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Michelangelo (Icon Editions) Paperback – 22 Jan 1985
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Paperback. Pub Date: 1985 Pages: 352 in Publisher: Westview Press In this masterly. Howard Hibbard relates Michelangelos art to his life and the lived to the times in with which he. relying on the earliest biographies and the latest scholarly research as well as on Michelangelos own letters and poems. What emerges is both a perspective appraisal of his work and a revealing life history of the man who was arguably the greatest artist of all time.
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Howard Hibbard gives the reader a great insight into all aspects of the life and art of this genius artist. The book is chronological in nature and follows Michelangelo's life from his first work of art until his last. As the book unravels into the life and travels of the painter so does his art begin to unfold in all its beauty from his early works on the Battle and the Bacchus to his masterpieces such as the Pieta, David and the Sistine Chapel. Each piece is covered in detail and includes an artistic analysis that reflects the antiquity interpretation of it as an art piece within the sphere of the renaissance period, which to me was quite new and fascinating. The book is also exceptionally well illustrated and amply interjected with a variety of well referenced quoted sources including Michelangelo's own letters. The latter gives an interesting overview into how this great man thought, not only about his art but about all things in life.
Overall I found this an extremely well researched, very detailed and well illustrated book that was surprisingly easy to follow. It gave me exactly what I was looking for and more. Sometimes I wish I had a greater entry level knowledge base especially on Dante's scholarly works...but on the whole an excellent and stimulating read.
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The book is filled with a large number of black and white photographs as well as plans and drawings which, together, help the reader understand each of the works being discussed. Indeed, the reader would be hard pressed to find more than a handful of opposing pages that do not have one or more illustrations. For those who are so inclined and long to see more of each work, they are titled so clearly that a quick search on line can bring plenty more to look at. But the illustrations provided in the book are more than sufficient for the reader's understanding.
If you are looking for a shocking expose of Michelangelo the man, with all of his secrets revealed (warts and all!), then you do not want to read this book. Professor Hibbard discusses Michelangelo's personality and personal life in detail, but always in the context of his creations. He writes with a deft and gentlemanly reserve that allows the reader to accept the facts without drawing unreasonable conclusions.
The conversations about the well-known works - the Pieta, the David, the Sistine Chapel ceiling and Last Judgment - are all clear and helpful. The on and off again relationships with various Medici and Popes provides a helpful understanding of how and why some of the artist's projects were unfinished, or completed in terms altogether different from their conception.
The discussions of the architectural contributions of Michelangelo are very good, and provide the reader with an appreciation of the sculptural qualities of these larger than life sculptures. Indeed, Hibbard's discussion of the Bibliotheca Laurenziana stairway and St Peter's are the best sort of architectural criticism to be found anywhere.
At the end of the book, but separate from the extensive bibliography, is a section called "Notes for Further Reading", which, if followed, could benefit the reader who wants to know more.
If you find this review hepful, why not read some of my other reviews! Happy reading!