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Book Chat - NonFiction > Michelangelo & The Pope's Ceiling

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message 1: by Lildreamelf (new)

Lildreamelf | 81 comments I've started a new book. Well I've read it once, but it was a long time ago and I never really finished it. So I've picked it back up. I've only read the first chapter, but I'm already looking forward to the next one. This is a history of Michelangelo, his relationship with Pope Julius II (if I remember correctly) and the painting of the Sistine Chapel. Being a Catholic, I'm very interested in the history of the Church in general, even though I know it isn't always pretty. I have a difficult time staying interested in non-fiction in general, so I'm hoping to stick with it this time.

message 2: by Jamie (JK), Houdini Mod (new)

Jamie (JK) (eimajtl) | 703 comments Mod
So it's mostly historic? Is there any philosophy to it?

message 3: by Lildreamelf (last edited Dec 10, 2010 07:25AM) (new)

Lildreamelf | 81 comments its pretty much historic / art history. Michelangelo had a biography written by a guy named Vasari who was a close friend / follower / assistant. Its generally believed Vasari transcribed Michelangelo's memoirs, so it was less of an biography and more of an autobiography. The book focuses on the period of time immediately preceding Michelangelo's work on the Sistine Chapel, what led to him working in fresco, when Michelangelo thinks of himself as merely a sculptor, and I expect it to go through completion of his work. Michelangelo signed his letters Michelangelo, The Sculptor. So why, if Michelangelo was a sculptor was he painting frescoes? And frescoes were a tricky art because you painted on wet plaster. Plus, you had to prepare the location with a layer of plaster, let that dry completely over several months before you could start laying down the plaster you were going to paint on. And you only laid down just enough plaster for you to work on for one day. It was done on wet plaster because the pigments would dry as part of the plaster and that would set the color. Otherwise it flaked off or changed colors. Al fresco means fresh, which is obviously how fresco got its name. If you worked al secco, then you worked in the dry.

So you learn about the art of fresco. You learn about his work with his assistants. You learn about his personal hygiene, which was atrocious. You learn about his relationships with other artists. Its really quite interesting. I'm trying to read a chapter a night, which doesn't always happen.

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