Michelangelo, God's Architect: The Story of His Final Years and Greatest Masterpiece


Product Details

Princeton University Press
Publish Date
6.1 X 9.4 X 1.2 inches | 1.5 pounds

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About the Author

William E. Wallace is the Barbara Murphy Bryant Distinguished Professor of Art History at Washington University in St. Louis. His books include Discovering Michelangelo: The Art Lover's Guide to Understanding Michelangelo's Masterpieces; Michelangelo: The Artist, the Man, and His Times; and Michelangelo at San Lorenzo.


"Authoritative, innovative, imaginative, and beautifully and passionately written, this is an important book by the major scholar of Michelangelo of the past several decades. Wallace skillfully communicates the small details of Michelangelo's life and the larger significance of his achievement."--Roger J. Crum, coeditor of Renaissance Florence: A Social History
"Utterly superb. This is a richly synthetic book, written in graceful, often witty, prose, from the most distinguished scholar of Michelangelo now working. Wallace provides an unsurpassed account of Michelangelo's work on St. Peter's."--Paul Barolsky, author of Michelangelo and the Finger of God
"This terrific study of old age and genius mixes deep research and expertise with the imaginative touch of a novelist to bring alive a complex and troubled Michelangelo, already a superstar in his own time, as he struggled with his final artistic mission impossible."--Sarah Dunant, author of The Birth of Venus
"This is a book that only a lifetime of study and a talent for expression could produce--rich in detail, historically evocative, and exquisitely attuned to the intricacies of Michelangelo's achievements in his final years."--Deborah Parker, author of Michelangelo and the Art of Letter Writing
"A fascinating new Michelangelo emerges from this account of the last two decades of the artist's long life. William Wallace expertly guides us through Michelangelo's years as an 'old man in a hurry, ' proving that his enormous late projects, especially St. Peter's, were every bit as successful, distinctive, and spectacular as anything he achieved in his youth. A remarkable feat of scholarship and storytelling that overturns many myths and misconceptions, and shows the real story to be even more astonishing."--Ross King, author of Brunelleschi's Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture
"William Wallace has produced a book that is poignant and enlightening. By looking at Michelangelo's life from the perspective of his later years, Wallace offers a reflection on the artist's sense of his legacy, mission, and the God's work he was meant to do. This book not only helps us understand Michelangelo and his work on St. Peter's Basilica, it allows us all to reflect on how we hope to fathom the meaning of our own lives."--Walter Isaacson, author of Leonardo da Vinci
"Wallace brilliantly evokes the day-to-day life of the project as Michelangelo struggled to resolve its many difficulties, which included dealing with the mechanics of the building operation, the calculations of the amount of travertine required, the quarrymen at Tivoli and the practicalities of transport."---Catherine Fletcher, Literary Review
"The strength of Wallace's work has been to place Michelangelo firmly within his milieu, not as some isolated genius living alone in squalor, but as a human being with strong feelings about friendships and family. . . . He brings the man alive."---James Stevens Curl, Times Higher Education
"In Michelangelo, God's Architect Wallace presents the artist's last two decades as the creative climax of a long career whose earlier phases Wallace has explored in previous books. . . . Wallace demonstrates in sympathetic, intimate detail what being an old, famous, phenomenally active artist entailed on a day-to-day basis in Renaissance Rome. . . . Wallace's Michelangelo is marvellously human. In some ways he remains the same artist I learned about at school. . . . But there's a more restless, modern consciousness breaking through - like an unfinished figure from the marble - in the way Wallace shows him confronting the fact that even the longest life is too short for completing all that you want to get done."---Michael Bird, The Telegraph