleashing the virile David from a ruined block of marble. His obsession with the telling of his own story is also not unique to his time - how many aspirant hopefuls are not obsessed with the telling of their own tale? Underwriting Ascanio Condivi's biography of his life, as well as two editions of Giorgio Vasari's The Lives of the Artists, sounds all the more familiar in the modern age of ghost writing and vaunting by publicists of the greatness of artists' work.

However, the truth will out, and that is exactly where John T. Spike's biography excels. Through painstaking research and a determination to get to the bottom of things, he reveals the reality of both the life and times of the young Michelangelo.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In "Young Michelangelo," Dr. John Spike provides the most realistic and convincing portrait of the formation of the artist that's yet been written. It's a must read for every aspiring artist and anyone seeking knowledge of the origins of Western culture and consciousness. Dr. Spike has committed his life to understanding Michelangelo and his art. He writes authoritatively and precisely. This is the first of several projected volumes, herald as the biography of this generation.
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Format: Hardcover
This extremely well researched and very readable biography of Michelangelo covers his early life until about 33 years of age. While we get an in-depth look into the early development of Michelangelo's genius, we also get wars, plagues, revolutions, politics, scandal and more as Spike spends about as much time exploring the history of the time as he does on Michelangelo itself. At times, this book feels less like a biography than a book about 15th century Italy, with Michelangelo used as a primary focus. The book even ends (quite abruptly) with a story about Raphael's work on the Pope's private quarters.

Spike's style takes a bit of getting used to as well since he writes somewhat as if he's writing in that century. So, for instance, he talks about Michelangelo's astrological signs as if they were a proven influence on him ("as a Pisces, Michelangelo was chiefly ruled by mighty Jupiter . . ."). If I were to characterize his narration style, it would be that of a gossipy 15th century neighbor of Michelangelo intermixed with a more modern tone of an art historian.

Yet the style works well for the most part, helping drive the story and allowing the reader to make it through the occasional dense thicket of details and Italian names. The 32 pages of images provided are also quite helpful.

Some of the other reviewers mention that there will be further books by Spike on Michelangelo. No mention is made of these further editions in this book, but if other books are to be published, I look forward to reading them, especially if those books are as enjoyable as this one was.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not another book about Michelangelo (Yawn). Wake up! Mr. Spike will open your artistic and intellectual eyes again.

This is a seriously engaging book for anyone who has been subjected to Irving Stone's "The Agony and the Ecstacy" (Ugh!) or has explored the delights of Howard Hibbard's work on the master. Rather then giving us an encrusted venerated hagiography on the master, Mr. Spike introduces us to a young, moody, tortured, mercurial youth who not only "could of been a contender," but ended up a champ.

"An inventor of filth" who said that about Michelangelo? doesn't matter, let it suffice that Mr. Spike lets us know that it was said. But without being too flippant, the author poses some scholarly and unique opinions about Michelangelo's development. I was happily educated by the author's view of Michelangelo's work and their connections such as Bacchus vis a vis the Pieta vis a vis David and of course a brief description on types of marble.

Who else has conjectured that Michelangelo went to Rome to avoid competition with Da Vinci because he felt that he would be outdone. Of course this is not about the Sistine Chapel, but what brought the kid to Rome, all the while reminding us that Michelangelo was a wild one taking on artists who were old enough to be his father.

Why buy the book? Informed, provocative, emminently readable, absurdly priced ($1.98 Kindle special), and a great addition to Ross King, Andrew Graham-Dixon, Jonathan Jones. Too bad there were no motorcycles in those days.
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