Michelangelo & the Pope’s Ceiling, by Ross King

by Derwood Hunsdale-Talbot on July 31, 2009

michelangelo-popes-ceilingEverybody wants to have super power. My wish is not just to fly (that’s easy), but to fly through time, be able to be invisible and understand all languages.

One of the first places I’d visit would be Rome in 1508, and hang out there while Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel for Pope Julius II.

I’d hover nearby, fascinated to watch and learn along with the artist how to adapt to the extraordinary challenges of fixing image on wet plaster. I’d take mischievous delight in listening in on the fierce arguments that raged between artist and patron. During breaks in the action, I’d fly next door to a room very close to the Pope’s bedroom, the Stanza della Segnatura, to watch the young genius Raffaello Santi–or “Raphael” transform its walls with his masterful frescos.

Alas, I haven’t yet fully developed my invisible flying time machine, but luckily, we all have Ross King’s terrific book, Bringing the same thorough and yet wholly entertaining style that complimented his book on the construction of the Florence Cathedral, Brunelleschi’s Dome, King masterfully presents the world-twisting confluence of politics, patronage and unmatched artistic brilliance that was 16th century Italy.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: