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Michelangelo /

A biography of the Renaissance sculptor, painter, architect, and poet, well known for his work on the Sistine Chapel in Rome's St. Peter's Cathedral. Full description

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Format: Book
Language: English
Published: HarperCollins, 2000
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When he was born, Michelangelo Buonarroti was put into the care of a stonecutter's family. He often said it was from them that he got his love of sculpture. It certainly didn't come from his own father, a respectable magistrate who beat his son when he asked to become an artists apprentice.

But Michelangelo persevered. His early sculptures caught the attention of Florence's great ruler, Lorenzo de' Medici, who invited the boy to be educated with his own sons. Soon after, Michelangelo was astonishing people with the lifelike creations he wrested from marble--from the heartbreaking Pieta he sculpted when he was only twenty-five to the majestic David that brought him acclaim as the greatest sculptor in Italy.

Michelangelo had a turbulent, quarrelsome life. He was obsessed with perfection and felt that everyone--from family members to his demanding patrons--took advantage and let him down. His long and difficult association with Pope Julius II yielded his greatest masterpiece, the radiant paintings in the Sistine Chapel, and his most disastrous undertaking, the monumental tomb that caused the artist frustration and heartache for forty years.

With her thoroughly researched, lively narrative and superbly detailed illustrations, Diane Stanley has captured the life of an artist who towered above the late Renaissance--and whose brilliance in architecture, painting, and sculpture amazes and moves us to this day.

Children's Books 2000-NY Public Lib., Books for Youth Editor's Choice 2000 (Booklist), Lasting Connections 2000 (Book Links), Best Books 2000 (School Library Journal), Top 10 Youth Art Books 2000 (Booklist), and Notable Children's Trade Books in the Field of Social Studies 2001, National Council for SS & Child. Book Council

Review by Booklist Review

Gr. 5^-8. Stanley continues her series of outstanding biographies, but this time she puts a new twist on some venerable art by using computer images. One of the most pleasing things about Stanley's books is the way her sturdy texts stand up to her strong artwork. That's particularly evident here, as she tells the story of Michelangelo's turbulent life in a style that is so readable, and occasionally so colloquial, that even children not readily interested in the subject will be drawn in. Readers will be intrigued to learn, for instance, that Michelangelo's art was not shaped by his own creative desires but by the popes and patrons who demanded the tombs, sculptures, and decorations that Michelangelo created. Since Michelangelo's life is so tied to the story of the Italian Renaissance, the book is also a historical survey of that period, capturing the moments of internecine warfare between everyone from the Medicis to Fra Savonarola and the Pope. Most of the artwork consists of Stanley's portraits and scenes. Especially impressive is one of a rock quarry--huge pieces of marble amidst an ocean of stone. But when it comes to Michelangelo's sculptures and paintings, Stanley does an interesting thing. Rather than trying to re-create them herself, she inserts actual images that were computer manipulated, using Adobe Photoshop. A few of the images are not as crisp as one might like, but seeing Michelangelo chiseling the statue of David makes for a surprising, effective bit of art. --Ilene Cooper

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In a panoramic telling of Michelangelo's life story, the author "brings to bear an uncanny ability to clarify and compress dense and tricky historical matter, scrupulous attention to visual and verbal nuances, and a self-fulfilling faith in her readers' intelligence," said PW. Ages 8-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-7-As Michelangelo breathed life into stone, Stanley chisels three-dimensionality out of documents. Her bibliography lists original material as well as respected scholarship; from these sources she has crafted a picture-book biography that is as readable as it is useful. She approaches her subject chronologically, from the artist's early childhood with a wet nurse in a household of stonecutters through his long history of papal commissions to his deathbed musings. In addition to the direct (although uncited) quotes and delineation of his life's journey and major works, she provides an unobtrusive explanation of the style, technique, and meaning of Michelangelo's sculptures, architecture, and paintings. She includes an iconography of the Sistine Chapel, shown in all its restored glory. An author's note and map provide historical context, the former explaining the impact of the classical excavations on the Renaissance sensibilities. Integrating Michelangelo's art with Stanley's watercolor, gouache, and colored-pencil figures and settings has the desired effect: readers will be dazzled with the master's ability, while at the same time pulled into his daily life and struggles. Stanley has manipulated his art on the computer, particularly the sculpture, to tone down the marble's gloss and definition. As a result, the images are more convincing as "works in progress." Her careful use of scale and color contribute to the success of the scenes. For further information, readers may sample Gabriella Di Cagno's Michelangelo (1996) or Vittorio Giudici's The Sistine Chapel (2000, both Peter Bedrick). For fascinating facts with an attitude, try Veronique Milande's Michelangelo and His Times (Holt, 1996).-Wendy Lukehart, Dauphin County Library, Harrisburg, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Diane Stanley was born in 1943 and was raised in Abilene, Texas. She later attended both Trinity University and Johns Hopkins University.

Her portfolio of children's book illustrations was creative enough for her to begin publication in 1978. She became an art director for G.P. Putnam & Sons and later began retelling and illustrating classic children's books.

Stanley has revamped the fairy tale, Rumpelstiltskin's Daughter and has also researched the children's biographies Cleopatra and Leonardo Da Vinci. She also illustrated her mother's book, The Last Princess.

(Bowker Author Biography)

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