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Michelangelo, God's Architect: The Story of His Final Years and Greatest Masterpiece

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The untold story of Michelangelo's final decades--and his transformation into one of the greatest architects of the Italian Renaissance As he entered his seventies, the great Italian Renaissance artist Michelangelo despaired that his productive years were past. Anguished by the death of friends and discouraged by the loss of commissions to younger artists, this supreme The untold story of Michelangelo's final decades--and his transformation into one of the greatest architects of the Italian Renaissance As he entered his seventies, the great Italian Renaissance artist Michelangelo despaired that his productive years were past. Anguished by the death of friends and discouraged by the loss of commissions to younger artists, this supreme painter and sculptor began carving his own tomb. It was at this unlikely moment that fate intervened to task Michelangelo with the most ambitious and daunting project of his long creative life. Michelangelo, God's Architect is the first book to tell the full story of Michelangelo's final two decades, when the peerless artist refashioned himself into the master architect of St. Peter's Basilica and other major buildings. When the Pope handed Michelangelo control of the St. Peter's project in 1546, it was a study in architectural mismanagement, plagued by flawed design and faulty engineering. Assessing the situation with his uncompromising eye and razor-sharp intellect, Michelangelo overcame the furious resistance of Church officials to persuade the Pope that it was time to start over. In this richly illustrated book, leading Michelangelo expert William Wallace sheds new light on this least familiar part of Michelangelo's biography, revealing a creative genius who was also a skilled engineer and enterprising businessman. The challenge of building St. Peter's deepened Michelangelo's faith, Wallace shows. Fighting the intrigues of Church politics and his own declining health, Michelangelo became convinced that he was destined to build the largest and most magnificent church ever conceived. And he was determined to live long enough that no other architect could alter his design.


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The untold story of Michelangelo's final decades--and his transformation into one of the greatest architects of the Italian Renaissance As he entered his seventies, the great Italian Renaissance artist Michelangelo despaired that his productive years were past. Anguished by the death of friends and discouraged by the loss of commissions to younger artists, this supreme The untold story of Michelangelo's final decades--and his transformation into one of the greatest architects of the Italian Renaissance As he entered his seventies, the great Italian Renaissance artist Michelangelo despaired that his productive years were past. Anguished by the death of friends and discouraged by the loss of commissions to younger artists, this supreme painter and sculptor began carving his own tomb. It was at this unlikely moment that fate intervened to task Michelangelo with the most ambitious and daunting project of his long creative life. Michelangelo, God's Architect is the first book to tell the full story of Michelangelo's final two decades, when the peerless artist refashioned himself into the master architect of St. Peter's Basilica and other major buildings. When the Pope handed Michelangelo control of the St. Peter's project in 1546, it was a study in architectural mismanagement, plagued by flawed design and faulty engineering. Assessing the situation with his uncompromising eye and razor-sharp intellect, Michelangelo overcame the furious resistance of Church officials to persuade the Pope that it was time to start over. In this richly illustrated book, leading Michelangelo expert William Wallace sheds new light on this least familiar part of Michelangelo's biography, revealing a creative genius who was also a skilled engineer and enterprising businessman. The challenge of building St. Peter's deepened Michelangelo's faith, Wallace shows. Fighting the intrigues of Church politics and his own declining health, Michelangelo became convinced that he was destined to build the largest and most magnificent church ever conceived. And he was determined to live long enough that no other architect could alter his design.

39 review for Michelangelo, God's Architect: The Story of His Final Years and Greatest Masterpiece

  1. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Storey

    I read EVERYTHING I can find on Michelangelo (of course; I write whole novels about him, how could I not?), and I briefly studied under Dr. Wallace at Wash U, so I pre-ordered this book and waited impatiently for it to arrive at my doorstep. However, I did NOT expect to love it quite as much as I did. I finished it in two days (my first time through it; I will no doubt re-read this one multiple times in my life), and was struck by this brilliant, empathetic exploration into the life of I read EVERYTHING I can find on Michelangelo (of course; I write whole novels about him, how could I not?), and I briefly studied under Dr. Wallace at Wash U, so I pre-ordered this book and waited impatiently for it to arrive at my doorstep. However, I did NOT expect to love it quite as much as I did. I finished it in two days (my first time through it; I will no doubt re-read this one multiple times in my life), and was struck by this brilliant, empathetic exploration into the life of Michelangelo AND how aging affects the creative process. It's rare that a book opens up Michelangelo in a brand new way for me, but this one provided such fresh insights that I was periodically left breathless. It made me think about how the body makes creation more difficult as you age -- especially for a marble sculptor, frescoist, and architect, all very physical activities -- but also how getting closer and closer to death changes perspective on life, work, art... Michelangelo lived with sculptures that he couldn't finish in the same way he had in his youth; he dedicated the end of his life to building a church (St. Peter's) that he would never see completed; he lost friends and family, but still had to find a way to persevere with patience... patience... I try hard in my own own writing to take great artists off of their pedestals and present them as real human beings struggling with the same problems as the rest of us... Not as divine geniuses with special powers that mere mortals can't touch, but as real men and women overcoming obstacles to achieve greatness... By highlighting their humanity, I see their accomplishments as all the more impressive. This book -- by one of the most important Michelangelo scholars of our times -- will stand for me as an example of how to achieve that goal: making Michelangelo human while celebrating his incomparable contributions to our culture and making us all feel a little less alone in our journey through this thing called life. This book is for Michelangelo lovers, those interested in the creative process, or anyone thinking about what it means to age.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Miriam

    This magnificent book about Michelangelo will astound and delight the senses and your artistic drive. Imagine being perpetually creative in your 70s and 80s as Michelangelo was. I was drawn into this book, pausing only to breathe, as I learned more and more about this master artist and craftsman. I was especially intrigued after viewing Michelangelo's drawings at the Cleveland Museum of Art exhibition earlier this fall (2019). The audio performance (not yet an edition on GR) was fantastic. Listen This magnificent book about Michelangelo will astound and delight the senses and your artistic drive. Imagine being perpetually creative in your 70s and 80s as Michelangelo was. I was drawn into this book, pausing only to breathe, as I learned more and more about this master artist and craftsman. I was especially intrigued after viewing Michelangelo's drawings at the Cleveland Museum of Art exhibition earlier this fall (2019). The audio performance (not yet an edition on GR) was fantastic. Listen if you get the opportunity. For a discussion of the audio performance, see AudioFile Magazine http://www.audiofilemagazine.com

  3. 4 out of 5

    Anu

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kim

  5. 5 out of 5

    Brett M

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jason

  8. 5 out of 5

    Arjen Taselaar

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tim Deforest

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mitch

  11. 5 out of 5

    D-503

  12. 4 out of 5

    Angela

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kim Alderton

  14. 5 out of 5

    Linda

  15. 4 out of 5

    K

  16. 5 out of 5

    Emily

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kord Basnight

  18. 5 out of 5

    Navi

  19. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Plaster

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl Loman

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sean

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alison Gaspard

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ajay Menon

  24. 5 out of 5

    Philip Girvan

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dean

  26. 4 out of 5

    David Dunlap

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

  28. 4 out of 5

    Melon109

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ellie Manning

  30. 4 out of 5

    Castles

  31. 4 out of 5

    Tim Schneider

  32. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Roessler

  33. 5 out of 5

    Robin

  34. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

  35. 5 out of 5

    Charissa

  36. 5 out of 5

    Kyle Arceneaux

  37. 5 out of 5

    Joanne

  38. 4 out of 5

    Bryan Rosenthal

  39. 4 out of 5

    Kiara

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