The Agony and the Ecstasy: A Biographical Novel of Michelangelo

Posted on Aug 9, 2011


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The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone is the story of Michaelanglo's life was the 4th book in my summer reading project.  I don't know where I got this book, but it was pretty beat up.  The front cover was taped on and I had to tape the back cover by the end.  Because it was literally falling apart, I had to read it with two hands.  This added a tactile level of consciousness as I became immersed in this amazing story.

 

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And at 775 pages, this was no small read.  The book has the Bible thin pages that are quite deceiving, because the book wasn't very thick.  I absolutely loved this book.  I couldn't put it down and can easily see why it spent 80 weeks on the bestseller list.  

 

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Michelangelo Buonarroti lived a very fascinating life.  His passion for marble was intense and his sheer artistic ability is pretty unfathomable.  Couple that with being tossed around by the whim of every new Pope (he lived through 5) and you have a story that blows your mind.  I really can't recommend it enough.

 

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Throughout the course of the book, whenever Michelangelo worked on a project, I would look up that piece on my iPhone.  It added so much to the story to be able to see exactly what he was carving and to learn how revolutionary his work truly was.  I also enjoyed learning about the Medici family, his rivalry with Leonardo Da Vinci and politics of the Popes of that era.  

 

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I'm not one to really notice fonts.  I have a good friend who lives for that sort of thing and I get it up to a point.  But boy, I sure fell in love with this typeface.  It has such a 60's feel and it made me think that Irving Stone was drinking cognac in a smoking jacket while he wrote.  

 

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Such a great dedication: "To my wife, Jean Stone, probably the world's best".  

 

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 5 cents covered the cost of shipping a book in 1961.  Oh, how times have changed.

 Next Book: Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin

 

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