Saturday, June 29, 2013

Book Reviews on a Music Blog

Michelangelo and the Pope's CeilingMichelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling by Ross King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's probably hard to argue that Michelangelo's painting of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is a part of history everyone should know, but that doesn't mean it's not fascinating in its own right. King's descriptions of the temperament, disposition, ambiguity, and ego of the artist's artist seem both honest and compelling - Michelangelo comes across as a sort-of Dr. House of the Renaissance. The geopolitical events that surrounded the construction of the world's most illustrious fresco are in and of themselves plenty riveting for the history buff, as well - names as luminary as Midici, Borgia, Machiavelli, and Luther accompany other Renaissance giants like Da Vinci, Raphael, Donatello, & Bromante in making appearances throughout this account. This book serves as another sterling example of how historical fact can many (perhaps most?) times be more interesting than fiction, as well as a reminder that the same tensions, pressures, politics, scandals, and depravities that contaminate our world are, in fact, nothing new. And yet, in the middle of humanity's relentless pursuit of self-debasement, almost unfathomable beauty can somehow manage to make its way into the world.

Thank God.

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