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Michelangelo And The Sistine Chapel [Paperback]

Andrew Graham-Dixon
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

19 Mar 2009

Five hundred years ago Michelangelo put the first brushstroke to his most ambitious creation. As he started work on his vast fresco cycle for the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, he began putting into pictures the awe-inspiring legends recounted in the Book of Genesis.

But for the viewer looking up into Michelangelo's painted sky, this was to be just the first of a series of unprecedentedly original images, rightly celebrated as the quintessential masterpiece of the Renaissance. Yet the painting of the Sistine Chapel, for all its magnificence, came at a considerable human cost. It would take Michelangelo four years of long and bitter toil to complete his masterpiece, goaded all the while by his volatile, impatient patron, Pope Julius II.

In his new study of Michelangelo's work in the Sistine Chapel, Andrew Graham-Dixon retells the story of the Sistine Chapel for modern times, and an essential companion guide for one of the artistic wonders of the world.

Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix (19 Mar 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753823462
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753823460
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 524,346 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Graham-Dixon depicts a wonderfully strange man and his strangely wonderful masterpiece (OBSERVER)

Book Description

Dazzling commentary on Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel paintings - an essential companion to one of the artistic wonders of the world.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating insight 21 April 2009
I wish I had been able to read this (in conjunction with Ross King's book 'Michelangelo and the Pope's ceiling') before I visited Rome as it contained so much interpretitive information about this iconic work, particularly as it is difficult, heaving crowds and neck ache aside, to fully appreciate the work in situ. I really enjoyed reading it and fully intend reading it again before my return visit to Rome. It is far more informative, and much better written, than any of the tourist publications on offer at the Vatican. So if you are interested in developing a much more insightful understanding of the Sistine chapel then this is an excellent place to start. As ever Andrew Graham-Dixon writes in a straightforward and fluid manner.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A timely contribution 5 April 2009
Andrew Graham-Dixon's book is a timely contribution to our understanding and appreciation of Michelangelo's masterpiece, the Sistine Chapel ceiling : as he states in his Introduction, the book was written to celebrate the artist's commencement of this great undertaking exactly 500 years ago. What I particularly liked about it was his use of every day as opposed to the flowery language that Italian reviewers are generally wont to resort to, or the obscure semantics of esoteric critics! Granted his comments represent his own personal views but at least they're of the down-to-earth, common or garden variety that ordinary mortals like me can understand.
Graham-Dixon's research is impeccable : he has drawn on original sources to substantiate his theories with regard to who was responsible for each aspect of the work : its design, content and artistic format. In addition the book contains a series of excellent photographs of the various sections of the ceiling that proved of invaluable assistance in clarifying the author's explanation of them. And that's not all, we are given insight into Michelangelo's later work : his Last Judgement which with its gloom and doom, stands in utter contrast to the ceiling's energetic images! In conclusion this book has greatly enhanced my appreciation of the provenance and execution of the Sistine Chapel ceiling; and equally importantly it has given me insight into Michelangelo's humanity as well as his artistic genius.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid book 17 April 2009
Having seen the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel on a couple of occasion and appreciated it as an amazing work of art, I had not understood, or even noticed, the plethora of details and their significance. Andrew Graham Dixon writes for both the novice and those with some knowledge of art history and his style is extremely engaging and informative. I now want to go back to Rome and view the chapel again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
In "Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel" Andrew Graham-Dixon takes a thorough look at the Michelangelo relationship with his patron, historical circumstances surrounded rightly to say this "compulsory" commissions but most interesting is the creative process of the great artist's behind the four years long project. Andrew investigates the long standing dilemma of boundaries of patron's trust in the artist work and the same time limits of creative freedom. He also explores the order of the sixteen chapel's sequence and looks afresh at the importance of composition and its symbolic values. Fascinated book, nicely written could easily read another 200 pages.
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