Bobby Bermea's Reviews > Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling

Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling by Ross King
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really liked it
bookshelves: resident-madness

Michelangelo seems so easy. He's always fascinating. Trying to capture what he accomplished and put it into words with nothing but whatever facts you can get your hands on and by making whatever inferences seem plausible, seems like an impossible task and so it is. What makes it fun is trying to get at that mystery of creation anyway, to figure out at what exact point Michelangelo was touched by God and put that moment in some kind of terms the rest of us mere mortals can understand. It can't be done. It is, however, always fun to try. You will learn something -- about art, about the Renaissance, about genius, about the human condition. And Ross King does a clear, concise, respectable job, even if I don't always agree with his conclusions.

(Like when he compares the composition of Raphael's "School of Athens" to "the Flood" section of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel and finds the former more elegant and graceful, I'm thinking, well yeah, one is a bunch of dudes discussing ideas in school and one is a group of people caught in a natural disaster. The flood is bound to be messier. Right?)

But I, personally, can't get enough of Michelangelo. He's an untouchable superstar. Reading about him reminds me of looking at constellations and trying to figure out the cosmos from them. It's just silly really, but the exercise is worth it, all on its own.

One of the things I really appreciate that Ross King does here is he doesn't go overboard trying to say how "dark" or "obsessed" Michelangelo was. A lot of times, modern critics seem to want to turn him into a Rolling Stone profile of a troubled rock star. They want to force him into a Van Gogh box. It doesn't seem (to me) that he was that way at all. He didn't have any extra time for all the social niceties that so occupy the rest of us. He just wanted to rock his art. So that's what he did and that was that. And I appreciate that King, for the most part, just lets that be.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
February 21, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
February 21, 2014 – Shelved
April 11, 2015 – Shelved as: resident-madness

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