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Description - The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone

Irving Stone's powerful and passionate biographical novel of Michelangelo. His time: the turbulent Renaissance, the years of poisoning princes, warring popes, the all-powerful Medici family, the fanatic monk Savonarola. His loves: the frail and lovely daughter of Lorenzo de Medici; the ardent mistress of Marco Aldovrandi; and his last love - his greatest love - the beautiful, unhappy Vittoria Colonna. His genius: a God-driven fury from which he wrested the greatest art the world has ever known. Michelangelo Buonarotti, creator of David, painter of the Sistine ceiling, architect of the dome of St Peter's, lives once more in the tempestuous, powerful pages of Irving Stone's marvellous book.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099416272
ISBN-10: 0099416271
Format: Paperback
(178mm x 110mm x 33mm)
Pages: 784
Imprint: Arrow Books Ltd
Publisher: Cornerstone
Publish Date: 1-Jan-1990
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone

UK Kirkus Review » Full of medieval intrigue and colour, The Agony and the Ecstasy is a biographical novel which transports us to Renaissance Florence in Italy, where a teenage Michelangelo is received into apprenticeship by an old man with an eye for talent. He grows up to be an artist driven by his love of art, his desire to immitate nature to the point where the distinction between reality and fabrication blurs. His time is one of turbulence, when the Medici family holds sway over the city, and the women in his life play a prominent role in his development as artist. A galloping read and an insight into the life and times of one of the world's greatest artists. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » This is Stone's finest novel and the just announced selection as April B-O-M, will give it added impetus. Even without that, the subject matter- Michelangelo and the burgeoning period which gave him life- and Stone's proven ability to convey the excitement and passion of genius (as in Lust for Life) would guarantee an immense and eager audience. It's an enormous book, in scope, in historical background, in depth perception and characterization. Charles H. Morgan's The Life of Michelangelo (Viking- Reynal) never quite came to grips with the man. He remained much less fully realized than his tremendous body of work (see report-1960-p. 319). Sidney Alexander's novel, Michelangelo, the Florentine (Random House- see report 1957, p. 656), while absorbing and fascinating reading, never gave one a sense of the whole man. De Tolnay's definitive six volume Michelangelo (Princeton University Press) is beyond the pocketbook of the general reader, but Stone's book may well provide the opening wedge to further study. It is an extraordinary achievement, both in bringing the greatest period of the Renaissance in Italy into vivid personal being, and in clarifying the complex political situation, the interplay of personalities in Florence and in Rome as Savonarola injected a spirit of fear and fanaticism, as the Medicis and the Borgias battled for papal control in Rome, as extravagance was followed by penury and back again. Against this surging, many threaded setting, Michelangelo emerges, with his strange and difficult personality, his courage and independence, his lifelong slavery to his demanding family, and his complete identification with his own many-sided genius. Sculpture was his goal, his god, his driving force, but, faced with necessity, he proved himself equally gifted in the incredible achievement of the Sistine Chapel ceiling, the architectural triumph of St. Peter's, and even as an engineer. Irving Stone writes out of intimate personal acquaintance with the marble quarries, the studios of sculptors - and one finds almost exhausting identification with Michelangelo's tortuous performance. It's an immensely long novel - but fully rewarding on every count. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Irving Stone

Irving Stone was born in San Francisco in 1903 and received his B. A. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1923 and his Master's degree from the University of Southern California in 1924. He wrote plays and supported himself by writing detective stories until the publication of Lust for Life, his first novel, in 1934, Stone called his work 'bio-history' and based his novels on meticulous and extensive research into the lives of the historical characters at the heart of his novels. He married his editor, Jean Factor, in 1934. He founded the Academy of American Poets in 1962. He died in Los Angeles in 1989.

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