Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling

By: Ross King
Narrated by: Alan Sklar
Length: 7 hrs and 25 mins
Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Art
4 out of 5 stars (359 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In 1508, despite strong advice to the contrary, the powerful Pope Julius II commissioned Michelangelo Buonarroti to paint the ceiling of the newly restored Sistine Chapel in Rome. During the four extraordinary years that Michelangelo spent laboring over the 12,000 square foot ceiling, power politics and personal rivalries swirled around him. He battled ill health, financial and family difficulties, inadequate knowledge of the art of fresco, and the Pope's impatience - a history that is more compelling than most novels. The author presents a magnificent tapestry of day-to-day life for the artist, the upheaval of early 16th-century Italy, as well as uncommon insight into the intersection of art and history. In the end, Michelangelo produced one of the world's most renowned artistic wonders.

©2002 Ross King (P)2003 The Audio Partners Publishing Corp.

Critic Reviews

"King chronicles Michelangelo's aesthetic decisions and clarion triumphs over myriad forms of adversity with expertise and contagious enthusiasm." ( Booklist)
"King's historical account...is splendid, thorough, and detailed. Skylar's narration is perfect for the project. His lively and expressive reading add a realistic edge to a centuries-old tale." ( Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

History brought to life!

This is no dry history lesson! I became so engrossed with the details of Michelangelo's struggle to paint the Sistine Chapel that I bought an illustrated book and studied the paintings as I listened, following Michelangelo's four-year trek across the ceiling from one end to the other. Fascinating.

35 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Fantastic

I bought this book because we're headed to Rome soon, and I wanted some background on what's considered to be one of the high water marks of artistic acheivement. Absolutely fascinating. As 1 other reviewer mentioned, it would be a good idea to have recent full-color photos of the chapel to refer to while listening.

It was amazing to realize that Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel while the Church was at war with the Venitians, the French, and various other city-states in Italy. This book will definately enhance our upcoming visit.

7 people found this helpful

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Great reading

I really loved being able to read along while I listened to the book! However, the audible thing would skip over words, lines, and sometimes even pages of words.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

sistine chapel

I really enjoyed this book, as a historic novel it was well written and enjoyable. It made me want to go back to Italy to see the Sistine chapel again!!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

History Comes Alive

As another reviewer wrote, I wanted some background on some of the sites we plan to visit soon. I highly recommend this book for travelers to Rome and also those who enjoy historical drama. A fascinating account of art, religion, politics, family, and war. The narration was suberb.

1 person found this helpful

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Fascinatinh

A relatively easy read, this is a fascinating book for those interested in learning more about the Sistine chapel, the life of the artist and Rome in the 16th century. Highly recommend!

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Story behind the pictures

So many things about the paintings make sense to me now. Details of how the frescoes are made and details about his life and times make this a very very good listen.

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Great narrator, interesting history

The narrator really brought to life what could have been dry material if read poorly. I like the details of Michelangelo’s personal life, the political climate, competition with other artists, etc, that are woven in with information about the Sisteen Chapel and Michelangelo’s fresco itself. So much more going on than just an art piece. Great way to learn about this period in papal, Italian, and art history.

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Wonderful book if you love art or Rome

I found this book fascinating and it brought back memories of a wonderful trip to Rome. If you like art history or historical novels you will really enjoy this. The narrator was good as well. I only wish there was a PDF that came along with it to show some of the art that’s being described.

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fascinating

The narrator did a great job and the book was excellent. The juxtaposition of so many themes and people of history was fascinating.